Saturday, October 4, 2014

Riley, beagle

Riley's Story
October 3, 2014
Find Riley (on Facebook)

Thank you all so much for the overwhelming support, both when Riley was missing and again today now that she has been found! Here's the story:

As I posted yesterday, it had been a week and we (Steve and Chelsea) had yet to hear any news of her whereabouts. We went searching every day and just posted new bright signs last night. We went to bed sure that we'd go another day without seeing our puppy.

Around 12:30 a.m. we got a phone call saying that someone saw our dog outside her building. We quickly gathered the supplies we needed: flashlights, treats, squeaky toys, a blanket, and her leash. 

The sighting was just down the street from our house, along a path Riley's dogwalker regularly took her, so we had a lot of hope that we'd see her! Unfortunately, after searching the immediate area thoroughly, we didn't see her and went home. Even though we didn't get her back at that moment, we felt a new optimism at our first sighting! If you saw the post, you probably could tell how excited I was!

Eventually we were able to fall back asleep, only to be woken up again around 4:30 a.m. from a neighbor to come outside immediately because he was pretty sure he saw Riley behind our building. This time we had left some of the things we needed in the car, but we didn't waste time and immediately ran out.

The next hour is a little bit of a blur, but here's what I remember. Riley had made her way back to our apartment building but was staying hidden in some thick forest/brush up high on a hill. I climbed up the hill as Steve and the neighbor stayed on the street to try and find her. The trees on the hill were too dense and there was a fence blocking much of it. I could hear her tags jingling, though, so I knew she was close! 

I ran back down onto the road in time to get a flash of her peeking out of the trees. She seemed like she recognized us but was a little scared. Eventually she made her way down the side of the hill and onto the street. 

That probably would have been the end of the story, but there was a locked gate standing between us and her! I tried to climb the gate but it was too high to jump down on the other side. I called to her and she came over, but someone walking across the street spooked her and she ran away again. I couldn't believe I had been so close to catching her only to see her run off.

Steve and I decided to stay out and wait. We are so thankful we did, because eventually she came back out of the trees. Steve sank down onto the ground and she ran down to see him and (basically) into his arms. 

I've already taken her to the vet and it looks like she is lucky - no major problems except weight loss. Lucky girl gets to eat extra for a few days!

THANK YOU EVERYONE for liking and sharing this page. We had so many eyes looking for her and without the help of our neighbors and friends we might not have had such a happy ending. I'll keep the page up for a few days so that everyone can see the good news. She's hooooooome!!!!


Friday, October 3, 2014


Nala's Story
Bill Pierce
Oct 3rd, 2014

Nala is a rescue that we adopted after moving to WA. When we found her on Pet Finder and contacted the rescue, we were told she was very timid and skittish and would be very difficult to place. My wife made regular visits to the rescue to try to bond with her before we attempted a trial adoption. 

After finally getting her home she started to become comfortable but was still scared of fast movement and loud noises (still is to an extent) but was settling in nicely. After about 3 weeks my wife took her for a walk with an extendable leash. While on the walk she slipped and fell on some ice causing her to drop the leash, and scaring Nala, causing her to bolt. And to make matters worse she had a large piece of plastic clanging along behind her, scaring her more. Well we found the leash about 5 hrs later but no Nala. She had gotten wrapped around a tree and had chewed through the string portion at the end of the leash.

We spent the next week walking the neighborhood, posting signs, which were removed almost immediately and all delivered back to us later that night, as apparently the HOAs in our area prohibited posting any signage.

I work overseas so I spent my remaining vacation time, carrying my grill out to the woods at midnight to 2 am to cook up some grub to hopefully draw her back, sure to have been an odd sight for the neighbors driving by. We had already received calls from people from signs posted in our complex and at the local stores of a dog matching her description in the neighborhood but was barking at people and running away. Nala had never barked previously in any situation, so we were unsure this was actually her.

We were able to find a dog tracking team, willing to drive up from Utah, to help search for her as the pups in our area with missing pet partnership were still in training. We were able to discern that she was staying within the few neighborhoods surrounding ours, and acting more like a cat instead of following her nose in a straight line.

The tracking team was able to figure out she had been making her home on the local private golf course, but we were refused access to look for her. We then located a hole in the fence of the next neighborhood where she was coming through to eat the food left for the local population of feral cats.

Because of Nala's fear of people and the initial reaction to chase after a loose dog, we were receiving several calls of missed chances and sightings.

We were given the use of a collarum trap that is normally used for coyotes, which launches a spring loaded collar about 3-5 feet after the bait is pulled, and were warned that it would most likely only work once. We set the trap and placed an infrared camera nearby to monitor it and within a few hours the trap had worked and we had Nala back.

So after 32 days she was back on a leash headed for home where she ran inside and jumped up on her spot on the couch like nothing had happened.

She is now 6.5 years old and has a "brother" we adopted a bit later to give her a dog to be around in addition to her humans. Even though she is still afraid of many things, she has a strong connection with my wife and loves to lay on us to watch movies and take a nap after her breakfast, and absolutely loves the dog park and playing with other dogs.

The background we received on her at the time of adoption was that she was the most fearful in the litter born to a skittish farm dog, where none of the puppies were not socialized with people at all and were outside at all times. The initial reaction from most people however is that she is abused.

It took a lot of time to bring her back home... Countless trips to all the local shelters and numerous nights spent in the car monitoring game cameras and walks through the woods.... But it's never too much to get a member of your family home.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dickens, border terrier

November 12, 2013

I left Warrenton Sunday night feeling dejected, like we were now looking for a needle in a hay stack. Dickens had moved from the Old Town area of Warrenton (where he potentially had thousands of eyes looking for him), ACROSS 29 and had headed into an area populated by large estates and multi-million dollar horse farms. He could travel cross-country in that area for DAYS and never be seen.

He had last been seen on Waverly Dr. on Sunday morning the 10th. However, we didn't learn about that sighting until Thursday the 14th when the family that saw him went into town to the PetSmart and saw his poster!! They called right away, but we were 4 days behind him.

Team Dickens immediately got flyers out in the new neighborhood, and we contacted Ann Wills of Dogs Finding Dogs to alert them of the sighting. A search was tentatively set for Sunday. I arrived back in Warrenton on Saturday, and joined the rest of the team in plastering the new area with flyers and calling, and calling, and calling his name. Saturday yielded no results, and as I mentioned in my last post, we put our hopes on the tracking dogs.

Sunday AM arrived wet and rainy, and we contacted Dogs Finding Dogs to set up a search. I was concerned that the rain would have weakened or washed away the scent, but was advised that in actuality, light rain was a good thing as it would re-hydrate the scent. The problem was that the last sighting was now a week old. Ann explained that her dogs could pick up a scent that was weeks old, but a dog on the run could travel as much as 5 miles a day, and even if we got a good track, the likelihood of catching up to him was nearly zero. It was recommended that we wait until we had a new sighting - one within 24 or 48 hours - and then initiate a search. Ann recommended that in the mean time, we contact and arrange for a blitz of phone calls to neighbors in the vicinity of the last sighting. Rick got on this immediately, and within 30 minutes, 1250 calls had been made to homes in Warrenton!!!!!

Ann also suggested that I go out and purchase towels and rub myself and my other dogs down with them, cut them in to 1" by 4" strips and start laying a track for him to follow. I did this and started walking, with Dickens' mother Pixie and sister Wiccan, from the sighting at Waverly Road, down Culpepper St to Monte Rosa St., behind the American Legion Hall to the Horse Show grounds and back across 29. We went down Locust St to the Co-Op on Washington St. and from there it was up Washington St to the Greenway, and up the Greenway back to Leed's Square, which had been Dickens' "home away from home" for the first week of his adventure. Every 50 feet or so along the track, I tossed a strip of the cloth to help him follow us. Some of you may have seen us walking along and probably wondered what I was tossing onto the side of the road!

After laying the track, I headed home for the Northern Neck, the rest of Team Dickens continued to post flyers until dark. All our hopes were now on someone seeing the flyers in the expanded area, or the phone calls generating a response.

I was at work today at approximately 11:30 am when a phone call came in from a gentleman who said he had seen a flyer and that Dickens had been in his back yard for the last 2-3 days! He said that they saw him early in the mornings and late in the evenings, and he suspected that Dickens' was spending his days in the woods behind his house! In 15 minutes I headed home to collect my mother and my other dogs, and within the hour we were on the road for Warrenton once again!

We called Rick and asked him to get the trap from the Comcast lot and meet us at the new location, which was again ACROSS Route 29 and about 1/4 mile down from the WalMart towards the intersection with Route 17. I arrived at the site at about 3:20 and began walking the property with Pixie. She instantly began air-scenting and looking this way and that and I knew we were getting close. Then she found a spot on the ground and rolled and rolled and rolled in it. I called for Dickens many times and didn't hear or see anything. After about 15 minutes, I returned to the van, and put Pixie back inside her crate. I left the tail gate up as it was a pretty day, and got back inside the van to sit and wait for Rick and Julie, who had an ETA of about another 10 minutes.

As we sat waiting, Pixie and Wiccan began barking wildly at something behind the van. I looked in my rear side mirror and TO MY AMAZEMENT, THERE WAS DICKENS behind the van!!!!! HE CAME TO US! I got out carefully so as not to spook him. I walked calmly behind the van and called his name. At first he seemed unsure who I was, but suddenly the light bulb came on and he realized it was me and I scooped him up in my arms. I got a TOTAL FACE WASHING and his warm little tongue never felt better - even with a BAD CASE of doggy breath! Rick and Julie arrived moments later and the long journey and sleepless nights were finally at an end! I'm sure Dickens was wondering WHAT TOOK US SO LONG?????????

But Dickens' story doesn't stop here. We had previously discussed the best plan of action if - excuse me - WHEN Dickens was found, and we had decided that he should return home to the Northern Neck with me for a period of time to recover physically and emotionally, and then we would take a few weeks and multiple visits to gradually re-introduce him to his new forever family so that he would have a strong and safe relationship with them before he made the final move. The goal is now for us to have him moved permanently to his new family in January, where he will start off 2014 as the unofficial "Mayor of Warrenton."

Tomorrow Dickens will see the vet and begin treatment to protect against tick-borne illness (yes, he had his share of ticks) and will be wormed because heaven knows what he ate on his journey!!!
He is in remarkably good condition given his ordeal - 15 days in the wilderness.

Over the next few weeks I will posting about Dickens' recovery and I will share some WONDERFUL tips that I learned about conducting a search for a lost dog that were shared with me from friends and fellow dog lovers all over this country and even from Canada!!!

I know that many, many people in Warrenton were worrying about and watching out for Dickens. I don't know who most of you are, but I thank ALL OF YOU!!! I do want to acknowledge those who I know were a part of the official "Team Dickens:""


Friday, July 18, 2014

Nekita, husky mix

Woman, with help from the Network, reunites with lost dog after more than a year
Samantha Wright Allen
July 18, 2014

More than a year-and-a-half ago, Hope Cadieux opened the door for her dog, Nekita, like she had so many times before, so the husky mix could take a run on the family’s St. Albert farm.

Nekita never came back.

But two weeks ago, with the help of the Ottawa and Valley Lost Pet Network, that lost cause became a found dog.

Nekita went missing more than a year ago, but with the help of the Ottawa and Valley Lost Pet Network, owner Hope Cadieux was reunited with the husky border collie mix two weeks ago.

“They gave me hope when I didn’t have any,” says Cadieux of the Facebook page where she posted a picture of the husky border collie cross and its two puppies that went missing in January 2013. Days later, one puppy came back but the other, Ace, is still missing. Up until early July, that was Nekita’s story, too.

“I thought we would never see her again,” says the 18-year-old of the first dog she bought with her own money.

One day Cadieux opened her Facebook feed to find her name tagged many times to a photo of a familiar-looking dog. The woman who found that dog took it to bylaw officers in Casselman, where Cadieux now lives with her family.

Cadieux says she’d been through that drill before, visiting potential pups that never turned out to be hers.

“I didn’t really get my hopes up. I thought it would be a lost cause again.”

But when Cadieux walked in the room and said Nekita’s name, she knew it was the right dog.

“She just lit up and it was really nice to see. She came up to us and started jumping on us,” she says of the dog, who is almost four. “I was overwhelmed.”

Cadieux says she never would have found her dog without the network.

“They work miracles.”

One of those miracle workers is founder Gisele Villeneuve, who started the page in December 2012. Before, Villeneuve managed a lost pet group closer to her home in Renfrew, but she thought, given how far animals can roam, the group’s reach needed to be wider.

“You never know where a lost pet will end up,” says Villeneuve, who owns four dogs. Since then the page has grown to more than 10,000 likes. She says the site tracked more than 150 reunions of pets and their owners in the first five months of 2014. They’ve since stopped counting.

“We have to go through hundreds of notifications every day,” she says, adding the group contacts the owners with any leads posted to make sure all leads are followed up. Villeneuve manages the page part-time with 15 other administrators, four of whom volunteer full time.

Villeneuve lists success stories like so many memories.

There have been feral dogs, caught and adopted or returned. An orange cat, missing for two years, returned to a “little boy who was heartbroken.” And then there was a woman who searched for a stranger’s dog for three days because the Ottawa owner was stuck in Ottawa. She found the dog.

There was also Katy Meredith, who lost her cat on her wedding day. Because of the network, Max was home three days later.

“It’s just amazing. They reconnect animals every day, and people need to know that because those people are the ones who are going to find your pet.”

Now Meredith is a regular poster, and hopes more in the Ottawa Valley will like the page and keep an eye out for missing pets.

“It works like magic, sometimes within hours,” says Villeneuve, adding it’s important to be sure the owner is the correct one — ask for vet bills, pictures and watch if the animal responds to its name. “That’s the power of social media.”

The organization even posts when deceased animals are found because it can give the family closure.

Villeneuve is quick to add it’s important to report through the proper channels as well, like the local animal shelter or the Ottawa Humane Society. She also stresses that a microchip is important to help bylaw officers identify lost and stolen pets.

“This network is a community hero. It’s so heartwarming,” she said, to see strangers helping strangers. “It will restore your faith in humanity.”