Where Could Your Lost Dog Be? 2019

Where are they? In this blog post we’ll take a wild stab at our best guess (based on what we have learned over the last 9 years).

The year has come to an end and we are going to ask you to click on this link and to look through our 2018Missing Dogs Albums one more time. or Helping Lost Pets. (If you are on a mobile phone, please search for albums or photos in the menu)  Although we have had an incredibly successful year (approx. 3,500 reunions) we have so many dogs that we are still searching for.

A small percentage of the still missing dogs are probably sadly deceased. BUT, we do know that a body is usually found and we encourage all owners to not give up unless they have confirmed physical evidence that their dog is deceased.  By far and away, our largest single cause of death is dogs that have been hit by a car (usually when they are being called or chased by well-meaning but misinformed citizens who do not know that you should never chase or call a scared lost dog). Our next most common cause of death is being hit by a train. Scared lost dogs will use the path of least resistance, and railroad tracks often provide a convenient route of travel between their hiding places and food sources. Unfortunately, some dogs are killed when the train comes, but again, a body is almost always found.  Our third most common cause of death is drowning; either by falling through thin ice, or by making a poor decision and bolting towards a body of water.  Lost dogs that are not being chased, approached or pressured will make wise decisions and may survive indefinitely.  Dogs that are being pressured or pursued will make poor decisions and may meet an untimely end.

Many people fear that their dog has been eaten or killed by coyotes. We do not find this to be common and very few of our deceased dogs have evidence of being killed by a predator.  Is it impossible? No. But dog/coyote altercations are almost always territorial (the dog is defending his yard or his territory) and scared, lost dogs are not territorial. They will defer to a larger predator.  Lost dogs simply want to survive – so they need to do three things – they will hide from predators (including man) and they will spend their time sleeping and traveling between their food sources and hiding places.   If a dog is killed by a larger predator – the body will usually be found. Predators do not tend to eat other predators and all members of the canine family are predators.

Where are the other still missing dogs? Some are still “out there” as described above. Scared and living in “survival mode”, these dogs may be rarely seen because they have become so adept at hiding and may be mostly nocturnal.  Eventually they will start to hang around one or more reliable food sources (often a farm that is leaving food out for outdoor cats).  If they are left alone they will become more domesticated and may be seen during daylight hours or even attempting to play with neighborhood dogs or farm dogs.  This is why it is SO important to continue to flyer in an ever-increasing radius of where your dog went missing from. Somebody, somewhere WILL see your dog and they need to know who to call when they do.

Some of our still missing dogs wandered far beyond their “jurisdiction”, out of the flyered area, and end up in the maze of animal sheltering and animal control. They may have been adopted to a new family or put down when their 7 day stray hold was up. These are a heartbreaker for us because the simple of act of posting pictures on line of impounded found dogs would bring most of these dogs home.  Our dedicated volunteers and fans scour the internet watching for possible matches but they cannot do this when there are no pictures available. Many Illinois shelters still do not reliably post pictures of impounded found dogs. Please ask them to do so. It is perhaps the simplest way to save lives and free up shelter space for those dogs that truly need it.

The last component (and probably the largest) are lost dogs that have been picked up by a Good Samaritan who meant well but then kept or rehomed the dog without searching for the owner.  Of course, this is illegal in Illinois, but it happens all too frequently. The current “rescue” phenomenon that is sweeping our country has kind -hearted people making false assumptions about the owners of a dog they find. They speculate that the dog has been abused, neglected or “dumped” and needs a new home. We have great success when we can get the finder to file a report with us so that we can post a flyer online.  This serves to dispel the false notion that people that have lost their dog don’t deserve him/her back.  We ask all of our fans to please spread the word to their friends, family and neighbors – Lost dogs don’t need a new home.  They just need to go home. Do not assume that you can keep a dog that you find. He/she is somebody else’s personal property and keeping him/her is illegal.

Thank you for helping us. Please take a few moments, scroll through our missing dog albums, and maybe, just maybe we can help reunite a few more of these dogs in 2019.

Successfully Negotiating the Return of Your Lost Dog from a Rescue

Your missing dog has turned up at a rescue and is now available for adoption. How does this happen?

  1. A microchipped dog who is scanned may be backtracked to a rescue or may have a rescue as a secondary contact. If you were unable to be reached, the microchip company may have called the rescue who reclaimed the dog from the finder or shelter.
  2. In an attempt to prevent dogs from being put down in overcrowded shelters a rescue may “pull” dogs to adopt them into new homes. Some animal control facilities even allow rescues to pull dogs before the official stray hold has ended on medical grounds. 
  3. A Good Samaritan who picks up a lost dog may take the dog to a rescue because they either don’t know where the correct stray holding facility for the area is or they are fearful that the dog will be put down at a publicly funded shelter. 

To prevent problems: If your dog is microchipped, immediately contact the microchip company to “red flag” your dog as missing and make sure all of your contact information is up to date.  This should prevent a rescue or new adopter from being able to transfer the microchip records without you being notified. If your dog has been lost for a long time, remember to stay in touch with the microchip company to remind them that your dog is still missing. 

If you find your dog at a local rescue here are some tips to help successfully reclaim your dog. 

  1. BE POLITE!  Keep your tone respectful and appreciative. Get your facts straight and don’t make accusations or assumptions.   Rescues are often volunteer-run and usually have a mission to protect animals and save lives. Abusive or disrespectful language will not endear you to them.  They may even misconstrue your bad temper as proof that you are not a fit pet parent. Remember, your conversations may be recorded and your text messages will be retained.  Keep a cool head and stay professional. 
  2. BE ORGANIZED! Most rescues want the best outcome for an animal.  They may mistakenly think your dog was abandoned and/or abused. Provide photos, microchip records, veterinary records and proof of licensing to show that your dog is a loved and well cared for family member. 
  3. BE PREPARED! Rescues may have invested money into your dog for grooming and veterinary care.  Be prepared to offer to reimburse them for some of their costs. Be polite as you negotiate these details with them. Be prepared to set up a payment plan if necessary.
  4. BE DISCREET!  These situations often take a bad turn when an owner, or the friends or family of an owner, blast the rescue on social media.  This can be damaging for a rescue’s reputation and they may resort to digging in their heels and defending their decision to keep your pet from you. Remember, bad behavior from you or your supporters never looks good.  Private negotiations will yield the best results. 
  5. BE PERSISTENT! You may need to take your case to civil court.  If you have followed our tips above you will look much more credible in the eyes of the judge and you will have a greater chance of success.  Contact an attorney if you need assistance.  

It is our hope that your dog is home soon!  Returning dogs to their family means that shelters and rescues can focus their resources and energy on helping truly homeless dogs.  Stay calm, cool and professional for the best chance of a happy reunion. 

Flyers and Social Media got Mattie home!

One happy rescurer and Mattie

Mattie was just starting to settle a little bit in her new adoptive home when she was startled by the screen door. She got loose from her family and bolted through their neighborhood. (Nylon lead, collar and choke collar still attached)

I reached out to the family who definitely needed assistance and they got Mattie registered with Lost Dogs Illinois and we generated a simple clear flyer to start sharing.

The last known sighting was that same evening going under a business gate in an industrial area. That was it.

The next day flyers were ordered and one call came on that she may have been seen same area. Owner was working so food and a trail camera were put out and we looked at the map to see the surrounding area which had some residential and larger homes and train tracks.

Next morning the owner got a call that a couple had seen mattie along their decline when their dogs were outside. Two mornings in a row. The wife checked Lost Dogs Illinois and found her flyer and called.

I was able to contact this couple and start a conversation and get a plan in place. Matties collar was still attached.

They were gracious enough to let us do whatever we needed with cameras and a feeding station and even came out to help at night. The next morning only coyotes were on camera but I ser up early. No mattie. Left to flyer just a bit then….

At 930 she came trotting around from the berm and houses. Ate some trailed food and left. But, she found food! Game changer.

Waited for a few more hours. Nothing. Flyered just a bit more but knowing where she was didn’t want to draw too much attention to her.

Left feeding station and around 2:30 the couple saw her again and she fully engaged the trap and ate a full bowl of food.

Knowing she may not be hungry for a night time trap attempt, I almost didnt go back. But I wanted to see how she acted around and in the trap.

We used a 5ft Tomahawk trap. And by the photos her leash was still partially out even when she (all 40 lbs of her) was all the way in. It did not tangle.

So close to sun down came and she returned but sat in the field but no interest in food. She left.

After sun down she came back and were safely able to trap her. We covered the trap. Moved the trap and her into a SUV and to the homeowners garage to safely get her out.

Flyers work. Lost Dogs Illinois works. Patience and knowledge help.

Thank you, Rosanne, for sharing Mattie’s story

🤗
Rosanne Marie

Pixxie

Reunion Photo

We adopted Pixxie from a foster just under three months ago.
I leashed my two girls up on their harnesses and went to meet a friend to walk.  Pixxie wasn’t used to walking on a leash when we got her.  
We were heading home after a half hour, and I went to switch the leash to my other hand, and dropped it!  Pixxie froze, but naturally my reaction was to step on the leash, in case she took off into the street!  Well, I had a plastic bag holder attached to the leash, and sure enough that is where I stepped, causing me to roll on it and fumble!  This was enough to scare her off, and there she went, across the street, and passed a neighbor who attempted to grab her.  She just kept running!!!
This neighborhood has no fences, so she could have been anywhere.  I headed in with Elle, and walked for a half hour.  I called Susan, the director of LDI, as I became numb, and she made some calls for help:   Volunteer Sarah posted her as lost on LDI,  Lisa, her daughter and her Beagle came to walk the area, and Jen and Julie came to get flyers posted for me!
Meanwhile, my daughter and my husband took off and walked the neighborhood, letting everyone know to call if they saw her.  Glad it was a Sunday.  
About 30 minutes later, I got the call from my daughter.  She heard a man talking.  “Are you mad at me?”  She went to see what was going on, and he was talking to Pixxie through his door.  She had gone onto his front porch, as it was covered an partially enclosed.  He was talking; she was growling…
We are so thankful she was found so fast, and for everyone jumping to help right away.  What a great community!
I know now, to take that extra precaution when walking Pixxie.  You never know what can set them off to run!  It was a very very long hour with a lot of emotions!

Jeanette, LDI Volunteer

A Flyer is a Flyer is a Flyer….

We can’t stress this enough: ANY kind of flyers work AND never assume someone is transferring ownership on the microchip when you adopt!  

“Haha, he drew a stick dog, albeit the dog was the right color but still it was a stick dog.”  

Joanne J. was helping hang flyers for a lost dog, and saw a hand drawn “lost dog” flyer for another dog. She decided to post it to the neighborhood page she is on; Lost & Found Cats & Dogs on the South/Southwest Side of Chicago, thank goodness!!!

I saw the post, and commented that I was going to reach out to the family, and help get their dog registered and posted with Lost Dogs Illinois. Turns out the phone number on the flyer was for the grandmother of the 7 year old boy that drew the lost dog flyer. She told me it is her daughter’s dog, and that her daughter is at work but that she would get “King” registered right after work. She also described King to me, told me he had been missing since Tuesday, 2/26, and that he was adopted from animal welfare a few months ago (turns out he was adopted from Chicago Animal Care and Control).  

I posted this information to Joanne on the neighborhood page. Sue R. had commented there about a dog that was found that matched the drawing of the dog, and Vazquez P. commented with a match to a found dog at AWL! The description and date matched! This dog was named Tiger, so I messaged the grandmother, and she said, “yes, that was his name when he was adopted.” She said the dog sure looked like King!  

The daughter, Christina, called me yesterday. She told me she assumed someone had taken King in because she knew he had a microchip so if he turned up at the police station or animal control, they would have called her. I spoke with AWL early Monday morning, and they told me they had contacted the owner registered on Tiger’s microchip by leaving a voicemail, but had not heard back. Christina gave me King’s microchip number and I was able to confirm that two companies still only had the previous owner information. Christina was planning to go to AWL after work. 

Christina brought all her CACC adoption information with her to AWL. It included the paperwork that had the microchip number on it. “Tiger” was not listed with AWL on petharbor anymore as of Monday morning so she was concerned. She insisted that this was her dog, and after paying $160 to reclaim him, he is now home! I gave Christina the information she needs to update King’s owner information to her, so this doesn’t happen again.  

Great job on making that flyer Joell! We are proud of you!!! You got your dog back home to you!  

Thank you to Joanne J., Sue R, and Vazquez P. from King’s family: “Seriously! I wouldn’t believe it if it hadn’t happened to me. I can’t thank you enough. You guys do amazing work, you found a dog from a stick figure picture! “Thank you so much for your help! I never would have found him!!!

~Jeanette
Lost Dogs Illinois

Are we, in animal welfare, failing when it comes to transporting animals?

This was Sadie, a dog who was being transported from one state to another. She managed to escape from the transport during a break at a truck stop.

Last Friday one of our LDI volunteers was devastated by witnessing a lost dog hit by a car and dying in her husband’s arms.  

The local animal rescue, IVAR, stepped up to the plate and immediately took action to bring Sadie back safely.

They used every avenue available to achieve this goal.  

Sadly, after a five day effort to capture her, she was hit by a car and lost her life.

We cannot bring Sadie back but her story may help others.

Rest in peace beautiful girl.  You were loved.

When we lose one of these transport dogs it is devastating to all parties involved.  The rescues & shelters, the search teams, the transporters, the foster waiting for their arrival and even the person who hit the dog – all have to deal with the loss.

Too many dogs are being lost during transports.  We need to do better.

Here are the some questions we would like to ask transport groups, shelter and/or rescues to consider before transporting dogs:

Does the dog have proper equipment to keep him safe? 

Is the dog microchipped and has a visible id tag on the collar with a current phone number?

Does the dog really need to be exercised?

Is every effort being made to minimize the loss when transferring the dog from one car to another?

Are dogs being transported in crates with no free movement in the car?

Are the transport team members or volunteers educated on the proper and safe handling of the dog?

Are they given all information available on the dog – ie: Is the dog an escape artist, afraid of certain sounds or noise, afraid of people or other dogs?

Maybe with more effort placed on education and transport safety we can reduce the losses suffered and get more of these wonderful dogs to the new life they deserve.

Tips for Dogs Lost in a Rural Area

Dogs lost in rural areas can pose extra challenges because of the sparse population.  It is not unusual for sightings to be few and far between or for there to be a long physical distance between sightings. It can also be difficult to get sightings when crops are tall or on roads where the majority of people are just passing through and driving fast.

Why do lost dogs like rural areas? 

Scared lost dogs will often gravitate to a farm where it is quiet and there is a reliable food source like outdoor cat food or spilled grain. Farms provide a multitude of hiding places. Lost dogs will hide in sheds, old barns or under old farm machinery and creep out at dusk and dawn to eat. If the dog isn’t bothering livestock, farmers may let the dogs hang around indefinitely. But they may not proactively look for an owner because they assume that the dog was “dumped” off at their farm.

Therefore it is VERY important to flyer every farm in at least a 20 mile radius of where your dog went missing. Talk to the land owners and put a flyer in their hands. Ask them if they have seen your dog hanging around or passing through. Expand the radius to 30 miles or more if you don’t get a sighting. Use Google Maps and Satellite Photos to look for roads that you may have missed. Make it EASY for people to contact you by making sure that they have a copy of your flyer in their truck or on their fridge. 

Also: 

  1. Deliver several copies of your flyer to any equine or farm animal veternarians  in the area.  Ask them to pass them out to their employees and post one in the lobby for clients coming through the front door.
  2. Deliver several copies of your flyer to every equine facility in the area. Ask that they be passed out to boarders, trainers, farriers (blacksmiths), etc. who may routinely travel the route to and from the facility.
  3. Give copies of your flyer to all local delivery people including UPS, Fed Ex, United State Postal Service, garbage pick up services, feed delivery, propane and diesel fuel delivery, septic services, etc.  These people travel the back roads and need to know who to call if they see your dog. Don’t expect them to proactively report a sighting without a flyer in their hand. They may not have time to look through listings or post to social media.
  4. Deliver flyers to all farm equipment dealers, farm supply stores and feed stores in the area. Ask to post one at the counter and on any bulletin boards.
  5. Post a flyer at any local gathering places such as coffee shops, diners and taverns.
  6. Deliver flyers to the school bus drivers in the area.
  7. Ask farmers and hunters to check their game cameras for photos of your dog. Leave them a flyer so that they know who to call if they get a photo a week or a month from now!
  8. Use intersection signs at crossroads.  Remember to get permission first!
  9. Ask landowners for permission to search old barns, sheds and silos.
  10. Pay close attention to places where you see outdoor cats.  There is probably a food source that your lost dog may also be visiting. Check for tracks or ask permission to set up a trail camera to monitor.
  11. Run an ad in the local newspaper or shopper.

Never Give Up! Lost dogs are safely recovered weeks, months and even years after they have gone missing. Your dog may be hanging around a farm and is relying on YOU to bring him safely home.

Where Could Your Lost Dog Be? 2018

Where are they? In this blog post we’ll take a wild stab at our best guess (based on what we have learned over the last seven years).

The year has come to an end and we are going to ask you to click on this link and to look through our 2018Missing Dogs Albums one more time. or Helping Lost Pets. (If you are on a mobile phone, please search for albums or photos in the menu)  Although we have had an incredibly successful year (over 3,500 reunions so far) we have so many dogs that we are still searching for.

A small percentage of the still missing dogs are probably sadly deceased. BUT, we do know that a body is usually found and we encourage all owners to not give up unless they have confirmed physical evidence that their dog is deceased.  By far and away, our largest single cause of death is dogs that have been hit by a car (usually when they are being called or chased by well-meaning but misinformed citizens who do not know that you should never chase or call a scared lost dog). Our next most common cause of death is being hit by a train. Scared lost dogs will use the path of least resistance, and railroad tracks often provide a convenient route of travel between their hiding places and food sources. Unfortunately, some dogs are killed when the train comes, but again, a body is almost always found.  Our third most common cause of death is drowning; either by falling through thin ice, or by making a poor decision and bolting towards a body of water.  Lost dogs that are not being chased, approached or pressured will make wise decisions and may survive indefinitely.  Dogs that are being pressured or pursued will make poor decisions and may meet an untimely end.

Many people fear that their dog has been eaten or killed by coyotes. We do not find this to be common and very few of our deceased dogs have evidence of being killed by a predator.  Is it impossible? No. But dog/coyote altercations are almost always territorial (the dog is defending his yard or his territory) and scared, lost dogs are not territorial. They will defer to a larger predator.  Lost dogs simply want to survive – so they need to do three things – they will hide from predators (including man) and they will spend their time sleeping and traveling between their food sources and hiding places.   If a dog is killed by a larger predator – the body will usually be found. Predators do not tend to eat other predators and all members of the canine family are predators.

Where are the other still missing dogs? Some are still “out there” as described above. Scared and living in “survival mode”, these dogs may be rarely seen because they have become so adept at hiding and may be mostly nocturnal.  Eventually they will start to hang around one or more reliable food sources (often a farm that is leaving food out for outdoor cats).  If they are left alone they will become more domesticated and may be seen during daylight hours or even attempting to play with neighborhood dogs or farm dogs.  This is why it is SO important to continue to flyer in an ever-increasing radius of where your dog went missing from. Somebody, somewhere WILL see your dog and they need to know who to call when they do.

Some of our still missing dogs wandered far beyond their “jurisdiction”, out of the flyered area, and end up in the maze of animal sheltering and animal control. They may have been adopted to a new family or put down when their 7 day stray hold was up. These are a heartbreaker for us because the simple of act of posting pictures on line of impounded found dogs would bring most of these dogs home.  Our dedicated volunteers and fans scour the internet watching for possible matches but they cannot do this when there are no pictures available. Many Illinois shelters still do not reliably post pictures of impounded found dogs. Please ask them to do so. It is perhaps the simplest way to save lives and free up shelter space for those dogs that truly need it.

The last component (and probably the largest) are lost dogs that have been picked up by a Good Samaritan who meant well but then kept or rehomed the dog without searching for the owner.  Of course, this is illegal in Illinois, but it happens all too frequently. The current “rescue” phenomenon that is sweeping our country has kind -hearted people making false assumptions about the owners of a dog they find. They speculate that the dog has been abused, neglected or “dumped” and needs a new home. We have great success when we can get the finder to file a report with us so that we can post a flyer online.  This serves to dispel the false notion that people that have lost their dog don’t deserve him/her back.  We ask all of our fans to please spread the word to their friends, family and neighbors – Lost dogs don’t need a new home.  They just need to go home. Do not assume that you can keep a dog that you find. He/she is somebody else’s personal property and keeping him/her is illegal.

Thank you for helping us. Please take a few moments, scroll through our missing dog albums, and maybe, just maybe we can help reunite a few more of these dogs in 2019.