Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing Lucy’s story.
Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing Lucy’s story.
Last February, Ace was being transported from Oklahoma to his new home in Wisconsin. Ace’s family met the transporter at the Petro gas station in Rochelle off Illinois-39. Ace backed out of his collar and escaped.
Below is the map of Ace’s sightings. You will note that Ace stayed in close proximity of where he went missing (Petro station just left of the cloverleaf). Residents were told to let Ace settle in the area, keep a feeding station going and soon a trap was set up (yellow marker). Ace was caught almost immediately after the trap was set up. It was a Safe and Happy Reunion!
Click here to read more about Tips for Dogs that are lost other than home.
This area of the western suburb was very busy with traffic, businesses and restaurants and close to the expressways. It was a dangerous area for her to be lost in because she could have easily darted into traffic and been hit. The owners lived some distance from the area where she got loose and for the first week did not really know how to proceed. A few calls had been made to the local police of sightings but the owners thought animal control would catch Juno. They reached out to the previous foster who reached out for help.
A week later flyering was started and a pattern began to emerge. Juno had settled near a brewery, Ikea and some brush and water. A feeding station and cameras were used to help determine better times when Juno would emerge and show herself. Employees saw her and called and were gently reminded to not chase Juno or feed her because a plan of action was in place to capture her safely.
A humane trap was set up with food for Juno. She was initially interested and realized the food was near. She ate some, circled some, left and came back and tested her surroundings even though she knew the noises, the cars and her routine. She would stick her head in and out. Juno was always alert and would also stretch her legs far out even when engaging the trap. After some time, it seemed she was so close but the door bounced down and Juno spooked! She ran away and did not come back that night or the next day.
We kept the feeding station with a trap set and watched but Juno wanted nothing to do with it. Flyering continued. It was decided to just keep the cameras out and food available without the trap, to give Juno more time to feel comfortable and eat. It worked. She came back several times day/night.
Susan from Lost Dogs Illinois donated their outdoor kennel which her husband had refurbished to make a trap with a guillotine door. These traps are sometimes used for scared skittish pups and or for pups that may have spooked from conventional humane traps). Because the traps are large and harder to transport, there use takes time and planning.
Two volunteers, Frank and Tom worked on the trap and added a laser trip function, which runs on a battery charger and 120lb magnetic door. We were able to transport this to the area where Juno was feeding. We assembled it and got cameras up to monitor Juno’s behavior. Everyone volunteered their time to monitor the cameras and trap. We never leave a trap set and unattended for safety.
After the trap was set up, it took Juno a full two days to get used to it. (This could go quick or for some dogs takes days, weeks or longer of slowly moving food inside). On night one Juno was very aware the food was in and around the trap. She did her dance around the trap and left and came for approximately 5 hours, then left until the following evening. When she returned, she did alot of the same back and forth. But, all kinds of good food eventually overcame her fear and and she safely entered the trap. Gotcha!
Even though Juno got loose from an unfamiliar area she still stuck fairly close ( within a 2 to 3 mile area). Flyers generated calls about sightings, cameras helped track a pattern and feeding stations kept Juno coming back. The patience of using the right trapping procedure paid off. This sweet pup was off the street!
Pepper is a very friendly Shih Tzu that got loose from her owner to chase a rabbit as her owner was attaching a tie out line. Pepper’s home is in a small subdivision next to another small subdivision in an industrial area on the outskirts of town. She ran off on Monday, 3/15.
A neighbor a few streets down saw Pepper and yelled at her to “Go Home”. Pepper bolted back towards the front of the subdivision. Pepper’s owners searched and searched and not finding Pepper anywhere, they put out food and scent items. In the days following, they got fliers and intersections signs out. Nothing. Fear and doubt set in.
The industrial park has constant traffic, active train tracks and 24 hour semi traffic at a shipping hub. Four days later, on Friday, someone said they had seen her at a building in the front of the industrial park. Great! A feeding station was set up. Days and days went by. Nothing. Fear and doubt set in again.
Monday late afternoon another sighting came in, but it was delayed. She had been seen Friday at the back of the park running towards the tracks. While the owner was at the store making copies, preparing to widen the search, her phone rang. It was a teenager from the neighboring subdivision. The kids were playing outside and Pepper had crossed the busy roadway, wanting to play with the kids! The owner arrived quickly. When Pepper saw her mom, she ran right to the car! She was filthy dirty, but safe!
Pepper’s owner followed the Lost Dog of Illinois recovery process, even when the strongest doubts tried to take over. Pepper is a tiny dog that survived freezing temps, av industrial park, heavy and fast traffic and an active rail line for a full week! Welcome home Pepper!
Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing Pepper’s story and being supportive of Pepper’s family!
Many animal shelters in America have contracts with local municipalities to hold “stray” dogs for the state-mandated stray hold to give owners an opportunity to reclaim their lost dog. This period of time varies from state to state.
A shelter typically has two windows of opportunity to help people find their lost dog:
Today we want to talk about using Facebook to maximum potential to help lost dogs get home. We are thrilled to see so many shelters and animal control facilities (big and small) using Facebook to try to reunite lost dogs with their owners.
We have been in the Facebook game since our inception in early 2010 and we’ve seen a lot of changes along the way. We have gained a large following and have learned many lessons from our successes and failures. We have seen what does and doesn’t work. We have also seen some shelters start to post impounded found dogs on Facebook and then stop, claiming that it isn’t working or that it requires too much time.
We would respectfully like to offer some suggestions that may help make everyone happy: shelter management, the taxpayer, the shelter donor and volunteer, the dog’s owner and of course the dog that gets to go back home!
The benefits of posting found dogs on Facebook are numerous:
If your “stray” intake is low use your main Facebook page to post them. The beauty of posting lost and found dogs on Facebook is that a neighbor or complete stranger might “happen chance” to see the post of the found dog and know where he/she belongs. Or, they might see the lost dog and then see the post.
Yes, the people that are actively matching (the owner, our volunteers and members of the public who enjoy doing this) will seek out the info where ever it is stored, whether it be on a website or a separate Facebook page but that only takes care of the actual matches (where a lost report matches a found report) which is still a fairly small percentage of the reunions.
The best chance for a “happen chance” reunion is to get the posting in front of the biggest audience possible, which is almost always your main Facebook page that you use for all of your shelter Facebook posts. Pictures of impounded pets are one of the most widely shared posts on Facebook (much more than adoptable pets) so posting them on your main Facebook page has the added benefit of driving traffic to your page so that your adoptables, fundraisers, etc. are also more likely to be seen.
A common mistake we see is shelters that try to run a separate Facebook page for found pets and then not actively working to build the fan base of that page. The average person is not going to stumble across the Found or Stray page by accident and Facebook does not make it easy to search. So you will only reach those that are actively looking for your page and the likelihood of “happen chance” reunions will be greatly diminished.
If your shelter has such a high intake of “strays” that posting them on your main page is not feasible, then yes, perhaps setting up a separate Facebook page is the best solution.
Here are a few suggestions if you set up a separate page:
Thank you for helping more lost dogs get home! You can find more tips to help increase your Return to Owner rate in this blog post: Reuniting Lost Dogs with Their Families – How Shelters Can Help