Tag Archives: Trapping

Hoss’s Story – How One Lost German Shepherd Brought Home Another German Shepherd

On May 31, 2013, Dawn and Roger from Michigan received a phone call saying Hoss,  who just had been adopted out,  had gone missing and had been missing for a week. Immediately Dawn submitted a Lost Dogs Illinois lost dog report. Days, weeks and months passed but they never gave up hope.

Now fast forward to two weeks ago to the North Shore Posse Team (dedicated to finding Holly, 10735790_10205304818369014_191045168_nthe German Shepherd from Wilmette, who went missing in July 2013), which received a sighting of a German Shepherd fitting Holly’s description. They sprung into action; flyered the area and got more sightings. They then set up a trail camera in the area where she has been known to frequent.   The camera did show a German shepherd but it was not Holly.

Lea, one of the volunteers, decided to check the Lost Dogs Illinois dog database to see if there were any GSDs fitting the dog on the camera. She found Hoss and posted the picture to the group. Also Hoss had gone missing only 5.5 miles where he was now found. They were pretty sure it was Hoss so they contacted Dawn and Roger who confirmed this was their dog.

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Trail camera picture that was used to identify Hoss. 10/24/14

Roger and Dawn then came down the next weekend and camped out with their other dog. Hoss would not approach but the trail camera would catch him after they left. Disappointed Roger and Dawn left for Michigan. The North Shore Posse group continued to keep the feeding station going and distributed the following letter to explain what was needed to be done by the neighborhood.

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Cakes and Katie said they would continue to monitor the feeding station and set up the humane trap. They bungeed cord both doors up so Hoss could just walk through the trap to get use to it. Then proceeded to put one door down and leave one door bungeed cord up.

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Hoss entering the trap. 10/29/14

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Hoss did not like what was on the floor of his trap and removed it. 10/29/14

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Hoss almost all the way in the trap. 10/30/14

Within a couple days going back to Michigan, Roger came back down to watch the trap. During those nights, Roger witnessed Hoss dragging the blanket out of trap. He was stealing food from the trap. He was just not ready to be trapped.

During this time, Roger was improvising his own trap. Watching the you tube video of Misty’s trap, he put together his own trap for Hoss.   So that night, the humane trap was set and so was Roger’s trap. Early the next morning, Hoss was trapped in Roger’s trap. Roger called Cakes and Katie to have them help him remove Hoss from the trap.

Hoss had only lost 10 lbs thanks to a neighborhood where individuals were throwing out food to him which in turn became his own safe turf.

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Hoss at home!

So what are the lessons learned:

– Dogs are survivors! Hoss had been living in this neighborhood even during the polar vortex. He was mostly a nocturnal dog so most people thought he was a coydog. Hoss’s feeding station and trap was setup at a spot he frequented because he would eat the bread a woman threw out for the raccoons.

– Remember not all lost dogs are homeless! If you see a “lost” dog, be sure to check LDI’s website and search their dog database, call your local animal control or shelter to see if anyone has filed a lost dog report.

– Once this dog was sighted, a plan was made and it was followed. Hoss has established his turf and the team worked with him. They didn’t push him; they just let him be. Simply fed him the same time in the same place every single day.

– AND Never Give Up!

Roger wants to thank the neighborhood where Hoss had settled in. The neighborhood rallied around Hoss and Roger. They fed Roger knowing he was monitoring the trap at night. They also let him borrow their tools to build Hoss’s second trap.

Thank you to the North Shore Posse team for not giving up on Holly and making this a team effort to capture Hoss. Thank you, Katie, for leading the team!

Holly’s Facebook Page

 

 

Harnessing the Energy – Part 5 (Common Pitfalls)

Lindsay, a shy beagle was successfully captured by the well-coordinated team of volunteers at Midwest BREW.

Lindsay, a shy beagle was successfully captured by the well-coordinated team of volunteers at Midwest BREW.

In this final segment of our series for shelters and rescues, we will focus on some of the common mistakes that can lead to a prolonged search or unfortunately even the death of the missing dog.  Most of these mistakes can be attributed to a lack of leadership or the absence of a strong point person on the case. We covered this in detail in Part 3 of the series. Without strong leadership, the volunteer base will become frustrated and frayed. Some may become disinterested, some may give up, and some may go off on their own, using methods that we would never recommend.  These include:

  • Pitfall #1 – Volunteers physically searching for a dog. Most missing rescue dogs are shy. Foot searches are never recommended unless the dog is a very young puppy (barely walking) or has been severely injured, such as being hit by a car.  In these situations a “grid search” might be warranted. But this must be well-coordinated with a good plan and strong leadership.  Foot searches almost always result in driving the dog further away. He will sense that he is being pursued.  If he keeps getting driven out of the flyering area – there will be a lack of sightings and the volunteers will lose the motivation to flyer larger and larger areas.  You may also drive the dog into hiding, causing a lack of sightings which also causes frustration and makes volunteers lose hope. Worst of all, your volunteers may pressure the dog and cause him to bolt into traffic and be injured or killed.
  • Pitfall #2 – Using a psychic, animal communicator or douser. These are almost always a scam. Or well-meaning people who think they have a  connection with animals but know very little about lost dog behavior. They will appear to be “psychic” but they are usually studying google maps and satellite photos to talk about landmarks, even though they live far away.  Some may do the first reading for free, but then ask for a credit card number for subsequent “readings”.  They advertise on Craigslist and they may contact you offering their services.  The readings will be vague. “I see your dog with an older couple.” “I see your dog in a yellow house.” Getting the word out through the use of flyers and signs brings lost dogs home. Psychics can send you in the wrong direction or worst of all tell you that your dog has “passed”.  Don’t give up unless you find the remains of the missing dog. He is out there somewhere and perseverance, common sense and logic will bring him home.
  • Pitfall #3 – Tracking dogs. There are some legitimate tracking dog services. They are few and far between. Screen them carefully. What is their success rate at tracking a shy lost dog? If their success rate sounds too good to be true, it is. They are a scam.  Remember that good tracking dogs may be able to locate a scent, but lost dogs can move quickly.  There are dozens of “pet detectives” that are currently preying on unsuspecting, distraught lost dog owners. They are using Craigslist and Facebook to advertise for free and will tell you that they can find your dog. Remember, you will still have to flyer, establish a feeding routine and trap the dogs.  Instead, use your rescue’s valuable resources for flyering, signs and advertising.
  • Pitfall #4 – Giving out exact sighting or trap locations – You will need to communicate with your volunteers, preferably through some sort of closed email or Facebook group. But make sure that they understand that what you share is confidential.  You NEVER want to disclose a sighting or trap location publicly – on a Facebook page, in a blog, or to the media. Keep the location confidential because wanna-be heroes, reward seekers, and curious people can derail your plans very fast. Then you will be picking up and starting all over again and you will risk volunteer burnout.
  • Pitfall #5 – Allowing too many volunteers to man a feeding station or trap.  Remember, your lost dog is probably very shy and doesn’t trust many people.  You need him to relax and feel comfortable coming to a feeding station so that you can eventually trap him. If everytime he goes to the location, there are different scents from different people, he may abandon that location completely and move on. Ideally, the person most bonded with the dog should be the one that is refreshing the feeding station and manning the trap. One or two helpers may need to be involved, but a revolving schedule of volunteers is counter-productive.

We hope this series has given you some guidance and ideas if one of your rescue or shelter’s foster or adopted dogs go missing. Searching for a shy lost dog is expensive and time-consuming. Pre-planning, volunteer training and avoiding common pitfalls will save you the time, money and resources that could be better spent on saving more lives.

Previous article – https://www.lostdogsillinois.org/harnessing-the-energy-part-4/