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Posts Tagged ‘Little Lady Lost’

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.

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How Social Media Helps Pets – Got a Story?

February 12, 2012 8 comments

After hearing about another lost Minnesota rescue dog today on Facebook, I was reminded once again how big a role social media now plays in helping pets.

Whether sharing a photo of a pet needing a home or donating money to help a sick cat or educating people on dog behavioral cues or helping someone find their missing pet (like Lady), social media is being used more and more frequently, and much more effectively, to help pets in a wide variety of ways. Not just in the United States, but across the world.

When pets were in desperate need of help after the tsunami in Japan, Life with Dogs and Two Little Cavaliers spread the word and hundreds of people donated money to rescue groups they had probably never heard of before, thus allowing these groups to rescue and treat the animals devastated by the tragedy.

When a dog named Patrick was found inside a garbage bad, near death, many blogs spread the word and people donated and wrote words of encouragement for those helping him. A Facebook page called The Patrick Miracle was created to provide updates on Patrick’s condition and shared how people could help. They now spread the word on how to help other dogs like Patrick.

When a pet sitter lost everything she owned, except for her pets, PetSitUSA and many other blogs asked people to donate money to help her get back on her feet.

As many of you know, I have had my own experience with the power of social media. Even though it was a flyer that eventually led Lady’s rescuer to call me, without the use of social media, Lady’s story never would have spread as far as it did. So many members of the Eagan community shared her story on Twitter and Facebook and asked people to keep an eye out for her. One couple that was integrally involved in her search, Michele and Stephen, heard Lady’s story from their son in New York (he saw it on Facebook), and they offered to help in any way they could, and they did. (Thank you Stephen and Michele!)

That’s why this news clip struck a chord with me. It’s such a great example of how social media is being used to help pets. In this case, it’s helping more pets get adopted than ever before. Now that’s pretty cool.

It makes me wonder if others have stories of how social media has helped their pet or that of a friend. Do you have a story to share? I’d love to hear it.


The House of Special Needs Dogs

January 31, 2012 21 comments

My sister once referred to my house as the “House of Special Needs Dogs.” At the time I laughed at her description, but in truth, she could not have described my home any better than she did. It’s true. I have a penchant for adopting and fostering those dogs who are most afraid, most emotionally damaged and unsocialized. I see possibilities where others see the impossible. You see, I DO believe that love can make a difference.

Working with special needs dogs requires patience, an understanding of what they truly need (not what you want), and being able to celebrate small victories as big ones. Every small step forward is often followed by two steps back, but you know that it will be followed by another step forward, eventually. There is a bond that builds between you and your dog when you have to build trust slowly, from the ground up, and earn it with every action and interaction you have with them.

Jasper and Daisy

With Daisy, it was that first tail wag. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was when I first realized that Daisy was actually wagging her tail instead of tucking it under her butt in fear. For those who have only had a “normal” dog this may not seem like a big deal, you probably see it every day, but to me it was the sunshine of my day, my week, my month. That one action was more rewarding and fulfilling than any other I can remember (and I know there have been many along the way).

With Jasper, it was less a step-by-step process. He has taken many leaps forward and only a few steps back. Most of his issues have to do with his inability to deal with new objects in his environment. If you can imagine how a puppy reacts when they first encounter something they haven’t seen before, you will get an idea of how Jasper reacts to new things. He barks, circles the object from a distance, approaches cautiously and eventually will get close enough to sniff. But, it takes time and patience. He has made huge strides in so many ways that the small steps back seem less consequential.

Jasper

With Lady, it has been more of a slow progression of building trust. She needed to get a feel for our routine, the house rules and how I would be as her new foster mom (and adopted mom). She has always been a bit reserved and cautious, but after her 12 day adventure in the wild, things seem to have changed. She has slowly started to let her true personality shine through a little more each day. Yesterday was one of those days (kind of like Daisy and her first tail wag).

We went to the dog park in the late afternoon. Jasper was full of piss and vinegar and barking and trying to get me to throw a stick for him (one of his many obsessions). I decided to distract him with our usual game of chase. “I’m going to get you!” I said, and started to chase him. He was thrilled. He barked and raced ahead, spinning around as he went, waiting for me to get close enough to chase him again, when suddenly, out of the blue, Lady joined in. She started running with Jasper and then jumping and spinning, mimicking his behavior. Then, she gave a whole series of play bows, both to me and to Jasper. She wanted to play too! And, she did. For many minutes.

Lady barking


This may seem like such a small thing to many dog owners, but in the House of Special Needs Dogs, this is huge progress. Lady’s willingness to trust me and Jasper enough to join in a game of chase says so much. It means that she is letting go of any fears she has had about her new family and is realizing that not only is she finally “home”, but that home is a place where she can not only let her hair down, but be accepted and loved for just being herself. That’s the type of reward we celebrate at the House of Special Needs Dogs.

Little Lady Lost – Absorbing It All

January 5, 2012 23 comments

Yesterday, I received a comment on one of my posts that touched me deeply. I could say I was surprised by this woman’s kind words and actions, but I’m not. It’s actually indicative of many of the kind notes, thoughts, words of encouragement, and prayers I received from so many wonderful people who helped and prayed for Lady’s safe return.

From Audrey:

“I think Lady impacted far more people than many realize.

I was delivering my many boxes to Operation Christmas Child daily, and I would always keep my eyes peeled to see if there was any movement or animals along the streets/roads. It got to be such a habit that I’d be driving in Eden Prairie and would be watching the ditches! I gave the offices of OCC your number just in case anyone else dropping off boxes would comment on seeing a stray dog. I know there are coyotes in that area, so I just kept praying that she would be protected from them.

Sometimes I’d wake up in the night and ask the Lord to protect her at that moment. And then there was the peace….I didn’t know that she’d been found yet, but I could relax…I knew she was safe and would be ok. We have four shelties and I can’t imagine one of them being gone even one night. Two of them were out once for about five minutes, and I was sure my husband was going into cardiac arrest.”

It’s been almost two months since Lady returned. Since that time I have been trying to just absorb the whole experience. It’s a bit overwhelming to have so many people invested in you and your missing dog. So many hopes and prayers – I swear I actually felt them. It was an awesome and overwhelming and larger-than-life experience that has left me thinking about a good many things.

My friend Lynn said the other day that “I count Lady’s story as one of the most significant to me in 2011. The drama of it all and the purely amazing manner in which she was ultimately brought home touched me more than I can describe… Frankly, I personally needed to see all of it unfold. It ‘renewed’ something in me. Hard to explain, but those 12 days made a big impact on me and I was more or less just a prayerful observer from afar.” I don’t think I fully understood it at the time, but I think I do now.

So much of my life was invested in seeing Lady come home, safe and sound, that I never even realized (perhaps because I was in the middle of it all) that so many others were too. But it seems like it’s even larger than that. From some, I have heard it was renewal of faith. For others, the creation of a sense of community, that we were all in this together, helping a little dog get home. For yet others, it was a need for some good news in a world where bad news leads the day. Perhaps there was more meant to be taken from this experience than I can even comprehend. All I know is that this has been a life-changing event for me and I am still trying to take it all in.

Little Lady Lost: An Update

January 2, 2012 42 comments

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been over a month since Lady came back home.

On Sunday, I was driving through Eagan and passed many of the locations I had spent so many hours searching for Lady. It brought back a lot of memories for me. I am so glad I no longer have to worry about her being out there with the coyotes or dealing with the cold weather or getting hit by a car. Except for a bad haircut, you’d never guess that she had been missing for 12 whole days before she was found. I have many people ask how she is doing, so I thought I would give everyone an update.

As I mentioned in my post “Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again“, Lady came home a little dehydrated and completely encased in burrs. What I didn’t tell you was that she was so encased in burrs and feces that they couldn’t even take her temperature at the emergency vet clinic.

Other than making sure she was fine physically, we (me, Estelle and Karen) were most concerned in making sure Lady was comfortable. I couldn’t bear the thought of her having to deal with all those burrs in her coat and poking into her body for one minute longer, so when the veterinarian asked if we wanted to cut them to cut the burrs out, we said “Yes.” As a result, Lady ended up with a less than glamorous look.

Lady before she went missing

Lady after the burrs were cut out of her coat

Lady in her winter sweater to cover the bald spots and keep her warm

Honestly though, I could care less how Lady looks. At the time, I was more concerned with her physical and mental health. Did she eat something that could hurt her or make her sick? Would she be terrified and skittish after being out on her own for so long? She had been off her meds, specifically clomipramine, for nearly two weeks. (I was told that the last time she had been off them she had been an absolute mess, so I really worried about her mental state after this whole ordeal.)

We treated her health issues with fluids (for dehydration), antibiotics and de-wormer (in case she had eaten something that had given her worms), but her mental health seemed completely fine. She didn’t show any of the anxiety or nervousness I expected, but rather acted as she did before she went missing.

Lady chewing on her Angry Bird toy

I had fully expected that she would be jumpy or timid or suffering from anxiety after her ordeal, especially since she had been off her meds for so long, but in fact, from the moment Lady has come home, she has acted as if she was never gone. She has played with her favorite toys, stolen the cat’s food, and even tried to engage Jasper in play, giving him playbows galore.

Disemboweling my new toy from my foster mom, Dawn.

In some ways, she seems even more normal than she did before she went missing. I know that probably sounds strange, but what I mean is that she is even more affectionate, more animated and playful, and somewhat calmer, than she was before she left. Maybe knowing that she is home is all that she needed to feel more comfortable in her skin or maybe the calm, predictable life at home is the exact opposite of what she experienced in those 12 days and she just feels more able to relax now that she is safe. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to see her so happy. As a result, I have chosen not to start her on clomipramine again, unless or until she shows signs that she needs it.

Since Lady has come home we have taken many excursions to the dog park. The first few times I kept her in her harness and a leash so I could be sure that she wouldn’t run if startled. Although, a little more skittish at first, she has done quite well ever since and loves to go for walks. In fact, she just recently (this past week) started taking treats from our friend Jill, a friend from the dog park. This is a huge step for her since she has always backed up when offered a treat before. She is also starting to check out some of our other dog park friends more closely, like Kellie and Kym.

While she does stop to sniff quite often, like she did before, she rarely lets me get too far before hurrying to catch up. She doesn’t like to be too far from me these days and that’s more than fine with me.

Lady back at the dog park again. Fur is starting to grow back too!

Lady also had her first bath since returning. She didn’t really like the experience all that much, but she handled it with class. She didn’t even get all goofy like Jasper did after his bath. Apparently, ladies just don’t act that way. 🙂

Lady after her bath

Lady chewing on her new bone

She still loves playing with toys and spends a lot of time chewing on the bone that Aunt Cindy got for her. She has also learned a few new commands since returning home: “down”, “watch me” and “stretch” (extend front legs and go into a bow) – and she has gotten even better at “sit”. She also loves taking long naps in her favorite spot near the toy basket and has claimed the new dog bed as her own. Jasper doesn’t seem to mind.

Lady sleeping in her favorite spot

All in all, I have to say that Lady has done quite well after her little adventure. The only lasting remnant as far as I can tell is a recognition of the sounds coyotes make. I ran across a video of some coyotes yipping while searching for funny videos on YouTube. When I played it, Lady immediately stood up and looked around, trying to find the source of the sounds. She looked quite unsettled and nervous. Jasper, on the other hand, had no reaction at all.

Estelle, from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, suggested it might be PTSD and I am inclined to agree. As silly as it sounds, it never occurred to me that she might recognize the sounds until I saw her reaction. It makes me sad to think of her sitting out in the dark woods somewhere and hearing those eerie sounds and being so very afraid. Needless to say, I will not be playing that video again. If you want to hear what they sound like, click on the video below. It gave me the heebie jeebies.

Lady and I want thank everyone who helped bring her home. I think she knows she is one lucky girl. She had so many people who helped her, whether they prayed, spread the word, set up traps, alerted the media, handed out fliers or called to report a sighting. In many ways, I consider what happened to be a miracle. I’m thinking we can all use a miracle now and then, can’t we?

As a last note, I mailed the adoption papers for Lady today. I had planned to submit them at Christmas time, but the holidays kind of took over. So now, Lady will not only be the first adoption of 2012, but she will also have an adoption anniversary that falls on the first new day of each year.

Lady

Wordless Wednesday #71

December 20, 2011 23 comments

My thank you gift to you – Hartz Angry Birds Contest

December 14, 2011 26 comments

And the WINNERS are….
Geek HillBilly
Mary Haight
Karen Hollebrands
Debbie O’Halloran

I’ll be contacting you via email to get your addresses and to send your puppies their gifts! Congratulations!

Jasper's Angry Bird Obsession

It’s been a long couple of weeks. From the moment Lady first disappeared (and finally returned 12 days later), and through this past week of dealing with what I like to call The Crud, I haven’t really felt much like blogging.

Now that I am finally able to participate in the land of the living again I feel the need to thank all of you who helped in Lady’s search, offered kind words of support, tweeted or shared her story on Facebook, or just sent me healing thoughts. So today’s post is a giveaway of thanks.

On the day that Lady disappeared, a box appeared on my doorstep from Hartz (thank you Meagan!) loaded with some really cool toys from their Angry Birds line. I waited to open it until Lady was back home safe and sound and when she was I let her choose the first toy. The first one she took from the box was the little red plush Angry Bird and it’s been her favorite ever since.

Angry Bird - Lady's Favorite Toy

Hartz sent us a whole box full of toys and while I am sure my dogs would love to have all of them, I would rather share them with all of you in thanks for all your support. So I’m going to make this contest really easy.

Here are the rules for the giveaway:

1. Comment on this post by posting your dog’s name(s). That’s it! Post your dog’s name below and you are entered into the contest.

– The contest will run until midnight (12:00 AM Central Time), December 16, 2011.
– Four prize packs of 2 Hartz toys each will be awarded to 4 doggie families.
– Winners will be selected at random using Random.org.
– Winners will be notified via email.
– Winners will have three days to claim their prize, or another winner will be drawn from the entry pool.
– I will post the winner’s names on my blog on December 17th.

Good luck!




Worried you may not win? Enter Hartz’s Angry Birds Pet Toys Holiday Photo Contest on Facebook and win a free gift basket from Hartz!

Lady and her Angry Bird

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