Tag Archives: prevention

Pet Extravaganza – June 4, 2016 – Responsible Pet Ownership

Alderman Ariel E. Reboyras, State Representative Jaime Andrade and City of Chicago Animal Care and Control co-hosted a low-cost vaccine and microchip clinic, Saturday, June 4th.  Lost Dogs Illinois was invited to provide FREE engraved ID tags for each dog and cats who received vaccinations and/or a microchip.  Each tag along with the rabies tag was attached to the dog’s or cat’s collar before leaving the clinic.  Also each participant received our 5 Things to do if you lost a dog or found a dog.  Over 100 dogs and cats were chipped and tagged!

 

Collage of photos from the event.

Collage of photos from the event.

 

Losing and Finding Jimmy – Reaching out to Lost Dogs of America/Lost Dogs Illinois

Jimmy

Jimmy

Two weeks ago, Lost Dogs Illinois received an email from a woman located in Seattle, Washington who needed help in capturing her shy, scared and confused dog named Jimmy.  We exchanged emails several times giving advice and suggestions.  We asked her to share her story.  Welcome Home Jimmy!

LOSING JIMMY

At the end of July 2015, I got two little dogs who had been rescued from a puppy mill:  Ladybug, a rat terrier breeder (who was due to be euthanized by the breeder because she was too old to have any more litters); and Jimmy, a one-year-old toy fox terrier (TFT).  I have had a lot of dogs, but they have all been big, bouncy, confident dogs (mostly mixed breeds).  Having small dogs was a new experience for me but, by Thanksgiving, I felt like both dogs were really integrated into our family.

The night before the holiday, I took both dogs with me to visit a family member who lived in an apartment about five miles away from my home.  I couldn’t find a leash for Ladybug in the house, but knew there was one in my car.  At the last minute, however, I wound up riding with someone else and forgot to get the leash.  I was a little concerned, but Ladybug always stays close to me when she is off leash (which is only when we are going from the front door to the car or vice versa), and even if she goes sniffing around the driveway, she always comes immediately when I call.  So I figured it would be okay.  Let’s call this “Big Mistake #1.”  ALWAYS HAVE PROPER RESTRAINTS ON YOUR DOG WHENEVER YOU TRAVEL ANYWHERE.

We got to the apartment without any mishaps and spent a couple of hours visiting and making appetizers for the next day.  The dogs seemed happy scrounging for scraps under the kitchen table.  I was feeling a little lazy and the apartment was a second-floor walkup, so I asked my hostess if she would take the two dogs for a pee break.  Big Mistake #2.  NEVER ASSUME THAT YOUR DOG WILL BE COMFORTABLE WITH ANYONE, EVEN SOMEONE THEY ALREADY KNOW.

I asked if we shouldn’t put the harness on Jimmy, instead of just a collar, but my hostess thought it would be okay.  Big Mistake #3.  A FRIGHTENED DOG CAN GET ALMOST ALWAYS GET OUT OF A COLLAR.  MAKE SURE YOUR DOG IS SECURE.

As they were leaving, it was clear that the dogs didn’t want to go with my hostess.  They were obviously distressed, but after a few seconds, she seemed to have them under control, so I was relieved and let them go.  Big Mistake #4.  LISTEN TO YOUR DOG – IF HE DOESN’T WANT TO GO WITH SOMEONE, DON’T MAKE HIM!  (I now realize that my dogs were thinking – “they are trying to take me away from my human,” so of course they were scared.)

After a few minutes, we thought we heard my hostess shouting outside.  One of the other guests went down to the street, but didn’t see anything and came back up.  We waited for them all to come back, but they didn’t.  At some point we realized that our hostess had left her cell phone in the apartment (can we say Big Mistake #5?).  IF YOU HAVE A CELL PHONE, KEEP IT WITH YOU WHENEVER YOU ARE WITH YOUR DOG OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSE OR YARD – YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU MIGHT NEED HELP (ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE NOT IN YOUR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD).

After about 45 minutes, our hostess appeared, breathless and upset.  She said she had lost both of the dogs and we should come look for them.  As we arrived at the front door, Ladybug appeared.  Our hostess took her upstairs and the rest of us went looking.  Needless to say, we couldn’t find Jimmy anywhere, although a couple of people reported seeing him running.  We gave up and went back to the apartment.  Jimmy was lost.

FINDING JIMMY

We spent the next three days looking for Jimmy.  There are plenty of resources that can tell you how to conduct a successful search, but please let me summarize our actions and tell you what worked the best.

  • Wednesday night, we put a posting up on craigslist (we got two reported sightings from this posting)
  • I also started posting Jimmy’s picture on Facebook and Twitter and people started re-posting the notice
  • Thursday morning we printed off some posters with Jimmy’s picture and posted them on telephone poles and in a 24-hour vet clinic in the area (we got two sightings from posters)
  • Friday I went to the neighborhood and sat in my car and called Jimmy from two locations – this was wasted effort
  • There is a lot of foot traffic in this neighborhood, so Saturday morning, we ran off some quarter-sheet flyers so we could give them to people
  • We also set up a public Facebook page to coordinate information and invited lots and lots of people to “like” the page (according to FB metrics, this page reached more than 350 people; although it didn’t make a lot of difference in finding Jimmy, I started getting hundreds of messages every day from people who wanted to show their support – that made a big difference in keeping me going and not just sitting around being depressed and guilty about losing my dog)
  • Saturday, we got a call for a sighting in an area about six blocks away from where Jimmy was lost – we focused on handing out flyers to people in the street and putting them on parked cars
  • Saturday night, I went back to the area and just sat in my car for about five hours – mostly so I could just be in the area and again this was wasted time and energy
  • Sunday we went back to handing out flyers and found out that the Saturday sighting had pointed us in the wrong direction – we had focused on the blocks east of the sighting when we should have gone west – we went back and started passing out flyers
  • Almost immediately, I got a call from someone who said Jimmy had been hanging out in yards on her block (on both sides of the street) – we went to visit the person and learned that he had been hanging around since Saturday – Jimmy was found!

RECOVERING JIMMY

Around the time we tracked Jimmy down to one small area, someone sent me the article on Shy and Elusive Dogs.  I sent an email using the links on the website (lostdogsofamerica.org) and received a response from the Director of Lost Dogs Illinois.  I finally understood that calling Jimmy was not going to make him come running.  Jimmy was viewing humans – all humans – as predators, so we needed to let people know that they shouldn’t try to call him or coax him or catch him.

The neighbor who had first contacted me said that Jimmy had mostly been seen in three yards on the other side of the street.  She suggested that we set up a feeding station for him in the middle house and I went and met the homeowner.  He had seen Jimmy coming in and out of his yard and had already put out food.  By Sunday evening, the food and water were in the yard, tucked away under a bush.

Monday morning I dropped off some food from home and a well-scented blanket.  During the day, our volunteer advisers from Lost Dogs of America sent me text for people in the neighborhood and I created this flyer.  After work, I went and handed it out to each house on the block and talked with as many people as I could.  I stopped off in the yard with the feeding station and saw that the homeowner had also put out a small dog carrier and put the blanket inside of it.

poster with instructions-revised-1

Thank you Lost Dogs of Wisconsin. This letter has been used in several lost dog recoveries both in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Tuesday, I got a call from the homeowner.  He had seen Jimmy quite a few times and it looked like someone had slept in the carrier.  He also said that there were little paw prints all over his porch and that Jimmy had popped on the welcome mat.  He took this as a sign that Jimmy was feeling a little more secure in that yard.  I also got a call from the neighbor across the street, who was going every day to put wet food on the ground near the feeding station.  We all agreed to just keep up the feedings.  I also contacted our City Animal Control department, which is able to set humane traps to catch elusive dogs.  The trapping officer only works Wednesday through Saturday, so I left a message for her to contact me.

Wednesday there were more sightings in the three yards.  One person said Jimmy had actually gone up onto her deck for a little while.  I was glad to hear that he seemed to be staying put, but I was also really missing my pup and kept thinking about him getting hit by a car.  It was a hard night.

Thursday morning, I decided that I needed to try to make contact, so that at least Jimmy would know that I hadn’t abandoned him.  I took the day off and got to the yard with the food around 9 a.m.  I bundled up in another funky blanket and lay down on the porch.  I had only been there a few minutes when Jimmy appeared.  I ignored him and he paused when he saw me on the porch, but went on to grab some food and left.

I stayed buried in the blanket and peeked out.  He kept coming back every few minutes.  I decided to cover my head too so I wouldn’t be tempted to make eye contact.  After about ten minutes I heard a little whine and when I peeked out, Jimmy was very cautiously approaching me.  He was obviously frightened, so I didn’t do anything except lift the blanket in a little bit.  He snuck in and kept sniffling.  By the time he was all the way under the blanket, he knew it was me.

I let Jimmy lick my face for a few minutes and then made him put on the harness I had ready.  That’s pretty much the whole story.  He was a little skinny, but checked out okay when I took him to the vet.  I feel extremely lucky, knowing how many lost dogs never make it home.  You can believe I will be putting all the lessons I learned into effect and remembering all of my Big Mistakes.  Thankfully, while we were looking for Jimmy, someone sent me the article from the Lost Dogs of America website about shy and elusive dogs, or I don’t think we would have successfully recovered my dog.

So Jimmy’s owner sent this last tip to me:  We have never used this before – but whatever it takes……..About scent marking for a stray dog:  It’s standard advice to scent mark in the area where the dog has been seen, especially if you have set up a feeding station.  I’ve see suggestions to use a dirty piece of clothing or a blanket from home.  Personally, as I tend to think like a dog, I believe that urine is the best scent marker.  Just pee into a disposable cup and then transfer the urine to a little dropper or squirt bottle – the kind that eye drops or nose spray come in is perfect (then put the filled dropper bottle inside a Ziploc bag in case of leaking).  It only takes a few drops in different locations in the area where the dog has been sighted — try to renew the markings once a day.  Just make sure that the drops form into a “trail” leading back to the yard where the dog is being fed.  You may think that the dog doesn’t know what your urine smells like, but you’re wrong.  Your dog’s nose will tell him that you have been there.

Why We Do Not Endorse Lost Dog Tracking Devices and Tag

The Garmin  GTU - 10. Soon to be useless! It is still offered through 3rd party websites. Don't waste your money!

Thanks to the power of social media and the loyalty of our fans,   Lost Dogs Illinois, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin  and the sister organizations of  Lost Dogs of America have developed a very large Facebook following and audience (over 200,000 Facebook fans).   Many product developers contact us hoping that we will endorse their products.  The lost pet product market is booming.  Distraught owners will spend a lot of money both before and after their beloved pet goes missing.

These new devices range from nifty, high-tech ID tags to complicated GPS tracking devices that you affix to a collar.  The problem is that they all rely on a company that may or may not be around in a couple of years. Competition amongst these companies is fierce. Many will fail. I want to take a few minutes to share my story.

I have a high-flight risk dog named Pixie.  We often leave Pixie at a boarding kennel when we are out of town so my husband felt that purchasing  a collar tracking device would give us peace of mind while we were away.

My husband did the research on several devices and  purchased a GTU-10 mobile tracking device from a trusted company, Garmin. It cost about $200 and required a $50 yearly service fee.   The pros of the device: highly accurate, waterproof, easy to attach to the collar.   The cons:  a short battery life when it was in “search” mode, and it was fairly large and heavy for a small dog.

Regardless, we were happy with it. Until recently.

A visit to the Garmin website revealed the following message.  (We did not receive any notification from Garmin).

Here is what they have said:  “The connected services provider for your GTU 10 has determined to cease operations of its 2G network by approximately Jan. 1, 2016. Unfortunately, the third-party services necessary to support the network connectivity operations of your GTU 10 unit will be impacted. At this time, there is no viable alternative of such services; therefore, after such date your GTU10 unit will no longer be operational. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

The device will be useless by January 1, 2016. They are not going to offer a replacement device and they have not offered any sort of credit or refund despite my phone calls to their customer service department. One of the customer service representatives actually had a “too bad, so sad” attitude that we had spent several hundred dollars with Garmin and are now going to have a useless device.

Lesson learned and let this be a warning to all. GPS and cellular phone technology is changing so rapidly that many companies that are here today will be gone tomorrow. Although Garmin is not going out of business, the company that provided the support services for the GTU-10 is and apparently there is no viable alternative.

The best way to protect your dog is with a good old-fashioned visible ID tag (not a fancy gizmo tag that connects to a service) and a microchip from one of the 5 big reputable companies (Datamars, Home Again, AVID, 24 Petwatch or AKC) that has your current information registered.  If your dog goes missing, get the word out using old-fashioned flyers and  intersection signs.  Based on our 5 years of operation, flyers and signs are the Number One way that lost dogs are found.

Kathy Pobloskie, Director and Co-Founder Lost Dogs of Wisconsin; Co -Founder and Co-Director of Lost Dogs of America

Revisit the ordinance to reduce the stray hold period for cats and dogs in Chicago

As most of our followers know, we supported and reposted the petition for Mayor Emanuel and Chicago City Council to revisit the ordinance to reduce the stray hold period for cats and dogs. We want to explain why we agree with the petition.

Last November we voiced our concerns on our Facebook page about the ordinance being passed by the budget committee. We asked our supporters to contact their aldermen and the Mayor to ask them to table it for public discussion. The next Wednesday our director attended the meeting to voice her concerns during public comments and was dismayed to find out that no public comments were allowed. The resolution was passed with 49 ayes. Alderman Pope moved to reconsider the foregoing vote. Motion was lost.

Slide1

What could have been done differently?

First of all, the Mayor and the Aldermen could have set aside the ordinance and asked the Commission of Chicago Animal Care and Control (advisory board) to research ways to increase the return-to- owner rates for Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC).

Here are some ideas that other cities have adopted to increase their return-to-owners rates. (tax dollars being spent wisely)

  1. Offer a “Free Ride Home Program.” Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Washoe County (NV) have similar programs. Animal Care staff will give a pet one free ride home per year if it is wearing a City pet license. No ticket will be issued for the first time licensed pets run at large. This puts licensing in a positive light showing the benefits of what it can do for an owner and their pet.
  2. Offer free or low cost ($5.00) microchip clinics. Washoe County, Nevada offered one year of free microchips and saw a 30% increase in their return to owner rates. (Side note: CA based Found Animal Foundation offers $4.95 microchip with free lifetime registration) In a recent study of US animal shelters, 52.2% of stray dogs and 38.5% stray cats with registered microchips were reunited.
  3. ID Me programs – ASPCA study found shelters that provide engraved ID tags with collars at the time of adoption or redemption show that pet owners will keep the collar w/tags on their pets which provides instant identification.

These are just a few simple suggestions to increase a shelter’s return-to- owner rate. There are many more.

We would like to have these questions answered regarding the reduced stray hold:

  1. Where was the discussion on how this would affect hundreds of thousands of families and their loved family pets in Chicago?
  2. What are the safeguards if a family of a dog or cat of “unknown ownership” comes in after the stray hold with proof of ownership? Can they get their dog or cat back? What is the procedure?
  1. Animal Welfare League (AWL) is the one of three non-city agencies that holds animals for City of Chicago. They do not post photos of found animals. Are the animals held for 3 days at AWL and then transferred to CACC to be held for another 3 days or does the stray hold clock start clicking at AWL.
  2. Because the new ordinance states “In the event the executive director determines that an animal of unknown ownership suffers from severe behavioral issues, the executive director may allow any disposition, of the animal after three days.” What is the definition of severe behavioral issues? What are the qualifications of the person who is determining these behavioral issues?
  3. Finally, where was the public campaign to explain this ordinance to citizens who considered their pets loved family members?

Many lost pets go unclaimed because it is virtually impossible for the average citizen to figure out the “system” in Chicago and Cook County. The owners are looking, but not in the right place, they don’t know where to look and the shelters make the false assumption that the animal is a “stray” or has been “dumped”. Factor in that a large percentage of the urban population speak limited English, have limited finances, transportation and computer access. They may work two jobs or shift work, and cannot visit the stray holding facility during normal business hours. This makes it difficult for people to claim their animals. The reduced stray hold exacerbates the problem.

Again, we are asking that you continue to sign and share the petition. Please send in your questions and comments to your aldermen and the Mayor. Thank you for your support and taking the time to read our blog.

City of Chicago Aldermen

rahm.emanuel@cityofchicago.org  Mayor

@ChicagosMayor Twitter

Mayor’s Facebook Page

susana.mendoza@cityofchicago.org  City Clerk

City Clerk’s Facebook Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby, it’s Cold Outside – Keep Your Dog Safe

Baby, it’s Cold Outside – Keep Your Dog Safe

jasper

 

 

 

 

 

With the weather becoming blustery, dog owners might consider the following safety tips:

  1. Keep ID tags on your dog at all times along with a properly fitted collar – personal ID tag, Rabies/license tag, and microchip tag.  If your dog gets lost, you want the person who finds your dog to be able to easily contact or find you.
  2. Make sure your dog is microchipped and the chip is registered to you.  A microchip is a tiny chip implanted between your dog’s shoulder blades; it can be scanned and used to identify your dog.  Don’t forget to update your contact information with the microchip registry if you move.  (If you adopted your dog from an animal shelter, he/she may be already microchipped. Check your adoption records or ask your veterinarian to scan your dog for a microchip.)
  3. Use a sturdy, traditional leash; slip the loop of the leash over your right thumb and close your fingers tightly around the loop.  Use left hand to hold the leash further down.   if she/he tries to bolt, you have both hands on the leash.
  4. When children are walking the dog, they should not only be old enough to understand the safety precautions, but also physically strong enough to handle the dog if he/she attempts to bolt.
  5. If you let your dog out into a fenced yard, check the fence on a routine basis to make sure it is secure.  Winds and snow can damage your fence.
  6. Be extra cautious with shy/timid dogs.  When walking them, make sure they have a properly fitted martingale collar along with a harness; either hook the harness and collar together with one leash or leash separately.  Both collar and harness should have ID tags.

Bundle up and enjoy!

Harnessing The Energy – Part 2

How can rescues and shelters prevent  high flight risk dogs from escaping from new adopters, foster homes and even their own facilities? And how can they correctly react when a dog does go missing?

These next few articles will focus on this, starting on how a shelter or rescue can prepare their staff, foster homes, and new adopters for high flight risk dogs.

1. Microchip every dog as soon as it becomes available for adoption, and ENROLL the microchip to the new owner. Some microchip companies do this for free, others have a charge. Offset the cost by adding the enrollment charge (if there is one) into the adoption fee. Simply sending the dog out the door with the paperwork is not enough. Most people have good intentions but may lose the dog before they get the microchip paperwork sent in. They may have just plunked down several hundred dollars for an adoption fee and supplies. The microchip paperwork may get set aside until the next payday and by then it might be too late.

2. Put visible identification on every foster or newly adopted dog before it leaves. ASPCA research shows that 89% of newly adopted pets were still wearing the tags a shelter or rescue put on them six weeks after adoption.

3. Use a martingale collar on every dog (see photo above). These are great for the shy dog that has learned to back out of a standard collar. Also, consider using a sensation harness along with a martingale collar (either by using two leads or clip the lead to both O rings) for those that are extremely high risk.

4. Educate your foster homes and new adopters on the challenges of high flight risk dogs. Put together a packet of information for them to include in their adoption paperwork. Here is a sample from Lost Dogs Illinois that you can use.

Read part 3 https://www.lostdogsillinois.org/harnessing-the-energy-part-3/

Previous article https://www.lostdogsillinois.org/harnessing-the-energy-part-1/