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Little Lady Lost – Latest Update & Do’s and Don’ts

November 28, 2011 24 comments

I found it hard to write much of anything in the way of updates earlier this Sunday night. It’s been a very exhausting weekend.

As always, there have been a lot of ups and downs in the search for Lady. Unlike Saturday, there have been no sightings today, but I think now that this is not such a bad thing. It means Lady is hunkering down and staying quiet… and staying away from highways.

I’m beginning to see a pattern in her behavior. Every time she gets spooked she hunkers down for a day or two before coming out once again to search for food. The problem is how to prevent her from being spooked. There are cars and loud noises and well-meaning people for her to contend with each time she leaves the safety of her hiding spot. While many dogs might run to a stranger for food or attention, a fearful dog, like Lady, will avoid people and places that scare them – AT ALL COSTS. People approaching her, while well-intentioned I am sure, is leading her further and further away from me and deeper and deeper into hiding. It is frustrating.

And now I must go back to work, leaving the search for Lady to my morning and evening hours and to those who have the time to search. To be honest, part of me is relieved. I crave the every day normalcy of every day life. Routine is so much less stressful than spending every waking hour thinking about and searching for Lady. It also means that I feel some guilt at not being within easy reach if there is another sighting. However, what I do know now is that a sighting is unlikely to lead to a capture. Lady is too skittish now, too easily spooked. What I know now is that we need more sightings. Sightings that establish a pattern of behavior. A pattern of behavior can tell us so much about where she is moving, what is spooking her, what draws her out of hiding, and how we can best utilize this information to capture her.

If we can keep focused on handing out fliers and asking people to report their sightings of Lady, we will have a much better chance of bringing her home. But, this only works if she is not spooked – if people don’t go out chasing her down in the woods or calling out to her in areas where she was last sighted. I cannot stress this enough, chasing her down is the worst thing that anyone can do now. I know it seems so antithetical to what most people know about dogs, but everything most people know about dogs must be thrown out the window when it comes to fearful dogs. They do not act like most dogs.

If I could make a wishlist of Do’s and Don’ts for people in the search area, it would be as follows:

DO’s

DO watch for Lady and report any sightings of her.
DO program Minnesota Sheltie Rescue’s phone number, 612-616-7477, into your phone so you can report your sighting immediately.
DO take a picture of her if you have the time or the ability to do so.
DO continue to hand out fliers and share Lady’s story with your friends and family. The more eyes and ears we have out there the better.
DO drive the areas, if you have the time, and call in any sightings you may have.
DO report any behavior patterns that you notice – Examples: she comes through your yard at the same time every day, she sleeps in this location every day, etc.
DO consider leaving your fence gate open for Lady to enter. That way if she does enter your yard, you can shut it behind her, allowing us a much better chance of catching her.

DON’Ts

DON’T approach Lady or chase her down. If you do, you will likely ruin any chance we have of catching her in the future or cause her to run out into busy traffic and get hit by a car.
DON’T call out to Lady and try to get her to come to you (she won’t). A fearful dog is not a typical dog. Even the people Lady knows quite well cannot approach her without her pulling back in fear. You are a complete stranger to her. She is not going to stick around long enough to let you approach.
DON’T visit or share the locations of any live traps. We have found that the more people that know where they are, the more activity we have with people checking them on a constant basis, and that diminishes the chance that Lady will ever come near it.
DON’T go searching the woods and fields, or the Minnesota River valley, for Lady. Not only will this cause Lady to go further and further into wooded areas or into the river valley, it also puts her in greater danger from coyotes.

I welcome any other do’s and don’ts from those who have searched for a fearful missing dog before or who have led similar searches. What would you add to this list?

You can read more about fearful dogs at my friend Debbie’s website Fearfuldogs.com or on her blog, Fearfuldogs’s blog.com.

Over the past 10 days I have met some amazing people. People who have been there every single day to hand out fliers, post signs, drive around and watch for Lady, spread the word by mouth and to just sit and watch for her. My many, many thanks to Estelle, Meaghan, Karen M, Jeff P, Karen C-H, Barb, Nancy and Dennis, Emily, Angela, Vicki, Stephen, Dena, Cindy, Mickey and Brian, Dan, Karen, Jeff and Francine, Pamela D and Wendy. for your help this weekend.

Videos of Lady:

You can read more about the search for Lady and how she was found in the posts listed below.

Post #1: The search for Lady, my foster dog. How you can help.

Post #2:Foster Dog Lady – Still Missing

Post #3: Little Lady Lost – The Latest

Post #4: Thanksgiving Gratitude Despite Little Lady Still Being Lost

Post #5: Little Lady Lost – Chasing the Wrong Things

Post #6: A Sunbeam of Hope? The Latest on Little Lady Lost

Post #7: Little Lady Lost – The Saturday Update

Post #8 (This Post): Little Lady Lost – Latest Update & Do’s and Don’ts

Post #9: Little Lady Lost – A sense of peace

Post #10: Little Lady Lost – HOME AT LAST!

Post #11: Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

A Sunbeam of Hope? The Latest on Little Lady Lost

November 25, 2011 22 comments

Latest Update 5:15 PM CST, Saturday): (A sunbeam of hope indeed!) Today there were 3 sightings of Lady! All occurred along Highway 13 or nearby. The first was a sighting of her crossing Highway 13 over to the Minnesota River Valley area. We all raced down there and spent a lot of time walking along the highway and along the railroad tracks, but no luck. However, since she was sighted in the area, we decided to pass out fliers in the neighborhoods that run alongside Highway 13. Lucky for us! The second sighting was by a guy who saw her standing in his driveway. He happened to see the flier just afterwards and called us right away. This sighting was after the first one.
The third sighting also came as a result of our fliers. The man saw her sleeping in a railroad culvert on the Minnesota River side of Highway 13. Unfortunately, he called out to her and she got spooked and ran. He did not know which direction, but it is encouraging to know that she is still in the area.

Unfortunately, a fearful dog is not like your typical human-loving dog. They fear humans. I know it is people’s natural inclination to call out to a dog when they see one most and along, but sometimes staying silent is better. I’m hoping we will see another sighting soon and can trap her.
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I happened to see this story while reading the news online tonight and shared it on my Facebook page. It’s a wonderful post written by ABC News’ producer Kimberly Launier about an interview with the Rollin’s family and the loss of their son, Justin, who was killed in Iraq, and their mission to bring home the puppy (Hero) he cared for while in Iraq. What happened during the course of the interview was amazing to the reporter, and to me. Such a beautiful moment.

A friend saw my post on Facebook and reminded me that I had captured a similar moment with Lady while at the dog park, one of her favorite places. I thought I would share it again with all of you. It was a rare moment caught completely by accident on my cell phone camera. Perhaps there is a reason I saw the Rollin’s story, perhaps not, but it certainly gives me hope. How about you?

You can see more about Hero’s story here. It’s a story that was aired on Animal Planet back on November 9th.

Update on Little Lady Lost: No sightings again today, but I am not giving up hope. A week is not unusual for a missing dog like Lady. She’s smart, so she is likely waiting until after dark to venture out. Dawn (her other foster mom) and I spent the day exploring the area we last sighted her on foot. It’s rough terrain and full of bramble and burrs and difficult to navigate. We both ended up with burrs in our hair. I know it sounds silly, but I never expected that burrs could stick to human hair just as well as dog fur. I can only imagine what Lady looks like by now.

We were later joined by another volunteer and spent some time discussing locations of the traps and options for expanding our search. Another volunteer, Jeff, was out earlier passing out fliers in an area south of Wescott, an area we had not covered until today. He also handed out fliers at Petsmart and Byerly’s and Walmart. Thank you Jeff! I don’t know what I would do without you and Julie out there helping me by taking on the least glamorous, but most important task of all… getting the word out.

Dan, another volunteer, was out with his binoculars, scanning the area in hopes of seeing Lady. And Dena, was out driving the area and walking around, in hopes of seeing Lady as well. If Lady is in this area she is hiding really, really well. No surprise really. Shelties are very smart dogs and able to fend for themselves for long periods of time if they need to do so.

My biggest concern right now is fliers. I know it’s not glamorous, especially in inclement weather, but as I have been told by Minnesota Sheltie Rescue time and again, almost all of the Shelties they captured and brought back home were due to the fliers and signs they put out. The more people that know the greater the chance Lady will be seen when she does come out of hiding. Without the fliers and the contact numbers on them, we won’t get that call. The one that will bring Lady home. So if any of you have an hour to spare and want to help I would love to get more fliers out in the areas that we have not covered yet. This map shows all the areas we have covered in pink. As you can see, we have covered a lot of territory around where Lady was seen last, but if Lady is on the move then we need to cover those areas further out – north of Yankee Doodle, South of Diffley and Rosemount. I did most of mine in my car because it was quicker and allowed e to cover a lot of ground. If you have the time, I would welcome your help. I’ll bring the fliers to Wescott Library (on Wescott Road just to the east of Pilot Knob Road) at noon tomorrow and you can pick up form there or you can tweet me with a time you would like to pick them up. My thanks to anyone and everyone who can help!

You can read more about the search for Lady and how she was found in the posts listed below.

Post #1: The search for Lady, my foster dog. How you can help.

Post #2:Foster Dog Lady – Still Missing

Post #3: Little Lady Lost – The Latest

Post #4: Thanksgiving Gratitude Despite Little Lady Still Being Lost

Post #5: Little Lady Lost – Chasing the Wrong Things

Post #6 (This Post): A Sunbeam of Hope? The Latest on Little Lady Lost

Post #7: Little Lady Lost – The Saturday Update

Post #8: Little Lady Lost – Latest Update & Do’s and Don’ts

Post #9: Little Lady Lost – A sense of peace

Post #10: Little Lady Lost – HOME AT LAST!

Post #11: Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

Little Lady Lost – Chasing the Wrong Things

November 25, 2011 31 comments

I follow Positive Outlooks on Facebook, and tonight (Thanksgiving night) this particular post struck a chord with me.

The search for Lady over this past week has often felt like a chase. Every sighting has meant a quick jump in the car and a race to the location in hopes of finally bringing her home. When the outcome did not lead to the happy ending that I so very much desired, it was quite disappointing. I know many of you have felt that way because you have been out there searching too.

In some ways, I have been chasing the wrong things. My fear that I might miss that one clue or that one lead, or that I might miss that one chance to see Lady myself, led me to near exhaustion and a bit of craziness. The fear that I might be home sleeping or out on a walk when I could have been there at that exact moment she appeared was driving me crazy. Yes, there are volunteers out there searching when I am not. Yes, I know that people have seen the fliers and the signs and have read Lady’s story and are looking too, but somehow I felt that I needed to be the one person who was always out there looking for her. Somehow I thought that if I were out there she would just miraculously appear – for me. Silly huh? The mind does crazy things to you sometimes.

So, the last two days I have taken a step back from the search and disconnected. I took the dogs to the dog park. I worked for a bit. I actually had a real conversation with some friends. Uninterrupted. I had Thanksgiving dinner with my family and I played ball with Jasper and gave Daisy a belly rub. Along the way, I began to realize that I cannot be everywhere at once. I cannot make Lady come to me by sheer will or by constantly chasing after her.

That doesn’t mean I am not still looking. I was out with Estelle and Susan from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue this evening checking traps (according to Estelle, there is one very pissed off cat out there tonight) and leaving behind treats and things that smell like me. I put a few fliers in mailboxes too. But, I did not drive around for hours on end, searching every little corner of Eagan, nor did I stake out a location in hopes that Lady would appear just because I was there. The truth is that no one knows what will be the one thing that brings her home. What I do know is that chasing the wrong things is not going to bring Lady home any sooner.

So maybe if I stop chasing the wrong things and instead focus on the right things – spreading the word, sharing her story, handing out fliers (with the help from friends and volunteers), I can let Lady catch me on her own terms and in her own way.

One can hope. :)

Update: Today we had no sightings at all, but in some ways that is comforting. It means Lady is not crossing busy streets. She’s not putting her life in danger. It likely means she’s hunkered down somewhere and staying where she is – for now. And even though we had no sightings, does not mean that people were not our looking for her. There were volunteers and staff from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, Lady’s former foster mom, Dawn, and a client, Renee, and a reader, Jess, and many, many others. There were also the prayers of so many people. I still believe that those prayers will make the difference.

Tomorrow, we will be out canvasing the area again with more volunteers. We hope that we can zero in on her location or at least pass out more fliers in a much wider area to increase the chances that someone will see her.

How you can help:

Our MNSR FOSTER SHELTIE, Lady, is still LOST in EAGAN, MN. Call 612-616-7477 with any sightings (even if not recently). Program these numbers into your cell as you drive the area, in case you spot Lady. Please give time, exact location of sighting, and the direction the dog headed. DO NOT follow her, try to catch her or call out to her – this will spook her from the area and may cause her to run onto a busy road.

Possible sightings as recently as 11/22 near Pilot Knob Road; Duckwood, Kingswood Pond neighborhood, CrestRidge Lane and Denmark; Crestview and Duckwood; Monterey and Blackhawk Road, and possibly even Rosemount. Sighting/search info is available by visiting Minnesota Sheltie Rescue on Facebook and at our map.

We have distributed approximately 4000 flyers, put up signs, alerted police, impound, vet clinics, area businesses and colleges, the school bus company, city of Eagan, Eagan Chamber of commerce, used Robo-calls, posted online, cross-posted to other rescues, on Facebook, etc.-everything in our Lost Sheltie search tips. Live traps are set in areas where we think she may be holed up, and we respond to every possible sighting.

Contact us if you have a spare hour to do flyers. Sighting/search info here. It is not uncommon for some time to go by before we are successful, but we do not give up!

Minnesota Sheltie Rescue

Here are some additional photos of Lady.

You can read more about the search for Lady and how she was found in the posts listed below.

Post #1: The search for Lady, my foster dog. How you can help.

Post #2:Foster Dog Lady – Still Missing

Post #3: Little Lady Lost – The Latest

Post #4: Thanksgiving Gratitude Despite Little Lady Still Being Lost

Post #5 (This Post): Little Lady Lost – Chasing the Wrong Things

Post #6: A Sunbeam of Hope? The Latest on Little Lady Lost

Post #7: Little Lady Lost – The Saturday Update

Post #8: Little Lady Lost – Latest Update & Do’s and Don’ts

Post #9: Little Lady Lost – A sense of peace

Post #10: Little Lady Lost – HOME AT LAST!

Post #11: Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

Little Lady Lost – The Latest

November 23, 2011 25 comments

Update (3:50 PM CST) – No new sightings of Lady today. There was one sighting north of Yankee Doodle, but this dog had a collar so we are sure it is not her.

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Normally, today would be my Wordless Wednesday post and I would be trying to decide which picture to post. But, today is not a normal day. Instead, our search continues.

I pine for normal days.

Here is what I know about losing a dog so far…

– The ups and downs are uncomfortable and often extreme - fear, hope, discouragement, hope, frustration, hope, sadness, hope. Repeat.

– People can be amazing in a time of crisis. Twice yesterday I had complete strangers offer to help because they had heard about Lady’s story. One couple Michele and Steven live in my neighborhood and offered to get the signs from the city so we could use them again. Another, Dena, a teacher in Dakota County,offered to drive around for a few hours and look for Lady. I even ran into her last night and she said she would keep looking.

- Spreading the word is so very important – fliers, signs and word of mouth. I received 6 calls yesterday. All people who thought they had seen Lady and wanted to help. God bless them for calling. It widens the search area quite a bit, but the fact that people were watching out for her and were willing to call me or Minnesota Sheltie Rescue and report it is wonderful. It means that there are hundreds more eyes out there than just ours. It makes a huge difference.

– Sometimes when helping you to find your dog, people also help someone else find their missing dog. Yesterday, I received a call from a Joanne, who thought she had seen Lady. It wasn’t far from where we were looking (based on a previous call), so I asked a lot of questions and texted her a picture. She called back and apologized (no apology necessary, trust me) because she had run into the owners of that dog and they were looking for him. Because she was watching out for Lady she noticed a dog running by itself and reached out to help. She was able to tell them where he went. That is wonderful isn’t it?

Also, while out on that same call about Lady, volunteers and staff for Minnesota Sheltie Rescue came across another dog who was in the same location as Lady iss suspected to be (in fact, we thought it was her at first). This dog iss clearly lost as well. A trap has been set for him. I’m hoping we catch him and he is reunited with his owner soon.

– There are SO many people who have lost a pet and had it return. I have received Comments on my blog, on Facebook and even on Twitter from people who have been through this with their own pets, or a foster pet. The fact that so many have come back, even months later, gives me hope.

– Taking care of yourself in the midst of searching for a lost dog is so very, very important. Although, Estelle and the other staff and volunteers from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, have said repeatedly that I need to take care of myself so I can be healthy and ready to help when that ONE call comes in, I haven’t taken it as seriously as I should have. I reached burnout last night, or maybe it was shut down. The ups and downs, the constant searching, the handing out of fliers, posting signs, talking to people and sharing the message, while all valuable, is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting and I couldn’t do one more thing last night. So while many, many volunteers were out looking for Lady (based on two very good eyewitness accounts), I came home. I was emotionally void and physically spent after chasing down leads and searching several locations over several hours last night.

So today I am taking a step back to take care of some of the things I have been putting off because the search had consumed so much of me, my life (and Daisy and Jasper’s lives). I’ll be working from home, but I will be focused on the work I neglected at my job while I was out searching for Lady. I’ll also be conserving my energy for the calls that come in so I can race to where she was seen and help catch her. What I have realized is that if I am shut down when that right call comes in then I am no help to Lady at all. That’s what happened last night and I can’t let it happen again. And, you can’t forget that life has to go on too. The world can’t wait until you can catch up again.

So here is where we stand as of last night.

Yesterday, we received several sightings in Eagan, back where Lady was first seen on Friday and Saturday evening. The first caller saw her running across Pilot Knob Road from Wendy’s and Chilis area towards U.S. Bank and a tire shop. Pilot Knob Road is a very, very high traffic road with 4 lanes, so this was frightening to hear.

Both me, My brother Tom, Vicki from Tuff Start Rescue and Cindy (who has been there every day) scoured the area or over an hour. No luck. We had given up the search and were heading out when Vicki saw Lady standing in the middle of Pilot Knob Road, trying to cross over. She slammed on her brakes to try and stop someone from hitting Lady, who was next to her driver’s side car door, but was going too fast to stop next to her and ended up flying past her. Because Lady was behind her then, she could not see if she had made it across or ran back to where she had been. Volunteers raced in from everywhere to look for her. With a confirmed sighting it was all hands on deck. They searched for over an hour with no luck, but at least now we know where she is (we think). As I mentioned above, the volunteers came across another lost dog hanging out in the same area and they set a trap for him. Hopefully, he is caught soon too.

In addition to the sightings in Eagan, we received two in Rosemount about a Sheltie that looked matted and muddy. He/She was roaming along Hwy 3 at the intersection of Hwy 55. Both the people who saw him/her called it in right away (God bless them) and I raced out there to see if I could find it and confirm if it was Lady. I did not see the dog, but I did run into an Inver Grove Heights officer and informed her. I also texted pictures of Lady to the people who had called in and they both said that they didn’t think it was her unless she was really, really muddy. Each had described the dog as being black and tan or black and gray. I left the area in relief, thinking that I would rather her not be out there alone where coyotes roam in packs, but you know that still leaves someone else’s dog out there all by itself. :(

So, the search continues. I think our best bet is the Pilot Knob area, but after talking to my friend Kellie, I am not completely closing the book on the sightings in Rosemount either. When Kellie saw Lady on Saturday morning, she was completely black from her midsection on down. And, she certainly would be muddy and matted if she had traveled out Rosemount way. There’s just no way of knowing. So Lady, we continue to watch for you and search for you and hope you make it home safely soon.

My continued thanks to those of you who have tweeted, shared on Facebook and who have volunteered or offered to help in some way. You are amazing people with huge hearts. I have a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Thank you.

Please continue to pray for Lady’s safe return and to share her story and pictures. You are making a difference. It’s only a matter of time – at least, that is what I hope and pray every day.

If you tweet, please retweet: Lost #Sheltie in #Eagan #Minnesota. Brown and white. Afraid of people. Tweet @melzpetpals if you see her.

If you are on Facebook, please ask your friends to share with their Minnesota friends a picture of Lady or refer them to her blog post from last weekend. I have pictures and video of Lady here.

Previous Post: Little Lady Lost – The Latest

You can read more about the search for Lady and how she was found in the posts listed below.

Post #1: The search for Lady, my foster dog. How you can help.

Post #2:Foster Dog Lady – Still Missing

Post #3 (This Post): Little Lady Lost – The Latest

Post #4: Thanksgiving Gratitude Despite Little Lady Still Being Lost

Post #5: Little Lady Lost – Chasing the Wrong Things

Post #6: A Sunbeam of Hope? The Latest on Little Lady Lost

Post #7: Little Lady Lost – The Saturday Update

Post #8: Little Lady Lost – Latest Update & Do’s and Don’ts

Post #9: Little Lady Lost – A sense of peace

Post #10: Little Lady Lost – HOME AT LAST!

Post #11: Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

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