Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunshine, a yorkie mix

"I don't know how she got to Miami" ? The mystery of how the brown and silver toy dog ended up several states away remains unsolved? It doesn't seem like much of a mystery to me.

Texas woman, missing dog reunite in Miami-Dade
BY Micaela Hood
Tue, Aug. 18, 2009

Jodi Head thought her best friend, Sunshine -- a Yorkie mix -- was gone for good from her Texas home.But thanks to a good Samaritan and a microchip, she and her pooch were reunited Monday at Miami International Airport -- after a separation of nearly two months and more than 1,000 miles.

"I don't know how she got to Miami,'' said Head, 77, a courier for a dermatology lab.

Like a scene out of Lassie, Sunshine wagged her tail and licked her owner's face during the reunion.

The mystery of how the brown and silver toy dog ended up several states away remains unsolved.

Sunshine -- who as a baby was rescued from a puppy mill by the Texas SPCA -- was found Aug. 10 by Micha Porat and his friend, Cassie Roth, near the corner of Biscayne Boulevard and Seventh Street.

"She was hardly moving and didn't want to eat anything,'' said Porat, 28, a Miami Beach club promoter. "I was getting worried.''

He took the dog to South Beach Animal Hospital, where vets found Sunshine's identifying microchip.

Outside the airport, Head thanked Porat and gave him $200 -- half of which he had spent on getting the proper papers for Sunshine to fly.

"He's my angel,'' Head said.

Head said neighbors in her Dallas complex recently hosted visitors from Florida, and suspects they may have had a hand in Sunshine's disappearance.

She and Sunshine headed home Monday, where a welcome party awaits.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jojo, Lhasa Apso/Peek-a-poo mix

Easton woman reunited with dog taken during Baltimore car theft
By Jill Rosen Baltimore Sun reporter
5:29 PM EDT, August 20, 2009

After a harrowing brush with thieves who took her dog and truck in West Baltimore, a woman was reunited with her fluff ball of a pup Thursday morning in what shelter workers are calling "an impossible reunion."

Amy Gaffney was driving circles around West Baltimore on Tuesday evening, lost and trying to find a Western Union. The 46-year-old from Easton rolled her window down around Fulton Street to ask directions of a couple of young men walking along the street.

"The next thing I know, his arm is in my car and he unlocks the door," Gaffney said. "I was so stunned, I didn't know what was going on." One of the boys grabbed Gaffney's dog from her lap, an 11-pound, 1-year-old Lhasa Apso/poodle mix named Jojo. With the car still on, she jumped out, screaming for them to give back the dog.

"I just ran and tried to chase them down. I couldn't keep up with them," she said. "I was just screaming and begging anybody to call 911." When she turned back around, her black Ford pickup was gone.

"They could have killed me. I didn't care. I wanted my little baby back."

Gaffney filed a police report and got a ride back to Easton. She couldn't stop thinking about Jojo and what might be happening to him. "You just don't know the sadness," she said.

Police said they have not found the vehicle, and because no weapons were involved, the incident is classified as car theft.

Meanwhile, about 2 a.m. the next night, Melissa Garland dropped off a friend at Payson and Fulton streets. She noticed a dog running right up the middle of the road. He stopped in front of her car.

"He kept looking at me with these sad eyes, like help me," Garland said. "He was soaking wet."

Fearing the dog would get hit by a car, she and her friend tried to pick him up, but he scooted under a car. They tried for about 10 minutes to get him out and gave up. Garland walked back to her car, thought about the wet, little dog and decided to go back.

It took a half-hour to coax the dog out from under the car. She drove home with him, stopping at a 7-Eleven to get him food and a cardboard box. Exhausted, the dog fell asleep in the box in Garland's garage.

The next morning Garland got up early to check on him. He was playful and she started thinking about keeping him. But in the light of day, she noticed he had tags and decided to drive him to the Maryland SPCA to see if they could clean him up and find his owner. If no one came forward, she wanted to keep him.

Ian Gilmore took Garland's report. "I could tell someone was going to be missing him, just by looking at him," he said.

Almost lost in all the black fur, Gilmore saw the dog had a name tag that said "Jojo" with an address but no phone number. When Garland left, he played with the dog in the office a bit. "He was just the sweetest thing in the world. We were all petting on him in the office. And I said, 'We're going to find your parents, Jojo.'"

Gilmore's colleague's head popped up. "Did you just say Jojo?" she asked, "I just took a report on the dog."

Gaffney had called the SPCA that morning to file a missing dog report. They were able to put two and two together, and by this morning, Gaffney was waiting for the Falls Road shelter to open so she could claim her pup.

"We had said, 'Oh my gosh, she's never going to see that dog again,'" Gilmore said. "We were so happy at what seemed like an impossible reunion."

Shelter workers brought Jojo out to Gaffney today, and placed him into her eager arms.

"His tail was wagging like crazy and he was kissing me," Gaffney says. "I was crying and so happy."

She had brought Jojo's favorite treat -- mint-flavored Tic Tacs -- and planned to bring him home for a warm bath and a lot of love.

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Also see this blog update, with comments

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Omie, a shepherd/heeler mix

Couple reunited with missing dog found at infested house
Chris Casey
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Theresa Honesto started dabbing at the corners of her eyes the moment she walked into the Humane Society of Weld County. She was about to be reunited with a family member. A little furry one. He'd gone missing 41⁄2 months ago. Theresa couldn't imagine that this day, her 27th birthday, could feel any better.

“It's the best birthday present ever,” she said, getting covered in hair from the squirming bundle of glee in her lap.

Theresa Honesto hugs Omie, the family pet, after being reunited with him Tuesday afternoon at the Humane Society of Weld County. Omie, who had been missing for 41⁄2 months, was one of 102 animals seized from a Greeley house on Friday.

The deluxe present was the Lazarus-like return of Omie, a 3-year-old American shepherd-blue heeler mix. Just days ago, Omie was rescued from an animal hellhole.

On Tuesday afternoon, the mostly brown dog bounded and slurped all over his owners, Theresa and Carlos Honesto, in the lobby of the humane society in Evans. It was as joyful a reunion as you'll ever see.

Elaine Hicks, executive director of the shelter, said Omie was the most traumatized of the 10 dogs found at the Greeley home at 403 26th Ave. Court. That was the feces-filled house in which animal control officers on Friday seized 102 animals, including cats, rabbits, rats and guinea pigs.

At the bungalow, the yard is overgrown with weeds and the windows are shuttered. The place smells from the sidewalk. It doesn't take much to imagine the grim interior. Those who've been inside describe a horrific scene: cats, many feral, lined up against the wall, the living room a giant litter box, the kitchen converted into a dog run of sorts. It's where Omie spent much of the last four months, becoming progressively more fearful.

Hicks smiled. “A much different effect,” she said, watching Omie instantly shed his fearfulness.

Theresa and Carlos Honesto, who live just nine blocks west of the animal “hoarders,” checked the humane society after a friend of Theresa's on Monday told her about Friday's seizure. Sure enough, Omie, who wasn't wearing a tag, was there.

“I saw him yesterday and my heart just broke,” Theresa said. “He was at the back of the kennel.”

The couple have a 7-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter who can't wait to see Omie again. Their son named him after a TV cartoon character he likes. Omie ran off a few months ago when the garage door was accidentally left open. Carlos immediately searched for him, but to no avail. A couple of days later, Theresa checked the humane society, but nobody had turned him in.

For weeks, they posted missing-dog signs around the neighborhood. Finally, they gave up.

“I figured he got picked up by someone else who was taking care of him,” Carlos said. “Apparently, that was not the case.”

The hoarders — who remain under investigation — apparently gave Omie sufficient food. But Hicks knows traumatized animals when she sees them.

“He'll be all right,” Carlos said, as he petted Omie, who came to them as a puppy from friends. “We'll take him home and give him a big steak. … We're going to give him a bath. You can smell it.”

During the past few months, the Honestos frequently found themselves talking and thinking about Omie, wondering what had happened to their spirited and friendly pet. They kept a picture of him.

“We thought about getting another one for the longest time, but it didn't feel right,” Carlos said. “It's one thing to have an animal die of natural causes, but to lose something, to lose him ... .” his voice trailed off as he shook his head.

Besides the live animals, 28 dead cats were found in the house.

Theresa said she was “disgusted, so disgusted” to learn of the animal-infested house. “I just couldn't imagine who would do that.”

Carlos said he will take pains not to look at the property, which sits directly on the way to a relative's house.

“I've got a couple words I'd like to tell 'em,” he said.

Hicks said most of the animals taken from the house — all went to the humane society, except the rats and guinea pigs, which went to a Greeley animal hospital — were in decent health. About 20 of the 57 cats were feral, however. All of the animals are being temperament tested and will be put up for adoption. The only hope for the feral cats is if somebody is looking for farm or ranch cats.

Only one kitten was found in the house. Hicks suspects kittens were eaten by the other animals “because you don't have that many cats and not have kittens.”

Carlos didn't share the choice words he has for the hoarders. But he did have a thought on what should happen to Omie's “caretakers.”

“Fifteen minutes with a dog — a rabid dog,” he said.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Duke, a golden retriever

Crazy story about a lost dog...Good news, he has his family back.
Posted 7/23/2009 by scrpnchyk in NSBR Board

A friend of a friend's dog went missing on Monday. Owner called the shelter, described the dog...Said, "he looks just like the Bush's Baked Beans dog, answers to Duke."

She calls the shelter to see if anyone had turned him in, shelter says no, no dogs here that fit that description. She places lost and found ads online and in the local paper, no calls. She continues to call shelter each day. Each day being told there is no dog there.

My DD goes to the shelter, finds Duke! He's up for adoption and they even have his name posted as Duke. Adoption fee is $100, he has been there since Monday, his days are numbered. So DD calls owner and tells her that he is there. Shelter closes in 20 minutes, owner calls shelter and tries to claim him, they tell her it will be $175 because they've had him so long. She has to try to borrow the money and decides it will need to be tomorrow.

I guess the dog had a chip from the previous owner, new owner didn't know about the chip to update info, but that is how they knew his name. Shelter tried to contact registered owner and the phone number was disconnected.

She was upset that
1) She described him to a 'T' and gave them the name Duke and they didn't tell her a dog matching that description was there and had been there since the day he went missing.
2) Why is it more for her to get her dog back than it is for someone new to adopt him?
3) Given the strange events that they wouldn't make an exception, it's obvious there was a complete break down with the chip, old owner, new owner, etc.

Needless to say, Duke is back with his family.

Just a strange journey and it doesn't really make sense why the shelter wasn't willing to work with this owner that already saved the dog once and just wanted him back home.

I'm really glad he's back with his family, but I think the shelter did the right thing. One of the reasons to keep the chip info updated is to prevent the dog being stolen. I can describe my neighbors dog to a T and know her name, doesn't make her mine or give me a right to claim her.

While I agree that in some situations this could prevent animals from being stolen, I also feel for the gal who adopted him, wasn't told about the chip and then mourned for days, not being able to find her friend.

I guess this is a case where the dog would have been better off without a chip. My DD went with her to get him and said the reunion tore her heart out. The shelter told her there is no way to change the chip info without being able to contact the previous owner. She will pray that he never gets away again. They will never be able to change this info, she has NO way of reaching the previous owner. They left the state, which is why she has Duke.

I'm surprised she didn't know about the chip even if she couldn't update the info. When we got Boomer and took him to the vet the first time one of the first things he did was scan for a chip. For their records and to be sure we hadn't stolen him. The people we got him from gave us all the chip info but the co. wouldn't let us change him to our name until the registered owner called and ok'd it.

I know, I don't know the entire story and there is always 2 sides to every story. Maybe she didn't take him in for a check up when she adopted him. I know finances are an issue for her, she had to borrow $175 to even get him back.

Also, you would think that the previous owners cared enough to get him the chip, why didn't they finish the process and get the info changed over and inform her?

No one to blame, just glad it worked out for her and Duke.

The shelter told her there is no way to change the chip info without being able to contact the previous owner. She will pray that he never gets away again. They will never be able to change this info, she has NO way of reaching the previous owner. They left the state, which is why she has Duke. ________________________________________

There are ways, First - what company or registry, get the chip information from the vet, and contact a person there.

Second - How long have they had the dog? You might be able to get a letter to the original owners by using the last known address.

Third - The process if the original owners do not give you the paperwork to change the registration is MEANT TO BE DIFFICULT to prevent pets from being stolen and sold, and "re-registered without the real owners' knowing about it." It can be done.

Do you have a bill of sale, or if the dog is AKC registered, the transfer paperwork? If there was a rehoming fee, or other paperwork that transfered the dog??? Some vets and shelters will do an affidavit of ownership. Since they had to "bail out" the dog, that can also be used.

One reason why I take LOTS of photos of my dogs and their distinguishing markings and coat patterns. To prove ownership.

Like I said, it can be done, it just takes a little more effort and follow-through.

PSA for owners that chip their pets. KEEP THE CONTACT INFORMATION CURRENT!! And if you have to re-home your pet, TRANSFER the forms to show transfer of ownership.

And a big lesson learned -- GO IN PERSON TO THE SHELTERS AND ANIMAL CONTROL FACILITIES. You look, the pet may have been injured, or got into something to recolor their coat, or the person may just be too busy to go look at every animal and may not know one breed or color or marking from another. Go in person, and often. Bring some of your photos of your pet too! (I've volunteered a few times at a local shelter)

NEVER depend on someone else to recognize YOUR dog.
I see over 700 animals a month. EVERY day owners call and try to describe their dogs to us, we ALWAYS say we cannot identify your dog, visit the shelter daily to claim a lost dog.

One owner said his dog was a pure bred collie, looks JUST like lassie, can we not look and see if it was there. We of course ask him to come in. He came to claim his dog and it weighed 22 pounds full grown, short brown hair and short nose. THAT did not look like Lassie OR a collie!

And think about it, out of 700 dogs a month, how many blonde dogs do you think I got in looking like "duke"?
Or even funnier when someone calls and does not want to waste their time driving down to the shelter and ask why can't we just call them when a black lab mix comes in. LOL Can you imagine how many black lab mixes we get!
I'm glad Duke made his way back home. Microchips are the greatest but only if they are kept up to date.

If this upset you, the best way to help everyone involved is to volunteer at the shelter. Any time a dog comes in with a chip, get on the internet! You can find people even if the chip info is not valid.

Send letters to that address, just in case the phone number has changed.

We have done MANY things to contact owners in the past.

You can look up the address, contact neighbors, family members, call the shelter or vet that put the chip in and see if they have additional info.

Think outside the box! We have reunited many owners with pets with just a few extra hours of research. But employees are NOT payed nor do they have time to do this research. GO VOLUNTEER!

And be a good pet owner and update all your info NOW!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mallory, a shepherd mix

Mallory's Capture
Told by Simone Lima
Tue, Aug 18, 2009

Mallory is a sweet, shy little girl who had been rescued as a stray and brought to a high-kill rural shelter. The people in that area who had called the shelter to come get her had been seeing her around the neighborhood for a while, but couldn't seem to locate an owner for her.

Mallory entered the shelter there, and was later pulled from that shelter by a rescue in the Washington DC area. She was then lost after spending a few days living in a foster home with other dogs, where she was warming up to the people who give her affection.

It took about a week and a half of volunteers tracking her as best they could, but a lot of it was waiting games -- waiting to get sightings while they continued to try to get the area fliered. Finally, sightings started coming in so that they got a general location on her, and feeding stations were set up to try to keep her close.

This photo was taken of Mallory before she was lost, but while she was lost, whenever I saw this photo, I always thought, "it must be what she looks like right now, wherever she is."

The story of her capture is told by Simone, one of the volunteers that was assigned to check the feeding stations.

I went out to check the feeding stations. At the third one, on Colorado and 16th, I was lucky to have parked not on the park side where the station was, but accross the street. Just as I was getting out of the car, I heard tags clinking down 16th and thought, "Oh, dog being walked, I should talk to its person".

I ducked back into the the car to pick up a business card so I could give it to the dog's person and then I noticed the dog didn't have a person. OMG, this is her! It's Mallory!

I felt like I had about ten arms and hands and none of them were holding the right thing. But as luck would have it, I had all I needed: a collar, my cell, and a can of food. I was going to call in the sighting first before attempting to throw her treats, but she actually made eye contact with me and trotted in my direction.

I practically lay down on the ground and started throwing wet food to her, slooooooowly, slooowly, until she came right next to me. I let her eat for a while until I could touch her collar.

She pulled back but I was able to secure the leash to her collar and strap it around her as a makeshift harness.

Then comes the funny bit: without letting go of her or getting up, I'm in the rain, lying on the ground, holding as tight and as gently as possible to this contraption AND attempting to use a cell phone with the other hand, while passers-by, well, pass by, looking very amused. I just lie there for a while until she gets a whole can of food in and, while she doesn't want to move in the direction of the car, she is resisting being held by me less and less. T-touch helps calm her down. Or at least I convince myself it's helping, and that helps.

Long story short: I call Stephanie, Daphne calls me, I plop Mallory into the car, squeeeeeze myself in the minimum entryway possible on the other side (I've seen dogs get out from cars I thought a mouse couldn't get out of) and deliver her to College Park, where I am met by a happy volunteer who agrees we need three people to get her out of the car, just to be sure.

Then, she's in the day care, the door is closed and I notice I haven't really had a good, deep breath for a while. I let myself jump around a little and yell Hurray!

Thank you everyone for the opportunity to help and for all I learned.

Simone Lima
(who runs an animal protection organization in Brazil, where we don't have half the technology used here in tracking a lost animal!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Andee, a black lab

A message from the desk *ahem* floor of Andee....Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 10:55am

as transposed by mom because I have no opposable thumbs to write with. If I did, I would be a millionaire, and cruising on a yacht, somewhere warm with lots of food.

First of all, I just want to thank everyone for being so good to my mom while I was on my walkabout. Don't know what all the fuss was for, cause I was hangin out on the patio at Llewellyn's, catching all the grub those kind folks would lavish on me. My favorite people there are the manager, Tiffany and this waiter, Brian because they made sure I got home to my mom and dad.

But I digress, there I was just chillin on the patio, throwing my sad, droopy puppy dog eyes (yeah, no one can resist me looking so pretty, especially when I cross my paws), when a nice man took me home to his family. Little did I know the chaos I missed. If I had been around to see my pictures go up in all those stores, well, I think I may have given Paris' pup a run for his money.

While I hung out with a nice family and their two sweet boys, all these people were out there looking for me. Makes me sad to know mom and pops were so upset, and Dodger too, but it's nice to know how much I am loved. It's also very sweet that so many of you took time out of your busy lives to help get the word out, keep mom sane and look for me.

Unfortunately, it required a trip to the vet for me (not my idea of fun by any means). The goofy doc in the white coat told my caretakers that I need to be on steroids because I have an ear infection. Excuse me, what? I may be going deaf, but *we* had to do a double take. Hey, who wants to get bulky? I just lost all my winter weight!!! Sigh....guess i will do what keeps me healthy. (And I am healthy.) For the record, I have a clean bill of health. Too bad mom had to pay that bill, which almost cleaned her out! HA!

It was fun trying out a new family, and they called me by a new name, Maddie. It was very sweet, to be called after someone they loved who died of cancer. An honor. But, alas, the waiter Brian saw my pic in Robust and here I am!!! Back at home where I belong. Of course, I had to check out every room in the house, to make sure everything was where I left it (it was), the first stop being the mudroom so I could eat (I did) and then I gave a great sigh of relief and kissed mom on the cheek. I am so lucky to be loved and happy to be home. (Insert a vision of tail wags here).

Thank you, from the bottom of my very sweet heart. Just remember, if you have a pet like me who likes to hit the open road now and then, make sure to PAWS and REFLECT. Meaning, STOP, remember my story, and take every action to keep your babies from getting out in the first place. I had fun, but mom and dad did not, and Silly Jilly was sad too.

Until next time (oops, mom says there wont BE a next time), this is Andee saying Peace out and much love, hugs and thx for all the prayers this week for my safe return to my fam.

Night night and sweet dreams
~Andee Padanda

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Muffy, a blond mutt

Dog found 9 years on, 1,200 miles away
What has Muffy been doing? ‘Nobody knows,’ Australian official says
By Kristen Gelineau, The Associated Press
Thurs., July 30, 2009

SYDNEY - Nine years after vanishing from outside her Australian family's home, Muffy the dog was found alive and well this month in another backyard — 1,200 miles away — officials said Thursday.

What was once lost is now found. Muffy returns home after nine years on the road.

Inspectors with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were investigating a possible animal cruelty case at a home in the southern city of Melbourne two weeks ago when they found the fluffy white mutt sleeping outside on a scrap of cardboard, Victoria state RSPCA spokesman Tim Pilgrim said.

Wide-wandering Muffy, shown here being held by animal welfare official Gail Coulter near Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday, was found with the help of a microchip implanted under her skin.

A microchip in Muffy's neck identified her owners, and, after a few days of searching for a current phone number, officials tracked down Natalie Lampard, who hadn't seen Muffy since the pooch disappeared from her backyard in the eastern city of Brisbane nine years ago.

"When the RSPCA described her, I told them her name; I knew immediately it was our Muffy," Lampard said. "It was totally out of the blue — after nine years, I thought she was long gone."

‘The mystery continues’
The owners of the Melbourne house where Muffy was discovered said they found the dog about a year ago wandering along a street, Pilgrim said. But where had Muffy spent the previous eight years? And how did she get all the way to Melbourne — about 1,200 miles from Brisbane?

"Nobody knows," Pilgrim said. "The mystery continues for old Muffy."

Muffy was suffering from a severe allergic reaction to fleas and has been under treatment since the RSPCA removed her from the Melbourne home, Pilgrim said. The dog, which the Lampards originally adopted from an RSPCA shelter near Brisbane, is recovering well and should be in good enough shape to fly back home on Tuesday, Pilgrim said. Lampard got Muffy as a gift for her now 17-year-old daughter Chloe, and the two had been inseparable, Lampard said.

"After the RSPCA called, I rang my daughter and asked her if she was sitting down, then told her they'd found Muffy," Lampard said. "She's over the moon and there'll be a few tears shed when they see each other again. But just how she got down to Melbourne I guess is a mystery that will never be answered."

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ahu, a deer-like hound

Ahu & Me: A Dog Is Lost, Hope Is Found In Pakistan
By Pamela Constable, Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- I almost missed her at first, a small dusty dog curled up under a taxi in a crowded airport. But when I whistled, she poked her head out and looked up with a faintly hopeful expression. She had a slender face and huge brown eyes, like a doe.

I had just landed after a long flight from the States, tired and harried, but I bought her a chicken sandwich near the taxi stand and watched her gulp it down. As I started to walk away, pushing a trolley full of luggage, she raced after me and clung to my legs like a child. It was an act of rash, desperate trust I could not bear to reject.

Lost and found: Pamela Constable with Ahu and some of the Pakistanis who helped her locate the missing pet.

And so this tiny, graceful creature came out of the void and into my life. Within a few days we were inseparable. She was a slim white-and-brown hound, perhaps 2 years old. I named her Ahu, which means "deer" in Afghan Dari.

I had rescued other dogs in other foreign lands, but Ahu seemed more like a long-lost friend. She was grateful for a bath and unfazed by a trip to the vet. When I came in the gate of my rented home, she leapt up and pirouetted for joy. When I worked at my desk, she rested her muzzle on my lap. When I went to bed, she curled up nearby.

Islamabad has long been an intermittent base for me between reporting assignments in more volatile and impoverished places in South Asia. It is an orderly, modern city, and over the years I had become familiar with its ministerial offices and diplomatic compounds, its political parlors and bookshops and fashionable restaurants. But it had always been a safe and antiseptic way station, a place with ATMs and hot showers. I had never engaged with it as a real city, with real inhabitants who struggled to make ends meet. They appeared in the manicured enclaves I frequented to cut grass or sell mangoes, then retreated to a gritty world on the fringes of the capital that seemed remote and invisible.

Until I lost Ahu. I was on another trip to Afghanistan and left the dog in the care of my redoubtable housekeeper. I assumed Ahu would be there waiting patiently, like Argus, when I returned. Instead, I learned later, she had howled disconsolately in the yard all day. I had seduced and abandoned her, and she had no way of knowing I would be back. One morning when the gate was left open, she bolted down the street. The guards chased her for almost a mile, but she vanished into the city.

When a colleague called with the news, I was in a rural Afghan province covering a rally for a presidential candidate. I felt sick with guilt. I knew Ahu was looking for me, and I imagined her wandering and lost and hungry.

The next morning I caught the daily flight to Islamabad, and that afternoon I started out to search, accompanied by my housekeeper and her husband. We began in the affluent neighborhood where Ahu had been last seen. Uniformed guards were stationed outside every residence, and we handed them fliers with her photograph, a reward offer of $100 and a phone number. Some greeted us with suspicious looks or incredulous stares, but others seemed sympathetic. One older man was sure Ahu had spent a night curled up next to his booth, but he said she had moved on.

Islamabad is a city of many pet owners but few animal lovers. Affluent families dote on imported Persian and Siamese cats and retired officers walk their German shepherds or stout yellow labs, but I have rarely seen anyone express concern or affection for a street dog. The snobbery of the elite is passed down to the servant class. Ahu looked like a hundred other homeless dogs, and the guards and sweepers and drivers we met in our search regarded her as having no value. If we were looking for a local stray, they told us with looks of faint distaste, we should try the nearby "Christian Colony."

This turned out to be a warren of alleys and shacks, hidden behind a wall and inhabited by several hundred families of garbage scavengers. Christians are a small, mostly impoverished minority in Muslim Pakistan, popularly disparaged as thieves and drunks. The colony filled a designated economic niche, like a community of "untouchables" in India. In every alley, boys delivered bulging sacks and men weighed piles of glass and cardboard for resale.

The inhabitants were astonished and amused to see us, but they were neither rude nor threatening. Dirt-streaked boys surrounded us and eagerly took the fliers; shopkeepers listened politely to our story. "Madam, do not worry, we find your dog," one old man selling a pile of eggplants promised gallantly.

There were indeed many dogs living in the colony. The community had a reputation for stealing them, but it seemed to me they were treated more as co-inhabitants at the margins of society, neither pampered nor shunned. After several visits, we recognized most of the regulars, and they trotted up wagging their tails. As we broadened our search, scouring parks and vacant lots and garbage pits, we came to know the dogs that lived there, too. After dark they huddled in groups of three or four near the Dumpsters, waiting their turn after the crows and scavenger boys.

Several looked like Ahu, and I kept thinking sadly that they were no less deserving of a better life.

On the second day, we peered into more corners of the city. We marched into police stations, passing grimy prisoners in manacles, where desk officers rolled their eyes but dutifully took notes and promised to alert their patrols. We poked into smoky tea shops where jobless men passed their days snoozing on string beds. We crisscrossed overgrown parks where squatters slept in cardboard tents or grazed a few goats. For the first time in more than a decade of visiting this polished international capital, I discovered its human soul.

As the hours passed, I began to lose hope. Back at the office I tried to finish writing an overdue article, but the words would not come. I had no appetite and I slept fitfully. I had to return to Afghanistan in a few days, and I was beginning to believe I would never see Ahu again.

But out in the city, word was spreading. Ahu's photograph was taped on market stalls and utility poles and taxi windows, and strangers started calling the number on the flier. Each time it turned out to be a false alarm, but each time I met someone who cared. In a bookshop window I saw a photo I thought was Ahu's, but it had been put up by a woman seeking a home for another stray. A man called to say he had found her, and he was cradling a similar little hound in his arms when I arrived. We had a long talk and parted feeling like kindred souls. My impression of Pakistani callousness toward animals began to soften.

The search also led to unexpected reconnections in a city where I had many professional acquaintances but no close friends. By happenstance, a U.N. worker I had known a decade before e-mailed to say hello, wondering if I was in the country. She turned out to live in the precise neighborhood where Ahu had vanished, and promised to be on the lookout.

Then I ran into a Pakistani journalist and former traveling companion whom I had not seen in years. He instantly vowed to find her, re-energizing my flagging hopes. Together we combed the city again, passing out more photos and expanding the network of people who knew about our search.

In the end, the crucial connection came from yet another obscure subculture in the capital. My journalist friend knew an extended family of clothes washers, men who laundered sheets and towels in steamy outdoor baths each morning and delivered them on motorbikes to guest houses and dry cleaners each evening. At 7 a.m. on the fourth day of the search, my friend passed out fliers at the baths. At 6 p.m., two of the laundrymen called him from a tea shop. They had a flier in their hands, and they were certain they had found Ahu.

Half an hour later, she was delivered to my door, dirty but unharmed, and delirious to see me. I was overwhelmed with relief. I gave the laundrymen the reward money and admonished the guards to be more careful about leaving the gate open. But I was also grateful to this little dog for leading me into the hidden human corners of a city that had long seemed artificial and inhuman to me.

Blissfully unaware of the harrowing but instructive odyssey she had launched, Ahu strolled into my room and curled up at the foot of the bed for a good nap.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Apollo, a great dane

Apollo mission to find family's missing pooch
Monday, July 20, 2009, 11:00

WHEN Apollo the Doberman went missing, his frantic family went into overdrive. They hired pet detectives, spent nights on stake-outs, and got an entire community on the dog's trail.

Now, after 10 days living by his wits in the wild, the pooch is back home in Packmoor. Owners Karen and Paul Rose, and their seven-year-old son Bradley, are overjoyed.

The two-year-old dog went missing on July 4 in Chesterton, close to Apedale Country Park. Paul had taken him into work at nearby Ibstock Brick and was planning to go for a walk. But Apollo had other ideas after spotting a fox. He chased it and then vanished into the evening air.

Karen, aged 36, who teaches at Newcastle College, spent countless hours on the search. She said: "There was a sighting of him by the post office and another of him walking towards Crackley Bank. But that was it. I thought somebody had got him. I was a broken woman.

"I rang four councils – Newcastle, Stoke-on-Trent, Cheshire East and Cheshire West – to see if he'd been picked up. I put an advert in The Sentinel. Apollo is chipped and I contacted the chip company."

Then the Rose family turned to Herefordshire-based Animal Search UK for help. The company was founded by police officer turned pet detective Tom Watkins. It gets 30 reports of missing pets a day, as far afield as Scotland and Devon. People can upload pictures and descriptions on to a missing pets website, use a 24-hour helpline, and also order posters featuring their pets for publicity campaigns.The Rose family had pet insurance, so help was free. For others, it can cost £50 or more.

Tom said: "For Apollo, we did 350 leaflets and 25 posters. The posters had our free phone number on, so people could ring us if they saw him."

Karen blitzed Chesterton, fixing these laminated posters to railings and lamp-posts. She also sat in her car on stake-outs, with Bradley tagging along. She said: "I went up every dirt track and pushed leaflets through doors and spoke to people.

"I even mithered the milkman. His wife had a sighting of Apollo by a kebab house and the milkman went shooting up there, but couldn't find him."

When a stray dog later wandered up to the kebab place, staff sprang into action. Five of them came running out like the FBI and ripped the poster off to see if it was the same dog. They were brilliant," said Karen.
Unfortunately, it wasn't Apollo.

But on Monday last week, there was a positive sighting near a scrapyard, less than a mile from where he went missing. The man rang Animal Search, who alerted Karen. Despite the family dashing up there, and even using strips of ham to entice Apollo out, he proved elusive. But, the next evening, they struck gold when scrapyard staff spied the dishevelled Doberman and rang the helpline. Karen said: "We went up and did a foot search, with the rain belting down. Then we found Apollo."

The dog was thin, scared, with cuts, and had red puffy eyes from lack of sleep. He was whisked to a vet for a check-up and allowed home."We were elated. My life had stopped when he went missing.

"Day by day Apollo's now getting better. He's enjoying his pork chops and chicken breasts.

"We'd just like to thank everybody. The community spirit in Chesterton is fantastic.

"We also couldn't have found him without Animal Search UK."

Tom added: "I guess it was a fur cop."


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alfie, lost while camping

Lost Dog Found With Reverse Phone Number Lookup
Written by Nicholas Peer
July 23rd, 2009

A reverse phone number lookup helped a Maine family find the dog they lost while on vacation.

Alfie, the family dog, ran away when the Thompson family was camping hours away.

Jackie Thompson said Alfie probably saw a rabbit or a porcupine and took off while the family was hiking.

She said the whole family and their neighbors at the campground where they were staying helped search for the dog. After staying an extra day to look for the dog, the family went to a nearby copy shop and made some lost dog posters to plaster around the park and get back to work before using another sick day.

Several days later, the Thompsons got a phone call they could barely make out. They heard a partial address, but it was impossible to make out anything even the name of the town. They tried calling back, but nobody ever answered, their calls went straight to voice mail. For another couple days, there was nothing.

Eventually the Thompsons turned to an online phone finder to do a reverse lookup on the number. They put in the number — it was a cell phone number out of a small town 10 miles away from their camp site. Jackie took another day off and drove out to the town.

She pulled up at the address — a farm at the edge of a small town. And as soon as she got out of the car, Alfie was charging at her from behind the farmhouse.

It turned out that the phone they used was a cell phone the family used only in emergencies. So they shut it down once they walked away from the lost dog poster. They just assumed the family had given up.

But with the help of an online cell phone number finder, Alfie and his family were reunited.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

RaeLee aka Odie, a terrier mix

Lost and Found Dog Saves Life of Boy with Down Syndrome
by Helena Sung (RSS feed)
Aug 11th 2009 5:00PM

Do you believe in canine guardian angels and the kindness of strangers? You just might after reading this story.

Early one morning, Yolanda Segovia's neighbor, Stacey Savige, knocked on her door and asked her to temporarily take in a stray dog she had found. The scruffy terrier mix had no collar or microchip. Segovia eyed the pooch -- burrs sticking to his belly and mud caking his fur -- and reluctantly agreed to foster him for the day.

An erstwhile hairdresser, Segovia hasn't worked since 2006. At 47, she is a survivor of breast cancer and cervical cancer. A divorced single mother of two, Segovia shares her Port Tampa, Florida home with her 10 year-old son Azaiah and 21 year-old son Christian. Her elder son has Down Syndrome; he cannot speak or bathe himself, and he has had heart surgery and a kidney transplant, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

Azaiah immediately took to the dog, whom he named RaeLee (pronounced "Riley"). Segovia and her sons bought the dog a collar, leash, ball and brown bed from the dollar store, and all that day, Azaiah played with the dog, laughing gleefully whenever RaeLee licked his face. "Don't fall in love with him," Segovia warned.

Segovia and Savige made 4,000 FOUND flyers with the dog's picture, stuffed mailboxes and put an ad on Craigslist. When no one called, RaeLee stayed the night at the Segovias' house. His dog bed was placed in the living room, but when the boys climbed into their twin beds, RaeLee dragged his bed down the long hallway and bunked with the boys in their room.

By Saturday -- four days later -- no one had called to claim RaeLee, and he was still living with the Segovias. The honey-colored terrier had started responding to his new name. He almost never barked, loved playing rambunctiously with Azaiah, and was tender with Christian.

One afternoon, the dog settled himself on the floor near Christian as he watched a "Barney" video in his room. Segovia was outside watering the plants when the placid moment was shattered by the sound of RaeLee crashing into the screen door and barking crazily. Alarmed, Segovia opened the door, only to have the dog race back through the house towards the boys' room. Segovia followed, screaming when she caught sight of her son. Christian was "slumped over, his body writhing in a seizure, blood streaming from his nose and mouth." RaeLee stood next to him yelping, but suddenly went quiet when Yolanda reached down to hold her son.

"If he hadn't come to get me," Segovia said, "the neurologist said Christian would have choked on his own blood and died." The dog, she decided, was a keeper.

But the next day, Segovia and her sons were heartbroken when someone called to claim the dog they had come to love. Randy Cliff, 34, who lived six blocks away said he had been searching for his dog -- real name Odie -- for over a week. Odie had lived with Cliff, his wife, their four children and infant granddaughter. Savige cried, telling Cliff, "That dog saved my friend's son."

When Cliff came to collect his dog, RaeLee a.k.a. Odie, leapt off the Segovias' porch and into his arms. Christian watched from a window. Azaiah stood on the porch watching the man hug the dog he knew as RaeLee. "We're going to miss you," he said, tearfully.

Looking up, Cliff took in the scene -- Christian looking scared, Azaiah looking downtrodden -- and asked, "Is that your brother?" Azaiah nodded yes.

With a sudden change of heart, Cliff put the dog back down. "Maybe Odie was supposed to find you," Cliff told a stunned and delighted Azaiah. "Maybe you should keep him."

And that is how the kindness of strangers -- Savige for rescuing a lost dog, Segovia for taking him in, and Cliff for giving up his pet to a pair of brothers who needed the dog more -- brought RaeLee to live with Azaiah, Christian and their mother.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Thanks to Kyla with Happy Tails Books for finding and sending me this story. Enjoy!

Lost dog Haven found, returned home
August 11, 2009

The dog that was captured last week after being on the run since September has been reunited with her former foster mother

Haven, who was known as Genoa when she was loose in the Genoa area, is staying with a foster family.

Haven, who was nicknamed "Genoa" while she was lost, is happy to be home, said Molly LaMountain of Whitehouse, her foster mother

It has been a long road for Haven, and it seems she has found a haven of her own. A couple of years ago, she and her mother were confiscated by the courts from their Fulton County home, said LaMountain, who declined to give further information regarding the case. The judge presiding over the case ruled Haven should be adopted

So Haven was placed with LaMountain, an experienced dog foster mother who works with Planned Pethood, an animal rescue group. LaMountain worked with Haven to develop her social skills.

Before coming to Planned Pethood, "she had never been treated kindly," LaMountain said.

A year and a half later, Haven was ready for a permanent home, and she was placed with a Toledo couple for a trial adoption. They took her to a home in Marblehead.

"When they took her for a walk, she spooked, knocked (one of her owners) down and got loose," LaMountain said.

LaMountain spent weeks searching the area and putting out fliers. She placed a trap where Haven had last been seen.

But nothing worked. Haven had simply disappeared.

Then last month, LaMountain received an e-mail saying volunteers were needed to help capture a loose dog. The dog in the photo was hard to recognize

Its fur was matted and it was dirty, but it still had on a leash, just as Haven had when she got loose. LaMountain was sure it was her.

Haven still had her Planned Pethood ID tag, so there was no question. It was Haven. LaMountain had nothing but praise for Haven's rescuers.

"We have been so grateful and thankful to these people for all the help," she said.

LaMountain said she has learned a lesson from Haven's experience. Before Haven's return, she always struggled with understanding why no one was looking for the many dogs that came into her home.

Now she knows that even intense searching doesn't always bring a lost dog home.

"Now, with every single dog I get, I'm going to wonder, did someone lose this dog a year ago?" she said.

Haven spent a couple of nights at the Humane Society of Ottawa County before she was reunited with LaMountain. Haven came to the shelter very frightened but was starting to slowly come around by the time LaMountain picked her up.

By the morning of LaMountain's arrival last week, she had progressed to approaching the shelter workers, and even sniffed their hands.

"You can't just walk up to her and slip a leash on her and take her for a walk," shelter manager Megan Feicht said that morning. "She's too scared."

Haven, however, never tried to bite anyone and was very sweet, Feicht said.

"We hope that they can keep us informed on her progress," she said. "We've asked Planned Pethood to keep us posted and send an e-mail once in a while. She's got a lot of people that love her here."

Haven's transition back to her old home was seamless, LaMountain said. She remembered LaMountain, LaMountain's children, the other dogs and the home.

"She walked in the house and her tail started wagging," LaMountain said. "I don't think it's stopped since. Once she was at my house, it was like she never left."

LaMountain took Haven to the veterinarian last week to have her shots updated. Her next step was to "work on getting her socialized," she said.

Will Haven find a forever home with someone else? LaMountain said it's too early to tell."If she stays here the rest of her life, that's fine," she said. "But if the perfect person comes along, I would let her go."

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Jake, a chocolate lab

Brooke Burke and David Charvet Reunited with Lost Dog
by Helena Sung
Jul 10th 2009 9:00AM

Last year was a rough year -- pet-wise -- for former Baywatch and Melrose Place star David Charvet and fiancé Brooke Burke (winner of Dancing With the Stars, Season 7). The couple lost two of their three dogs to cancer and old age, and then their chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy Jake went missing.

"We searched for him high and low for months, hospitals, local vets, and animal rescues," writes Burke on her blog Modern Mom. "After a long while, we lost hope, and determined that he left home and must have died of a broken heart."

Charvet and Burke were heartbroken too. Their two-year old daughter Rain hadn't stopped talking about Jake since he disappeared. (You can see a picture of the entire family in their adorable "Nothing Compares to Family" ad for Skechers Footwear.) "We were just about to get a new dog, a puppy for the kids," says Burke, when fate stepped in.

On June 15th, nine months after he disappeared, the family received the phone call they'd been dreaming of. "It was a vet 20 miles away. They said they had Jake!" Burke gleefully blogged. "Someone found Jake in our town, had no idea who his owner was (Jake had no collar) and gave him to a neighbor who took him in and cared for him."

Luckily, Charvet -- currently appearing on The Superstars -- had Jake microchipped as a puppy. When Jake's new owner took him to the vet for a checkup, the man relayed the story of the dog's adoption. The vet decided to scan Jake and "Immediately, David's info and phone number showed up and the vet was obligated to contact us," explains Burke.

As overjoyed as they were to have Jake back, Burke describes the experience as "bittersweet." The man who had taken Jake in and cared for him for nine months (he apologized for not thinking to have Jake scanned) was losing a friend.

"Thank God for honest people who are selfless enough to do the right thing," Burke writes. "I hope something wonderful happens to Audy in the Valley, for caring for Jake and letting him go..."

Today, Charvet remains grateful to "Audy in the Valley" for keeping Jake safe and bringing him back home. "Getting Jake back is almost a miracle," Charvet says. "After ten months of being missing, he's back where he belongs. I feel like our family is complete again."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Chloe, a Shih Tzu

I think these reunions happen all the time for FidoFinder, so it's a sample story, nothing sensational.

Dallas Area Woman Finds Her Lost Dog On The Internet
December 11, 2006

HOUSTON, TX - - A cookie-baking incident set off Kathi Werden's smoke alarm. The resident of the Dallas, Texas, suburb of Flower Mound, opened the front door to help let out the smoke and while she wasn't looking, her beloved sever-year-old Shih Tzu, Chloe Lane, stepped out on the front lawn.

Kathi Werden and Chloe

Chloe is not the kind of dog to run away, but when a neighbor walked by with her black Labrador Retriever, Chloe headed down the block. At just that moment Courtney Pritchard of nearby Lewisville, was bringing her child to a local daycare facility and spotted the little dog. Kathi hadn't missed her yet so wasn't looking. Being a dog lover, Pritchard opened her car door and Chloe jumped right in and went with Courtney to her mother, LaRae Pritchard's home where she stayed with mom's three Chihuahuas.

When Werden missed her pet, she realized that she hadn't bought new tags since her recent change of address. She stifled her panic and started the search. She called the animal shelters and the veterinary office in the area. She canvassed the neighborhood, put up more than 200 posters, did everything she could think of that Friday.

Saturday, Werden, who is a senior recruiter for a Dallas technology company, performed an Internet search for "lost a dog" and found, a website devoted to reuniting lost dogs with their owners. The lost and found dog database assists thousands of dog owners every year to search for their lost dogs. She logged onto the site in an instant and listed Chloe Lane.

Courtney Pritchard was working that weekend and didn't have a chance to return to Flower Mound, so never saw the signs, but her mother saw the dog's name on her tag and searched the Internet for "lost dog Chloe." That led her to Fido Finder. She visited the site and there was the listing for the Shih Tzu who was her houseguest. The site put her in touch with Werden and the two arranged for Chloe to be reunited with her owner.

None of them could be happier. Being a dog-lover herself, LaRae Pritchard understood the bond that connects people with their pets.

To celebrate, Werden bought a companion Shih Tzu for Chloe. The new puppy, named Lucy Bell has settled in nicely and Kathi Werden's mom, Pat Werden, is helping with the training. She loves dogs, too and couldn't be more pleased with her new "grand-puppy."


Friday, August 7, 2009

Ponce, a little terrier

This story came from Lost Dog Search, and you can find more stories there of dogs lost and then found with the help of Debbie (Hall) Scarpellini, in Massachusetts.
Ponce's Happy Ending - June, 2009
Lost Dog Found upon a Star

Maybe he was just trying to live up to his name, but the little terrier “Ponce” (like the explorer Ponce De Leon), surprised everyone when he was miraculously found and returned home safely after being lost for over five months in central Texas.

Ponce went missing after he and his brother chased after a rabbit while visiting the family ranch in Adamsville, Texas. It was January 19, 2009, his 8th birthday. His brother came back when called, but Ponce kept going through an open gate and into a world very foreign to a timid city dog. His family searched for days and posted signs and fliers, but there was no response. How could he just vanish?

After a week passed, owners Kim Saxon and John Davis from Dallas hired a search dog team, Dog Gone Detectives, to help. The team tracked Ponce several miles to FM 581.

“We assumed someone picked him up at that point and hoped they would call us,” said Kim. “After several weeks, we started to think someone decided to keep Ponce, or didn’t know that we were looking for him.” A couple of months passed.

“I couldn’t give up because I really felt Ponce was out there somewhere, so I decided to place ads in newspapers.” Lost dog ads ran in area papers, including the Lampasas Dispatch Record. As soon as the ad ran in Lampasas, Kim received a response from Dean and Sharon Watson.

Lampasas County road workers in Adamsville had just seen a dog a couple of times that looked like Ponce, and said he was heading north. Kim spent a few days searching in Adamsville without success, so she ran an ad in another paper, the Evant Star. By now, Ponce had been missing over 3 months.

Meta and David Henry of Star thought the picture in the ad looked a lot like recent photos of a dog that appeared on one of their trail cameras. Meta sent Kim an email that read “Could this be Ponce?” and attached photos. As soon as Kim and John saw the pictures they knew it was Ponce. He had traveled about 20 miles but looked to be in pretty good shape.

Kim immediately posted fliers and signs in Star and talked to as many people as possible trying to narrow down Ponce’s location. Kay Sutherland, Star’s Postmaster, was instrumental during the search, and the post office became base headquarters.

The search dog team arrived to track Ponce again, but the task was difficult because he left so many scent trails. On the positive side, fresh trails meant Ponce was still in the immediate area.

Soon there were several sightings of Ponce in Star. A mail carrier spotted him and workers on a farm saw him several times. Meta continued to put dog food out by the trail cameras hoping to get another photo of Ponce, and in early June it worked…he was caught on camera!

His crate had been left nearby to provide a familiar scent and more items followed, including his favorite food, carrots. A few days passed and Ponce showed up again. During this same time, workers next door at McCasland Farms saw him sleeping in the barn two nights in a row. Ponce would not come to them and after days of searching the area without success, it seemed the only way to catch him was with a humane cage trap.

Lampasas County Animal Control Officer Kasey Dressel, and Shirl Wangler, who runs the Lampasas County Animal Intake Shelter, had been following the search since January and let Kim borrow a trap, which was placed at the barn at McCasland Farms and monitored with the help of the workers.

After a few days, Kim received a call from the ranch supervisor, William Tidwell, who said “I’ve got a little dog here for you.” June 28th Kim finally got the call she’d been anticipating for over five months.

Ponce recognized Kim and John instantly and squealed with delight when they asked if he was ready to go home. He had lots of fleas and was hungrier than usual, but considering his adventure, was in great shape, and acted like his old self once reunited with his family.

Ponce survived an ice storm, a flood, thunderstorms, and temperatures ranging from 17° F to over 100° F. For Ponce, Star, Texas provided a perfect place to settle down, with a nice big creek, huge shady pecan trees, plenty of easy game like mice, and the possibility of easy pickings stealing from food bowls of local cats.

“It’s interesting how one event led to another to create this happy ending,” said Kim. “It might not have happened if the timing had been different.”

Indeed, the search dog team gave Kim hope which caused her to eventually place ads in newspapers. The Lampasas Dispatch ad led to sightings in Adamsville. Those sightings led to an ad in the Evant Star, which caused Meta to contact Kim. If the ads had run earlier it would have been too soon and Ponce wouldn’t have shown up on the camera.

“We are so thankful for all the help by animal lovers in Star, Adamsville, Evant, and Lampasas,” says Kim. “We never would have found Ponce without them.” It certainly gives “Wishing upon a Star” a whole new meaning.”

LostDogSearch was first contacted by Kim via email on June 17th. Further emails and phone calls discussed ongoing search efforts and the use of cage traps. On June 28th Kim called me to say she’d just got word Ponce was caught in the cage trap at the farm. That good news really made my day! Thank you, Kim for calling and for sharing Ponce’s happy ending story.


Another version of the story is at:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Luther/Chip, a german shorthaired pointer

Lost dog returns after eight years
By Suzi Nelson
Published: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 4:15 AM CDT
World-Herald News Service
ASHLAND - A microchip and a stroke of luck led a dog back to its owner after more than eight years.

After more than eight years, Chip, a German shorthair pointer, was reunited with his original owner Joe Evans on Monday night at the Ashland Police Station. Pictured are (front row) Heath Evans; (back row) Derrick Schneckloth, Mandy Evans and Joe Evans.

The dog, ironically renamed Chip somewhere along the way, was reunited with his original owner at the Ashland Police Station Monday night.

The story starts in April 2001, when Ashland native Joe Evans went to the Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha to get a puppy. He found an energetic six-month-old German shorthair pointer and named him Luther.
"He caught my eye and I said, 'I've got to have him,'" Evans recalled.

A couple of months later Evans, a 1995 graduate of Ashland-Greenwood High School, was moving back to his hometown from Elkhorn. He asked a friend in Ashland to watch the dog during the move.

Evans got a call from his friend that Luther had gotten loose and had been hit by a car and was gone.

"I thought he was dead," he said. Given that news, Evans didn't think he'd ever see the dog again.

Here's where the story gets a little mysterious. It's hard to make heads or tails of Luther's whereabouts for the next couple of years. A man had found the dog running loose at Mahoney State Park near Ashland. He took the dog with him to Kansas City. But his wife didn't want the dog, so he gave Luther to man named Tracy.

Tracy moved back and forth a few times, finally landing in Lincoln, where his landlord would not allow dogs. He asked a friend to watch the dog, who by now had been named Chip.

That's how Chip made his way roundabout back to Ashland nearly four years ago. Derrick Schneckloth thought he was doing a friend a favor by keeping the dog for a few months, but Tracy moved again, and Schneckloth lost contact with him.

Chip fit in well in the Schneckloth household in Ashland, which included a boxer named DJ. Chip made himself comfortable every night on an old chair, his favorite place to sleep. He enjoyed going for rides in the car and especially liked it when Schneckloth took him to Wehrspann Lake in Omaha for walks.

Ironically, just a mile or so away lived Evans and his young family.

"We can see the lake from our house," Evans said.

Last weekend, Chip was on one of his beloved car rides when he got a little too excited and jumped out the window at 84th and Giles streets in Sarpy County. Schneckloth attempted to pull off the busy road and find the dog, but was not successful. He returned later that night and again the next day with no luck.

Once again, Chip was on the run. But this time, when he was found, the authorities realized he had a microchip implanted in his ear. When they scanned it, Evans name came up. However, they also saw the dog was licensed in Ashland, and through the city's records found Schneckloth.

Evans received a call he never thought he'd get.

"Out of the blue yesterday [Sunday] I get a voicemail on the answering machine that a guy found my German shorthair pointer," he said. "I almost didn't believe it."

Evans returned the call and when the man described the dog, he knew it was Luther. He still had the receipt from the Humane Society to prove the dog was his. He contacted the Saunders County Sheriff to see if he could locate the dog.

But Evans still couldn't fathom that his long lost dog had been found.

"I thought, even if it is him, who in the world would believe this story?" he said.

Meanwhile, authorities had also contacted the Ashland police to find Schneckloth. A note was placed on his door telling him the dog was in LaVista and Chip was brought back to Ashland.

When Engel informed Schneckloth that the original owner had been found, it wasn't easy to break the news.

"I said, 'I don't know how to explain this to you, but it's not your dog,'" Engel said. Schneckloth understood, and didn't hesitate to give Chip back to his original owner.

"In a way, it was kind of good. If anything happened to my Boston Terrier, I'd hope they'd do the same for me," he said.

Chip seemed to know Evans, even after more than eight years. He also remembered Mandy, who had moved in with Evans a month before they got the dog.

"He wagged his tail when he came up to [Evans]," said Engel. Mandy Evans was equally overwhelmed when she was reunited with Chip.

"You don't know how much this means," she told Schneckloth. And 7-year-old Heath, who was born well after Chip disappeared, seemed pretty excited to have a new member of the family.

The Evans family asked Schneckloth many questions about Chip's habits, food preferences and health information. He warned them that Chip has gotten loose a couple of times over the years and that he likes to run.

"We've got a pretty good-sized back yard," said Evans.

When it was time to say goodbye, Schneckloth grew emotional, but kept it in check to make sure Chip didn't sense something was wrong. After posing for pictures and a brief goodbye from DJ, Chip climbed into the backseat of the Evans' vehicle with Heath, and was off to meet his new "sibling," a rat terrier named Baby, and start a new life with his new, but not new family.

Chip's first night with the Evans went surprisingly well, Mandy reported on Tuesday morning.

"When we got home, it was like he never left," she said.

Chip slept on a blanket near their bed, and woke Joe up to go outside very early, one the habits Schneckloth warned them about.

Their family seems complete now, Mandy said.

"We couldn't be happier."

In Chip's life, he made a lot of stops along the way, but it seemed his fate was also tied to Ashland. HBut, having started his journey in Ashland, then ending up back there and finally being reunited with his original owners there, he somehow always returned home to Ashland.


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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ozzy, an English bull terrier

Never, never underestimate the power of Facebook . . .

Amazing Tail - Facebook Reunites Lost Dog With Owner After a Year
Submitted by Freelance Writers
April 21, 2008 – 8:25 am

Ozzy the English Bull Terrier Reunited with his Owner after a Year

Ben Dalby from Chelmsford was devastated when his English Bull Terrier, Ozzy, went missing from his garden in April 2007. Nearly a year to the day, he’s been reunited with Ozzy thanks to the detective work of staff from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s Lost Dogs & Cats Line.

The dog was brought into Battersea from Romford and despite being microchipped, it proved impossible to get hold of the owner. A member of staff decided to take a look at some missing pet websites and was thrilled when she spotted Ozzy on However, his owner still proved allusive and it was down to the initiative of Battersea staff that Ben was eventually tracked down via the social networking site, Facebook.

Ben was thrilled to hear that Ozzy was at Battersea and rushed down to the Home to be reunited with his dog today, saying, “Thanks to Battersea’s detective work, I’ve got Ozzy back and I’m over the moon. Little does he know that he’s got a new playmate at home, Lola the Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross, but I’m sure they’ll get on great.”

Simon Lynn, Battersea’s Head of Rehoming, said “Despite a few problems in this case, we would recommend microchipping as the best way to ensure you are reunited with your pet if it goes missing. It’s such a simple and quick procedure which causes no pain to the animal so it really is worth doing. Remember to keep your contact details up to date if you move or change telephone numbers too”.


And here’s a similar lost-cat-found-via-Facebook story:
with a video available at:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bill, a Boston Terrier

This story is told by Kyla Duffy, who had been fostering Bill for almost no time at all when he went missing. Bill has come a long way since then, and the once-lost little dog has gone on to create a wonderful legacy already, although he's still got plenty of years left. Read all about it at

We’d just started fostering for a Boston Terrier rescue group when my husband and I bought a new home. We thought it would be perfect for foster dogs since the yard was bigger, so as soon as we settled in we let the rescue group know we were ready for dogs.

They said they would give us a dog named Sage, but at the last minute we were asked to pick up Bill instead. Apparently he had been adopted by a family in Colorado (he was from a puppy mill in Missouri), but they decided they didn’t want him because he was afraid of everything, didn’t want to leave his crate, and wanted nothing to do with his new family members. Though we felt completely unprepared to care for a dog like Bill since we had previously only cared for happy, healthy fosters, we were the closest foster family so we agreed to take him.

We ended up taking both Sage and Bill because the foster family that was to take Sage was grieving for a dog they had just lost and was not ready for another foster. Sage was easy: a beautiful, well-adjusted one-year-old dog. Bill was exactly the “train wreck” that he was described to be.

Once home, we had to go out for an hour and thought that the yard would be the best place to keep the dogs. The weather was perfect and we wouldn’t have to worry about potty accidents if they were outside. Sage was free to roam, and we put Bill’s crate in the yard with the door open so he could venture out if he got courageous. Our roommate was home to check on them, so we weren’t concerned at all.

About 45 minutes after we left, we got a call from our roommate telling us that the dogs got out. I thought he was joking because I didn’t even know if Bill could walk. There was no way he would run away. And, we have a 5’ high fence, so how could they get out?

It turns out that the second gate to our yard wasn’t closed properly, so off they went. Sage, being a socialite, was recovered by a neighbor immediately. She had my cat’s tag on her collar so the neighbor found us easily. Luckily she was only four houses away!

Bill was another story. He wanted nothing to do with people, had no tag on his harness, and he didn’t even know his name. Along with our friends and family, we searched for days. We looked everywhere we thought a scared dog might hide: under cars, in the tall grasses behind our house, in drainage pipes, and under bushes. After days of searching, we all feared the worst.

For three weeks I lied to myself, telling myself that someone must have found him and kept him. Deep down, I knew that wasn’t the case, and wrestled with the reality that I would probably never see him again. Then, on the morning of our two-year wedding anniversary, the phone rang. I didn’t answer it because I was sleeping, but I should have. The voicemail was from the President of our rescue group, calling to tell me they found Bill.

That’s all the voicemail said, “They found Bill. Call me.” I immediately jumped to conclusions that the last word the President left out was “dead.” “They found Bill dead.” My fingers hesitantly dialed her number, and I dreaded what I was about to hear. Imagine my relief when she told me he was alive and that the shelter around the corner from my house had him!

Apparently some joggers had seen Bill trying to eat a carcass in the woods about a quarter mile from my home. The joggers called animal control, who took Bill to the Boulder Humane Society. The shelter was able to track Bill back to our rescue group using his microchip.

Nobody knew what to do with Bill. He was in terrible psychological condition to begin with, and now he was emaciated, non-responsive, and had a gash so deep on his front leg that the muscle was exposed. Could he actually be rehabilitated and lead a happy life? For a moment, it looked as though the decision would be made by to euthanize him. As I was only the foster and not his owner, I didn’t really have a say, but I was mortified. Of course, I felt responsible for his predicament, and I knew he wasn’t a bad dog. There must have been hope for him!

I thought it was already too late to save him and I just sat on my stoop and cried. Miraculously, after about ten minutes of feeling sorry for myself and for Bill, I received a call telling me that the shelter vet decided that Bill should live. I was elated! My mother and I jumped in the car immediately and went to pick him up.

At the shelter, I was so afraid to see him – I just didn’t know what to expect. He looked like a dog dinosaur – every bone in his body was protruding. I was afraid if I touched him I would hurt him, but we handled him as gently as we could and took him home.

Bill Before

I spent the next month nursing Bill back to health. We went to the Alpine Animal Hospital almost every other day to have his bandages changed. They were so kind to him (and to me), and they donated seven free laser treatments to help him heal faster. The physical wounds healed much faster than the emotional ones. For three or four months he still didn’t want to move, but taking him to the dog park helped immensely. The dogs there did a great job of teaching Bill how to “be a dog.” We also hired a trainer who taught me how to help build Bill’s confidence.

It didn’t take me long to decide to adopt him, and a year later, Bill is the best dog ever. Though it’s clichĂ©, I’ll say it. He’s given me so much more than I could ever give him. He’s a great hiking partner, cuddler, and best buddy. I love watching him swim and scramble over rocks. He’s touched my life so much that he inspired me to found Happy Tails Books (, a publishing company that showcases adopted dogs in breed-specific books to raise money for rescue.

Bill After!

Is Bill still quirky? Sure, but we all have our weird aspects. As I write, Bill is sitting at my feet, facing the opposite direction. This is his way of asking me for attention, so I better go. Bill deserves a little spoiling, don’t you think?

– Kyla Duffy, Boulder, CO

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sheeba, a German Shepherd

Midland OSPCA helps reunite dog with family
July 16, 2009

A family has been reunited with their lost pooch thanks to the help of the Midland branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA).

Sheeba, a three-year-old German shepherd, went missing more than two months ago near Sundridge, but is now back home after being found at the Midland branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Sheeba, a three-year-old German shepherd, went missing near Sundridge – south of North Bay – more than two months ago.

Picked up as a stray in Parry Sound, and unclaimed after several days, the dog was brought to the OSPCA’s Orillia branch on May 5. A few weeks later, the dog – dubbed Luna by OSPCA staff – was transferred to the Midland branch, where she was put up for adoption.

On June 22, acting Muskoka branch manager Judith Aubin received an e-mail reporting a dog that had been lost near Sundridge almost two months prior. She created a lost report in the organization’s new provincewide database, called PetPoint.

The next day, while visiting the Midland branch, Aubin noticed a dog in the adoption centre that looked a lot like the lost German shepherd for which she had put out a report. Aubin and Midland branch manager Maureen Dool compared the file on the lost dog and the one in the shelter to see if there might be a match.

“We started doing a comparison – which is sometimes hard to do with a photograph – but when we called her name, her ears perked up,” said Dool, adding they called the family, who drove down the next day.

“It (was) a pretty big coincidence. They were very fortunate, but it goes to show this program we have is really helpful because we can send information like that out among ourselves quite easily,” said Dool, adding while they have had animals claimed before, there haven’t been many under circumstance like Sheeba’s.

“It’s pretty amazing … that a dog that’s been in the system for so long actually got claimed by her proper family. We’re happy.”

Dool said both the family and the dog were very grateful to be reunited.

“They were surprised because they’ve been looking and looking for her,” she said. “It’s just coincidence that someone suggested they search further. The family is obviously very happy and thankful, and the dog is happy to be home.”

Sheeba was outfitted with a new 24PetWatch microchip before being sent home, where owner Michelle Brandt said she was happy to see the old couch on which she likes to sleep.


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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Scout, a black labrador retriever

Lost dog, owner reunite after four weeks
Pet survives month on her own in northeast Boulder
By Jean Spencer, Camera Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Andrew Newman with his dog, Scout, on Wednesday. With the help of a cyclist, Newman, of Boulder, found his black Labrador mix after the dog had been lost and injured for four weeks.

BOULDER, Colo. — When Andrew Newman scratches the belly of his 3 ½-year-old dog, Scout, he no longer takes it for granted. His black Labrador mix — and best friend — went missing for four weeks and survived on her own in northeast Boulder.

Last week, Newman and Scout were reunited, and now the two can cuddle and play once again.

“I can’t believe I can hold my dog in my arms again,” Newman said.

Scout ran away early June 24 after being hit by a car. Newman’s father, Robert Newman, had taken her out for a late-night walk when a car “came out of nowhere” at about 30 mph and struck Scout. Her collar and tags were knocked off at impact. The car — and the terrified dog — fled the scene in opposite directions, Robert Newman said.

“I ran after her and tried to keep up with her,” he said. “But she went over a hill, and I lost sight of her.” He called his son, and the two searched the area with flashlights into the morning — the beginning of a four-week, “night-and-day” hunt for the missing dog.

Andrew Newman, who got Scout as a puppy, hung nearly 500 fliers throughout his northeast Boulder neighborhood, on nearby bike paths and up and down Pearl Street. He published “missing” ads in the Camera, the Denver Post and Craigslist. Even after Scout had been missing for 30 days, Newman said, he never lost hope.

“I couldn’t sit and watch TV or read a book without thinking that she was out there somewhere wanting to come home,” he said. Then, on Friday, Newman’s phone rang.

Tanya Kaplan, of Boulder, spotted Scout as she was biking on a trail about two blocks from Newman’s home, 5505 Valmont Road. She had seen a “missing” flier and thought the black, wandering dog resembled Scout. She called Newman.

Newman said he left work early, went to the area of the sighting and called Scout’s name for the umpteenth time, hoping she would finally come.

“And when I turned around, there she was, looking right at me and wagging her tail,” Newman said Wednesday, as Scout crawled under his chair to rest.

Newman said he almost didn’t recognize his dog when he first saw her. She had lost about 12 pounds, had bite marks along her body from possible coyote attacks, had a chipped tooth and a broken toe.

At the Arapahoe Animal Hospital, Dr. Greg Hayes amputated her broken toe — which had developed an infection — and stitched up her wounds. He said her survival was remarkable.
“With the amount of coyotes and mountain lions in that part of town, it is amazing she survived,” Hayes said. “It just shows you how strong some dogs are.” He said Scout had most likely been feeding on small rodents to stay alive.

To ensure Scout doesn’t go missing again, Newman has had an identification microchip embedded under her skin and ordered her a GPS collar, which can track the dog’s movements and send Newman e-mails, text messages or voice messages regarding her whereabouts.

Kaplan, who owns a Lab mix, said she was delighted to have helped reunite the friends, and she refused Newman’s $500 reward offer.

“I’ve lost a dog. I know what it feels like,” Kaplan said.