Category Archives: Shy Lost Dog Strategies

Articles and tips on how to capture a shy lost dog.

It’s Me – Huntley!

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.

Huntley’s famous docked tail

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.

Huntley in Chicago

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.

Huntley’s safe zone…. End of story

Thank you Rosanne for sharing this story about Huntley!

Smart Dog – How Sometimes a Negative is a Positive

Canada is a small pitbull mix who came from a rescue south of Illinois, around the Tennessee-Mississippi state line, but within a few hours after reaching the foster’s home, managed to escape.  It is believed that she has never had a home, and was a stray her whole life.  Prior to being captured the first time, she had recently had a litter of puppies.  She is estimated to be about a year old.  When we first got involved with Canada about 4 days after her escape, we were told that she wouldn’t go into a trap, and so in order to catch her the first time, they had to dart her.  With this in mind, we thought we were going to have to go straight to a large Missy trap.  The group attempting to catch her was a very dedicated and smart group of residents in the apartment complex, but they were not experienced in rescue or trapping, and needed advice.

When Canada got loose, sightings were being called in and posted on Facebook consistently.  She was not roaming far from where she escaped, but had been seen crossing very busy 4-lane roads during peak traffic.  However, she seemed to be centralized in an approximately 15-acre wetland area behind the apartment building, with 5 large ponds.  She was frequently observed crossing the ice on the pond nearest the building, and footprints were seen on the others.  The daytime temps were above freezing, and the pond near the building had a circulation pump at one end that kept ice from forming, so breaking through the ice was a strong concern.  The first action taken was to advise the residents to remove all sighting reports from Facebook, and stop sharing her location.

The residents had gotten 2 traps, 1 from Animal Control and 1 from TSC, and had set them up along with several feeding stations.  They had also bought a trail camera from a local pawn shop to see if they were getting any results.  They would check the feeding stations and traps every hour, then close the traps at night when they couldn’t check them. We right away reduced the feeding stations to only the trap locations, put out some fresh rotisserie chicken, and waited to see what would happen.  The next time the traps were checked, the food was gone out of the TSC trap, but it hadn’t triggered!  Not only that, but the trail camera failed as well.  So, we decided to get some good cameras on the traps, tie them open for a day to see what the behavior was, and go from there.  Surprisingly, the cameras showed us that she was walking right into the trap without hesitation.  It was go-time.  

Since the trap had failed before, we replaced it with a sturdier and more reliable trap, loaded it up with chicken, and waited.  Since the other trap was was very close to the building, and a path where residents walked their dogs daily, she would only come to that trap at night.  We decided to eliminate that feeding station and trap, and focused on the one furthest away from the building that she was more comfortable going to.  For 2 days we waited without her coming to the trap, but due to extremely cold temps we weren’t worried.  We did have one sighting during the day, but she didn’t approach the trap as someone was walking nearby.

By Friday morning, the temps started to climb, and we started to hope today was the day.  Set the trap, then settled back to wait.  We had decided to drop fresh food at the trap a little more frequently, so at lunchtime we went back out.  Timing is everything, Canada was starting to anticipate our arrival, and showed up at the trap right as we approached.  When someone else walked by she left, so we reset the trap, this time with chicken nuggets and hot dogs.  It didn’t take long to get a reaction, an hour later there she was.  But… she was smart!  Instead of going into the trap, she pulled the mats out and got the food that way!  Take 2 – reset the trap, more food, and sit back to wait.  We were patient, so was she.  At 11PM, she showed up again.  But now we started to see a pattern.  She was checking to see if the trap was set and changing her approach!  Multiple pictures showed her looking at the door, and the mechanism, and she would only go in as far as the trip plate, eat as much as she could, then back out again! Game on.  We strapped the food to the back of the trap and waited.   Again at 4AM, Canada came to eat food, checked to see if the trap was set, and would not go in any further than the trip plate.

OK – time to do a better job disguising the trip plate.  But time was going to be a critical factor, as a significant snowstorm was on the way.  Blankets and mats were either being pulled out or ignored.  If we put nothing on the floor she wouldn’t go in.  So, we decided to build a “floor” on the trap out of snow.  We ramped the snow up to the level of the trip plate.  Left a very lightweight blanket over the trip plate to keep any debris out, and lightly scattered snow over that.  A light bed of wood chips over that, and then the jackpot – chicken leg strapped to the ceiling of the trap, chicken thigh and hot dog with bun strapped directly on the back, and a smaller hotdog on the left side.  We were ready!  We waited for Canada, and then the snow started.  The weather was due to get very bad very quickly, and we didn’t want her trapped without a way to find shelter if we couldn’t get to her.  So we left the jackpot, and zip-tied the trap open to wait out the storm.  Within 30 minutes of that move, she showed up.  Carefully checked to see if the trap was set, and as soon as she saw it wasn’t, went right in.  Canada feasted that night!  But in the meantime, it was too dangerous for her rescue team to go out so we let her be. 

This is where a bad thing became good.  The snow was a wet heavy snow (approximately 12” total during the storm), and it was actually piling on top of the trap.  Around 3AM, the trail camera started going off every 30 seconds, and wouldn’t stop.  She had decided to shelter from the storm in the trap!  The trap was sheltered from the wind, and the snow was piling up around it.  It was making a nice little snow cave and giving her shelter.  At 7AM, a local resident went out and put more chicken in the trap.  Canada of course bolted, but 2 hours later was right back, and she sat inside the trap all day while the snow came down. At around 3, we decided that the roads were clear enough to drive to the location, even though it was still snowing.  Game back on, new fresh food in the trap, and 2 hours later we had her!

If it weren’t for the snowstorm, I don’t know that Canada would have been ready to go into that trap for a while, but thankfully she did it when she did!  Sore feet, and a few sores on her ears from the cold, but otherwise healthy and ready for recovery!

Waiting for transport

The series of photos show how Canada is checking out the trap. One smart girl!

What is this?
Letting Canada being comfortable with the trap. Open both doors of the trap to let her go in and out!


Thank you Stacey for sharing Canada’s story.

2/2021

Tips for Dogs Lost From Car Accidents

It’s a terrifying thought. You are on an outing with your dog, enjoying the day, and all of a sudden your world is turned upside down because you have been involved in a car accident and your dog has been thrown from the vehicle.  Sadly, it is a fairly common occurance.  But there is hope!  This article will give you some tips on what we have learned from our experience regarding the best way to recover a dog lost from a car crash.

Due to the trauma of the crash, these dogs immediately fall into our “Shy Dog” profile and will generally behave as a shy, fearful dog, even though they may have a friendly personality. Dogs lost from car accidents are usually quite predictable in their actions and can be successfully recovered if everyone who is helping the owner understands lost dog behavior and agrees to follow some guidelines. Unfortunately, sometimes the owner is in the hospital and is unable to assist in the recovery.  Without strong, educated leadership from the volunteers helping, the recovery efforts can swiftly go off course.

The first thing to remember is that dogs lost from car accidents do not usually venture far from the scene of the crash. They may bolt at first but then they usually hide and may creep back to the crash location shortly after the accident (often the first night).  OR they may go further afield but then circle back around to the crash site in the upcoming days.

Use scent articles (the dog’s bed, toys and dirty articles of the owner’s clothing or bed sheets). This will help will keep the dog in the area.  Place them near the crash site but well away from the road along with smelly, tasty food and water.

RULE NUMBER ONE*:  Never call, chase, whistle, pressure or pursue a scared lost dog.  You risk chasing him away from the area and possibly into traffic, endangering his life.  The most frequent mistake we see is well-meaning but uninformed Good Samaritans who want to jump in to help but do all of the wrong things, including bringing large groups of people (search parties) or strange dogs, ATV’s, horses, drones, etc. to the site of the crash.  This invariably drives the dog out of the area, requiring the owner or the volunteers to flyer an ever expanding radius.

Sometimes there are people who wish to profit off the situation and will offer services for a fee. Make absolutely sure they are knowledgable and reputable before enlisting them. Make sure that they aren’t going to do any of the things listed above (tracking dogs, drones, etc.) It may be wiser to avoid fee-based services altogether because it can be difficult to do the due diligence required to check them out during this stressful time.

Generating Sightings

Instead of “searching”, volunteers should be enlisted to quickly print and deliver flyers or do driveway drops in the surrounding neighborhoods to try to generate sightings in case the dog does not quickly return to the crash site.

Make sure there is a reminder on the flyer that people should not call or chase the dog. They should simply call the number on the flyer immediately.    The greatest risk to a shy lost dog is that he will be chased into traffic and killed. The second greatest risk to a shy lost dog is that he will be chased into a body of water or onto thin ice and will drown. Do not offer a reward for your missing dog (click herefor more info) .  Rewards encourage people to chase the dog and can lead to the problems mentioned above.

Unfortunately, flyering is not as emotionally rewarding as trying to catch the dog, and the volunteers recruited to flyer may lose interest quickly and disappear. If the owner lives far away, or is in the hospital, they may be unable to flyer themselves and they may give up due to logistical or financial reasons.  Social media is wonderful but hand delivering flyers door to door in the area where the dog is missing is the Number One way that lost dogs are found. Posting flyers on bulletin boards and utility poles is not enough and may be illegal.  Affixing flyers to poles is dangerous to the utility workers.

Intersection signs are also very useful to alert passing motorists about the missing dog.  Remember to get permission before using intersection signs or you may be disappointed when they are taken down because they violate municipal ordinances or home owners’ association rules.

If you live outside the area, and your volunteer helpers are unwilling to do the hard work of door to door flyering, you may need to use a service such as the United State’s Postal Service Every Door Direct Mail.  Read more here.  There are other services available also, such as Pet Harbor’s Postcard service.  Details are here. Robo-calling services, although very useful in years past, have diminshed in effectiveness because of the increased use of cell phones and the decreased use of landlines. We no longer feel they are an effective way to get the word out.  People also tend to ignore voicemail messages that they perceive to be spam.

What if I See the Dog? 

If you see the dog, immediately sit on the ground facing away from him and toss a few tasty treats behind you.  Do not make eye contact and speak softly or not at all.  It may take a few minutes, or a few hours, but the dog may approach you. They will usually approach from behind. Most people give up too soon and then stand up and start walking towards the dog and chase him away.  Be patient! But if he doesn’t approach and you have to leave, put a few treats on the ground and leave the area without looking at the dog.  Allowing him to settle and relax is a far better strategy than trying to chase him.  Lost dogs that aren’t being chased will make wise decisions and may survive indefinitely.

When is Too Much Media Coverage Too Much of a Good Thing? 

Car crash lost dog cases elicit a lot of sympathy from the public, social media and traditional media.   Unfortunately this can work against your efforts.  Highly publicized lost dog cases often backfire. Too much media can be detrimental to your lost dog search because the additional pressure from the public can chase your dog out of the flyered area or worse yet, into the path of traffic. The dog may also become nocturnal resulting in fewer sightings. Read more here.

Be patient. Dogs lost from car accidents may hunker down for a day or two and then creep back to the site of the crash – lured by the tasty food and scent items you left.

Please read through the rest of our articles on Shy Lost Dog Strategies and Humane Trapping.  Never give up!  Your lost dog is counting on you to bring him safely home.

*The only exception to this rule may be when you know the dog has been seriously injured in the crash. Only in this circumstance should a shoulder to shoulder grid search be used to search for the injured dog who may be hunkered down and hiding. Unfortunately, shoulder to shoulder grid searches are usually improperly done and the hiding hurt dog is not found because the walking searchers were too widely spaced.

Annie, the dog featured in the photo above was successfully recovered after being lost from a truck roll over in Wisconsin.  Read the owner’s story here.

Our tips, ideas and articles are based on information gathered from thousands of successful lost dog recoveries. Any advice or suggestions made by Lost Dogs of Wisconsin/Lost Dogs Illinois is not paid-for professional advice and should be taken at owner’s discretion.

Patience, setting up a feeding station, creating a safe zone and luring Minnie to safety!

Minnie was what we call a “Kentucky Stray”.  She was transported from a high kill shelter in one of the states south of Illinois and brought up to a rescue.  Minnie went into a foster home but unfortunately escaped.  Dogs who are used to being out on their own take time and patience to get them comfortable with a home environment.
Flyers were posted when Minnie first went missing.  Calls were coming in and her foster mom would rush to the location but she would be long gone by the time anyone got there. Minnie was figuring out where to find her necessities; food, water and shelter.
After she was missing for about a week and a half, a group of volunteers offered to start mapping the sightings, doing more flyers, and doing “driveway drops” hear sighting locations.   She was very, very, close to her home but a busy street was between the area where she was living and her home.
With the flyers and drops, more sightings came in and a pattern of location and time started to emerge.  She seemed to travel at night, which is very common  for dogs in survival mode.  It keeps them safer from predators, including humans.  It’s quieter at night…
While looking at her pattern, we noticed a few houses on Caton Farm that had pole barns.  One of the volunteers knocked on a door and asked if she could look around the property.  The owners were eager to help and let us do whatever we needed.  The volunteer found a pole barn, with an opening in the back. She also found several canine prints that were Minnie’s size, along with some dog poop.  The home owners had dogs but said theirs did not go back to that part of the yard.  The back of the pole barn was alone a fence line, and on the other side of the fence was a subdivision of town homes where there had been sightings of Minnie.  She was definitely there.  We thought maybe staying in the pole barn for shelter.

Signs that a dog was living there.

Minnie’s safe place.

Using a crock pot of smelly food to keep Minnie in the area. It was very cold out.

Since the flyers were doing their job, the next step was food and a game camera.  A camera was put up on Friday and food was trailed into the subdivision and along the fence where we thought she was traveling. Saturday morning proved what we thought.  Minnie showed up the night before and was eating the food.  That night a trap was deployed, more food trailed and within a half hour of setting it all up she was back.  It took a short time for her to decided she wanted the yummy chicken legs in the back of the trap and she was safely caught!

Minnie checking out the trap

Minnie trapped safe!

After a week and a half of trying to catch a glimpse of her when the sightings were called in, more flyers went up on day 13, driveway drops done on day 14, sightings mapped on day 15, camera and feeding station on day 16 and safely trapped on day 17.  Following the advice of Lost Dogs Illinois and Helping Lost Pets make this a textbook rescue.  Minnie was eventually adopted by her foster family and is now known as Lucy and is loving life.

Minnie now called Lucy

Thank you, Elaine, for sharing Minnie’s story.

When Every Thing Goes Right – Capture of Leia

When a good friend and someone I have learned much from, Katie C, reached out to me to help with another loose rescue pup name Leia. I said yes. We followed our usual routine and started  a group message with volunteers and the rescue. The rescue was totally engaged in doing whatever was needed and as was the foster family. This in itself helps the whole process in general. Sometimes we use the word “textbook” loosely because when helping with a lost dog anything and everything can happen. But , I do know this. There are some steps that have proven to make the journey easier. Leia went loose on a Saturday and was safely trapped by Tuesday morning

Steps taken:

  1. Flyer. Flyer. Flyer. (This was done immediately for Leia)
  2. Sightings start coming in

    Leia being sighted in a backyard.

  3. Speak with callers and get better details. Leia was seen several times in yards where flyers had been given to homeowners. Guess what? They called.
  4. We established a good area for a feeding station and camera and trap. All the meanwhile still flyering.
  5. Learned and saw for our own eyes Leia in the area and actually engaging the zip tied trap baited with irrestable food. We knew she was comfortable and….
  6. Set and watched the trap.
  7. Safely trapped Leia

Leia checking out the trap!

 

 

 

 

 

Gotcha Leia

 

 

To say this went like clockwork is true. Flyers generated sightings. Sightings told us areas where she was. Homeowners were willing to allow us to use the tools we needed. Finally, patience and observation helped us capture Leia safely.

 

 

Thank you, Rosanne, for sharing Leia’s story.

LDI Tips, Supporters Help Bring Rosie Home After 11 Days

Rosie snoozing

Rosie snoozing

Susan Hochgraber was so thrilled to see her Belgian Malinois again after 11 days that she almost didn’t mind the “guests” Rosie brought home with her.

Almost.

“Ugh, the emergency vet found 20 ticks on her the day we got her back,” Hochgraber said. “Then 10 more the next day, and our regular vet found eight more after that. Other than the ticks and a few cuts on her paws, though, she was OK.”

Hochgraber, a canine massage therapist from Midlothian, Ill., had barely had time to get to know the dog she rescued January 15, 2016 before Rosie escaped on April 12.

“Rosie had been rescued from the streets. It took a week and a half just to get her comfortable living with me,” Hochgraber said. “We had just finished her third week of obedience training when she escaped.”

Hochgraber had noticed that Rosie was beginning to jump at fences, so she instructed her dog walker to take off Rosie’s leash only after she had gotten the dog into the house. But the dog walker unleashed Rosie in the yard that day.

Rosie promptly jumped Hochgraber’s 4-ft.-high fence into a neighbor’s yard, and then double-jumped the neighbor’s gate fence into the street. She was gone in a flash.

Hochgraber turned to Lost Dogs Illinois,  FindFido’s service, Facebook, friends and neighbors, police departments in surrounding suburbs, and Perfect Pooches, a Chicago-area dog rescue and adoption agency, for advice on getting Rosie back.

“I did everything everyone suggested – flyers, postings, everything,” Hochgraber said. “People reported a lot of sightings, particularly around a park about two blocks from my house, and especially around one of the five ball fields at that park.”

People also reported seeing Rosie along the Metra railroad tracks that run between Midlothian and Robbins. Rosie apparently followed those tracks down to Robbins, where a woman named Charita lives with her family.

“Charita had seen our flyer and called me when she saw Rosie on April 21,” Hochgraber said. “I drove to Robbins, turned a corner and saw Rosie out in a field.”

Hochgraber called out to her dog, which got Rosie’s attention; but when she made a move towards her, the dog bolted in the opposite direction.

Volunteers from Perfect Pooches helped Hochgraber set up humane traps and round-the-clock surveillance in Charita’s backyard and near an abandoned house next to her home. They figured it might be Rosie’s “quiet place,” where she went for the night.

Hochgraber placed Rosie’s blankets in the traps, as well as towels that had the scent of her other dog, a German Shepherd named Buddy. The volunteers baited the traps with some of Rosie’s toys and treats like hot dogs and BBQ chicken from KFC.

The first night, Rosie managed to get the food and even lie on a blanket left inside the trap without tripping the door. The next night, she lay down next to the trap.

Is this a trap?

Is this a trap?

The third night, April 23, Rosie lay down inside the trap. stretched out, and tripped the gate door shut. The volunteer on duty waited five minutes to make sure Rosie was inside before calling Hochgraber with the good news.

Rosie almost trapped

Rosie almost trapped

Hochgraber said she plans to replace her 4-ft. fence with a 6-footer. She put a GPS collar with a tracker on Rosie, “and she is always on leash now when she goes out,” Hochgraber said.

“I’m grateful to Lost Dogs Illinois for all the help and support I got,” Hochgraber said. “LDI suggested things I wouldn’t have thought of doing, such as putting flyers up at gas stations and other high-traffic locations. I am also grateful to all the people who came out and helped me search for my baby girl.”

She added that the people who follow the LDI Facebook page were nothing short of “amazing” with all their reports of sightings and notes of encouragement.

“Their support helped me get through 11 days of hell,” Hochgraber said.

by Lydia Rypcinski

What Can Go Wrong And What Can Go Right In Capturing A Lost Dog.

Stella’s rescue is such an important story to tell.  Both the family and Buddha Dog Recovery and Rescue hope that her story can help other families know what to do and what not to do when their pet goes missing.

When Stella went missing on May 13th, a recovery group out of CT urged the family to hire a tracker out of Rhode Island. After paying $450, this tracker told them that Stella was cornered and picked up and taken by someone. Terrified and heart broken at thought of Stella being taken, her family posted signs that Stella was stolen. The truth was, Stella was never picked up, never stolen…she had never left the area as confirmed by countless sightings that started pouring in. The tracker could not have been more wrong. When confronted with the numerous sightings, both the tracker and recovery groups go to answer as always, was that whomever had Stella, let her go. Once again, this recovery group urged the owners to bring this same tracker back out to track Stella AGAIN and still sticking to same bogus story that she had been picked up. Stella was being sighted in a concentrated area, on the same streets over and over and over for a couple of weeks. Instead of setting up much needed traps for Stella, this recovery group had the family doing pointless bacon burns morning, noon and night for several days with the hopes that Stella would just come out of hiding and come out for the owner. Finally, after weeks of wasting precious time, resulting in Stella traveling further away, the recovery group set up a trap that was far too small for Stella. Not only was the trap too small but it was not set up properly and was left unmonitored, leaving a possum in the trap overnight and in to the next day which caused Stella to move from that area…again!

It was at this point that Jenn and I were contacted by the family. New signs were made and the poster coverage was expanded miles out from her last known whereabouts. After almost a week of no sightings, we finally got the call we were waiting for, someone who saw Stella’s poster on facebook, saw her six and half miles away from where she was last seen. More posters went up and we began mapping her extensive travel and figuring out her travel patterns, which included running along and crossing dangerous route 84. We immediately set up traps and an enclosure in the woods alongside route 84, monitored with a wireless feed so that the area would remain undisturbed. We repeatedly got Stella on camera along with a host of her furry friends, which included a very unwelcome fisher cat, a fox, possum and three different cats. The traps were monitored around the clock and many sleepless nights in the car ensued, so that if any of these creatures set off the trap it would be immediately reset so as not to scare Stella off from the area. Not disclosing many of her sightings and the location of the traps were instrumental in Stella’s capture. Stella’s daily travel pattern was a ten mile straight line back and forth appearing at the trap every two to three days. One terrifying night we helplessly watched from a distance as she slept directly along side route 84 by the enclosure, one false move and she would run directly in to traffic. Finally, last night she appeared on camera for what would be her last time, I called Jenn who lived minutes from where our enclosure was set up and she was there momentarily to hear the door slam shut…Stella’s time on the run was finally over! I made the call to Stella’s family and through screams of joy they made their way to meet Jenn and be reunited with their sweet Stella. All the sleepless nights, the poison ivy and poison oak was worth it!!! If proper recovery steps had been taken in the beginning, Stella would never have been in such danger on route 84 and would have been home long ago. By sharing the full story of Stella’s rescue we hope to help other families.

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Thank you Buddha Dog Rescue and Recovery for giving us permission to print Stella’s Story.

Reva is Safe!

 

Reva enjoying her first dinner after being reunited.

Reva enjoying her first dinner after being reunited.

‘Reva is safe! She was brought to her new home on Friday, September 4th. Since getting there, her owner has walked the same route with her daily.

Because Reva came from a feral/skittish lifestyle, she took the opportunity to bolt when a door was opened. Her harness broke in a freak accident and she took off. For the next 8 hours, she was spotted looping the subdivision her house is in and the golf course behind it. Reva knew what way Dan walked her only after 3 short days. Routine is essential with a new dog, especially a timid one. Smart cookie.

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Dan and Denise quickly called the local police station as well as animal control. Flyers and posters went up, neighbors were asked not to chase her, but to call immediately with sightings. Reva came to the front and back of her new home 2 or 3 times. Her bed, fresh water and food were placed behind the house. We really believe not being chased kept her safe and in the area. As nightfall came, there weren’t any sightings of Reva for over 5 hours. A humane trap was set and baited behind the house next to her bed and Dan set watch. And then, an amazing phone call took place: Reva was in someone’s fenced in yard! The homeowners saw her, called Darien PD (which had Dan’s contact info and description of Reva) and Dan was able to pick her up from the house.

Accidents happen. Harnesses and leashes may break when you least expect it. We followed the advice our friends at LDI stress: do not chase and get the word out immediately. Because authorities were contacted, flyers stressing not to chase were posted and the neighbors didn’t disrupt Reva’s loop pattern, she is safe. Never underestimate the intelligence of a dog. Reva was able to retain her walking route only after a few short days, which is critical for a shy dog.

Thank you for the wonderful support, LDI!’

Thank you, Katie Campbell, for sharing Reva’s story!

 

Fireworks and Reuniting Lost Dogs with Their Families

aspcafireworks

Last year we were honored to present a free webinar for ASPCA Pro that included a lot of helpful information for shelters and owners for dogs that go missing after the fireworks on the 4th of July. Please feel free to share this link.
“In preparation for July 4, experts from Lost Dogs Illinois and Lost Dogs of Wisconsin will give you practical advice to offer support, resources, and tips to worried families searching for their lost dogs. Teaching people how to find their lost pets and avoid common mistakes can avoid heartbreak for many people and animals.
This free, 60-minute webinar will benefit staff and volunteers from any animal welfare agency.”

Click this link to view the webinar slides and access the webinar recording: http://www.aspcapro.org/webinar/2014-06-18/fireworks-rto

Luring a Shy, Lost Dog Using a Portable Grill

grillingforbryleeUsing a portable grill can be very helpful in catching a shy, scared dog. If you are getting sightings of your dog in a general area, we recommend setting up a feeding station. This can help to keep a lost dog in one area and eventually lead to capture. However, sometimes it is difficult to get a lost dog to find the feeding station. Grilling meats with a portable grill can help!

The smell of bacon or bratwurst cooking on a grill is very strong. Humans can pick up the scent of grilled meats when someone in the neighborhood is grilling out. Which means a hungry dog can also pick up that yummy, tempting scent, but from an even greater distance since dogs have a much better sense of smell than humans.

When you are grilling for a shy, lost dog, you must do it very quietly. You do not want to scare him out of the area. Pick a location near to where your dog’s sightings have been, but make sure it is an area that is people-free and safe for your dog (away from roadways, train tracks and thawing ponds). If your sightings have been consistent and you suspect that your dog is using a regular path of travel, then we recommend grilling near that pathway. This can improve your chances of your dog finding the tempting food. It is also important to get permission from the landowner to grill on their property. Make sure to read and abide by the grilling instructions included with your portable grill. Never leave a grill unattended.

Once you choose the location and receive permission from the owner of the property – you can begin. It is best to only have ONE person grilling to prevent your dog from getting scared away by the sounds of your voices. Remember, for a shy, lost dog – two’s a crowd! Once your grill is set up and the meat is cooking, quietly sit in the area for as long as it takes to cook. When the meat is cooked, you can place it on the ground or in your dog’s dish. If possible, set up a trail camera facing the grilled food, so you will know who has stopped by to eat and when (set the time/date function on the camera).

Don’t be disappointed if your dog does not find the food within 24 hours. Just grill quietly again the next day and leave the area. If your dog is seen eating the grilled food, it is important to continue to keeep yummy, tempting food at this location. He or she will be sure to stop by again for more. Once you know that your dog is coming to this feeding station on a regular basis, you can consider setting up a humane live trap near the food. Please see our articles on humane trapping for details.

Good luck and happy grilling! Remember, your lost dog is depending on YOU to bring him safely home.

Colleen Duero, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin Volunteer