Not All Stray Dogs Are Homeless

Two weeks ago, my brother started to notice a skittish shepherd running loose in his district at night. He began to leave food for her when he figured out her route. This smart girl was going through a hole in the fence of a trucking lot where she likely bedded under a trailer for warmth and safety. Any attempt to approach her was met with her fleeing.


FiFi at her feeding station. Using a rubbermaid container to protect the food.

FiFi laying next to her feeding station.

Last week I came to try to trap this sweet girl with my brother. I set the trap up under the trailer where she usually darted under. She’d be hungry and it would be quick. Not so fast! She didn’t even touch a morsel of the warm food trailed in. The trap was new in her spot and spooked her.  So, we placed a camera and bungeed the trap open-ended with food in the middle.


Fifi getting use to the trap.

Within 2 nights, it was evident that she was comfortable with the trap; she walked in and out to eat with ease. Last Wednesday night, before the snowfall, we baited and set the trap just at about 1:15am. Like clockwork, she showed up. We pulled away, shut the car off and silenced our phones. Within MINUTES, she was caught! Our patience prevailed!

Fifi caught in the trap.

FiFi trapped.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have a microchip. She was thin, matted and covered in burrs, but walked beautifully on leash and was used to being in a car. I posted her to Lost Dogs Illinois and took her for a check-up and to get cleaned up at the vet thanks to Trio. She was then transferred to a local open-access shelter for her stray hold.
5 days later, I received a phone call, text and email- someone thought it may be their lost dog, Fifi. Fifi went missing on 11/19/2016. After exchanging pictures, it was evident that this was her! Fifi traveled over 4 miles from her home when her gate was accidentally left open. She likely traveled a long running route her owner takes with her that lead her to where we trapped her.
Her owner hung flyers near their house, not realizing the far distance she had traveled. He was then looking through the ‘Is This Your Lost Dog’ album on LDI’s Facebook page when he saw my post. She was missing for 3+ weeks!
Fifi is now microchipped and safe with her owners. She cried out in delight and coated them in kisses when they were reunited at the shelter. It was truly beautiful.

FiFi’s reunion pic!

When shy/skittish dogs are lost, they travel a lot at night, when there are less people out to notice. I am truly thankful for my brother and other CPD officers who spotted her. Without a feeding station being set, she may have left the area. Fifi also reminded us of the importance of patience with lost and stray dogs. She went into the trap on her own time and comfort level. Fifi’s owners never gave up looking for her 3 weeks after she went missing. They were persistent!
Huge thank you to Lost Dogs IL– without your group’s existence, Fifi may have never made it home. Your network has such a large and wonderful impact, and truly made a family whole again. Thank you for continuing to preserve the human-animal bond and helping us remember to think lost, not homeless.
Thank you Katie Campbell for sharing your most excellent trapping and reunion.