Tag Archives: safety

“People Told Us She Had Gone Off to Die”

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Nala resting at home!

When Nala went missing from her Schaumburg, Ill., home in late November 2015, well-meaning people told her family that the 13-year-old Golden Retriever had likely just “gone off to die.”

“We had had her from the time she was eight weeks old, and I didn’t want to hear that,” said Jean Cullen, the family matriarch.

The Cullens had installed an invisible fence around their property so Nala could have the run of the yard. However, the fence had deteriorated over the years, and Nala eventually figured out where the gaps were.

“We would let her out, and she would visit our next-door neighbor and our neighbor two doors down, looking for treats,” Jean said. “She would always come back within 15 or 20 minutes, when she heard us call her name.”

On November 30, though, Nala didn’t come back when called. The neighbors said they hadn’t seen her.

The family put up posters and looked for Nala under bushes and in neighbors’ sheds and garages, all to no avail. Jean also posted a lost-dog alert on Lost Dogs Illinois, on the recommendation of a co-worker.

Although she and her husband both had to leave town on business trips, the Cullens’ teenage son continued to search while they were gone.

He called them Dec. 6 to say Nala had been found – alive – in a basement window well of their neighbors’ house, two doors down.

A window well is a semi-circular area, several feet deep, dug out around an underground basement window that allows light to come in. The family that owned the house said they never heard Nala bark or make any other noise the entire time she was in the well, despite the fact they are in the basement quite often.

It wasn’t until they moved their boxes of Christmas decorations piled in front of the window that they saw her, staring back at them.

“Her groomer said Nala is such a mild-mannered dog, she probably thought she had done something wrong and didn’t want to call attention to it by barking,” Jean said.

It had rained during the week Nala was gone, and she likely drank the inch or two of rainwater that accumulated in the well. Still, “She lost eight pounds and couldn’t stand,” Jean said.

“She had no broken bones, just some scratches and was really weak.”

Nala was back to her usual weight (52 lbs.) within a week of her homecoming. The Cullens now have a long tie-out post in the backyard for her, wanting to take no more chances.

“Her wandering days are over,” Jean said. “It’s the most traumatic thing I’ve ever been through, and I am so grateful to the Lost Dogs Illinois volunteers for contacting us several times to give us support and hope.

“I was afraid that, after a week, she had been stolen or was dead,” Jean continued. “The volunteers eased our pain; they were so concerned for us and for her.”

Jean says she has learned an important lesson from this experience.

“Never give up, and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone to find your pet,” she said.

“Who would have thought we’d find Nala at the bottom of a window well?”

Losing Their Way

Thank you Lydia Rypcinski, free lance writer.

 

Why We Do Not Endorse Lost Dog Tracking Devices and Tag

The Garmin  GTU - 10. Soon to be useless! It is still offered through 3rd party websites. Don't waste your money!

Thanks to the power of social media and the loyalty of our fans,   Lost Dogs Illinois, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin  and the sister organizations of  Lost Dogs of America have developed a very large Facebook following and audience (over 200,000 Facebook fans).   Many product developers contact us hoping that we will endorse their products.  The lost pet product market is booming.  Distraught owners will spend a lot of money both before and after their beloved pet goes missing.

These new devices range from nifty, high-tech ID tags to complicated GPS tracking devices that you affix to a collar.  The problem is that they all rely on a company that may or may not be around in a couple of years. Competition amongst these companies is fierce. Many will fail. I want to take a few minutes to share my story.

I have a high-flight risk dog named Pixie.  We often leave Pixie at a boarding kennel when we are out of town so my husband felt that purchasing  a collar tracking device would give us peace of mind while we were away.

My husband did the research on several devices and  purchased a GTU-10 mobile tracking device from a trusted company, Garmin. It cost about $200 and required a $50 yearly service fee.   The pros of the device: highly accurate, waterproof, easy to attach to the collar.   The cons:  a short battery life when it was in “search” mode, and it was fairly large and heavy for a small dog.

Regardless, we were happy with it. Until recently.

A visit to the Garmin website revealed the following message.  (We did not receive any notification from Garmin).

Here is what they have said:  “The connected services provider for your GTU 10 has determined to cease operations of its 2G network by approximately Jan. 1, 2016. Unfortunately, the third-party services necessary to support the network connectivity operations of your GTU 10 unit will be impacted. At this time, there is no viable alternative of such services; therefore, after such date your GTU10 unit will no longer be operational. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

The device will be useless by January 1, 2016. They are not going to offer a replacement device and they have not offered any sort of credit or refund despite my phone calls to their customer service department. One of the customer service representatives actually had a “too bad, so sad” attitude that we had spent several hundred dollars with Garmin and are now going to have a useless device.

Lesson learned and let this be a warning to all. GPS and cellular phone technology is changing so rapidly that many companies that are here today will be gone tomorrow. Although Garmin is not going out of business, the company that provided the support services for the GTU-10 is and apparently there is no viable alternative.

The best way to protect your dog is with a good old-fashioned visible ID tag (not a fancy gizmo tag that connects to a service) and a microchip from one of the 5 big reputable companies (Datamars, Home Again, AVID, 24 Petwatch or AKC) that has your current information registered.  If your dog goes missing, get the word out using old-fashioned flyers and  intersection signs.  Based on our 5 years of operation, flyers and signs are the Number One way that lost dogs are found.

Kathy Pobloskie, Director and Co-Founder Lost Dogs of Wisconsin; Co -Founder and Co-Director of Lost Dogs of America

Keep Your Dog Safe during the 4th of July Holiday!

The 4th of July holiday is a time of parties and celebration. Unfortunately, Animal Control facilities nationwide report a spike in dog intake during this holiday. Make sure your dog isn’t one of the holiday statistics by following these tips:

  • Take your dog for a walk or to the dog park before the fireworks start. This allows your dog to exercise, release pent up energy and go “potty”.
  • Keep dogs indoors. They may even feel safer if they are placed in a smaller interior room. Give your dog an interactive toy like tasty treat filled Kong.
  • Close your windows. Dogs can try and get out of the house by pushing out the screen. Turn the air conditioning or radio on.
  • Make sure your dog has a license and an identification tag on a properly fitted buckled or martingale collar and is microchipped.
  • If your dog is shy and/or fearful, walk the dog with collar and a harness, clipped together or with two separate leashes.
  • During this time of festivities and fireworks, do not let your dogs out alone even in a fenced yard. Keep a leash on your dog – dogs have been known to scale fences to get away from the noise.
  • Most importantly, please do NOT take your dogs to the fireworks celebration!