Monday, May 28, 2012

Do not give up hope.

I realize that it has been a while.

We are all settled in our new house. The furniture is arranged, the art is on the walls, and a schedule has been developed.

For those not in the know, the sailor is at a separate duty station for a short while due to the navy, we are mucking through. I live alone with five dogs in a town where I know practically no one. There have been 3 visits tween the 7 of us since he left in January. Two when he came to us, and one when I drove with the whole crew up to him in VA, I will be making this trip again in a few days. Hopefully without a repeat of the same events.

We had left them with D's roommate, who also happened to be our dog sitter in SC, while we went on a day date to the aquarium. For whatever single or collection of reasons: cat, squirrel, jet plane, thunder, loud neighbors, something, Buela bolted.

If any of them were to have run off and gotten lost, Buela would have been my last pick.

After 2 nights away from home we got a break while from one of the fliers his roommate had put up for us. She'd been hanging out at an apartment complex across the highway. After a few sightings, traipsing through peoples back yards, running, yelling "Buela" at the top of our lungs, we gave it a rest in the heat of the day. When D got home from work, the three of us went out again, walking slowly through the area she had last been seen, jangling my keys, and hoping. First his roommate saw her coming up through some brush, not running at full tilt like she had been all morning, but she went the opposite direction. Towards the same road D and I had started walking down, she emerged at a half trot from behind a greenhouse, and because she wasn't in full flight mode, she actually looked at and registered us.

Probably the happiest moment of my life.

  Buela being held tightly by her Papa, walking along the line of green houses back to the truck.

Below is an article I wrote for Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association's June newsletter. It has tips and information on what to do when you lose your dog. Once it is posted to, I will post a direct link to it.


Help! I’ve lost my dog!

That was my nightmare last month while on vacation 600 miles from home visiting my husband at his current naval duty station.

Fortunately for us, we found her, but not after a weekend of tears, worry, and searching in the rain.

I received lots of help from the rescue community, for which I will always be grateful. My pay back is sharing with you the numerous tips that were given to me as to how best find your lost pup.

First, not so happy part, know that your dog will be scared and confused. However, be rest assured that most dogs are found within a 2 mile radius of where they were lost.

The most important thing is to not panic. Canvas the area where your dog was last seen with posters. List your phone number, email address, if there is a reward, your dog’s name, and most importantly for these velcro dogs, “Do Not Chase”. Make sure you have a good photo of your dog from the front and at least one side, preferably both, Also list if your dog has markings that will make them stand out. From an ACD point of view, because not many know of the breed you may have to generalize. My own Buela became a small black and tan dog with a tan face. As you can see from the photo that isn’t exactly it, but often people do not notice, or sadly, even care, until they know the dog is being looked for. Another saving grace was mentioning the dog from ”Mad Max” series, as cheesy as it sounds, it definitely gave people an idea of what kind of dog we were looking for.

While you are posting signs, talk to everyone you see, especially local businesses, schools, apartment complexes, mail carriers, and delivery services, these are the people who are in the area every day and would even hopefully notice a dog that doesn’t belong. Our big break came when we went into a leasing office for an apartment complex to let the agents and groundskeeper know she was missing. They had seen her twice that day.

Mornings and evenings will most likely be the time for the most activity of your pet, and your best chance to find them, especially in the heat of summer. If your pet will recognize your vehicle, park it near where they were last seen, leave a door open if you think they will hop in, and leave an article of clothing or blanket near the vehicle. Anything that will have the ‘family scent’ on it. We used the blanket that we cover the seat with. Walk the area carefully, your pet may be holed up somewhere where they can see you, but you cannot see them. If available, bring something unique with you that they will recognize the sound of, we used my car keys due the particular sound the dog tags on them make. Items like squeaky balls are not specific, and may even cause more anxiety. If you have another dog your missing dog is bonded to, bring them along for the walk. If it comes to it contact your local Animal Control to see if they loan out Havahart style traps large enough for your pet. Bait it with more of your dirty laundry, dirty carries more of your scent than clean, and food. I know of several people who have camped overnight in sighting hot spots, I would have too if we hadn’t finally found her.

 If you see your dog, and they do not immediately come to you, do not, as much as you may want to, be upset. We saw Buela several times before we actually got her to come to us. She was in full on flight mode, at one point she looked right at me and didn’t even slow down. It hurt, a lot. The point is, to try to keep the tone of your voice happy and upbeat, your dog will know your cadence and tones. If you are upset and calling their name, it’s less likely they will come to you, thinking they are in trouble.

When not out physically looking for your dog, alert the local Animal Control Officers (ACO), and check the intake kennels at the local shelter. If your pet has one, have their microchip flagged, even if your contract has expired, you can often renew it for a nominal fee. Buela is chipped with Home Again, they marked her as missing and then sent notices to all participating veterinary offices, I did nothing but call in with her chip number and my information.

Do not forget to use the many resources on the internet to find them. Post your pet to Craigslist in both the Lost & Found and Pets section. Check facebook for a Lost and Found dogs page, many states have them, as well as area ASPCA’s and county shelters. Also use area rescues, kennel clubs, and fancier groups to network your pet. There are also services such as Pet Amber Alert, Lost My Pooch, Lost and Found Pets America and several others.

Finally, do not give up hope.