6 towns and one city, over a 100 miles and over 4 months, and hundreds of flyers. Please take precautions with newly adopted pups and yours. Double Leash. Harness. Martingale collars. Pick some sort of secure method and let dogs adapt and acclamate. It’s me, Huntley. This time last year I was on the run. Going on month 3!
I am sharing my recovery story to help other owners and rescues understand what can happen to a pup that gets loose and the resiliency of animals. My story shows how important it is to treat a loose animal as lost and to demonstrate how crucial flyers, Social media, No chasing, No pursuing, follow up, dedicated volunteers, mapping, longevity and never giving up on your lost animal are so important. Seasons change. Weather changes. Animals appearances can change. Collars can come off. Leashes can be chewed off. Tags can fall off. But…..we keep at it.
Huntley was lost near Carol Stream in the middle of winter in January 2020. He was sighted alot initially, but got pushed by well meaning people trying to catch him. A few of us in recovery stepped in, along with the family and some dedicated volunteers. Flyers. Calls. Follow through. Food stations. Trail cams and over all daily everything “huntley”. The process moved forward as Huntley moved and was sighted, but moved at night to stay safe and started rare daytime sightings. Then poof he was gone.
We did our usual keep on flyering and moving forward. Fast forward, and we got alerted to Huntley possibly being in Winfield. Bingo! He was…. Found a nice neighborhood to stake as his own. Water. Woods. Cat food and he even started to run with the coyotes and stake his claim. We saw with our own eyes Huntley chasing coyotes and finding food resources. BUT, skittish and not giving in to lure. Resilient. Smart. We worked with residents to set up for Huntley. After some acclimation, this boy backed out of a 4ft trap. Stuck around for a few days then gone again. He also was starting to get to know us, as much as we were learning him. We began to understand his patterns and his quirks. In every area we pin pointed to how he came and went and knowing his feeding patterns. We continued our flyering out and being diligent. Huntley had some great people looking out for him, and all eyes on social media too. He used water sources. Tracks and woods and trails. He moved at night (smart pup)
On any given day, it was always something Huntley. The highs. The lows and the people and volunteers along the way willing up help in any small way.
Another rescuer was working on another pup near Elgin (and was later safely trapped) and didnt pick up that dog on camera, but rather a docked tail dog! They messaged me, there was our Huntley. In Elgin! We immediately set up our process there and had him coming to our feeding stations. Again staking his claim, even standing up to the coyotes (see a few photos attached). We didnt want to fool around with our smaller trap so we brought in our missy trap panels. We were out there daily and night time jumping deep into the recovery process. Slow but sure. Our smart boy knew it was us. He would sometimes wait at night. But, he knew something was up and bam! Gone. Again. After a week there he moved again. This time to Palatine. Through daily follow up we spoke to the railroad and a worker had seen him crossing tracks. A great group of rescuers near there helped us to get flyers up and feeding stations. But huntley had moved quickly. Weeks went by, nothing.
Then…. we saw a post for a docked tail pup in Elk Grove Village coming to a home for a bit, near busse woods. People had been feeding him since he left Palatine. Our sweet boy Huntley was sure enough on camera. Again! And looking the chunkiest he had ever looked since January. Our process started again in EGV. He came. He saw. He left. This time, he stuck to the woods and tracks.
Fast forward more weeks and I woke up to a FB post on my feed of a retriever with a docked tail by train tracks in Chicago! Yep.. Huntley. We immediately moved our efforts that way and had the help with some amazing girls in the city too. Days and nights and seeing Huntley being chased. In alleys. North side. West and in between. This boy was out of his element. My phone was blowing up with sightings. But we trusted ourselves and the lost dog process/recovery. As we always learn, we also know there are methods that work. At this juncture , this dog had become our mission. Part of our days and nights. Huntley was on our minds always. Work and family took a back burner. There is no clear explanation of how a lost dog captures your heart (most do one way or another) and helping owners. Fosters. Rescues comes down to getting a pup or cat safe. In Chicago we flyered. We put up cams. Food. Calls. Daily work and long hours put in trying to keep Huntley safe. Sightings. Then narrowed his pattern and bam! Got him on cam. Food won. Now to keep him semi settled. As usual, Huntley had his own ideas. But our boy was frazzled. We saw it in his eyes and movements. The photos peope took. And for ourselves when we saw him at Horner Park on top a hillside. So close but not safe yet. This brought us into May. On May 13th, Huntley got pushed for the last time and found cover under a deck close to his feeding station. The homeowner was amazing and let us guide them to block all exits until we could get some trusted handlers there (we were working) And finally, he was brought to safety.
Over 4 months, 100 plus miles and 5 towns and one city later he was safe. Emotional physically and mentally. We share this story not only grateful for ALL involved no matter how big or small , but to give hope and encouragement to people when their animals get lost. Trust the process. Trust the dog. Do not chase loose dogs. Take advice from those of us that do recovery. Use social media and lost animal sites to aid you. Hugging huntley for the first time after him being safe only affirmed the why’s. I bawled like a baby. The adrenaline finally stopped. Thank you to everyone that helped and assisted. It takes teamwork and continuous follow through. Everyone involved were rockstars! Snow. Rain. Sun. Burbs. City. Just believe.
Thank you Rosanne for sharing this story about Huntley!