Together as a community, more than 5,100 dogs were reunited with their families this past year! This is truly a community effort with our fans, LDI volunteers, staff/volunteers at shelters, rescues & animal control facilities, police departments and veterinary clinics all working together to get lost dogs home to their rightful owners.
The Lost Dogs Illinois Community Outreach program provided free microchips, ID tags and collars/harnesses/leashes to over 2,500 dogs. We also extended our outreach to Winnebago County, Lee County, McLean County and Whiteside County.
We believe in the power of compassion for both humans and animals. Your financial support is vital for LDI to continue our community outreach program to keep four legged family members with their loved ones.
Will you please consider making a gift now to help preserve the human/animal bond in 2018?
Donate here: https://goo.gl/PGcNq5
Thank you and may your generosity and kindness return to you many times for a wonderful 2018.
It was a typical summer day. All seemed normal in the family’s world – except their boy, Freddy, wasn’t with them. The family was on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, and Freddy was staying at a reliable boarding facility. It was one the family felt comfortable leaving their best friend at – 16 years in business, and never a flaw or escape.
The call a pet parent never wants to get – the one that shatters your world and turns it upside down – came that afternoon. Freddy had escaped from the facility and was on the run. No collar and no tags (as a safety precaution and to prevent injuries, boarding facilities do not leave collars/tags on), but one redeeming feature: Freddy was microchipped and his contact information was up-to-date.
Over 4,100 miles away with fear and panic setting in, Freddy’s family contacted a friend whose sister lives and breathes Lost Dogs Illinois. The friend called her sister and set into motion events that gave the family a glimmer of hope.
Lost Dogs Illinois has a “5 Things to Do When You Lose a Dog” action plan that the friend and sister deployed immediately. Step 4 of the plan tells pet owners to ask people not to call out to or chase a dog they see if they think it is lost. Instead, ask them to sit or lie down, with no eye contact, and toss out a few pieces of tasty treat to lure the dog to them.
Sure enough, a call came in with a sighting of Freddy. A little food, a little water, and scent items like clothing were taken to the sighting location immediately to lure Freddy in. Now it became a waiting game; someone had to sit a distance away from the location, wait, make no sudden movements and, above all, be patient.
The patience paid off hours later, when one of the boarding facility’s employees spotted Freddy near the site. The mission then shifted from finding Freddy to encouraging him to come to the employee. Freddy’s family’s friend then came up with a genius masterstroke – why not let Freddy’s mom call out to him via Facetime?
It worked! Freddy heard his owner’s familiar voice calling softly to him from 4,100 miles away over the phone, and Freddy followed the voice right into the employee’s arms. Freddy was SAFE!
As a longtime follower of Lost Dogs Illinois, I have learned you can never tell people enough about what this organization does to help recover lost dogs. Spreading the word about Lost Dogs Illinois is the MOST important message you can convey to pet owners – even owners who have never lost a dog – because you just NEVER, EVER know when you or a friend will need LDI’s help and resources.
Freddy LOST 8/10/2017 SAFE 8/10/2017!!
Thank you Evelyn for sharing Freddy’s story!
This week I, personally and professionally, learned a valuable lesson, never ever underestimate the survival instinct of a dog. I, because of this underestimating, did not do everything in my power to find a dog until a full day had almost passed which could have contributed to this dog losing her life. All because I underestimated a 5 pound chihuahua dragging a leash.
This past weekend, Memorial day weekend I was sent a text message by another ACO from our neighboring AC about a tiny little chi who was lost in a forest preserve that was next to my territory. The family had been out at a party enjoyin the Memorial Day holiday and had their dog on leash. A bigger dog, not on leash, ran at this little dog, Blanca. Blanca in fear took off and the owner lost control of the leash. So the last the family saw of their little girl was her running through a parking lot in the forest preserve dragging her pink leash. They looked and didn’t see her again that day.
I found all this out about ten oclock that night. It was too late for me to get in the forest preserve (they lock the gates at the entrance). The rangers gave me permission to enter the park but without my vehicle because of the gate. Where they had seen Blanca was over a 1/2 mile inside the park and it was now pitch black. I would have never seen her if she was running around. In addition this forest preserve is large, has at least five different shelters, a running path and I didn’t have any idea even where I would look.
The whole night I was upset that I couldn’t help figuring this little one had no chance to survive the night. How would this little girl especially dragging a leash survive out there? Forest preserve is 99% forest. I figured she was either going to be eaten by a Coyote or her leash would get caught on a tree or a stump somewhere we would never find her and she would starve to death.
I went out looking for her at 7:00am the next morning hoping to see her. I did not and I really still wasn’t in the right mode because I honestly thought she was dead. Then later that afternoon I received a message from the family that she had been seen, that morning, and was still dragging her leash. I was thrilled and upset all at the same time. Here I was not doing what I would have normally been doing because I didn’t see how this little five pound little girl had survived but she did. But she was alive and she was depending on us to save her.
I jumped into the mode I should have already been in. I went out with a friend and our two dogs just to walk them out there. I brought food to set up a feeding station along with our trail camera. I had the family meet me out there to leave an article of clothing near our feeding station and to just go out and hang out where she had last been seen. It was dusk now and the Park Rangers had given us permission to stay out there past closing time when it was quiet and dark. I felt we were doing what we needed to but about 12 hours too late because I didn’t expect this dog to still be alive. I was still kicking myself because if she did not make it I would feel responsible. We didn’t have a sighting but I felt more hopeful even though I was still very concerned about her getting this leash caught on something.
I drove out the next morning before I was on duty (dogs are known to be seen at dawn and dusk) and saw a guy at the maintenance facility which is where she had been seen last. I asked about if he had seen any dogs. He asked me, do mean the Chihuahua? I answered yes and how did he know. He said the family had just picked her up. Tears came to my eyes and I couldn’t believe it. She had not only survived another night avoiding coyotes and getting her leash caught on something, she had made it home to her family. The tears, of course fell. I asked the guy how they found her. Well next to the maintenance facility is a community garden and next to that garden, in plain sight are two sinks with legs. So this little girl has gone two days without getting her leash caught on a tree or stump in the forest where we would have most likely never found her and she would have starved or been coyote bait. Yet now she gets her leash caught on a leg to a sink right in plain sight where she was easily seen and couldn’t get away. Her dad had already come by earlier that morning, found her and brought her home.
This little one defied all odds and did it all on her own. If she had been bigger and not dragging her leash I would have been in a different mindset but instead I underestimated their amazing abilities and instincts. Yes, there was obviously some luck involved but with lost dogs you never know and I learned, you should never ever get up on them. They might just surprise you. And this story could have been very wrong but this little girl showed me that a 5 Chihuahua who misses her family has the will and ability to survive.
Thank you, Dana, for sharing your story. Dana is the animal control officer for North Chicago.
Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing Lucy’s story.
Last February, Ace was being transported from Oklahoma to his new home in Wisconsin. Ace’s family met the transporter at the Petro gas station in Rochelle off Illinois-39. Ace backed out of his collar and escaped.
Below is the map of Ace’s sightings. You will note that Ace stayed in close proximity of where he went missing (Petro station just left of the cloverleaf). Residents were told to let Ace settle in the area, keep a feeding station going and soon a trap was set up (yellow marker). Ace was caught almost immediately after the trap was set up. It was a Safe and Happy Reunion!
Click here to read more about Tips for Dogs that are lost other than home.
This area of the western suburb was very busy with traffic, businesses and restaurants and close to the expressways. It was a dangerous area for her to be lost in because she could have easily darted into traffic and been hit. The owners lived some distance from the area where she got loose and for the first week did not really know how to proceed. A few calls had been made to the local police of sightings but the owners thought animal control would catch Juno. They reached out to the previous foster who reached out for help.
A week later flyering was started and a pattern began to emerge. Juno had settled near a brewery, Ikea and some brush and water. A feeding station and cameras were used to help determine better times when Juno would emerge and show herself. Employees saw her and called and were gently reminded to not chase Juno or feed her because a plan of action was in place to capture her safely.
A humane trap was set up with food for Juno. She was initially interested and realized the food was near. She ate some, circled some, left and came back and tested her surroundings even though she knew the noises, the cars and her routine. She would stick her head in and out. Juno was always alert and would also stretch her legs far out even when engaging the trap. After some time, it seemed she was so close but the door bounced down and Juno spooked! She ran away and did not come back that night or the next day.
We kept the feeding station with a trap set and watched but Juno wanted nothing to do with it. Flyering continued. It was decided to just keep the cameras out and food available without the trap, to give Juno more time to feel comfortable and eat. It worked. She came back several times day/night.
Susan from Lost Dogs Illinois donated their outdoor kennel which her husband had refurbished to make a trap with a guillotine door. These traps are sometimes used for scared skittish pups and or for pups that may have spooked from conventional humane traps). Because the traps are large and harder to transport, there use takes time and planning.
Two volunteers, Frank and Tom worked on the trap and added a laser trip function, which runs on a battery charger and 120lb magnetic door. We were able to transport this to the area where Juno was feeding. We assembled it and got cameras up to monitor Juno’s behavior. Everyone volunteered their time to monitor the cameras and trap. We never leave a trap set and unattended for safety.
After the trap was set up, it took Juno a full two days to get used to it. (This could go quick or for some dogs takes days, weeks or longer of slowly moving food inside). On night one Juno was very aware the food was in and around the trap. She did her dance around the trap and left and came for approximately 5 hours, then left until the following evening. When she returned, she did alot of the same back and forth. But, all kinds of good food eventually overcame her fear and and she safely entered the trap. Gotcha!
Even though Juno got loose from an unfamiliar area she still stuck fairly close ( within a 2 to 3 mile area). Flyers generated calls about sightings, cameras helped track a pattern and feeding stations kept Juno coming back. The patience of using the right trapping procedure paid off. This sweet pup was off the street!
Huchi was rescued in late 2016 from a South Korean Dog Meat Farm. He came to the United States and spent two months in a foster home before he was adopted by his owners. Unfortunately Huchi saw a chance to escape on March 1, 2017 and he was out the door. Sightings came in almost immediately so his owners got flyers up in the area. He was hanging out about two miles east of where his home was. Cameras and a trap were put out but before we could confirm his where about there was a call that came in that said “he was running full steam down Waxwing towards Modaff”. We knew he was somehow being chased. Not 10 minutes later a call came in that he was seen on the north east corner of a very busy intersection. Somehow he made it across 6 lanes of traffic. He was now in a completely different area. His owners quickly put up flyers near the latest sighting but there were no more calls Friday or Saturday.
(Number 1 is was his first “safe” area ~ Number 2 was his second)
Calls started coming in Sunday the March 4 and we were able to determine his location thanks to people that saw the flyers. For three continuous days there were sightings and his poor owners had to watch him from afar. He wanted nothing to do with humans. The residents of #KimballHill subdivision all knew about him and were willing to help in any way possible. The owners of Max Madsen Mitsubishi – Downers Grove allowed us use of their private property to set up our trap. Huchi was running the back yards along the DuPage River so we had several cameras out in those yards as well. All the residents were incredibly helpful, calling in sightings, letting us crawl thru their brush to dribble bacon grease, keeping their own pets on leash so they wouldn’t eat our trail of canned chicken and burgers.
On Sunday the 3rd he got his exercise walking the trail with everyone else that was out so there were several calls all day long.
One lady took a picture of him two mornings in a row in the same spot!
Monday the 4th he chose a back yard to lie in and relax during the day.
Tuesday he chose a second yard, right next to the Madsen’s where the trap was!
H is Huchi and T is Trap
Traps were set and baited early on Tuesday, and then around noon the main trap was rebaited with smelly KFC slathered in BBQ sauce and liquid smoke was trailed all over the yard and towards where he was laying. His owner was watching him from across the river and saw that he had gotten up and walked north while the baiting was happening.
But about two and a half hours later he appeared and was 50 ft away from the trap!! There was a strong wind Tuesday bringing the smell right to him. His owner was giving us play by play…50 ft, then 20 ft, sniffing but very cautions, constantly looking around. Acting just like we would expect him to…then by the door, then eating the food around the trap, then 10 ft away, then the words we always love to hear ‘WE GOT HIM!!’ Huchi was safe in the trap.
He was calm when his owner got to the trap and after a pretty good climb up a steep slope with the trap he and his friend were off to the vet. Huchi was dehydrated, very tired, no weight loss though! Because his owners were persistent and diligent with the flyers, they got sightings, because they got sightings we were able to map them and figure out where he was hanging out, because we did that we knew where to put cameras and eventually the trap. No one chased him, no one called out to him, no one “searched” for him, we let him do what he needed to feel safe and played the game on his terms. Whatever it takes to get him home safe. Welcome home Huchi!!
Thank you, Elaine for sharing Huchi’s story!
Pepper is a very friendly Shih Tzu that got loose from her owner to chase a rabbit as her owner was attaching a tie out line. Pepper’s home is in a small subdivision next to another small subdivision in an industrial area on the outskirts of town. She ran off on Monday, 3/15.
A neighbor a few streets down saw Pepper and yelled at her to “Go Home”. Pepper bolted back towards the front of the subdivision. Pepper’s owners searched and searched and not finding Pepper anywhere, they put out food and scent items. In the days following, they got fliers and intersections signs out. Nothing. Fear and doubt set in.
The industrial park has constant traffic, active train tracks and 24 hour semi traffic at a shipping hub. Four days later, on Friday, someone said they had seen her at a building in the front of the industrial park. Great! A feeding station was set up. Days and days went by. Nothing. Fear and doubt set in again.
- Did she cross the tracks?
- Did a trucker pick her up as a new companion?
Monday late afternoon another sighting came in, but it was delayed. She had been seen Friday at the back of the park running towards the tracks. While the owner was at the store making copies, preparing to widen the search, her phone rang. It was a teenager from the neighboring subdivision. The kids were playing outside and Pepper had crossed the busy roadway, wanting to play with the kids! The owner arrived quickly. When Pepper saw her mom, she ran right to the car! She was filthy dirty, but safe!
Pepper’s owner followed the Lost Dog of Illinois recovery process, even when the strongest doubts tried to take over. Pepper is a tiny dog that survived freezing temps, av industrial park, heavy and fast traffic and an active rail line for a full week! Welcome home Pepper!
Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing Pepper’s story and being supportive of Pepper’s family!
Permission to reprint from Sarah V.
We’re getting a bunch of questions about how we found him and how we managed to lure him in and grab him. For the first part: some fantastic volunteers, a very supportive and friendly community, a bunch of luck and a lot of hard work. And toner. So much toner. And paper cuts.
We shared on Facebook the night he went missing. We got some recommendations to post to Lost Dogs Illinois, so we sent them our info. They made a post for us, which many of you saw shared a few times. We could not have done this without Facebook! We also got some help from SIRA (Shiba Inu Rescue Association). Through these various groups, we were connected with our dream team rescue squad, who have a lot of experience finding lost dogs. They told us where and how to flyer. We put the word out on social media and many of our awesome friends offered to help us out. So to did many strangers who are now friends. We also passed out quarter page flyers to every dog walker we came across since they’re out walking the neighborhood and Kubo does like other dogs.
We basically followed sightings, which were mapped by a squad member. We know he went into the White Eagle Golf Club, so we started there. We were kind of scatter shot at first, til the squad stepped in. 🙂 From here on out, they’re a huge part of the “we” in this operation. We got so much wonderful guidance from them!
We did a lot of flyers in ziplocks (to protect from the elements), some large 11 x 17 flyers taped to neon poster board, and quarter page flyers. We also talked to security at White Eagle and they were very helpful and accommodating.