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Posts Tagged ‘lost dogs’

Four-pawed trick-or-treaters and Halloween pet safety

October 31, 2013 6 comments

IMG_9700It’s all Hallows Eve and the neighborhood kiddies are all excited to put on their costumes and make their annual trek through town to fill their plastic pumpkins with stashes of candy.

Jasper and Cupcake, my four-pawed trick-or-treaters, decided they wanted to have a little Halloween fun too. So while I was away, they went shopping and came home with some costumes of their own.

Even though they can’t go out for treats (chocolate is bad for dogs you know) they decided today would be a good day to spread the message about pet safety.

So many pets get lost on Halloween because they get frightened by the scary costumes and strangers at the door. With doors opening and closing to hand out treats, the chances that a dog will bolt out the door and get lost increase.

Jasper and Cupcake, along with their friends Enya, Maxwell and Riley, ask that you please keep your pets safe by following these simple rules from Lost Shelties MN:

PLEASE…Know where your best friend is before you open any doors. Use a baby gate to block their any access to the door that will be used to pass out candy or put them in their kennels away from all the commotion.

Put locks on your yard gates. The goblins don’t always go up and down the street. Place a lock on your gates to avoid anyone from leaving them open. Then when the porch light goes off and you’re putting things away, you let your best friend out you won’t have to worry was a gate opened.

IMG_9682Have the candy dish up and out of your best friends reach. They can be very determined. Chocolate is a big no-no for them. Be careful of the wrappers too.

If you have a lost dog, I like this tip from Lost Cats MNMake up 1/2 sheet flyers, post cards or business cards for your Lost Cat and hand them out to all the Trick or Treaters that come by! Most Lost Cats do not wander very far and are usually found within a few blocks of home, so this is another good way to get the word out to your neighborhood again. Also, always keep a sign up in your yard so that anyone going by will see it and if they do notice your cat they will know that it is LOST and it’s not just out roaming around. (Insert “dog” for “cat”

Please…Please…Please – know where they are when the door is opening. So many Shelties bolt out an opening door. Don’t have the next one be yours. It really is preventable.

When you’re out with your kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids & friends please think of all the missing Shelties and keep an eye out for them if you are in their areas. These beautiful Shelties are still missing from 2013. If you click on the link to missing Shelties it will show you the ones still missing from previous years also.

Other links to check out. Please look at all of them. Each containing some VERY good information.

Jasper and Cupcake wish you all a safe and happy Halloween!

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The Ninja and the Fairy

The Ninja and the Fairy

Has a dog changed your life?

October 22, 2013 33 comments

IMG_6838When I first considered offering to foster for Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, I wrote a blog post about it. In the post, I included a picture of one of their available dogs cuddled up and sleeping with a stuffed toy.

The dog in the picture was Lady, now known as Cupcake. My Cupcake.

I couldn’t possibly have known then that the dog I would end up fostering would be the very same one in the picture. Nor could I have known that the dog I ended up fostering would get lost, then found, and then adopted – by me.  I also couldn’t have known that meeting Cupcake would lead me to become an advocate for lost dogs or for Shelties in need or that so many other people would become advocates for other lost dogs because of her.

We often hear people talk about those special people in our lives who make a difference in how we see ourselves or who cause us to change directions in our life. But, how often do we think about the dog that has changed our lives in ways we never expected? 

I can think of many examples of people in my life whose life was changed after meeting their dogs – like my friend Edie, who adopted her first dog, Frankie, and ended up writing a book and starting a blog to write about her experiences with him.  Or the the lost dog I read about recently who had been adopted so he could be a companion to a woman with cancer and ended up being a comfort and lifeline for the husband when she died. Or my friend Debbie, who adopted a fearful dog named Sunny and ended up writing a book and a blog to help other owners of fearful dogs.

Dogs enter our lives in mysterious ways and sometimes they impact it in ways we never expect. Cupcake certainly did that for me. Has a dog changed your life in some way? If so, how? 

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Blog the Change For Animals – Help a Lost Dog in Need. Help Tucker.

October 14, 2013 9 comments

Blog the ChangeOctober 15th is Blog the Change for Animals Day. It’s a day when bloggers unite to bring attention back to an animal cause they care deeply about. It’s also a day in which you, our friends and readers, can also do something small to make the difference in the life of an animal.

Today I am continuing the theme from the last Blog the Change, by asking for your help to spread the word about:
1. A little lost Sheltie in Minnesota, and
2. Another missing dog from your own area.

Two years ago next month, I lost my own Sheltie, Cupcake, when she slipped her collar after being frightened. For 11 days I lived in fear that she might be hit by a car, harmed by coyotes, or simply disappear forever, never to be found again.  Fortunately, I was surrounded by people who cared enough to share Cupcake’s story and made sure that word got out about her. People I didn’t even know spread the word and because of them (because of many of you), Cupcake was brought home safely. It was a miracle I will never forget. It’s a miracle I wish for every owner of a lost dog.

Now there is another lost Sheltie that needs our help. His name is Tucker and he has been missing since August 23 of this year. He went missing while away from home and in the care of someone else.

He is very much missed by his family, who has done everything to find him, including handing out flyers, making signs, spreading the word online, traveling to the town he went missing in every weekend, and speaking with animal communicators to try to find him.  What makes finding Tucker so much more important is that he also serves as a support dog and friend for the young man in his home. He misses him deeply.

We know Tucker is out there. We just need to find him.

Tucker has been sighted most recently sighted in Jordan, MN on October 10th.

Still Missing Tucker

How can you help? 

  1. Go to the Lost Shelties MN page and share Tucker’s picture and information on Facebook. Ask your friends to spread the word.
  2. Share this post or Tucker’s flyer (above) on Twitter or tweet “Lost #Sheltie in #Jordan #Minnesota. Support Dog. Brown and white. Do NOT chase. Contact https://www.facebook.com/LostSheltiesMN if seen.”
  3. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers and send him mental messages asking him to seek help from a person.  Ask him to let himself be sighted so we can help find him.

Help another dog in need closer to home

So many dogs and cats go missing each year. Many in your own state or in ones near you. Below I have posted several of the well-known Facebook groups responsible for reuniting lost dogs with their owners. Help make a difference for someone else in need:

  1. Take a moment to click on any one of the lost dog links below and share another lost dog  on Facebook and Twitter. 
  2. “Like” the page and help spread the word on other lost dogs in your own area.
  3. Offer an encouraging word to someone who’s dog is lost. You’d be surprised at how much it can help buoy their spirits. I know first hand how much these kind words helped me to not give up hope.

It might seem like a small thing to ask, but every share you do of a lost dog actually does make a difference:

  • Because someone shared Cupcake’s story, I met people who helped me bring her home.
  • Because I snapped a photo of a lost dog and shared it online, another lost foster dog made it back home. (I still have their thank you note to remind me why I want to continue to help others.)
  • Because someone shared, a lost dog someone found was reunited with his owner this past week.

Sharing makes a difference.

Please Be The Change that makes a difference today.

Thank you.

Click on any one of the links below and share a lost dog picture or story on Facebook or Twitter.

LOST Dogs Arizona

Granite State Dog Recovery

LOST Dogs Iowa

Lost Dogs-Illinois

Lost Dogs-MN

Lost Dogs New Jersey

LOST DOGS Texas

Lost Shelties MN

LOST Dogs of Wisc

Blog the Change: Prevent your dog from getting lost

July 15, 2013 13 comments

 

Blog the Change

Today, July 15th, is Blog the Change day. This is the day when pet bloggers write about an issue important to them and help to promote change.

I am extremely passionate about educating people on how to find their lost dog. In the past, I have written about what to do when your dog goes missing, what to do if you have a lost dog and they are too afraid to come to you and how to help someone who has lost their dog. Today, I would like to write about the ways you can prevent your dog from getting lost in the first place.

When Cupcake went missing in late 2011, I was haunted by all the things I did wrong that led to her becoming lost – I didn’t have her collar properly fitted, I took her into a new store she had never been in before, and instead of remaining calm, I panicked when Daisy became entangled with the store’s outdoor sign, which caused all the dogs to panic and run.

There is so much more I know now than I did back then. I hope by sharing these tips you don’t ever have to face losing a dog. Please share with your family and friends.  One less lost dog is worth preventing.

Ways you can keep your dog safe and prevent them from being lost:

  • Buy your dog a martingale collar and make sure it is fitted properly. These type of collars are especially great for sight hounds (because their necks are often bigger than their heads), but they can be used on any dog.
  • If you have a particularly shy or nervous dog, double-leash them so you have a fail-safe if one of them fails. (Double-leashing usually means you have one leash attached to the dog’s collar and one to their harness.)
  • Walk your dog using a well-fitted harness, and when you do walk them, make sure to loop the leash over your wrist so as to prevent the dog from bolting and pulling the leash out of your hands.
  • Make sure your dog is secure before opening the door to your house to let someone inside. This can be anything from putting them on a leash before opening the door to putting them behind a baby gate or in another room. A sit-stay is always good, but it is not foolproof.
  • Place locks on the gates to your yard. This may seem like a silly thing to do, but there are several reasons to do so. I have seen many a dog lost because a storm blew open someone’s gate, a child running in or out of the gate forgot to latch it or a contractor was working on the home and left the gate open. Placing a lock on the gate ensures no one gets in or out without you knowing about it.
  • Several times throughout the year, check your fence line to make sure there are no gaps or holes that you may have missed. Block all holes and gaps to prevent your dog from escaping the yard. Also, make sure that there are no chairs or tables near your fence so your dog cannot use it as a perch from which to jump it.
  • Don’t take your dog to the local 4th of July fireworks display. Keep them at home where you know they are safe. (In Minnesota, we had nearly 100 dogs go missing because they were frightened by fireworks.)
  • If someone is caring for your dog, make sure they know how to enter and leave your home without letting the dog out or consider blocking off the doorway so your dog cannot escape unexpectedly.
  • Don’t take a newly adopted dog to a new location like a dog park or pet store. Many newly adopted dogs get lost within the first few days of being adopted because they are scared and unsure of where they are. Wait two weeks and allow the dog to get used to you, your family and your routine before taking them anywhere with you.
  • When traveling by car, make sure your dog is contained in a kennel or is secured with a seat belt. Many dogs go missing after a car accident or when someone opens the door to the car to get out.
  • If you bring your dog to a groomer on a regular basis, have a conversation with him/her about how they will keep your pet safe so they don’t escape. Ask that your dog be contained until it is time for her to be groomed and after she is done. Also make sure that your dog is wearing a martingale collar when you drop them off and pick them up.

Prevention is key, but if your dog does get lost, here are some tips on how to find him/her again:

Lost Dog Tips

Lost Dogs-MN – Tips and Ideas

How to find a lost Sheltie – Minnesota Sheltie Rescue

How to Find Your Lost Dog (PetFinder)

Lost Dog Quick Action Plan from Granite State Dog Recovery

checkyourfenceAll photo credits are given to Lost Shelties-MN and Cindy Dahl Smith, who graciously agreed to let me share it.

 

My Summer Book Pick – A Stolen Dog (A True Story)

June 17, 2013 9 comments

51NtI68FMELShortly after Cupcake returned home from her 12 day hiatus a friend suggested that maybe I should write a book about our experience. I took it as a very kind suggestion, but shrugged it off. I didn’t think I could ever encompass our experience in mere words. To some degree, I still don’t. It truly was one of the most emotionally charged, inspiring, scary, disturbing and frustrating experience of my life. You just can’t know what a dog owner goes through when they lose their dog unless you have been through it yourself.

That’s why I was surprised when Tricia O’Malley contacted me to offer me the chance to read and review her book The Stolen Dog. Why? Because it was a true story. HER true story about how her Boston Terrier, Briggs, was stolen and how she got him back.

How was she able to write about something that must have been so difficult to go through?

I sat down to read it on Sunday afternoon and didn’t put it down until I was finished. It reads like a suspense novel. When Briggs first goes missing, Tricia and her husband are at a loss of what to do. They run through the streets calling Brigg’s name – thinking maybe he just got out of their yard somehow. But when a neighbor informs them that a man took their dog right off their deck, they are forced to face the new reality – their dog was stolen and he could be anywhere AND he could be in serious danger.

Tricia and her husband comb their city, Milwaukee, looking for Briggs. At every turn in their story, you wonder if the next person is the dognapper or if they will be harmed as they navigate through some of the darkest and most dangerous neighborhoods of Milwaukee. It’s intense and scary. It also captures every emotion, every experience, every frustration and every bit of hope I felt when Cupcake was missing.

I laughed. I cried. I expressed outrage on her behalf. But mostly, I nodded my head as she shared stories about all of the kind people who entered her life to help her find Briggs. Complete strangers. People just motivated to help because they too, loved dogs. Sometimes from the most unexpected corners too.

I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out if Briggs was found. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that it was well worth waiting for.

If you are looking for a good summer read while on the beach this summer, I highly recommend Tricia’s book. Trust me. You won’t be able to put it down either. Plus, she shares a lot of great info along the way on how they got Briggs back. There’s also a little surprise that happens along the way. Let’s just say that if he had a long tail he would be wagging it wildly. :)

I’m going to be reading it again. Slowly. It is worthy of a second go-around.

I’ll leave you with Tricia’s own words from the last page of her book…

“What I do know is that from now on, I’ll pay more attention to people who ask for help. Why? Because I know what it’s like to feel helpless. Because ultimately, that is what saved Briggs, a community of people who decided to care about a small dog, stolen from a porch, on a sunny day in May.”

I can completely relate.

Rescues – Do you have a plan for finding your lost dogs?

June 3, 2013 12 comments

Lost not stray v2When Cupcake (known as Lady back then) went missing in late 2011, I was lucky. No. Not lucky because she disappeared. Lucky because I had a an experienced rescue behind me, supporting me, all along the way.

Minnesota Sheltie Rescue knew just what to do to help bring Cupcake back. They knew that flyers were the most successful way to get the word out. They knew that signs and using a call service like Find Toto were also successful in getting more eyes looking for her. They knew how to mobilize a whole group of people to help spread the word. And, they made to tell me to get some rest so I would be there when Cupcake needed me most.  To say they are an awesome rescue would be an understatement.

I wish every rescue offered their new adopters and  foster parents the kind of support Minnesota Sheltie Rescue (MNSR) offered to Cupcake and I. Unfortunately, I think MNSR is the exception and not the norm.

I get it. Rescues are busy. They’re saving lives. They are short-staffed and often run on a shoestring budget. They don’t have the time or the money or the staff to plan for the eventual loss of a dog within their care. But, they should.

If I had my wish, I would ensure that every rescue had a clear plan for:

How a dog or cat will be transported to its new home or foster home (grabbing them off the back of a transport truck is not a plan).

Lost Dogs of MN has a great list of tips on how to avoid losing a dog during transport. Every rescue should consider implementing them immediately. They should also consider making it the standard policy for how dogs are transported to and from their foster and adoptive homes.

What a potential adopter or foster parent needs to know to keep their new pet safe in the first few days after they bring them home.

  • New adopters and foster parents should avoid taking their new dog anywhere besides their home. They should be told to avoid the overwhelming desire to stop off at the pet store for supplies or a dog park, where they are likely to get into trouble or get lost.
  • They should let the dog get used to its new environment and hold off on taking walks through the neighborhood that first week.
  • Entrances and exits should be protected to ensure a dog cannot bolt out the door unexpectedly.
  • Double-leashing a dog or buying a harness for their new dog should be recommended so if the dog becomes frightened unexpectedly, they are not able to run away.
  • Encourage new owners and fosters to take lots of pictures of their new dog (or cat). They should have a frontal view and one with them standing.

What to do when a dog goes missing.

  • Flyers, flyers, flyers. Do I need to say it again? Flyers. Rescues need to have a template ready and waiting to go so when a dog does go missing they are not scrambling to put one together or leaving it up to the adopter or foster to do it. The number one thing that should be on that flyer is a place to put the dog’s picture and contact information, followed by the words “Do Not Chase.”
  • Contact all the veterinarians and shelters within the immediate area. Let them know about the missing dog, provide them with a description and contact information. This should be done within the first few hours after a dog goes missing.
  • Create a calling tree within the rescue. Identify where all of your volunteers are located and let them know they may be alerted if a dog in their area goes missing. Make sure they know what to do next. (Did I mention flyers?)
  • Post the missing dog on their Facebook page using the lost dog flyer. Ask people to help. Ask them to print out copies and pass them out in the area the dog was lost. This should be done within the first few hours after a dog goes missing.
  • Post the missing dog on Craigslist. This should be done within the first few hours after a dog goes missing.
  • Make sure all your volunteers, and anyone helping to find the dog, knows what to do when they see the dog. Not sure what to do? I shared a great video two weeks ago week (The best advice for capturing a lost dog) that I think every rescue should watch.
  • Document each sighting on a Google Map. Learn how to use one. They can be your best opportunity to tracking the dog and understanding its pattern of movement. Lost dogs often retrace their route, so understanding a dog’s movements is key.
  • Set up feeding stations to keep the dog in that area. This will make it much easier to capture the dog if or when you decide to place a trap.
  • Have a live trap in your custody and ready to go.  Don’t have one? Find out who rents them out. Sometimes police departments or rental companies will have one you can borrow or rent. Other rescues are a great resource as well.
  • When a dog is trapped. Avoid the temptation to let them out and leash them while you are at the location. Carry the trap to a safe and enclosed area before letting the dog out. Trust me. You don’t want to lose the dog before you can get them to a safe place.

Lost Dogs-MN has some really great tips for finding lost dogs and an action plan for finding a lost dog. I encourage rescues to take a look and consider making them a part of their plan.

I know having a plan is not an easy thing for rescues to do, but what benefit is there in saving a dog from death row if they get lost after being rescued?  Please. Keep them safe. And, when the inevitable happens and a dog is lost, have a plan for how you will find them again.

Cupcake and I thank you.

What would you do? Give the dog back or keep him?

May 27, 2013 24 comments

j0387553I don’t know if you do the same thing, but when I see a news story on television I often try to imagine what I would do if I were in a similar situation. Would I rush onto thin ice to save a stranger’s dog? Would I intervene in a situation where someone or a group of people was abusing an animal? Would I really break into someone’s hot car to save a pet in need?

I would certainly hope I would help any human or animal in need, but I still wonder what I would do if I were REALLY in that situation.

On Sunday night, I read this story about a deaf woman whose dog (Bear) went missing and ended up at a shelter. When he wasn’t claimed in the allotted eight-day holding period, he was adopted out to another family.

When the woman finally found out that Bear had been adopted out, she contacted the shelter and asked them to contact the family and ask if she could have her dog back. The shelter said they did and the family said no. Just no. She couldn’t have her lost dog back.

Wow.

I immediately wondered what I would have done if I were in the family’s circumstance. Would I return a dog to the woman who owned him first?  How long would it have to be before I would say no? (In this case, Bear has been with his new family at least a month, probably more.) Would there be a circumstance or situation in which I would not give the dog back? I can definitively answer that one. I would never return a dog to an abusive home or to a situation where he would likely suffer neglect. But, that doesn’t sound like the case here. So, would I return Bear to his owner?

I would like to think so. To me it seems the right thing to do. But, I am sure many would say no. There are certainly reasons why many people may not have chosen to return Bear to his owner:

  • She just assumed Bear had run off with another dog and would be back.
  • He had no tags on him.
  • He wasn’t microchipped.
  • She waited a week to report him missing.
  • She didn’t call local shelters.
  • She didn’t have him in a fenced yard or tethered so he couldn’t run away.

But  I wonder… Are any of these reasons enough not to return her dog back to her?

I couldn’t help but think about the story I read last week about the homeless man whose pitbull had been stolen from him while he slept. The media fanfare that surrounded his story eventually led to the return of his dog. Yes, he is homeless. He will not be able to provide his dog food, shelter or medical care, but still I cheered when i heard they had been reunited.

Would I have felt like cheering if I had adopted his dog and then was asked to give him back? Would I have so willingly returned his dog to him? To be honest, I doubt it. Isn’t that sad? I feel bad even writing it. The truth is I don’t know if I could have given the dog back. I know it would not have been an easy decision.

Every day we are faced with decisions like these, decisions about who is worthy and not worthy of a pet. It always seems so easy looking from the outside in, but the more and more I ask myself what I would do the more and more I wonder if what I think I would do is what I would really do.

What would you do? Would you give Bear back? Would you have given the homeless man his dog back?

The best advice for capturing a lost dog

May 20, 2013 34 comments

Lost not stray v2Many dog lovers have a dog preference, a certain breed, a certain look, a certain size dog – there is always something about a particular dog that we find ourselves attracted to when we seek our a dog.

For me, it was always the shy dogs. It didn’t matter what breed or size or look they had. The dogs who were fearful and scared, and cowering at the back of a kennel; these were the dogs I always gravitated towards. I still do. 

When I was a volunteer at Minnesota Valley Humane Society, you would often find me sitting sideways in front of a kennel in the impound room, using calming signals to help draw a dog out of his/her kennel. The dogs in this room were often more scared than most because these were the ones who had just been surrendered or who were just found roaming the streets and had been brought in to be held until their owner was found. They were overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and smells of the shelter, and as you can imagine, terrified, scared and afraid of everyone. The last thing they wanted to do was come to you and go for a walk outside.

When I saw one of these scared dogs, I would sit in front of their kennel door and use calming signals to draw them out – lip-licking, bowed head, averted gaze, a sideways profile, these were all behaviors I employed when working with a shy or scared dog. They are the very same signals I used with Cupcake when she was running around that abandoned truck loading dock after being lost for 12 days.

Knowing and using calming signals can be so helpful when working with a fearful dog. They can also be helpful in trying to capture a lost dog. When you use them, you are speaking in a language that most dogs understand. What could be more reassuring than seeing someone speak to you in your own language? 

A friend recently shared this video with me. It’s about using calming signals to capture a lost dog or to calm a panicked dog (and what lost dog isn’t panicked?). It’s not very long but it is definitely worth watching. Maybe you don’t have a lost dog, but some day you may have one. Or you may come across one. Knowing what to do when you do is so important. Please watch and then pass it on. The more people that know the more chances we have to reunite lost dogs with their owners.

Remember, most dogs on the run are LOST, not stray.

Have you ever had your dog escape after someone left a gate open?

April 2, 2013 30 comments

IMG_4190I don’t know about you, but I have become pretty paranoid about my dogs getting loose and getting lost. Maybe it was my whole experience with Cupcake last year (she was lost for 12 very long days) or maybe it’s seeing all the lost dog postings on Facebook every day, but I am now super vigilant about where my dogs are at, whether at home or out and about.

I think one of my biggest worries used to be that someone would leave one of my gates open and the dogs would get out. I have read one too many stories of dogs who became lost after a construction guy or a plumber or a yard guy left the gate open and the dog escaped. What is up with that anyways? Do they not have a brain?

Yesterday I saw another posting, this one on Lost Dogs Arizona. It reaffirmed my belief that putting locks on my gates was not as crazy as I first thought (I could care less if it offends the neighbor).

The posting was a frantic message about a Cattle Dog named Jessi Jane who was lost after the “yard guy left the gate open” and then “chased Jessi Jane” after realizing his mistake. Of course, this only scared her even more and she ran even harder. (Side note: Chasing a dog is the worst thing you can do. If anything, run away from the dog or lay down like you are injured or open your car door and ask them if they want to go for a ride.) Jessi Jane’s mother was absolutely frantic. Who could blame her? I would be too! Fortunately, Jessie Jane returned home one day later. The yard guy was fired and Jessi was home safe.

Seeing yet another story about a lost dog that was the result of someone leaving a gate open made me wonder if this is more common than I think.  
So I would like to ask you… Have you ever had your dog escape the yard because someone left a gate open? If so, was it someone you hired ir maybe a family member? Has it happened to you and what happened with your dog?

Sunny – A dog lost for 96 days in a Minnesota winter and now home

March 31, 2013 16 comments

IMG_0197For those of you who follow me on my Facebook page or follow the Lost Shelties MN page, you already know the good news. Sunny, the Sheltie lost in Maple Grove, Minnesota, is now safely home in Ohio. After 96 days and 23 miles, he was reunited with his dad on Friday evening. It was a very special moment and one I am sure Sunny’s dad and family won’t forget.

For those of you who don’t know the story, I think you will find this worth reading. It is a good example of how important it is to get the word out… AND just how to do it.

Before I share Sunny’s story from beginning to end (My thanks to Cindy from Lost Shelties MN and Mary McTie for letting me share this!), I would like to thank all of the people who helped in his successful return. I would love to name each and every one of you here, but there were so many of you that I am afraid I would forget someone!

Instead, let me just share some of the things you did to bring Sunny home:

  • Offered support to Sunny’s family and coordinated the handing out of flyers (including updating the flyer map on numerous occasions so we knew where to go next).
  • Updated the missing dog flyers so the latest information could be handed out in neighborhoods and posted in store windows.
  • Placed, checked and moved traps in the frigid cold and deep snow – more times than we even know. (Trust me when I say this is hard work.)
  • Managed the incoming calls with sightings of Sunny and handled inquiries from the general public (both on Facebook and over the phone).
  • Made calls to local shelters, police departments and city managers in cities where Sunny was sighted.
  • Monitored all the places that help lost dogs – AHS website, Lost Dogs – MN, Craigslist, in case Sunny was brought in as a stray.
  • Called radio stations to ask them to ask the public to keep an eye out for Sunny.
  • Handed out flyers over and over and over again – and then did it once again (many times in frigid cold).
  • Contacted local newspapers and online news media outlets to alert them to Sunny’s story and the search for him.
  • Placed ads in newspapers and posted info on Craigslist.
  • Made signs to be placed in areas he was sighted.
  • Kept all of the volunteers motivated week after week after week (you know who you are!).
  • Shared Sunny’s picture and story on Facebook and asked friends to share.
  • Prayed, sent good thoughts and hoped that Sunny would be reunited with his family.
  • Called and reported each and every sighting, no matter when that sighting occurred.

A very special thanks to Patti and her husband for reporting that one final set of sightings that brought Sunny home and to Cindy from Lost Shelties MN who handled so much more than we know with absolute grace and charm.

So, without further ado, here is Sunny’s story as it was shared on the Lost Shelties MN Facebook page in Sunday. It still brings tears to my eyes.

Hi Everyone…This is long…I apologize…but it’s been a long journey for Sunny, his family and the rest of us. This is a story worth telling. Thank you all for EVERYTHING you have done to help this precious boy. A lot of hard work by all…but so very rewarding. Grab some coffee and enjoy. And please share this also, as I’m sure through the 96 days that Sunny was gone, there were a lot of people who have seen your likes & shares. Thank you…from the bottom of my heart.

(First, how Sunny was finally caught.) On March 20th, Sunny’s owner called to tell us he got a call from a lady who had seen Sunny. Her name is Patti and she lives in Vadnais Heights. Patti feeds stray cats and she and her husband have a live feed video camera near the bowls. They started to see a Sheltie come around about 11pm, he had been eating at the bowls at least eight times in the last week and a half. Patti checked Craigslist and was sure that dog was Sunny. We were cautiously optimistic. Almost 23 miles (via Interstate 694) from where Sunny went missing on Christmas Eve. If this was Sunny…he was heading for Ohio!

Minnesota Sheltie Rescue (MNSR) volunteers brought a live trap over that night. Patti had a huge bowl of cut up hot dogs, another big bowl of chicken, along with cat kibble and a heated bowl for milk. We set up the trap with the chicken and hot dogs inside. We left the kibble and milk outside – usually we don’t want to leave food outside the trap but a big tomcat was watching the whole time and we figured we would probably catch him multiple times if we didn’t leave something out for him.

The first night, Patti’s husband stayed up til 2 a.m. watching the video…no dog! We set up a motion-activated camera. We thought if we at least saw him come around again, then we would put the word out for flyers in the area. But the dog stopped coming by (or at least he did not appear on the love camera or when anyone was watching the live feed). More days passed and no dog. We started thinking it must have been a neighbor dog, who was sometimes let out to stroll late at night. It started to seem like nothing was going to happen here.

March 28th – Patti called to say they caught a raccoon in the trap! Not good, but there’s always the thought that you have to catch something else before you catch the dog.

6:30 a.m. on March 29th – Patti calls to say they have the dog in the trap! What dog…must be a neighbor dog…some other dog that needs our help? Could it possibly be Sunny? Patti and her husband knew not to open the trap but they offered to bring it inside their garage until our volunteer Pat (another MNSR volunteer) could get there.

Pat and her granddaughter arrived, along with Sunny’s owners’ in-laws. The markings looked right, the size looked right, but there was that tiny bit of doubt that it was another Sheltie that looked a lot like Sunny. The dog sort of wagged his tail at the father-in-law. He was matted and full of burrs, but otherwise didn’t look too bad. They sent pictures to Sunny’s owner in Ohio, and he was on the road by mid-morning.

Sunny went to Karen’s for the day. Pat’s granddaughter spent some time picking burrs out of his coat and he was amazingly relaxed. He got a good nap for the rest of the morning.

At noon on Friday, March 29th, Sunny went to MNSR’s vet, he was checked out and overall opinion was that he is in pretty good shape (blood work results will take a day or two), not thin but obviously he was tired.

Sunny had to meet some more MNSR volunteers later in the afternoon, and he was quite calm for that too. He didn’t approach us, but he didn’t hide or cower. Maybe still somewhat in shock and maybe relief that he didn’t have to run anymore.

Friday evening about 7:00 p.m., Sunny’s owner, Dick, arrives at Karen’s. Sunny looked at him, walked over and sniffed him, and then his tail started to wag a little. He never left Dick after that. Dick sat on the step and talked and Sunny looked at him and listened. Dick would say familiar words and his ears would perk up. He relaxed and laid down at his feet for a while.  We could tell that all was well in Sunny’s world again.

Sunny left Karen’s equipped with a Minnesota Sheltie Rescue (MNSR collar), a harness and was double leashed! After all that, Dick carried him out to the car anyway. Sunny and Dick are driving back to Ohio Saturday morning and should be back home by evening. (Update: Sunny is now home and his overall blood work was good.)

Thank you to everyone who helped in this 96 day search to get Sunny back home. The flyers, the Craigslist ads, the Maple Grove Patch and the City of Brooklyn Park, the sharing on Facebook, twitter and other social media. Thank you to Patti and her husband for feeding such good food to stray cats and a lost Sheltie from Ohio.

Sunny – you captured our hearts. Safe travels home, Sunny and Dick!

*    *    *    *    *    *
Chronology of the search for Sunny

December 24 – Sunny, a Sheltie visiting with his family from Ohio, goes missing.

December 26th – Volunteers hit the streets of Maple Grove flyering the neighborhoods.

January 5th – Sunny sighting south of 85th, by Fleet Farm. Other Sunny sightings. (Major snowstorm January 4th.)

January 13th – Sunny sighting on the west side of the Coon Rapids Dam. Volunteers look on both sides of the dam, the area is heavily flyered.

January 15th – Three Rivers Park (Coon Rapids) police report seeing Sunny near West River Road and chase him into the park. MNSR live traps are set, something is eating the food out of the traps, but nothing is ever caught.

Mid- January – We get a couple reports of a Sheltie near highway 610 and also in Coon Rapids. (Temps the week of January 21st ranged from -30 to -20 degrees with -30 to -40 degree windchill.)

January 26th – A Sheltie is reported in Ham Lake near Constance and Urbank. Volunteers place signs in the area. The traps at the dam are still being checked.

Early February – We start to get multiple sightings in Blaine. Volunteers flyer the Blaine neighborhoods. People see us posting signs and tell us they got the flyer and are watching.

February 13th – Sighting back in Brooklyn Park at 104th and Douglas Drive. Volunteers are back distributing flyers in that neighborhood.

February 14th – 16th – Multiple reports of a Sheltie near Bunker Hills Golf Course. Volunteers flyer a large area in Blaine and Coon Rapids.

February 18th – A woman in Blaine catches the Sheltie in a garage. He is extremely underweight, tired and scared. He’s not Sunny, but he definitely needed us.

February 24th – A man calls to say he saw a flyer but that he saw the dog laying on the side of northbound highway 169. It was at least 2 weeks after he had the sighting. Karen from MNSR drives and walks the area, looking for the dog. Mary goes out March 2 to take one more look before the next big snowstorm. No sign of a dog.

March 11 – Another report of a sighting at 93rd and Noble in Brooklyn Park. Volunteers flyer the area.

March 19th – A sighting in Andover. A live trap is set in the backyard. (Major snowstorm March 18th.)

March 20th – A sighting in Vadnais Heights. A live trap is set next to the house.

March 27th – A report about a dead animal in Blaine. Started thinking the Vadnais Heights dog wasn’t Sunny.

March 28th – A racoon is caught in the Vadnais Heights trap.

March 29th – A dog is in the Vadnais Heights trap. A happy ending to a 96 day search for a lost Sheltie from Ohio.

Two more updates: Rumor has it that Sunny’s story may be featured on the John Williams radio show on WCCO on Monday between 3-6 p.m. and he is once again featured on the Maple Grove Patch (the first time was when he was still missing).

Sunny’s Path:

Cindy from Lost Shelties MN says hello to Sunny

Cindy from Lost Shelties MN says hello to Sunny

Sunny smiles at dad. He is clearly very happy to see him.

Sunny smiles at dad. He is clearly very happy to see him.

Sunny and Dad before the head home.

Sunny and Dad before the head home.

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