Category Archives: Reunions

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

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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

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People were more concerned about rehoming this “found” dog rather than trying to find his owner.

Thank you Ev for sharing King’s story in your own words….

If you don’t mind I want to share a story with you. It’s not a Illinois dog but a Mississippi dog. Not sure if you saw the post I originally shared on my page. A kind soul was traveling and found a shepherd mix in Bilxo MS, who a stranger in the parking lot said the dog was roaming for almost a month, so the finder brings him to a shelter in Altanta Ga as it was late at night when he found the dog and had to get to GA.  That shelter scanned and  found a chip but no owner registered so sent him on his way as they couldn’t take the dog.

He brings the dog to Chicago but can’t keep him so puts out a post to find him a new home.  He had over 150 messages to take the dog, so I made it my mission to try and find this dog’s family. I called the shelter King was adopted from in May 2011 Jackson County Animal Shelter in Gaultier MS (the info I found out from the chip). Mind you his chip now had an alert on it as being found. After conversation the shelter & I began with messaging so I could share the video and the info from the chip. They called me and said what would you like us to do. I said I don’t expect you to give me the owner information as I know you can’t but please contact the owner and the finder, Fredo.  I gave them his number.

Motions were set and this boy is going home to his true family. In the meantime I found a lost post for him, he was only missing less then a day when Fredo found him (again bad info from “strangers” can be so misleading to finders, who now think a dog has been roaming for a month!).   Turns out the son who made the lost post, had made a promise to his dad that he would love on and take good care of King, as his dad was dying and just recently passed. Poor King was probably looking for his dad, who I found out always took him in the car to this restaurant where he was found at to pick up food. Fredo in the meantime gave him to a woman, thankfully a good woman who knows he’s not hers to keep. I shiver to think had Fredo not friended me and accepted my messages poor King would of been lost from his family forever. ! Here’s the lost ad I found on King in the meantime while I was in the process with the shelter:


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Placing Paws Rescue commitment to bring Ebony home!

 

Ebony is a rescue dog with Placing Paws Rescue, where I am a volunteer. She was adopted out and escaped from her new owners house less than a week after being adopted. I live close by, and as soon as she went missing me and other Placing Paws volunteers were out. We put up flyers like crazy, fielded sightings, walked for miles talking to people, feeding stations were set up with cameras.

Eventually a pattern emerged and we were able to figure out what to do and where. Placing Paws spared no expense in finding her, and I was NEVER going to give up on her until she was found. It was exhausting, hard work, but to me, and Placing Paws, worth every second. When she was caught ( in a live trap) she was loaded up and went straight to the vet to be checked out. She has a nasty gash in her shoulder which had already started healing and a fever, but she will be fine 🙂

We are lucky because we are a pretty tight, dedicated rescue group who truly love our animals. A true team effort.   Thank you for all you do to help get these fur babies home !!! 🙂

Thank you, Julie C, for sharing Ebony’s story.

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Never underestimate a dog’s ability to survive – even a senior dog.

Stuey, a 12 year old Lab/Corgie, was on a walk with his owner at an off leash park on 1/31. They were just wrapping up their walk when 2 dogs rushed Stuey, quarreled with him and ran him off. Bruce walked and walked calling for Stuey with no luck. He put posters out at the park. Two days went by and nothing. Not being too tech savvy, the owners didn’t know about LDI, NextDoor and didn’t have FB accounts. Someone at the park noticed the sign and posted it on their page.
A few days later someone else posted a sighting of a small lab 1.5 miles north. Someone on FB made the match and an LDI fan got in touch with the family to start the process. Stuey was reported to LDI, Animal Services and posted on NextDoor. The owners embraced the process of generating sightings through signs and flyers. A sighting came in but then we hit the cold spell. Temps were -10 and windchills -20+. Another day, no sightings but the owner and helpers kept widening the flyer range… every day but were growing weary. Finally! Wednesday night they got a call that Stuey was seen that morning. Thursday morning the troops went out. Some of Stuey’s tracks were found and through more door knocking, more people reported seeing Stuey. While out flyering, a call came in that Stuey was in a cornfield about a half mile away. The owner and helper rushed to the sighting! Bruce had been coached that Stuey may not recognize him and to get low, use a slow approach and try familiar  commands. At first Stuey just looked at Bruce, debating whether or not to run. Bruce kept repeating the commands “want to get in the Jeep”…. phrases Stuey knew. It worked! Stuey snapped out of it and ran right over to Bruce!!!
Click on:  Stuey:  “I am coming home” video
This 12 year old boy lived 8 days in the brutal cold and traveled at least 3 miles overall! He has frostbite on his nose but besides that, he’s in fantastic shape!!!

Ouch, my nose!

Often owners can’t see their pets living through extreme weather, especially older gentleman like Stuey. Sometimes it’s emotionally easier to assume the worst. As a helper, I understand that. But believe us when we tell you, they are resilient; they are strong; they can make it!
Don’t give up. Push on for them! Flyers and Signs get dogs home! 💗

Stuey, at home, resting on his favorite bed and teddy bear.

Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing Stuey’s story!
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The Reunion That Almost Didn’t Happen

Simba, fox terrier mix,  went missing on January 22, 2018.   Simba’s family posted his flyer around their neighborhood and posted on local Facebook pages.  As we all know, many people still don’t know about Lost Dogs Illinois so Simba’s family did not file a report with us until January 29, 2018.  

On January 27, 2018 a person surrendered Simba as his own dog to Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) 
Copy of surrender form – dog’s name is no name with an arrow to that.
Since the dog was treated as an owner surrender, a rescue was able to transfer Simba into the
its own program the same day he was surrendered.    In our opinion, two red flags  made this owner surrender suspcious but were unfortunately ignored. First the dog did not have a name.  Second, there was no surrender questionaire done. Typically a rescue or shelter will ask questions about the dog’s medical history and behavior to help determine what he/she needs to be adopted into a new home.    It is very important that shelters and rescues ensure that owner surrenders are indeed owned by the person who is surrendering them.  Otherwise it is far too easy for someone to surrender a dog that isn’t theirs, as was the case with Simba. 

Luckily a Lost Dogs Illinois fan made the match to CACC’s Petharbor listing saying where Simba was transferred to.  Our director contacted the rescue to let them know that Simba was a loved family member who had been reported missing.   The rescue still required Simba’s family to pay an adoption fee instead of simply being able to reclaim him.   An anonymous supporter paid for Simba’s reduced adoption fee.  

There is still so much work to be done for lost and found dogs.  We need your help and cooperation!  Keep promoting Lost Dogs Illinois on the neighborhood pages so that owners and finders know that they should file a report with us!  If you know of shelters, rescues vet clinics and police departments that are not using our partner, Helping Lost Pets as a FREE centralized database to ist their impounded strays , please keep putting the pressure on them.  By gathering all of the listings in ONE place, there is a much higher chance that a match will be made quickly. 

Here is the video of Simba’s reunion with his family. Simba did not need a new home; he needed to go home to the people who love him.   I don’t think there will be a dry eye after watching this video.

Link: Simba Reunion Video

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2017 Year End Celebration

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.

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Cooperation, Patience and Home Cookin’ Brings Bill Back Home

When Bill went missing from Countryside on July 30, 2017, his family posted on Lost Dogs Illinois right away. A LDI fan, Cindy, saw the post, shared it on Facebook, and then checked it again the next day.

“I saw a friend of the family was asking for help,” Cindy said. “I figured I could go talk to them and give a little advice. But I had no idea how involved I was about to become in Bill’s journey.”

Cindy met Bill’s mom, Liz, at the forest preserve where Bill had become lost. They spent the next week putting up flyers in the residential area that was next to the preserve. Cindy gave Liz pointers on what dogs in survival mode may do and go.

“It was heartbreaking when Bill crossed our paths three times that week, but [to ensure we could bring him in] we needed to let him go so he would settle down and not leave the area,” Cindy said.

Cindy and Liz set out feeding stations and cameras where Bill ran into the woods and wherever someone reported seeing Bill. Their big break came August 6, when a neighbor reported that Bill passed through his parents’ backyard that day.

Working with Frank G., Cindy and Bill’s family were able to set up a feeding station/trap/camera on the neighbor’s property and kept it under surveillance. Cameras showed Bill coming to the feeding station daily for another week but wary of entering the trap to take the food.

Not so the feral cats, skunk, opossum and 12 raccoons that Cindy and Frank wound up trapping and releasing instead. “Bill didn’t stand a chance of getting any food with all those critters going into the trap,” Cindy said.

Because Bill seemed to visit the trap at random hours after dark, Cindy decided to do a stakeout one night after 11 pm. After trapping and releasing a couple smaller animals, Cindy dozed off only to wake at 3:22 am to the sound of a dog barking. It was Bill – 16 days after he had run off into the woods.

Note:  To keep the wildlife from visiting the trap, Bill’s owner led a trail of fruit in the opposite direction to keep the wildlife occupied.

 

“It was pitch black so I couldn’t see a thing, not even the trap except for the glow-stick attached to its door,” Cindy said. “Bill barked on and off for a good 45 minutes. I was starting to wonder if he was warning other critters about the trap!”

Cindy placed more food inside the trap and waited two more hours in her car.

“Then I saw Bill cross the street,” Cindy said. “I hurried back to the trap, placed more food inside and got back in my car to wait for the sunrise. I figured the wildlife would be going to sleep then, and Bill would have his chance at the food.”

He was frustrated and hungry; we had chicken legs and smoked ham hocks in that trap and he had to watch the other critters go in, eat and leave him nothing,” Cindy said.

That morning, though, hunger won out over caution.

“Bill went back and forth to the trap several times to eat what he could without stepping in, then he barked at the trap to see what would happen,” Cindy said. “Nothing happened. So Bill sat by the trap, then lay down next to it, then finally took the gamble and went in, tripping the door.”

Cindy saw the glow stock on the trap door drop about 15 minutes later. No ‘possum or raccoon this time – it was Bill!

After calling Liz and her husband, Bob, with the good news and helping get Bill to the vet (“He smelled horrible!” Cindy said), Cindy looked at the images on the camera card. They showed why Bill had been barking so much.

“Bill’s story has a happy conclusion, butCindy knows it might have turned out differently if not for the cooperation, hard work, dedication and trust of Bill’s family.

“Thank you, Bob and Liz Skelly Giacomelli, for trusting me,” Cindy said.

Thank you, Cindy P., for sharing Bill’s Story!

 

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That Moment You Are Never Prepared For

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.

Until now.

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!

 

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Lessons Learned from An Animal Control Officer

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.

Blanca

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.

Dana

Thank you, Dana, for sharing your story.  Dana is the animal control officer for North Chicago.

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