Tag Archives: shy dogs

LDI Tips, Supporters Help Bring Rosie Home After 11 Days

Rosie snoozing

Rosie snoozing

Susan Hochgraber was so thrilled to see her Belgian Malinois again after 11 days that she almost didn’t mind the “guests” Rosie brought home with her.

Almost.

“Ugh, the emergency vet found 20 ticks on her the day we got her back,” Hochgraber said. “Then 10 more the next day, and our regular vet found eight more after that. Other than the ticks and a few cuts on her paws, though, she was OK.”

Hochgraber, a canine massage therapist from Midlothian, Ill., had barely had time to get to know the dog she rescued January 15, 2016 before Rosie escaped on April 12.

“Rosie had been rescued from the streets. It took a week and a half just to get her comfortable living with me,” Hochgraber said. “We had just finished her third week of obedience training when she escaped.”

Hochgraber had noticed that Rosie was beginning to jump at fences, so she instructed her dog walker to take off Rosie’s leash only after she had gotten the dog into the house. But the dog walker unleashed Rosie in the yard that day.

Rosie promptly jumped Hochgraber’s 4-ft.-high fence into a neighbor’s yard, and then double-jumped the neighbor’s gate fence into the street. She was gone in a flash.

Hochgraber turned to Lost Dogs Illinois,  FindFido’s service, Facebook, friends and neighbors, police departments in surrounding suburbs, and Perfect Pooches, a Chicago-area dog rescue and adoption agency, for advice on getting Rosie back.

“I did everything everyone suggested – flyers, postings, everything,” Hochgraber said. “People reported a lot of sightings, particularly around a park about two blocks from my house, and especially around one of the five ball fields at that park.”

People also reported seeing Rosie along the Metra railroad tracks that run between Midlothian and Robbins. Rosie apparently followed those tracks down to Robbins, where a woman named Charita lives with her family.

“Charita had seen our flyer and called me when she saw Rosie on April 21,” Hochgraber said. “I drove to Robbins, turned a corner and saw Rosie out in a field.”

Hochgraber called out to her dog, which got Rosie’s attention; but when she made a move towards her, the dog bolted in the opposite direction.

Volunteers from Perfect Pooches helped Hochgraber set up humane traps and round-the-clock surveillance in Charita’s backyard and near an abandoned house next to her home. They figured it might be Rosie’s “quiet place,” where she went for the night.

Hochgraber placed Rosie’s blankets in the traps, as well as towels that had the scent of her other dog, a German Shepherd named Buddy. The volunteers baited the traps with some of Rosie’s toys and treats like hot dogs and BBQ chicken from KFC.

The first night, Rosie managed to get the food and even lie on a blanket left inside the trap without tripping the door. The next night, she lay down next to the trap.

Is this a trap?

Is this a trap?

The third night, April 23, Rosie lay down inside the trap. stretched out, and tripped the gate door shut. The volunteer on duty waited five minutes to make sure Rosie was inside before calling Hochgraber with the good news.

Rosie almost trapped

Rosie almost trapped

Hochgraber said she plans to replace her 4-ft. fence with a 6-footer. She put a GPS collar with a tracker on Rosie, “and she is always on leash now when she goes out,” Hochgraber said.

“I’m grateful to Lost Dogs Illinois for all the help and support I got,” Hochgraber said. “LDI suggested things I wouldn’t have thought of doing, such as putting flyers up at gas stations and other high-traffic locations. I am also grateful to all the people who came out and helped me search for my baby girl.”

She added that the people who follow the LDI Facebook page were nothing short of “amazing” with all their reports of sightings and notes of encouragement.

“Their support helped me get through 11 days of hell,” Hochgraber said.

by Lydia Rypcinski

Losing and Finding Jimmy – Reaching out to Lost Dogs of America/Lost Dogs Illinois

Jimmy

Jimmy

Two weeks ago, Lost Dogs Illinois received an email from a woman located in Seattle, Washington who needed help in capturing her shy, scared and confused dog named Jimmy.  We exchanged emails several times giving advice and suggestions.  We asked her to share her story.  Welcome Home Jimmy!

LOSING JIMMY

At the end of July 2015, I got two little dogs who had been rescued from a puppy mill:  Ladybug, a rat terrier breeder (who was due to be euthanized by the breeder because she was too old to have any more litters); and Jimmy, a one-year-old toy fox terrier (TFT).  I have had a lot of dogs, but they have all been big, bouncy, confident dogs (mostly mixed breeds).  Having small dogs was a new experience for me but, by Thanksgiving, I felt like both dogs were really integrated into our family.

The night before the holiday, I took both dogs with me to visit a family member who lived in an apartment about five miles away from my home.  I couldn’t find a leash for Ladybug in the house, but knew there was one in my car.  At the last minute, however, I wound up riding with someone else and forgot to get the leash.  I was a little concerned, but Ladybug always stays close to me when she is off leash (which is only when we are going from the front door to the car or vice versa), and even if she goes sniffing around the driveway, she always comes immediately when I call.  So I figured it would be okay.  Let’s call this “Big Mistake #1.”  ALWAYS HAVE PROPER RESTRAINTS ON YOUR DOG WHENEVER YOU TRAVEL ANYWHERE.

We got to the apartment without any mishaps and spent a couple of hours visiting and making appetizers for the next day.  The dogs seemed happy scrounging for scraps under the kitchen table.  I was feeling a little lazy and the apartment was a second-floor walkup, so I asked my hostess if she would take the two dogs for a pee break.  Big Mistake #2.  NEVER ASSUME THAT YOUR DOG WILL BE COMFORTABLE WITH ANYONE, EVEN SOMEONE THEY ALREADY KNOW.

I asked if we shouldn’t put the harness on Jimmy, instead of just a collar, but my hostess thought it would be okay.  Big Mistake #3.  A FRIGHTENED DOG CAN GET ALMOST ALWAYS GET OUT OF A COLLAR.  MAKE SURE YOUR DOG IS SECURE.

As they were leaving, it was clear that the dogs didn’t want to go with my hostess.  They were obviously distressed, but after a few seconds, she seemed to have them under control, so I was relieved and let them go.  Big Mistake #4.  LISTEN TO YOUR DOG – IF HE DOESN’T WANT TO GO WITH SOMEONE, DON’T MAKE HIM!  (I now realize that my dogs were thinking – “they are trying to take me away from my human,” so of course they were scared.)

After a few minutes, we thought we heard my hostess shouting outside.  One of the other guests went down to the street, but didn’t see anything and came back up.  We waited for them all to come back, but they didn’t.  At some point we realized that our hostess had left her cell phone in the apartment (can we say Big Mistake #5?).  IF YOU HAVE A CELL PHONE, KEEP IT WITH YOU WHENEVER YOU ARE WITH YOUR DOG OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSE OR YARD – YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU MIGHT NEED HELP (ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE NOT IN YOUR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD).

After about 45 minutes, our hostess appeared, breathless and upset.  She said she had lost both of the dogs and we should come look for them.  As we arrived at the front door, Ladybug appeared.  Our hostess took her upstairs and the rest of us went looking.  Needless to say, we couldn’t find Jimmy anywhere, although a couple of people reported seeing him running.  We gave up and went back to the apartment.  Jimmy was lost.

FINDING JIMMY

We spent the next three days looking for Jimmy.  There are plenty of resources that can tell you how to conduct a successful search, but please let me summarize our actions and tell you what worked the best.

  • Wednesday night, we put a posting up on craigslist (we got two reported sightings from this posting)
  • I also started posting Jimmy’s picture on Facebook and Twitter and people started re-posting the notice
  • Thursday morning we printed off some posters with Jimmy’s picture and posted them on telephone poles and in a 24-hour vet clinic in the area (we got two sightings from posters)
  • Friday I went to the neighborhood and sat in my car and called Jimmy from two locations – this was wasted effort
  • There is a lot of foot traffic in this neighborhood, so Saturday morning, we ran off some quarter-sheet flyers so we could give them to people
  • We also set up a public Facebook page to coordinate information and invited lots and lots of people to “like” the page (according to FB metrics, this page reached more than 350 people; although it didn’t make a lot of difference in finding Jimmy, I started getting hundreds of messages every day from people who wanted to show their support – that made a big difference in keeping me going and not just sitting around being depressed and guilty about losing my dog)
  • Saturday, we got a call for a sighting in an area about six blocks away from where Jimmy was lost – we focused on handing out flyers to people in the street and putting them on parked cars
  • Saturday night, I went back to the area and just sat in my car for about five hours – mostly so I could just be in the area and again this was wasted time and energy
  • Sunday we went back to handing out flyers and found out that the Saturday sighting had pointed us in the wrong direction – we had focused on the blocks east of the sighting when we should have gone west – we went back and started passing out flyers
  • Almost immediately, I got a call from someone who said Jimmy had been hanging out in yards on her block (on both sides of the street) – we went to visit the person and learned that he had been hanging around since Saturday – Jimmy was found!

RECOVERING JIMMY

Around the time we tracked Jimmy down to one small area, someone sent me the article on Shy and Elusive Dogs.  I sent an email using the links on the website (lostdogsofamerica.org) and received a response from the Director of Lost Dogs Illinois.  I finally understood that calling Jimmy was not going to make him come running.  Jimmy was viewing humans – all humans – as predators, so we needed to let people know that they shouldn’t try to call him or coax him or catch him.

The neighbor who had first contacted me said that Jimmy had mostly been seen in three yards on the other side of the street.  She suggested that we set up a feeding station for him in the middle house and I went and met the homeowner.  He had seen Jimmy coming in and out of his yard and had already put out food.  By Sunday evening, the food and water were in the yard, tucked away under a bush.

Monday morning I dropped off some food from home and a well-scented blanket.  During the day, our volunteer advisers from Lost Dogs of America sent me text for people in the neighborhood and I created this flyer.  After work, I went and handed it out to each house on the block and talked with as many people as I could.  I stopped off in the yard with the feeding station and saw that the homeowner had also put out a small dog carrier and put the blanket inside of it.

poster with instructions-revised-1

Thank you Lost Dogs of Wisconsin. This letter has been used in several lost dog recoveries both in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Tuesday, I got a call from the homeowner.  He had seen Jimmy quite a few times and it looked like someone had slept in the carrier.  He also said that there were little paw prints all over his porch and that Jimmy had popped on the welcome mat.  He took this as a sign that Jimmy was feeling a little more secure in that yard.  I also got a call from the neighbor across the street, who was going every day to put wet food on the ground near the feeding station.  We all agreed to just keep up the feedings.  I also contacted our City Animal Control department, which is able to set humane traps to catch elusive dogs.  The trapping officer only works Wednesday through Saturday, so I left a message for her to contact me.

Wednesday there were more sightings in the three yards.  One person said Jimmy had actually gone up onto her deck for a little while.  I was glad to hear that he seemed to be staying put, but I was also really missing my pup and kept thinking about him getting hit by a car.  It was a hard night.

Thursday morning, I decided that I needed to try to make contact, so that at least Jimmy would know that I hadn’t abandoned him.  I took the day off and got to the yard with the food around 9 a.m.  I bundled up in another funky blanket and lay down on the porch.  I had only been there a few minutes when Jimmy appeared.  I ignored him and he paused when he saw me on the porch, but went on to grab some food and left.

I stayed buried in the blanket and peeked out.  He kept coming back every few minutes.  I decided to cover my head too so I wouldn’t be tempted to make eye contact.  After about ten minutes I heard a little whine and when I peeked out, Jimmy was very cautiously approaching me.  He was obviously frightened, so I didn’t do anything except lift the blanket in a little bit.  He snuck in and kept sniffling.  By the time he was all the way under the blanket, he knew it was me.

I let Jimmy lick my face for a few minutes and then made him put on the harness I had ready.  That’s pretty much the whole story.  He was a little skinny, but checked out okay when I took him to the vet.  I feel extremely lucky, knowing how many lost dogs never make it home.  You can believe I will be putting all the lessons I learned into effect and remembering all of my Big Mistakes.  Thankfully, while we were looking for Jimmy, someone sent me the article from the Lost Dogs of America website about shy and elusive dogs, or I don’t think we would have successfully recovered my dog.

So Jimmy’s owner sent this last tip to me:  We have never used this before – but whatever it takes……..About scent marking for a stray dog:  It’s standard advice to scent mark in the area where the dog has been seen, especially if you have set up a feeding station.  I’ve see suggestions to use a dirty piece of clothing or a blanket from home.  Personally, as I tend to think like a dog, I believe that urine is the best scent marker.  Just pee into a disposable cup and then transfer the urine to a little dropper or squirt bottle – the kind that eye drops or nose spray come in is perfect (then put the filled dropper bottle inside a Ziploc bag in case of leaking).  It only takes a few drops in different locations in the area where the dog has been sighted — try to renew the markings once a day.  Just make sure that the drops form into a “trail” leading back to the yard where the dog is being fed.  You may think that the dog doesn’t know what your urine smells like, but you’re wrong.  Your dog’s nose will tell him that you have been there.

Bella, Bella Where are you?

Bella at home

Bella at home

Bella’s story as told by her family:

 At 7am Thursday, I received the call we had been waiting for, “Your dog is at the end of our driveway, but headed North when I opened the garage.”  “I live on Bordeaux & I have one of your flyers. It’s her. She looks good other than being thin.” said Marie. Off we went armed with heavy treats and for once, HOPE. I knew in my heart of hearts (and my gut) she was still in the area. Marie’s house was actually the house she was last seen at on Friday night by the neighbor (and our new BFF), Bob. We were told not to be excited & shouting her name because she’s scared. Danny dropped me where she ran off to with Lilly (our other dog) and he went to scour the other neighborhood just North.

The plan started. We called some folks at Foster2Home & also a woman named, Vicky, who gave us advice. We could finally make the call we were waiting for to safely trap her.  We called Lake County Animal Care to rent a humane trap.  I went home to get stinky food, her bowl, a lawn chair and some other things for a stake-out. Our girl was here & I wasn’t leaving till we had her. I set up a mini safety zone for her while I waited for Danny to get the trap.  I was at the end of Bob’s property with food, blankets, my clothes (for scent) and of course, Lilly’s markings. She would cry as we walked around the area confirming Bella was close and had been there.

I sat at the neighbors house waiting….no sightings. That was finally okay though, because she WAS there….6 days later. We decide to set up the trap at Marie’s house since she, as we found out by her son, was comfortable showing herself there. He saw her Sunday night there as well. I ran home to get even stinkier food, food for me, clothes, blankets, towels, Lilly, my computer, and even toilet paper. Yes, I was staying a while and wasn’t going to miss her! I parked my car at the neighbor’s half drive facing the trap and low and behold, l locked my keys in the car with Lilly AND my phone. I ran to Bob’s house to call & have Sandy get the second keys. She said she would, but needed to finish something first. So I decided to walk the field just West across the street that had no entrance. That was interesting to get through & added to the already outdoorsy smell I had going. I walked the entire field clicking her leash, using her squeaky toy, very calmly & quietly saying her name. I also waved bacon as it was windy. She was around, I could feel her. She could hear me, I just knew.

I went back to car to get the keys (yes, thank you Sandy) and set up my stakeout. We settled in, Lilly resting in her kennel and me popping open my computer and doing work. I figured it would be dusk before she’d come out. Boy was I wrong, an hour later something catches my right eye, I turn and there’s our Bella boo walking up the drive towards the car. OMG, OMG, OMG is what I felt and then thought, stay calm, grab food, a leash and be quiet. I got out leaving the door open and didn’t see her, so I started throwing food and quietly saying her name…and then the miracle happened, she POKED me with her nose from behind. I swung around and there she stood, tail wagging, eyes red and with a look like ” I’m freaking ready to go mom.  You can leash me and I’ ll lead the way.”  I am not sure how many times I said OMG in the next 30 seconds….I was shaking. She jumped in the front under the steering wheel and curled up on the pedals and looked at me like, let’s go. All I could think was, did this really happen and was it that easy???? The answer was YES. We had our girl back and I was taking her home. Finally after 6 of the longest days of my life.

I am ready to go home, Mom!

I am ready to go home, Mom!

What got us here….

#1, FAITH, the ability to believe without seeing.  Always keep your faith, trust your instincts (if I hadn’t we wouldn’t have focused there)

#2, ALL of YOU. Without you, I would’ve cracked and who knows if I’d be as persistent. The Facebook community is unreal how quickly things can get out and the love and support that comes with it.

#3,  a FLYER and some amazing people who grabbed on to this story and wanted to see her home. You all could imagine what we were going through and wanted her back, too!

And #4, BELLA and HER instincts! She was done with her adventure, smelled me out and found her way to me with that sweet face.

I’m still in disbelief AND I am now whole again. I cannot thank you ALL enough for your love and support. We are overwhelmed by this whole experience.

Bella and Lilly together finally!

Bella and Lilly together finally!

Did Your Dog Get Scared By Fireworks? Don’t Panic!

If your dog went missing from the fireworks last night – don’t panic. Immediately put out your dog’s favorite blanket, some food and water, and something that smells like you (a dirty sock or pillowcase). Then file a report with us from this link: www.HelpingLostPets.com/LDIL. Our volunteer flyermakers will post your dog’s phone and information on our Facebook page. Tell EVERYONE – to not call or chase or whistle to your dog. Let him relax and he may very likely come home on his own when it is quiet. Do NOT let people congregate in your yard or driveway. Your dog is frightened and will stay in hiding until everything calms down.

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Pebbles and the Good Samaritans who did not give up!

Peebles+after+the+capture+2

Pebbles

On an early January evening, while cooking dinner, one of my dogs started barking like crazy at our front door. I went to see why she was barking, and saw a black & white dog in the driveway across the street. I immediately went out and tried to call her, but she just looked at me, went up the driveway and was gone. I rang my neighbor’s doorbell and told them about her. They informed me that they had been seeing her for a couple of weeks. I called Animal Control because I thought it might be someone’s dog from our neighborhood. When the Animal Control officer arrived they did a “drive-by”, didn’t see her, and left. I checked Lost Dogs Illinois’ website to see if I could find any similar dogs that had been posted as missing in the previous two weeks with no luck.

A couple of days went by without a sighting. That Saturday we decided to walk around the neighborhood to see if we could spot her, and we did! We called Animal Control again. When the officer arrived I gave him a description of the dog. He informed me that they had been looking for the same dog for 6-8 weeks. I went back on the Lost Dogs Illinois website to search for missing dogs back to November or December. That is when I saw Pebbles. She had been missing since November 24th from Carpentersville. I wasn’t sure if that was really the dog I was seeing because we live in Elgin. We are about 10 miles from where she was last spotted. Could this really be Pebbles?

At first we were unsure if we should contact the person who posted her to LDI’s page. We weren’t positive it was Pebbles, because she wouldn’t let us get close enough to get a good look, but the similarities were uncanny. Our thought was “some hope is better than no hope” so we got in contact with Rayann, Pebbles’ foster mom. She informed us that Pebbles had gotten out while on a trial adoption with a family in Carpentersville.

Rayann and another woman came out the next night to help us search for her. We had no luck that night, but told Rayann we would not stop trying and would text her if we spotted Pebbles again. Steve spent countless hours tracking and searching the neighborhood. He was out there in a blizzard, and on many below-zero nights, hoping to find signs of where she was sheltering. He had a few leads, but never truly found her it. Pebbles did lead him on a couple of nice long walks around the neighborhood as she darted in between houses and through yards.

We then set up a feeding station at our house, handed out flyers, and knocked on peoples’ doors to generate sightings. It turned out that a lot of people had seen Pebbles. We installed video cameras at our house so we could watch and record when the dog was coming to eat. The first time we got her on video, I sent it to Rayann, and she confirmed it was in fact Pebbles!

At that point, we weren’t sure how we were going to catch her. That’s when I saw a post on LDI’s Facebook page about a dog that had been missing for a year and was recently caught. I commented on the post saying how it gave us hope about catching Pebbles. Susan Taney and Katie Campbell replied to my comment and from there we started messaging on Facebook.

Susan informed me that she had a trap we could borrow. The next night, Susan drove out to our house and showed us how to set the trap and explained how to lure Pebbles into it. We spent two weeks slowly moving the feeding station into the trap. Then, at 3:59am on February 22nd Pebbles worked up the nerve to go all the way into the trap. She set off the trap but, unfortunately, the trap door bounced and she was able to get out. Our hearts were broken. The next day we started the process of slowly moving the feeding station into the trap again. Pebbles was now so leery of the trap that she wouldn’t go anywhere near it. It was time to devise a new plan.

After consulting with Susan and Katie, we decided it would be best to try and get her into our backyard. My husband, Steve, is very handy and extremely talented when it comes to thinking outside the box and putting those ideas into motion. He thought that if we could get her into our backyard and figure out a way to get the gate to close behind her, we could catch her. He rigged up a whole pulley system with ropes and bungee cords tied to our gate, with the other end of the rope tied to a frozen hot dog. Pebbles had a history of taking the food we left out for her and running off with it to eat somewhere else.    If she tried to take the hot dog and run she would set off the trap, and the gate door would close behind her before she could get out. Once again, Pebbles outsmarted us. She came into our back yard several times, but each time decided to lie down and enjoy her hot dogs in peace. Again, it was time to figure out a new plan.

Steve made some adjustments to his design, and decided that he was going to attach a rope to the gate and bring it up to the front porch of our house. We were hopeful that when we saw her on the camera in the backyard, we could go out front and pull the rope to close the gate. We tried this every night for about a week, but Pebbles would never come when we were awake. She somehow knew exactly when we went to bed and would show up about 10 minutes later. We nicknamed her “Santa” because she “knew when we were sleeping and when we were awake”. She would then wander around our yard and peacefully eat her hot dogs.

Finally, on March 17th , Steve decided he was going to stay up late to see if she would come. It was around midnight when he saw her on the camera. Her head popped through the open gate and she looked around. She then came all the way into the yard and started sniffing around. Steve immediately went out our front door and pulled the rope with all his might to shut the gate. The gate was closed and she was now in our back yard! I was awakened when he said “I got her…she’s in the back yard!” I instantly called Rayann to tell her the news. She was so excited that she got dressed and headed out our way. Now we had to try to get the slip lead on her, and it wasn’t going to be easy. Pebbles is extremely fearful of people…even those whom she had been seeing and smelling, and who were feeding her daily.

I messaged Katie and Susan for advice. Katie suggested one of us go out there with food, sit down, and slowly scooch our way toward Pebbles. I armed myself with a bowl of cut up hot dogs and headed to the backyard. I sat down and had Pebbles in my sight, never making direct eye contact with her.   I used yawning and lip licking as calming signals, while pretending to eat the hot dog pieces and gently tossing some to her. Every couple of minutes I would scooch a little closer and she would move away a little more. After about an hour and a half I was able to get her in the corner behind our garage and shed. She let me get close enough that I could softly pet her and tell her it was going to be ok. I pulled the slip lead out of my pocket and gently slid it over her head. She never resisted. She knew her ordeal was over and she was safe. I called Steve to let him know that he and Rayann could come outside. Rayann was so happy to see Pebbles, and Pebbles was happy to see her too! We were all in tears.

Peebles+and+Amy+after+capture+2

Pebbles and Amy

On March 18th at 2:00am, after three months, several failed attempts, a blizzard, below zero temperatures, accidentally trapping a raccoon, and overwhelming concern for her safety, Pebbles was finally safe! Pebbles is now in her forever home with Rayann (who is going to adopt her!) and all of her doggie siblings. She got a bath, a new collar and tags, and is proudly strutting around showing everyone. A very happy ending to a long adventure for everyone!

Pebbles and Rayann

Pebbles and Rayann — Home At Last!

Thank you Amy for sharing your story!   You and  Steve rock as Good Samaritans!

When NOT to Use a Tracking Dog to Find a Lost Dog

Photo courtesy of K McPherson

Photo courtesy of K McPherson

The idea of using a tracking dog to find a lost dog is very compelling, but most people who pursue this option do not have a good understanding of how a tracking (or trailing) dog works.  In some cases a tracking dog CAN provide useful information for locating a lost dog such as confirming sightings or establishing a direction of travel.  However, very few lost dogs are actually found and captured during the search (i.e. a “walk-up find”), which is what most people are hoping for when they hire a tracking dog team.

What many people do not consider is that there are actually some cases when you should NOT try to use a tracking dog to find a lost dog.  In these situations a tracking dog is not only a waste of money, but they can actually be detrimental to finding and catching the lost dog.  The situations where you should not use a tracking dog to find a lost dog include most cases where there are multiple sightings of the lost dog in a general area, and the dog is running in fear from everyone.  This most often occurs with newly adopted dogs and skittish lost dogs.  However, even an otherwise friendly dog can enter what is known as “survival mode” (where they run from all people including those that they know) if they are lost in a frightening situation (such as a car crash) or if they are on the run for several days, especially if people attempt to chase or capture them.  Sometimes these lost dogs will run for several miles (1-5 is common and 10 or more miles is not unheard of), but in most cases the lost dog will eventually settle down in a place where they feel safe.  Generally this safe place is somewhere with food, water, shelter, and (very importantly) where people are not attempting to approach or catch them.  In some cases the lost dog will actually circle around and come back to close to where they went missing.

If you you get multiple sighting (even 2-3) of the lost dog in a general area (hopefully less than 1 mile apart), then the lost dog has likely found a safe place to hide out.  The last thing that you want to do in this situation is chase the dog out of his newly found haven.  If you use a tracking dog, they may help you find out where your dog has been taking shelter and getting food, but in the process you may scare your dog out of the safe place.  Likewise, it is a very bad idea to have human search teams go into this area and look for the lost dog, especially if it is a wooded area.  Even if they see the dog, they are most likely going to scare him out of the area.  In either of these situations, the lost dog may feel pressured to leave the area and find a new safe place, perhaps miles away.

In these types of cases, it is very important to leave the dog alone and encourage others to report sightings, but not to approach or attempt to catch the dog.  Most of these dogs are ultimately caught using lure and capture techniques such as feeding stations, calming signals, surveillance cameras and/or humane traps.

Thank you Danielle of Lost Pet Research and Recovery for giving us permission to use her article.

The Dangers of a Dog Bite

 

An inexpensive pair of leather work gloves can prevent a potentially dangerous dog bite.

An inexpensive pair of leather work gloves can prevent a potentially dangerous dog bite.

Although the title might seem obvious (of course dog bites can be dangerous!) we want to point out some of the not so obvious issues with dog bites and lost dogs. One of the greatest dangers of a dog bite can be to the dog himself.

Lost dogs are usually scared and running on high adrenaline. Many lost dogs will understandly turn and bite out of fear when they are finally caught. Well-meaning but mis-informed owners and Good Samaritans (whose adrenaline is probably also running high) can inflame the situation and cause the dog to bite. In Illinois (and most states) every bite or scratch that breaks skin results in a 10 day rabies quarantine for that animal. The bite can be little more than a nip, but in the eyes of the law, they are all the same and will be treated the same.

If the dog’s rabies vaccine is not current (or the status of their rabies vaccine is unknown) then the quarantine must be done at a shelter or stray holding facility.  The stress of the shelter and the close contact with other dogs puts the lost dog at high risk of getting sick. The costs of the quarantine, medical treatment and care for the dog will be transferred back to the owner and may be hundreds of dollars.  If an owner cannot afford the reclaim fees, the dog is at high risk of being put down, because the shelter may not consider the dog “adoptable”.

If the lost dog is a foster dog, a dog lost from a rescue transport,  or a shelter or rescue dog, they may be deemed “unadoptable” if they bite someone (even if they bite out of fear and are normally a friendly dog). Many shelters and rescues will not take on the additional risk of liability of a dog that has bitten and will put him down.   This is a very sad reality.

How can you, as an owner or a Good Samaritan, prevent dog bites? By doing everything possible to avoid them.  Whenever possible, let the owner handle the dog.  If the owner is not there, contact them,  put some food on the ground and retreat. Let the dog eat and get comfortable and wait for the owner to arrive. If you must approach a lost dog do it with great caution. Better yet, let him come to you. Sit on the ground with your back to the dog and gently throw out tasty treats to him. He may creep towards you. ALWAYS carry and wear thick, leather gloves. Completely cover your hands and arms. If you are helping someone with a trap, always wear gloves – especially when releasing wildlife, carrying the trap with the dog in it, or removing a dog from a trap.  Make sure that everyone that is helping with a trap is also equipped with leather gloves.

At the very least – dog bites are expensive. At most – they may result in the death of a dog.  Please do everything possible to avoid being bitten when you are helping someone catch their missing dog.

LadyBird, this is Haven1. Come in LadyBird.


Here at HoundSong we believe in an open door. We have long proselytized the open sharing of what happens from day to day in our rescue. An easy thing when all is good and the stories we share are like handing out warm chocolate chip cookies. Not so easy a thing when we “screw the pooch”. Grab a coffee; kick up your feet, here comes the story of most ridiculous gaffe ever made in the search for lost dog.

ladybirdOn Wednesday, Febuary 5th 2014 LadyBird the Beagle went “missing” from her foster home. LadyBird is an odd cookie. Others have called her a puppy-mill dog. This is somewhat of a misnomer. She was a breeder dog, but not from a puppy mill environment. She does suffer some of the same malady’s common to puppy mill dogs. She is a timid, antisocial, brooding, sort of gal who is not particularly interested in interaction of any sort. She is a “duck and cover” gal. She can hide in plain sight…like a Ninja. LadyBird, the Beagle Ninja.
(…and thinking about it now, if she were a Black Ops Specialist, she even has a cool code name. Haven1, this is LadyBird.
This is Haven1, go ahead LadyBird
I have eyes on the package, are we ROE clear?
Red light! I say again, Red Light!  We are not ROE clear. Hold at Epsilon 1. Cover and observe.
Copy Haven1, hold and cover. Observe but do not engage. LadyBird out.)

LadyBird’s ninja like skills is why, at first, her foster mom did not panic when she seemed to be missing. It is not uncommon to go most of a day and not see, or only have a fleeting glimpse of, LadyBird. In what has become a practiced routine, her foster mom set about a search patrol of all LadyBird’s usual hidey holes. Behind the couch, under the computer desk, behind the toilet, under the bed. One by one these locations were searched and cleared. One by one these locations were empty. After about 4 hours since the last LadyBird sighting, frantic destruction of the entire house began. At 8 hours and a search of the house, yard, and neighborhood, it seemed LadyBird had gone off mission…
LadyBird had gone rogue.

We have been rescuing hounds for 18 years. In those 18 years, the wanderlust of the hound has afforded us a particular set of skills. We have searched for A LOT of dogs. Add to these the dogs for whom we have used the skilled nose of our Bluetick Coonhound, Ranger, to track and locate for other people, and we have spent more hours stooped over muddy prints in the rain and baiting feed stations than I care to count. My point being, we are not amateurs. We know how to get it done. Or so we thought…

posterpicWe spent the next week following our lost dog SOP(Standard Operating Procedure).
Phone calls to authorities – Check.
Fliers and posters – Check.
Boots on the ground (in snow up to our asses) and eyes on task – Check.
…and so on and so forth right down the list.
We followed the procedure, as we had SUCCESSFULLY done a hundred times. My wife, in her usual obsessive manner, drove off an entire oil change up and down every street and alley with her wide, panicked eyes peering into every shadow as though this could be the moment we found her. We tripped and tracked behind every print in the snow as though our hopeful steps would surely lead us to old LadyBird. We did, as we had always done on every search. Only this time nothing happened. Not even a sighting.
In 18 years we have never had that happen. We always had at least a sighting.

By the 5th day we were deeply worried.
On the 6th day, at 10:30PM, LadyBird was found pattering around in the backyard of her foster home as though she had never left.

…and she hadn’t.
She was in the backyard the whole time.

This is what we saw.

I want you to keep in mind we had searched everywhere in the house and yard for LadyBird. We had gone as far as poking snow drifts with a broom handle like we were searching for an avalanche victim.

The foyer to LadyBird's underground bunker

 

LadyBird had made herself an “underground” bunker with a hidden secret entrance that would make the designers of NORAD jealous.

 

Oh look, a hallway.

Peeking into the common use room.

 

She divided her bunker into three areas. A entry, a common area, and sleeping quarters, all joined by a short hallway at 90 degrees to the previous “room”.

 

The sleeping quarters.

 

Here, back far enough where not even the most harsh weather and strongest winds could not reach her, is the sleeping quarters. We found her choker collar here. So cozy a room had she made for herself, while it was about 10 degrees outside, the collar was warm to the touch.

 

Opening holes to the common area and sleeping quarters.

 

What was left after we nuked her bunker.

 

So…
You can laugh at us if you like.
Feel free to call us stupid. You can even accuse us of being irresponsible or remark how unbelievable it is that we left her there…in some of the worst weather “the region” has seen in years…to shiver and suffer in the cold.
Truth is, we have no excuses.
It seems unfathomable that we did not find her hiding, in the snow, under decorative grasses, just 35 feet from the backdoor of her foster home. It seems unfathomable and inexcusable. However, our mistakes are not the moral of this story.

The moral of this story is multifaceted.
1. When searching for a lost dog, never rely on what you “know”. Our experience blinded us. We had searched the yard for LadyBird. Not seeing any tracks or visible sign of her presence (and having poked to death the snow drifts with a broom handle)we wrote it off a possibility. We went about our search thinking like people, rather than like a dog. We approached this search as we had approached a hundred others, seeing it through the eyes of all our previous searches…when we should have tried to approach it using LadyBird’s eyes.
2. Double Check and Triple check. Even if you have searched an area, search it again. Even if your dogs is not hiding under a bush in your own yard, he/she may return near home from time to time.
3. Do not give up. In severe weather (or severe experiences like tornado’s or floods)people have a tendency to assume “Fluffy could just not have lived through that.”  In temperatures as low as -30 degrees, inches upon inches of snow stacking up all over the area, and without a single sighting of her, we were just a day or two from assuming the worst for LadyBird. Nagging in a dark corner of our minds was the thought that LadyBird had been hit by a plow and was buried somewhere under one of the mountainous piles of snow along the roadway.  We were very close to calling it hopeless….for you and I it would have been hopeless. For our animals though…well…when it comes to staying alive they are just smarter.

We post this in the hope that others may learn from our mistake.
Never assume…always look with unfettered eyes…and always know that, in terms of survival, you are not smarter than your dog.

Thank you Darin Lee of RodDar Houndsong Rescue for your honest account of LadyBird’s adventure.

http://www.houndsong.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Houndsong

Jump Starting Your Search For the Long-Lost Dog

Jump start

Your lost dog has been missing now for several weeks (or months) and your sightings and leads have fizzled out. Don’t despair.  It is never too late to jump-start the search for a long-lost dog.

This article is designed to give you some ideas for reigniting your search to give you a place to pick up again. Hopefully, you have read our other articles on shy lost dog search strategies and friendly lost dog search strategies. If not, please check the categories at the right that link to many more articles.  We also hope you have mapped all the sightings on a map, either a web-based map like Google Maps or a large-scale paper map.

Now, imagine you are a detective working on a cold case.  You may talk to 99 people who have not seen or heard anything.  You are looking for the ONE person who has.  Someone, somewhere has seen or knows something.   Be persistent and don’t give up. Even if they haven’t seen your dog, they may see your dog tomorrow. Putting a flyer in their hands ensures they will know who to call when they see him.

Look at your map and draw a circle in a one mile radius around the last confirmed sighting. Go back to the last confirmed place that your dog was seen and flyer heavily in a one mile radius. Don’t let false assumptions or geographic barriers deter you.  Don’t assume that your dog would NEVER have crossed the highway or the river or the lake. False assumptions will make you miss possible sightings and leads.

Talk to everybody! Put a flyer in their hands and ask them if they have seen your dog or if they think a dog may have been hanging around their house or farm. Did they see dog tracks under their bird feeder? Was their dog poop in their yard when it shouldn’t be there? Was their outdoor cat food disappearing faster than normal?

Visit EVERY place that serves food in the one mile radius. Don’t forget convenience stores and gas stations! Talk with the kitchen staff and management. Did anybody see a dog hanging out near the dumpsters? Did anybody notice dog tracks near the dumpsters in the winter? Did any restaurant patrons mention a dog hanging out in the parking lot? Did anybody see a similar looking dog being walked in their neighborhood?

Think about the demographics of the neighborhoods in the one mile radius.  Maybe you need to print some flyers in Spanish or another language? Or, maybe there are some older residents who don’t get out much to see signs and flyers but may have taken pity on your dog and fed him over the winter?  Think about the people that may not have seen or understood your first round of flyering.

Now is a great time to refresh your posters and intersection signs.  You may want to change the heading to STILL MISSING – so that people know that the search is still on. Think outside the box. Ask every business in the one mile radius if you can hang a flyer in their window and employee break room. Maybe your dog approached workers on their lunch break. Or maybe they saw him when they were driving to or from work.

If you don’t get any new leads in the one mile radius; you will need to expand your area. You may want to consider using  USPS Every Door Direct Mail.    Beware of some of the other lost pet mailing services that you will see advertised. Some of them are scams and do not reach the number of homes that they promise.

Refresh the memories of the animal control facilities, shelters, police departments, vet clinics and municipal offices in your county and surrounding counties. Send them fresh flyers.

Give a new flyer to postal workers, delivery drivers, school bus drivers and garbage truck drivers. Don’t forget pizza and sandwich delivery drivers also! They are out and about  in the evening, when your dog may be moving around, looking for food.

Check with your local Department of Transportation. Have they found any deceased dogs alongside the road? Or has a dog been spotted eating on a deer or other wildlife carcass?

Repost your dog on Craigslist and your local online classifieds. Consider taking out a print newspaper ad also. There are still many people without computers or the internet!

Remember, Never Give Up!  Re-energize and jump start the search for your missing dog.  Your dog is depending on you to bring him home.

Our tips, ideas and articles are based on information gathered from thousands of successful lost dog recoveries. Any advice or suggestions made by Lost Dogs of Wisconsin/Lost Dogs Illinois is not paid-for professional advice and should be taken at owner’s discretion.