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Wordless Wednesday #335 – Til we meet again Miss Cuppercakes

May 31, 2017 11 comments

It took a year, but Cupcake now approaches Kellie for pets. #sheltie #dogpark

Seriously, could she be any cuter?  #Cupcake

Silly kids #family

Freshly groomed and looking fine!

Hello turtle! #nature #sheltie #turtle

Sheltie girls when it comes to getting cheese.

Big sky and Cupcake

IMG_0827
Cupcake's Lost Dog Flyer #2

The boss and her minion. It looks like he cares, doesn't it?

Cupcake on Memorial Day 2015

Cupcake takes a break at the dog park. 4/17/14

Untitled

Cupcake's Favorite Spot

Cleaning up after some time at the park

Cupcake sniffing with Daisy IMG_9755

Til we meet again my sweet

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

April 2, 2013 42 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?

Why your lost dog may not run back to you

November 18, 2012 218 comments

Cupcake’s first day home after being lost for 12 days

I was reminded once again this past weekend how much we dog owners don’t know about missing pets. That’s not a judgement in any way,  just an observation. So few of us really know or understand what happens to a pet when they become lost.

This past weekend someone asked me why any lost dog would not just go to their owner once they saw them. It’s a good question. I think most of us just assume that our own dogs would come running to us as soon as they saw us. After all, we’ve cared for them, fed them, cuddled with them and loved them. But, sadly that is not the case for every lost dog – even your lost dog.

I first read this story (Dog Lost for Four Months Recognizes Family by Whistle)  on Life With Dogs back in October. It’s a good example of how a lost dog can become confused and disoriented when they are lost for several days or months. Luna, the dog in the story, was missing for four months. When her family finally found her again, she didn’t recognize them, and even walked away from them when they arrived to be reunited with her. It took two days, six visits and a distinctive whistle by the owner, for her to realize it was them. What had been a puzzling circumstance finally resulted in a happy reunion for all.

She was “crying and yipping the whole way,” said Julia. Luna jumped into Bruno’s arms and began licking his face.

As many of us already know, not all dogs are created equal (if they were our lives would be pretty boring!). Some dogs are happy-go-lucky, love people and other dogs, while others are much more wary and unsure. Puppy mill dogs are especially wary of strangers. They’re also more skittish. They are less likely to stick around and see if the human approaching them is “their” human or someone intending to harm them. As a result, they are much harder to catch and usually have to be trapped.

But a dog does not have to be a puppy mill dog to react this way. Many lost dogs tend to go into “survival mode”. They are frightened, unsure, hungry, tired (exhausted) and on constant alert. In many cases, they are fending for their lives. The longer they live in this state the less likely they are to recognize their owner on sight – and in fact, they are less likely to stick around and wait to see if the person approaching them is their owner.

A year ago this week, my foster dog, Cupcake, was missing. As a lost dog and owner, Cupcake and I had a lot going against us finding one another again – she was a puppy mill dog, had only been with me a little over a month, and was frightened of strangers. She was dodging traffic, coyotes and people in the twelve days she was missing. Talk about being in survival mode – she was definitely in it.

When we finally were able to see each other again it was at a warehouse loading dock. Even as people blocked all her avenues of escape, she continued to run back and forth, trying to find a way out. I was standing right there and she didn’t even recognize me. I called her name and she kept running. I asked if she wanted to go home to see Daisy and Jasper (my other two dogs) and she stopped for a second, then kept running – she was in survival mode, searching for a way out.

It wasn’t until I sat down with my body turned sideways from her, with my head bowed down and avoided eye contact with her, that she came close enough to smell me. I still remember the moment she started to realize it was me. She lifted her nose to the air and sniffed me. Then she moved closer and sniffed again. When she finally got close enough to really sniff me, and to hear my voice, she sighed. It was at that very moment she realized it was me. She leaned into me. She finally knew she was safe.

11/30/2011 – The day Cupcake was found. That’s me in back carrying her.

All lost dogs act differently. As owners, we need to know that before our pet goes missing.

We need to know that chasing a lost dog is one of the worst things we can do. It only reaffirms to the dog that people should be avoided.

So what should you do when you encounter a lost dog or your own lost dog?

  • Sit down.
  • Turn your body so your back or side is to the dog.
  • Keep your eyes averted and bow your head so as to look non-threatening.
  • Toss tasty treats (hot dogs, chicken, smelly cheese, etc.) behind you or to the side of you.
  • Don’t talk.
  • Wait patiently for the dog to approach you. Don’t make any sudden movements, but continue to toss treats.
  • Don’t grab the dog when they get close, but wait patiently and build trust.
  • Speak softly, but if they back away, stop talking and just continue to toss treats until they trust you enough to come closer.

As a dog owner, it pays to know what to do if your dog becomes lost. Below are some sites with some great tips on what to do. I really encourage you to check them out.

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

Cupcake – Happy to be back home.

Missing Dog Memories and a New Lost Dog

November 13, 2012 17 comments

I know I say this quite frequently, but I really did have something else planned for today’s post. Something informative. Something interesting.

Instead, all I can think about is a missing Sheltie girl named Lizzie.

Maybe it has to do with how long she has been missing – 32 days as of November 13th.

Or maybe it’s the cold weather we are experiencing right now – 19 degrees as of this Tuesday morning.

Or it could be where she is hanging out – a brushy field alongside a man-made lake where coyote and fox dens are plentiful.

More than likely, it’s also because the anniversary of the day I first lost my dog, Cupcake, is fast approaching – November 18th.

I can’t help but feel strong emotions as I watch the drama of Lizzie’s story unfold so much like it did for Cupcake. My memories of those 12 days are still so strong even now, a year later. I still tear up when I remember how Cupcake sighed and sank against me when she finally realized she had found me and was safe. I think it was in that moment that I fully  understood how scared and worried and fearful she had been during her ordeal. I certainly knew how scared I had been. Finding one another was one of the most intense, most powerful, moments of my life.

I cannot help but feel the same feelings as for Lizzie. I know she must be so very frightened. And, there is so much that is similar to Cupcake’s story.

Lizzie…

  • Went missing while away from home. Her home is in Rochester, Minnesota, but she was staying with her owner’s daughter when she got away from her.
  • Seems to be staying in the same general area now, although she did travel quite far at first.
  • Has mostly been sighted in the early morning hours or late evenings.
  • Is hanging out in areas known to have coyotes.
  • Has many of the same people searching for her that helped search for Cupcake.
  • Was even sighted sleeping near a wooded area – just like Cupcake.

One of the many dens found in the area Lizzie has been seen.

I know we are close. She has been sighted many times and seems to have a pattern to her days. It is only a matter of time before we get her. But until then, I will worry and pray and hope that she stays safe. This one is too close to my heart and too close to my own recent experience not to worry.

If you want to help, please send some good thoughts Lizzie’s way and pray she stays safe until we can get her. If you live in Apple Valley, MN, please keep an eye out for her. She has been seen in the downtown area. If you do see her, DO NOT CHASE her. She is a former puppy mill dog and afraid of most people. She even ran from her caretaker. This is what Shelties do when they are in survival mode. Instead, if you see her, please call 651-206-4777 or 507-319-5547.

I’ll keep you updated on Lizzie’s progress. I hope she is caught soon.

An Insightful study into Lost Cats and Dogs

June 25, 2012 15 comments

Once you have lost a dog – for any length of time, you start to look at life with a whole new set of lenses.

  • You start to notice how many more lost dog signs there are in your community than you had ever notice before.
  • You start to pay more attention to those dogs you see wandering around unaccompanied by a human.
  • You become motivated to help others with lost pets – whether it be through support, encouragement or advice.

I have found myself doing all of these things and more since Lady was lost and found.

When someone posted this piece on Facebook recently,  What You Don’t Know About Lost Pets Can Hurt Them (by Kat Albrecht on the Maddie’s Fund website) I knew I wanted to read more. I couldn’t help but wonder if the study would mirror what I had already learned in the past seven months. It did. But it also contained some new information I had not known before.

I encourage you to read the whole study, there’s a lot of great information that can be gleaned from what Missing Pet Partnership has gathered here, but here are some of the more interesting bits of information covered in the report:

Lost Cats

Sick, Injured, and Panicked Cats Hide in Silence. They will not meow.

Displaced cats will behave differently when displaced. Their temperaments can determine how they will act.

One of the primary methods recommended to recover displaced cats is the use of digital wildlife cameras and baited humane traps.

Lost Dogs

Gregarious dogs are more likely to go to the first person who calls to them. They are also more likely to be “adopted” by their rescuer who fears the dog will be “put to sleep” if dropped off at a shelter.

Dogs that are wary of strangers are reluctant to approach them until they are able to overcome their fear enough to approach, usually when they become hungry. They are also more likely to be lost for weeks or months. People often assume they have been abused because they will “cower” in fear.

Skittish dogs are more inclined to travel farther and are at a higher risk of being hit by cars. They will also cower in fear making people think they may have been abused.

Pet Owners

Some pet owners develop “tunnel vision” and fail to find their pet because they focus on wrong theories. They assume their dog was “stolen and sold to research” when in fact their dog might have been rescued and put up for adoption through a local adoption event.

Cat caregivers are often discouraged by others who tell them “your cat was probably killed by a coyote,” when their cat may actually be hiding close by, like under a neighbor’s deck.

The study concludes with some great tips to rescuers and pet owners on how to go about finding a lost or missing pet. I have shared some of those in a previous post, but I encourage you to read some of the suggestions provided. Sometimes what works for one dog or cat doesn’t work for another. The more tools you have in your toolbox the better prepared you will be.

A few additional suggestions of my own?

  • Have a support network to help support you when you do lose a pet. Surrounding yourself with people who have experience in looking for lost dogs can make all the difference and help to keep you focused on continuing your search.
  • Share your pet’s picture, story and last known location on Facebook, Twitter and in email to friends and family. Ask them to share.
  • Call all the local shelters, rescue groups, animal control agencies and police stations so they can alert you if your pet is brought in.
  • If you find a lost pet, don’t assume they were abused or abandoned. They were most likely lost and every attempt should be made to find the owner. Stop thinking stray and start thinking “lost.”

Finally…

  • Don’t EVER tell the owner of a missing pet that their dog or cat was likely eaten by a coyote. It is probably the most disheartening and discouraging things someone can say to the owner of a missing pet (I should know, I heard it several times), and it may lead someone to give up their search just when their pet needs them most. Think it if you must, but just don’t say it.

Lost Dog “Experts”, Lay Off Will Ya?

May 14, 2012 58 comments

My lost dog. Lady.

Recently, a rescue group I know, one that was involved in the search for Lady(not the one I volunteer for), came under attack via social media. I won’t go into all of the details of the reason behind the attack, because that is not the point of this post nor am I looking to judge the rescue or the other person involved. But, I do feel the need to address the people who have injected themselves into this controversy.

Because I am the owner of a former missing dog, and the recipient of this rescue’s kindness, it saddened me to see a flurry of harsh words thrown back and forth by people who supported the rescue and those who did not. But, what made me most angry were the harsh words and condemnation and judgement hurled at a woman whose dog had gotten lost.

I could say that this was a one time event. A situation where strong feelings on both sides just got out of hand and eventually cooler heads would prevail, but I have seen these types of words hurled at other owners on missing dog websites elsewhere, so I know that saying this was a one-time event would not be the truth.

I often see comments like “Why didn’t you do this?” and “Why didn’t you do that?” Or ones like “You must not have cared for your dog since you didn’t do this or that.” Or “So, how DID your dog get lost? Hmmm???” (That one hurled at me when Lady went missing.) My favorite one from this latest incident was the one that inferred the owner deserved to lose her dog because it had gotten loose while out on a tie out.

Wow. I never knew there were so many lost dog experts living among us.

I wonder how many people really knew, before they followed the Little Lady Lost saga, what to do if their dog went missing. I know I didn’t.

Honestly, looking back now, I can’t even remember if I called Lady’s rescue first or her former foster mom. I was in such a complete state of panic. I was shaking. I was frantic and scared and out of my head with fear for Lady’s life. She had gotten away in the busiest and most dangerous part of town. The last thing I could do was think rationally about what to do next. All I seemed capable of doing at the time was roaming the area over and over again, searching for her, calling out her name.

If not for amazing and wonderful people at Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, a group very experienced with finding lost dogs, I would not have known what to do.

I would not have thought to create flyers with Lady’s pictures on them. Or to include a warning to not approach her but to call me instead.

I would never have known about FindToto.com or the huge advantage it afforded me in getting the word out to so many people in my town so quickly.

I would not have even known about traps or how to set them or how to bait them or to put an article of clothing in it so she would be drawn to my smell.

I never would have known the importance of going door-to-door or speaking to people in person so they would want to help me find my missing girl.

If I had not been Lady’s foster first, I would not have even thought to call the rescue first.

I certainly never would have known the importance of calling all the shelters and the police and local businesses to ask them to keep an eye out for Lady.

I never would have thought, or even had the time, to create signs or to post them in strategic intersections so people could see them.

I wouldn’t have known any of these things if not for Minnesota Sheltie Rescue. Not a one. Would you?

It’s so easy to assume that everyone knows what to do because we do. It’s so easy to assume that someone is stupid or doesn’t care for their missing pet because they didn’t do all the right things. It so easy to judge isn’t it?

Well I say I was lucky. I had people around me who knew all that I did not. They did things for me that I could not. I was stupid and ignorant and clueless. I was also scared and worried and not thinking straight.

So I would just like to ask all you lost dog “experts”, not the ones who are experienced in finding lost dogs, but the ones who sit in judgement of those with missing pets… LAY OFF. Why don’t you focus on helping instead of criticizing? Why don’t you educate instead of standing by and judging what others did or did not do? Why don’t you have compassion and kindness and heart?

Yes. I am lucky that Lady came home, and I thank my lucky stars she did, but not everyone is so lucky to have an organization, or the people I had behind me, to help. Let’s remember that before we pass judgement, shall we?

In the meantime, I share a few things that was shared by Lost Dogs-MN. Maybe you could pass them on and help others too.

Wordless Wednesday #80

February 28, 2012 15 comments
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