Missing 3/20/2022 – 3/30/2022
One thing I’ve heard quite a few times in recovery is that the terrier breeds are really the toughest ones out there. Being a Boston Terrier, and a puppy mill momma, Annie did not disappoint.
I had first reached out to Annie’s parents when I saw a post on one of the Yorkville pages. Being as I live in Yorkville, I couldn’t not. I spoke with her dad Mike. Found out she got spooked on a walk and around the corner from home and backed out of a harness. I gave them some pointers and they had done quite a few things already; reached out to police, AC and vets in the area, had scent items and food out at home, and had gotten flyers made and up in the area. I offered to put a camera up at home, but they informed me they had a Ring camera and were good.
Over the next couple days I kept texting with Mike, offering pointers; lots of pointers. I do try not to inundate owners with information but as we all know time is of the essence and the sooner some steps get done the better the chances of recovery. But this case was a good reminder that the suggestions and points we give to owners fly out of my mouth with ease and sometimes, most times, it’s very overwhelming.
Mike continued to inform me that they were good. So I respected that, as hard as it was.
There were no sightings from Sunday until Wednesday the 23rd. They had received some sightings in the subdivision right next to theirs, literally blocks from home. Again, I reached out to Mike, explained the importance of getting the pertinent information, date/time, EXACT location and direction of travel. He said thank you and I didn’t hear back.
In the meantime, LDI had reached out to ask if anyone could assist with a lost dog in Yorkville, that the family had reached out to ask for a trap. I mentioned I had talked with the owner and let them know I was still available.
And in another piece of the puzzle, one of the women who called in a Wednesday sighting, Kim, had been communicating with Cindy, Annie’s mom. She reached out to her friend Liz, who knew that Deb did recovery, and asked if Deb was available. Deb knew that I had been reaching out to Mike, and made the connection.
By Thursday, we had an active messenger chat going with Liz, Kim, Cindy, Deb, myself and Kelly, our friend who also offered to assist. We finally had everyone communicating together, finally had figured out the sightings, and began to see Annie’s patterns, or at least where we thought she might be hanging out.
She went missing from the Raintree Subdivision on the east side of Rt 47, south of Rt. 71. By Wednesday morning, 8:30 am she had found herself on the west side of Rt. 47 approximately 1.5 miles as the crow flies. By 9:30 am that same morning, she was back in her subdivision just blocks from home. A second sighting in the same general area came in around 10:15 am. That caller witnessed Annie in her frantic state, and in a frightened effort to escape, Annie ran back west across Rt. 47 a second time. The caller followed in her car, taking a couple pictures along the way. The last sighting was back in the area of the 8:30 am sighting, running full speed between a couple houses near Legion and Immanuel.
The weather did not cooperate the next couple days; cold, rain, snow, wind. More flyers had gone up in that general vicinity but unfortunately there were no sightings called in for three days. Our hope was she had found some place to bed down and stay safe and warm. There were plenty. Open barns, under decks, abandoned properties. That was great for her, tough for us!
We set up cameras and a feeding station at the last know sighting area. Nothing on camera either.
Sunday at approximately 1:00 pm, the owners received a call. Annie was seen walking east on Ament Road near the cemetery. The caller was in his car. He stopped, she stopped, and then she turned, running full steam west bound on Ament Rd. heading toward Immanuel. This caller again followed her. She headed south on Immanuel and turned west bound the first chance she got on Deer Crossing Drive. By the time he got to see which direction she went, he said she headed south, along a pond and over a berm. She was gone again.
By this time Annie’s owners were catching on. They were starting to understand what we meant by “survival mode” and what we meant by having them ask people not to follow her or chase her or call out to her. It was pushing her further. They went and handed out flyers to all properties in the surrounding areas, talked to property owners and made sure everyone was aware.
I had stopped at one last house on Ament Road, near the cemetery, to drop off a flyer. Later that evening, Mike and Cindy received a call from that property owner. He had cameras. Boy did he have cameras. And after receiving the flyer, he checked them. Annie had been on his property at noon on Saturday, at 8:00 am Sunday morning for at least a half hour, then seen almost in front of his house on Ament Sunday afternoon.
We moved cameras and feeding stations to his property that night. A trap was also placed out there and zip tied. But Annie didn’t re-appear. Neither Sunday night nor Monday morning. A step behind her again.
Monday, our angel farmer Bob called. Annie had been seen laying at the edge of an empty stable he had, laying on her side, sunning herself. The odd thing is that just that morning, Annie’s mom had posted a picture in our chat of when they had first gotten her, laying on her side, sunning herself. When he went in to get the flyer he had to call, she got up and trotted west into a field. Cindy and Annie’s brother Paco headed that way. When they got there, Cindy saw Annie. She was on the far side of a horse corral at the property next door. Paco decided to start barking at the horses, and this caught Annie’s attention. At this point she started heading for her mom and Paco, but for reasons unknown, she stopped, and turned and trotted away once again. I think this was when it really hitting her mom. It is so emotional to see your dog, but not have her come to you, and watch her walk away. Many of us understand this completely.
We moved equipment that afternoon. We put out a trap with a camera on it and one facing the entrance to the stable. We had her bed, scent items, liquid smoke and really good food trailed from the fields she was seen in, to the stable. We were ready for her. At this point we weren’t sure if this was just a pass-through spot, or if she knew to return for shelter. Either way we were ready.
Annie was a no show that night. But the next morning, the 29th, when her mom went to refresh the food, she saw Annie again. At this time she was still on the property to the north. Cindy tried again to lure Annie, using Paco on a 50’ rope, but she still wouldn’t come close enough to smell either of them. Minutes after she was seen by Cindy, she was on camera!! She didn’t go in the trap, but we could tell she wanted to. We didn’t get her on the camera facing the opening of the stable. We were confused as to how she got in. Then our angel farmer Bob saw her in the fields to the south of his house and she crossed to a property across the street with junk cars, open barns and trailers. Mom went over there for one last attempt but Annie didn’t come out.
Turns out there is a service door on the side of the stable with an actual doggie door. We put a camera on that door as well. Food was refreshed and using Deb’s magic gravy, a heated bowl (angel farmer Bob had power and an extension cord for us to use!) we made sure we had the best waiting for her. We even built a little wind block because the forecast for Wednesday was rain and wind, 100% of the time, all day.
At 5:00 am on the 30th, Annie decided to check out the smells and food at the stable again. She did enter through the doggie door just as we had suspected, and finally entered the trap! She spent a good 9 minutes in there, eating everything in sight. She was the stable a good ½ hour, then wandered off to the north to wherever her resting place was.
Wednesday it rained. All day. Until 2:45pm or so when it finally broke. Annie showed up at 2:53 pm. But the trap was zip locked open, and food hadn’t been refreshed since the morning but for a very small bit. We were hoping to set up to trap that night, so wanted her hungry.
We scrambled to find someone who was available to get there, to try to set the trap but not spook her away. Kelly was closest and able to get there the quickest. Deb was able to leave work shortly after and headed that way as well. We were in touch with Kelly as she got there, but still hadn’t seen Annie leave the stable. In fact, her head was buried once again in the bowl in the trap, licking every last morsel of warm food and gravy in there. And that’s exactly where she was when Kelly walked up. The trap was still zip tied, so Kelly’s quick wit told her block the entrance. And that’s what she did. Annie was startled to say the least at first, but Kelly was able to scoop her up and get her safely in the truck. And we got to watch it on camera!
At some point Kelly was going to swing by Mike and Cindy’s to pick up more scent items for that evening’s trapping. Instead, she called her to let her know she was on the way…and surprised them with their baby girl!!! Annie was safe after 10 days out!!
Fide Canem – Trust the dog. Trust that they will take care of themselves. Trust that if let to be, they will find food, shelter and water. Annie traveled over 7 miles that we were aware of. There were four days we had no idea where she was.
Trust the process – but remember we can recite the process in our sleep. Some people need time to absorb, time to trust. We laughed about it after. I believe the word Cindy and Mike used to describe me in the beginning was “fanatical”. I get it. I’m just glad they eventually allowed me and the crew to help.
Many, many thanks to the Yorkville community, to Kim, Liz, and Mike and Cindy for trusting us, Katherine, Aynn, Chris for sightings and of course our angel farmer Bob. We absolutely cannot do this with out the help of the village. Once again.
Thank you Deb, Kelly & Elaine for sharing Annie’s story.