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There but for the grace of…

January 22, 2012 9 comments

This past week Minnesota Sheltie Rescue alerted us to another missing dog in my neck of the woods. This dog was also shy and a foster dog, but with another local rescue group, RAGOM – Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota. I couldn’t help but be worried about him. Unlike Lady, Kekoa didn’t appear to have as thick a coat as her and temperatures this week have been below zero.

I had planned to help hand out flyers today, but yesterday Kekoa was found. Unfortunately, he was not found in the way any of us had hoped. Kekoa’s story does not have such a happy ending. His body was discovered yesterday. He had been hit by a car after getting through the fencing along a highway.

I can’t help but feel deeply saddened by this outcome. I felt so connected to Kekoa’s story. He got away from his foster mom too.

What Lady and I and her rescue volunteers went through is still so fresh in my mind. My memories of how she was found and the joy I felt knowing I no longer had to worry where she was and whether was she in danger. I just wasn’t prepared for an outcome that didn’t end have another happy reunion ending with tears of joy.

Why did Lady come home safely and not Kekoa? I mean she was lost on one side of a very busy highway and was found on the other side of it. Certainly she had to have crossed over it somehow.

When we were out searching for her those twelve long days, I noticed a huge gap in the fencing right along a new bridge that had just been completed this past summer. The bridge crosses over the same highway Lady had to cross and ends fairly close to where she was eventually found. So if she did cross there, why did she not run through the gap in the fence? Why did she not head down the embankment and onto the highway? I can’t help but wonder why Kekoa and not her?

I often hear people say “There but for the grace of God go I,” and I admit that last night I thought that very thing for one brief moment – that it was God’s grace that brought Lady through it all. But then where does that leave Kekoa and the people who searched so diligently for him? Surely he had God’s grace looking upon him too? I know there were prayers said for him, just like they were for Lady. So what made his outcome so different?

I don’t suppose anyone will ever really know the answer to that question, but what I do know is that right now I feel even more thankful tonight as I reflect on the pain and sorrow that Kekoa’s family and caretakers are feeling right now. They did all the same things that were done to help find Lady, and yet, they do not have the happy ending they and Kekoa so deserved. I am so deeply sorry for their loss. Rest in peace dear Kekoa.

Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

December 2, 2011 61 comments

Lost dog flier

I apologize up front for the length of this post, but What happened Wednesday night was nothing short of amazing. It was a miracle. And, I don’t ever want to forget it, especially knowing what happened on Monday.

Monday had been my first day back to work since Lady had disappeared. It was a strange feeling to be back. I had a hard time getting back into the groove, but by mid-afternoon I was focused and getting work done. That’s when it happened. I got this absolutely sick feeling in my stomach. I don’t know how to explain it except to say it was as if I had just received the very worst news and was doubled over with emotional pain. I almost started to cry and was feeling panicky. It was this awful feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach. I called Estelle from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue immediately and asked her if everything was okay because I felt something bad had happened. She reassured that all was well, but I couldn’t shake the feeling.

I decided to go for a walk to try and calm myself down. Suddenly, as I stood there, I felt this overwhelming sense of peace. It infused my whole being. And then, I heard the words “Everything is going to be okay.” At the time I didn’t know what it meant, but for the first time in many days, I felt totally at peace. In my mind’s eye, I saw an image of Lady. She was barking and wagging her tail excitedly like she does when she knows we are going on a walk, or to the dog park. She seemed so happy. I thought to myself, “She’s gone. Lady is gone.” I was so certain that the sick feeling I had felt was the moment she had died, and yet, the image of her wagging her tail and happily barking made me less sad that I thought I would be. I heard the words, “I’m free! I’m free!” and I thought “Okay. She’s gone, but she’s not sad about it. How can I be sad if she’s not?” It was a very strange experience. One I cannot explain. I returned to work that day totally at peace. Sad, but comforted by the fact that Lady had seemed so happy. (I later learned that I was not the only one who had experienced that sick feeling at the same time. Perhaps Lady had been in danger and escaped it? I guess I’ll never know.)

That’s why I was surprised (and very much relieved) when we had two sightings the very next morning as I was on my way to work. I was so excited. She was less than a mile from home! I don’t know how I knew it then, but somehow I knew it was just a matter of time before she would be home.

Lady resting at home with her toy

On Wednesday I went to work knowing the Lady was alive. I tried to stay focused on work until I received a call around 2:30 PM. I answered my phone immediately knowing it could be a call about Lady. The man on the phone said “I’ve seen your dog.” My heart skipped a beat. “Where?” I asked? He told me he had seen her on the corner of Eagandale Boulevard and Lone Oak Road. My heart dropped. I was sure he had to be mistaken. That was several miles from where she had last been seen on Tuesday. “Are you sure?” I asked him. He said “Yes. I am sure it was your dog. I just ran to Rainbow to look at the flier and now I’m on my way back to see if she is still there.” Then he said, “There she is. She’s running down West Service Road now. I’m following her.” Oh my God I thought. I told him I was going to call people to come meet him there. I was shaking. We were so close!

I remember calling Meaghan from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue (MNSR) and then Cindy, a volunteer who had been helping since Lady was first lost, and then Estelle, also from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue. I was in a panic. I wanted to be there. I tried to give each of them directions to the man’s location but for some reason I couldn’t get Google Maps to work. Augh! Seriously? Why now?

I remember calling the man back to be absolutely certain that the dog he saw was in fact Lady. He said she looks just like a Minature Collie and I knew. It was her. He told me that he had her cornered in a fenced lot and that he was going to get out of the car. I asked him please to sit down if he got out and let her approach him. I told him she was afraid of people. He said, “I’m sitting down.” “God bless him!” I thought.

To be honest, I don’t remember much after that except throwing things in my bag, rushing out of work and hopping the first train home. What I know now is that as I was heading home, people had already started calling one another and many had already started arriving at Lady’s location. Deb from Springer Rescue, Estelle from MNSR, Cindy, and Stephen, another volunteer who had become involved in the search for Lady. They were all there.

Glad to be back home

I remember Stephen calling me and saying “Mel – I can see her.” I don’t know how to describe what that moment was like. Finally! I tried to hold it together as I told him that I was almost there, but the tears had already started. After all the sightings, false sightings and almost sightings, finally she was somewhere we could finally catch her. The drive to the location was sheer agony. What if I were too late? What if she bolted and got hit by a car? And then I remembered the peace I had felt on Monday, and how I had heard the words that everything would be okay, and I stopped panicking and let it all go. I knew that what was about to happen as not in my hands. I was not in control anymore.

I arrived to find several cars parked in a business driveway. I saw Estelle off in the distance near a large fenced area in the back. She waved me towards her. I parked my car and walked to the back of the building. It appeared to be some sort of docking area in the back, like a place where trucks could be loaded up with goods and sent out for delivery. The lot was huge and completely empty, except for Lady, who was sniffing around and pacing. People were blocking the exits on either side of the lot. “It’s her!” I whispered to Estelle. We watched as Lady headed towards the exit at the opposite end of the lot only to stop as Cindy or Stephen or Brad (the man I had spoken to on the phone) stood up. She would stare for a second and then trot back over towards Estelle and I. She was desperately looking for an escape route. I called out to her and even called her by name a couple of times. Each time she stopped as if she recognized my voice, but then she would start trotting off again. She was so scared. All we could do was watch helplessly as Lady trotted back and forth in fear. We didn’t have enough people to block the exits so I could go in and get her.

As each of us took turns keeping her from escaping, Estelle and I took turns calling people – friends, family, volunteers. Everyone was called in hopes they could come. Meaghan put out an all hands on deck alert via email and soon people began to arrive in from everywhere It was truly amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. Emily, from Ruff Start Rescue, drove her car up near Estelle and I and blocked the exit while more volunteers took positions to the front and side of it. Finally, I entered the lot.

Darn burrs. Thankfully fur grows back.

I crossed the lot and sat down on a curb near a concrete barrier and waited. Lady watched from the other end of the lot and then trotted over near Estelle. She stared for a long time at the exit, now blocked by a car and more people. I could just see the wheels in her head turning. She’s going to make a break for it I thought. She was so desperate to get away.

After a few moments, she turned and passed within a few feet of me. I kept my body turned to the side and my head down so as to appear less threatening to her. I watched out of the corner of my eye as she started to walk by and then stopped. Her nose lifted to the air and she sniffed. She looked at me as I called out her name softly and asked her if she wanted to go home and see Daisy and Jasper. She stared at me. I could see she knew who I was talking about. She moved a few steps forward and sniffed. Then a couple of more. And then, a few more. She was just within reach! I reached out my hand and let her sniff it. Slowly, the look of recognition came into her eyes and she sighed. It was if she was saying “It’s you. It’s you. Oh thank God it’s you.” I could see the look of relief in her eyes and watched as she circled me and walked up on the curb and came next to me. I reached out my hand and stoked her face as I said her name softly. She seemed to just relax after that. I said “Let’s get your harness on” and she stood and waited as I put it on her, and with nearly frozen fingers, attached her leash. She knew. She was going home. I let out a sob, but choked it back so as not to scare her. We started to walk, but I couldn’t stand the thought of her not being in my arms and picked her up and started to sob quietly as I carried her towards Estelle and the other women standing guard.

I remember hearing a cheer and clapping. What a long journey all of us had been on, none more so than Lady. Tears were flowing everywhere. The day I had waited for had finally come – 12 days after I lost Lady, she was finally home.

A lot of what happened after that was a blur. I remember putting Lady in my car and hugging my friends Karen and Kym and so many of the MNSR staff and volunteers I had come to know so well over the past 12 days. So many kind people who had helped bring Lady home. I also remember waiting for the man who had first spotted Lady and who had called me to tell me he had seen my dog. I gave him a huge hug and thanked him. His name is Brad Wright and in my book, he’s a hero. What a man! He had sat there for over 2 hours, waiting for people to get in place so I could go in and get Lady. He never complained. He never left. He didn’t just drive by. He stepped in and chose to help. God bless him.

Lady spent one night at the emergency vet for dehydration and was clipped to remove the many burrs that had matted her coat. She’s in bad shape visually, but in fairly good shape physically. She even seems to have adjusted to life back at home pretty quickly. She was playing with her brother Jasper tonight. Who’d have thunk it? Certainly not me.

My many, many thanks to each and every person who helped in the search for Lady. You worked tirelessly to make this happen. If not for you, she would not be home now, but facing another winter storm out in the cold somewhere all by herself. And to Brad Wright, thank you. You may not consider yourself a hero, but I do.

Lady and Brad

If you want to see more of Brad and Lady, click here. It’s the story WCCO did on her and her hero.


Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome pet bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!

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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: 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 (This Post): Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

Little Lady Lost – HOME AT LAST!

November 30, 2011 49 comments

It’s late, but I couldn’t help but share the wonderful news. Around 5 PM Wednesday night, Lady was found! It’s a long and winding story, but it will have to wait until a little later (maybe Thursday evening) for me to tell. All I can say is that there are a LOT of people I have to thank. For all of you who handed out fliers tirelessly, put up signs in the cold, set traps and checked them daily (even letting out a cat and a raccoon), printed up the fliers, manned the phones, drove around in your car looking for her or sat on stakeout on a very cold day, or kept the search team updated daily and sometimes hourly via a Google map, shared on Facebook and/or Twitter or just offered support in some way… THANK YOU!!!

And for those of you who dropped everything and came to help tonight to ensure that Lady was safely returned home, my special thanks, most especially the staff, volunteers and board members of Minnesota Sheltie Rescue. You made my dreams come true.

Tonight, Lady is staying at the emergency vet to ensure that she is healthy before she comes home. She was home briefly and although she garnered a lot of sniffs from her brother Jasper and sister Daisy (she’s quite stinky), they were very happy to see her, as was I. She is going to look a little less Lady-like for a while (they had to cut out tons of burrs), she is still my girl.

Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy. My thanks to all of you who prayed and offered words of encouragement. You are so awesome!

A blurry picture of me, carrying Lady, and Estelle - Going Home.

I was pretty much bawling by this point. I was afraid I would drop her because I was crying so much!.

My first meal at home in 12 days

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

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

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

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

Little Lady Lost – A sense of peace

November 29, 2011 21 comments

Looking back on these past 11 days I can honestly say that I feel a distinct sense of before and after. There was my life before Lady was lost and then there is my life after.

That one night, Friday night, November 18th, seems sort of like a dream now (or maybe a nigtmare), but it also feels like a pivotal moment in my life. My life before I lost Lady was a routine. I followed the same schedule, did the same things, but it was fun. I loved spending time with my dogs – taking them for walks, working on obedience training, cuddling with them on the couch, etc. My life after has been so very different. It’s been chaotic and crazy and stressful and emotional. Every day has been filled with the search for Lady – handing out fliers, putting up signs, setting up and checking live traps, searching through woods and tall grass, moving live traps, driving around hoping to see her, racing to the location of the latest sighting… my life has been consumed with the never ending search for her.

That’s why going to work yesterday, the first time since Lady disappeared, was such a strange experience. For eleven days, my life has been consumed with the search for Lady and now here I was going off to work with her still missing. As I said in my previous post, part of me was relieved to get back to work. I craved the routine that would take me away from continuously worrying and wondering about her. Being busy is sometimes the best medicine to grief and worry. It’s an escape. But yesterday there was also a part of me that had a hard time letting go of the search. All day I wondered if there were any sightings or if the fliers were still being distributed (they were) or if she had had been caught in a live trap (sadly, she was not). Then yesterday afternoon, I felt a sense of peace overcome me and I just let it all go. I had the sense that everything would be okay. I don’t know why. I don’t even know what what it means, if it means anything at all, but it has erased all of the tension and worry and fear that I have felt every day since Lady disappeared. Maybe I’m truly letting go for the first time and just letting whatever is meant to be unfold as it is designed to do. Either way, I go to work today knowing that Lady is out there somewhere and that she is okay. We may not find her today or tomorrow, but we will find her. It’s just a matter of time.

Search update: There were no sightings of Lady yesterday. The live traps were empty as well. If she continues to stick to the general pattern she seems to have established for herself, I would expect a sighting today. But, I won’t hold onto that as a given. We just don’t know when she will appear again, or where. More wonderful people handed out fliers yesterday and new ones were made up (thank you Julie). I continue to watch for her and to hand out fliers when I can. Come home 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: Little Lady Lost – Latest Update & Do’s and Don’ts

Post #9 (This Post): 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 – 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

Little Lady Lost – The Saturday Update

November 26, 2011 22 comments

Little Lady

Sorry for the abbreviated post for today, but we had three sightings of our little Lady on Saturday, and they were all in the same area!

I have been busy coordinating a stakeout along the route she was sighted today. If she will come to me, I will be bringing her home. If not, we will use a live trap once we have a better idea of her route. We are asking people who are not part of the stakeout crew to stay away for now. As tempting as it might be to drive by and look for her, the chances you will see her are pretty slim. She’s a smart little cookie and very good at hiding. On top of that, more traffic in that area could very well result in her being hit by a car. I want to avoid that if at all possible.

My biggest concern right now is that someone will call out to her and spook her causing her to go further into hiding – one of the dangers of having a fearful dog, they don’t act like normal dogs.

My thanks to the crew that will be out tomorrow watching for her and/or handing out fliers. It was because of the fliers we handed out on Saturday that we had so many sightings today. Thank you to everyone who came to help!!!!

I will post an update whatever the result. If you pray, please pray for Lady’s safe return and if you believe in sending good thoughts out into the universe I sure could use them now. Thank you!

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 (This Post): 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

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

Thanksgiving Gratitude Despite Little Lady Still Being Lost

November 23, 2011 15 comments

Thanksgiving Day is upon us, and while you might not think that I could be grateful on a day when Lady is still missing, I am. There is so much to celebrate on this special holiday.

– All the volunteers with Minnesota Sheltie Rescue who have given up time in their day, and in their lives, to help search for Lady, hand out fliers, post signs, and manage the behind the scenes coordinating it takes to pull off a search this large.

– All my friends and family members who have offered support and encouragement when I was feeling at my lowest.

– All the “strangers”, who I now prefer to think of as friends, who have offered to help in any way they could to help find Lady – driving around where she was last seen, handing out fliers, sharing her story with friends on Facebook or Twitter, watching out for her as they drive through town, etc.

– All the people who took action and called us to let us know they had seen her and where she was headed and what she did. Every call is a clue to a much bigger puzzle and with every puzzle piece placed, we get closer to finding Lady.

– Warm weather. I might be totally wrong, after all I am not a meteorologist, but I don’t remember many Thanksgivings being this warm. It means I can breathe a little easier knowing Lady is not freezing cold or out there in the middle of a snowstorm.

– My puppy dogs. Last Friday was a freak accident, but I fully recognize that in all that chaos I could have lost all three dogs to a car or something just as bad. That none of them were hit is a miracle in itself. Lady may still be missing, but she is alive and people are watching out for her and praying for her. And when I am feeling down, Daisy and Jasper are there to comfort me. For all of that I am truly grateful.

Reading all your comments and heartfelt hopes and prayers has been very comforting to me. I know now that I don’t have control over what happens to Lady, or how long it will take to bring her home, but I do know that all of this good energy is not being put to waste. It’s making me, and I suspect you, feel grateful for what we do have and how blessed we truly are on this special day. Hug your dogs. Hug your family, and know that today is a day we can all be grateful for.


Latest update: No sightings of Lady today. Volunteers were out searching, checking traps and making new fliers with a side view of Lady. I, and it appears at least one other volunteer, staked out the Marriott tonight in hopes of seeing Lady. I sat on the ground for a while in the area nearest to where she had crossed Pilot Knob Road, but never saw her. After a while got too cold to stay and so I left behind some food and one of her favorite toys.

Not one to leave things be, I stopped off at Walgreens to buy some more dog food, Kibbles and Bits, to entice her out. I filled the food dish and then sat in my car at a distance to see if she would come out. No luck. But, I did get a sense of when traffic quiets down in that area and I think I’ll have a better idea of when to come next time.

I am really hoping the food will keep her on that side of Pilot Knob Road until we can move a trap closer to that area and add another live trap further down. I am hoping beyond hope that she will go into a trap on Thanksgiving Day and give us all something to celebrate.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Come home 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 (This Post): 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

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.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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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