Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bella, a pug

Pet detective solves case of purloined pug
By Tommy Hallissey

Danielle Cioti happily hugs her dog Bella after they were reunited — with the help of a pet detective — on June 25.

Danielle Cioti’s pet pug, Bella, went on an Odyssey that took her all the way to Elizabeth, N.J. It took lots of help from family, friends and even a pet detective to bring the pair back together.

Forget Ace Ventura. It took a real life pet detective to reunite Danielle Cioti with her seven-yearold pug, Bella, after the dog went missing at the Riverdale Equestrian Centre on June 13.

Working for Rescue Ink, an animal welfare organization, a retired police detective — who simply calls himself Angel — doggedly tracked Bella’s movements from Riverdale to Yonkers to Elizabeth, N.J., before arranging a tearful reunion on June 25.

Ms. Cioti, a trainer at the Van Cortlandt Park stable, described the events of her unlucky Friday the 13th. She explained that Bella spends a lot of time with her while she works, but that day the dog lagged behind while Ms. Cioti rode a horse on a park trail. “Bella, go home [to the stable], you’re not going to make it,” Ms. Cioti recalled saying to the dog.

But when she returned from her ride at around 3:30 p.m. Bella was nowhere to be found. Ms. Cioti panicked.

With the help of her friends at the stable, she canvassed the grounds. “We looked in the woods… everywhere,” she said.

But the canvass was fruitless.

Undaunted, Ms. Cioti and her co-workers, family and friends spread out over an ever-widening area to post copies of a bright day-glo flier with the dog’s cute, wrinkly face on it. She covered her car with her phone number and a plea for Bella’s safe return, posted messages online and called the city’s 311 help line.

“She’s part of the family,” Marissa Mastronardi, also a trainer at the stable, said of Bella.

The moral support and legwork of family and friends helped Ms. Cioti reach out to hundreds of people. “This dog has the biggest fan club of any dog I know,” Ms. Cioti said. “People fight to babysit her.”

Eventually, a woman came forward and said she had found the dog on June 13, but that she couldn’t keep it. Instead, she gave it to someone who promised to look for the owner.

Fortunately, the first woman kept the name and cell phone number of the second woman and before long Ms. Cioti had a fix on the dog’s location — in New Jersey.

Hoping to be reunited with her pet, Ms. Cioti traveled to the home of Cathy Leon in Elizabeth, N.J., only to be rebuffed by the dog’s new “owner.” At first, Ms. Cioti said, Ms. Leon denied having the dog. “I was hysterical crying and she looks me in the eye and said, ‘I’ll help you put up signs,’” Ms. Cioti recalled.

But her luck was finally turning.

Her poster campaign got the attention of Rescue Ink, a non-profit staffed by heavily tattooed, intimidating gentlemen.

‘Zero tolerance’

The organization specializes in finding lost or stolen pets. “Rescue Ink is all about zero tolerance when it comes to animal abuse and neglect,” its Web site states above a picture of Mike Tattoo, a former actor with tattoos on his neck, face and scalp.

The details of exactly how the dog got to Elizabeth, N.J. are in dispute.

Ms. Cioti believes one of the women gave Bella to a homeless man who traded her for a cigarette.

Angel said he couldn’t substantiate this part of the story. “The fact is the dog was taken from the stable area by a woman in Yonkers and the dog went to New Jersey,” he said. “It passed from hand to hand. Who took it? I don’t know.”

At first, when confronted by the pet detective, the New Jersey resident insisted she was keeping Bella.

“Angel was able to convince her there would be serious repercussions to her actions,” Ms. Cioti said.

He set up a June 25 reunion at the Vannie stables with Ms. Cioti, Ms. Leon and Bella. Ms. Cioti nervously paced the parking lot at around 4 p.m. as she waited for Bella to arrive.

‘Whole again’

When Ms. Leon finally arrived in a black Lincoln Town Car Bella scurried out of a white crate into Ms. Cioti’s waiting arms. “We’re whole again, everybody. We got the missing member,” Ms. Cioti said to her gathered friends.

Ms. Leon insisted she hadn’t known whose dog Bella was, but she was happy to return her.

For his pet detective efforts Angel took no money, but there was talk of a celebratory barbecue at the stable. “The most important thing is for the dog to go back to the owner, see her happy, see the dog happy,” he said.

Angel said Rescue Ink can be particularly helpful because police departments often view lost animals the way they view lost property — a low priority. Angel sees tracking down lost animals as a way of giving back. “We do it out of the kindness of our heart,” he said.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Mollie, a chihuahua

Bremerton Dog Reunited With Owner After a Year
By Josh Farley
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

About 2 pounds heavier and 1 year older, Mollie the Chihuahua is back in Bremerton.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Mollie vanished from a neighbor’s yard in September 2007 with only her leash left behind. The loss was devastating for Kathy Swanlund, who bought Mollie in Mexico. The dog became a companion to her husband, who died from an illness. But Swanlund had prepared for the possibility of Mollie going missing, and installing a microchip in her neck.

“I knew she’d turn up eventually,” she said. But it was not the way Swanlund — or anyone, really — had expected.

Mollie turned up in a Tacoma veterinary hospital last week, and the vet believed the dog had ingested methamphetamine. The man who brought her in was suspected by hospital staff to be high on meth, according to Bremerton Police reports. The vet induced vomiting and cleared her system of stimulants, then found that the dog had been apart from her owner for the past year.

A Tacoma man who had brought the dog to the vet said that he had merely taken the dog as payment on a debt, and that he had no idea that she was stolen. When police notified her, Swanlund said she didn’t want to press any charges.

“She just wanted her dog back,” officers said in reports.

Born in Mexico, the 12-ounce Mollie came to Washington with Swanlund, who wanted a companion for her husband, Paul Miller, who had fallen ill. The dog was a source of happiness for the couple.

But following Miller’s death, one day Swanlund heard Mollie bark from her neighbor Ron’s yard one time, and then she was gone.

Saddened, but hopeful that the microchip would help locate the dog eventually, Swanlund in the meantime placed an ad in the Kitsap Sun looking for a new Chihuahua. She soon received a call that one found in a trash bin in Viewcrest Village needed a home.

Millie, now 1½, was tan-colored just like Mollie, only with a white stripe down her forehead.

Mollie didn’t seem to take well to other dogs, so Swanlund had no idea how the dogs would get along if Mollie returned. After a call from the veterinarian’s office, she learned she would finally find out.

The office said they would report the matter to police, who would have to handle returning the dog. Swanlund waited.

“And waited and waited and waited,” she said. She called Bremerton Police on Sunday repeatedly, waiting to hear from an officer. Sgt. Wendy Davis took on the case. Davis got a hold of the man who claimed ownership of the dog. She told him that he was in possession of stolen property and that he needed to return the dog.

Davis stopped by Swanlund’s home on Sunday. The 58-year-old looked tired, Davis said.

“I think she’d been up about 24 hours after she got a call from the vet,” Davis said.

In a Denny’s parking lot, Mollie was exchanged between the Tacoma man and Swanlund. Few words were spoken, Swanlund said.

“You could tell he didn’t want to give her up,” she said, adding that conversations with the family since have ensured her that the dog was well taken care of.

Still, no one knows who stole the dog. Bremerton police detectives have the case for review.

Mollie weighs in at about 7½ pounds, and Swanlund said she’ll be putting her on a diet to put a dent in her pudgy tummy. Otherwise, she’s perfectly healthy.

Swanlund introduced Mollie to Millie. It seems there’s some working out left to do.

“I tried to get them to get along, but (Mollie) wasn’t having it,” Swanlund said.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baxter, a brown dog

Finding Baxter: The Skeptic's Story
(From the files of Sam Connolly, Pure Gold Pet Trackers)

I was very skeptical about hiring a dog tracker, but I am sure glad I did! My dog, Baxter, had been missing for over a month. We were from North Carolina, and he had run away in Maryland. Numerous animal agencies, websites and shelters had been contacted and his posters were posted online as well as hung around the neighborhood. I had to be off to Texas for a while and was relying on my brother to be the point of contact in Maryland for any sightings. It was not long before a wind storm had blown away most of the posters, but luckily someone had seen them and had sighted Baxter on their farm.

Baxter had been spotted off and on for around 2 weeks at the farm, but being a very shy, scared, and untrusting dog, he ran away from everyone calling his name and trying to catch him. The sightings eventually stopped and the food, kennel, and toy we had placed on the farm remained untouched. More posters were hung and blown away (Sam has some good poster-making advice as well). Neighbors near the farm had been talked to and received flyers. Two more weeks had gone by with no Baxter reports and things were looking dim.

I was doubtful that I had enough of Baxter’s scent for him to be tracked, not to mention that it had been a month since he had touched his things and two weeks since he was last seen. However, I decided as a last effort before going back home to North Carolina to go forth with the dog tracking.

I contacted Sam Connelly of Pure Gold Pet Trackers from her website. She was very honest with me about not knowing if there would be enough scent on the articles that I had to start the tracking dog. She also said that since it had been so long as well as hot and dry, that there may not be enough of a trail left to follow. She encouraged me to give it a try, though, and I agreed.

Sam and Brando met me at the farm where my dog had last been seen and I gave her one of Baxter’s toys and his hairbrush. She let Brando smell the articles and we started the search. After checking a few spots on the farm where my dog had been seen we finally found a good trail to follow. We wound along through a couple of back yards near the farm, crossing the busy Rt. 32 three times and into a small wooded area behind some homes across the road from the farm where we had started. The trail went through the edge of the woods and eventually came out to a barbed-wire fence around a small pasture. As my brother and I talked to the owners for permission to cross their property, Sam and Brando waited at the place where the trail went under the fence. Sam heard a noise behind her and turning to see what it was, found Baxter standing about 20 feet away at the edge of the wood. He had been following us through the woods and came looking for me but came upon Sam and Brando first.

After being spotted, Baxter ran back to the woods to his safe spot where he had been staying. Sam yelled to me that she had seen Baxter. As I ran up to her she handed me a small can of cat food with a pop-top lid and told me to go into the woods, find a place to sit on a stump or fallen tree somewhere, open the can, put it on the ground in front of me and call softly to Baxter until he came to me. She also gave me a bag of dog treats to toss into the woods all around me to lure him in. After a month wandering on his own he had to be starving and food was definitely going to be attractive to him. Within half an hour of waiting in the woods, I had him back with me.

I cannot thank Sam and Brando enough for leading me back to my dog! He is right now lounging in his favorite spot: the bed. I highly recommend the Pure Gold Pet Tracking team and urge anyone to use them before too much time has passed. I found it well worth the money and effort.

Thank you,


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sasha, some kind of spaniel

Lost Dog Reunited Story
Claire Boyles member

After my dog Sasha went missing, I rang the DSPCA, local vets, Garda stations etc but no one had found her. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever see her again and I just hoped that she’d been found by someone who would give her a nice new home & that she was safe.

I received a phone call from a lovely lady called Brenda who had a little brown & white dog who’d been found in the Phoenix park. She asked me did Sasha have a collar, and what colour was it? I told her green leather- I’d bought it in Italy for her last summer. So sorry, said Brenda this collar is black- best of luck finding Sasha. I was really disappointed, but there wasn’t anything I could do.

5 mins later Brenda rang back - the dog's collar IS green :)

I was delighted, I couldn’t believe it!! Sasha had been found!! I can’t remember the last time I was so happy about hearing some news!!

Sasha had been found in the Phoenix park very muddy on Thursday morning, near the President’s residence. One of the members of staff knew Brenda and knew that she had been looking for a dog, so they called her. Brenda & her 2 teenage children could tell the dog was a lost dog, not a stray, so they then set about seeing if anyone had lost a dog. They got onto the internet and found her on and rang me. :)

If it wasn’t for twitter & the amazing amount of help & support that I received – and people telling me about the websites for lost dogs I would never have found her. I am SO grateful, thank you everyone who helped find Sasha. I am so delighted that there is a happy ending to this story!

As you can see from the picture she is very happy to be at home again. When I picked her up on Saturday I’ve never seen her so excited & delighted to see myself & Goldie. She doesn’t understand how well known she is- this morning on our run someone shouted over to us across the road that they’d seen her in Phoenix park & glad to see we’d been reunited! Let’s hope she’s learned her lesson- I certainly have, she’s not getting off the lead again at night I can tell you!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tasha, mixed breed

Unlike a lot of people, I don't have a problem with consulting with an animal communicator as part of a lost dog search. This article mentions nothing other than the use of an animal communicator, and that doesn't strike me as a good idea.

Missing dog reunited with owner
Jennifer Kingsley, Star-Gazette

October 9, 2009, 8:35 pm

A mixed-breed dog named Tasha, missing from her Elmira home since Labor Day, was reunited with her owner, Alice Davis, late Thursday after someone spotted the dog's description in the lost and found notices in this newspaper's Classified Marketplace.

"Tasha was so excited, she went crazy," Alice said. "She was all wiggles and excited. We are so happy to get her back."

Tasha, a 1 1/2-year-old black-and-tan mix breed, wasn't wearing her tags because she'd recently outgrown her collar and disappeared before Alice could transfer them to the new one.

"She's wearing her tags now," Alice said.

Alice was so distraught about the dog's disappearance, she consulted an animal communicator to try and find her. An animal communicator works kind of like a psychic and speaks to your animal through the use of telepathy. During the first session, the animal communicator, whom Alice declined to name, said Tasha ran after a fox that led her away from home. A second session indicated Tasha was laying in the grass near a green bridge.

"Tasha was spotted by a green bridge by a friend's granddaughter," Alice said. "By the time we got there, she was gone." Alice and her daughter, Meredith Simpson, searched daily by foot, horseback, kayak and car to no avail.

"I even took our other dog along to pick up Tasha's scent," Alice said.

A third session with the communicator indicated that Tasha was taken by a man with a reddish beard, who lured the dog with bread.

She believes Tasha was tied up for awhile in an old barn near a river and that there may be a wide truck in the man's driveway.

Looking back, Alice thinks the old farm was located near Erin, not far from her Watercure Hill home.

The people who found Tasha said they found her along the road, Alice said.

Although Tasha's a little weary from her journey, she seemed fine Friday, Alice said.

"She seemed anxious when we first got her home. Usually, she lays around in the evening and snoozes, but (Thursday) night, she couldn't fall asleep," Alice said.

"She's better. Now she's playing with her (toy) bear. We couldn't get her to do that when she first got home."


Monday, October 26, 2009

Misty, a Tibetan spaniel

Missing dog found with new 'bling' collar
Saturday, October 10, 2009

A DOTED-ON missing dog was miraculously found wandering on a motorway 40 miles from home – wearing a new 'bling' collar.

Tibetan spaniel Misty was reunited with her overjoyed owner Ethel Rodwell after a two-week voyage into the unknown.

The 87-year-old from Cirencester believes her cunning canine could have escaped the clutches of a dog-napper taking her to London.

She is still piecing together the puzzle of her precious pet, and says if it wasn't for website Dog Lost, her treasured pet might never have been found.

Nine-year-old Misty disappeared at midday on September 23, complete with her original collar and disc with owner's details.

Mrs Rodwell said: "I'd had her at three-months-old and she's my friend and companion. We talk to each other.

"I'd carelessly left the door ajar, for the first time in nine years and didn't realise, and she'd gone for an hour.

"Friends and neighbours searched for her. Then I happened to talk to a local mother with a poster in her hand. Her six or seven-year-old daughter suggested using the internet.

"My niece Sarah Ford put Misty online, and out of it came this wonderful organisation Dog Lost, which picked it up."

Susan Herbert, Cotswolds coordinator at Dog Lost – which operates a database of information on stolen or lost dogs – put up posters around Cirencester and supported the frantic pensioner.

Fate then intervened when Susan Rand, who lives near Oxford, was travelling back from London on the M4 and saw police 'slow' signs warning of a stray animal.

She saw a dog on a bank and within minutes police caught it with a noose. It was Misty.

Mrs Rand took her home then checked Dog Lost and saw Misty at the top of the list.

"Mrs Rand got in touch with the local coordinator, who phoned me in great excitement at midnight," said Mrs Rodwell.

Mrs Rand returned Misty in person, with her own Labrador, and Susan Herbert.

"Misty walked in as if she'd never been away," said Mrs Rodwell.

"But she was wearing a very high-class 'bling' diamante-studded collar, with a diamante bone hanging from the buckle.

"This tells me the dog was well looked-after and valued. She wasn't just abandoned on the motorway, but probably escaped."


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Zoe, an Australian Shepherd

Today I get to tell a story that I was able to see unfold. Wish I could do that every day!

Debbie is an early riser, and she lets her two dogs out into the fenced back yard every morning at 4 when she gets up. Last Sunday she did this, but unfortunately as it turns out, a piece of the fence had been damaged by a recent storm. She figured it out when she noticed the motion sensored light go on at the front of the house, which never happens at that hour, so she immediately investigated it. Annie, the lab, was right back home. Her sister Zoe, a 9 year old Australian Shepherd that had been with the family all her life, was already gone!

By that afternoon, Debbie’s grown daughters had begun spreading the word electronically, on Craigslist and a couple of other missing pet websites. A number of us in our informal lost dog recovery network regularly cruise Craigslist looking for lost dogs we might help find, so we knew about Zoe by Sunday evening. A couple of our volunteers reached out by email to offer our help, and by Monday afternoon, we were fully involved.

Debbie was having a pretty had time of it with Zoe gone, and off in parts unknown, I know. But she was clearly willing to do whatever it took to get her home. One bit of luck that was on her side is her job -- she happens to have easy going management and enough stockpiled leave that she was able to disappear, with no advance notice. She would have been worthless at work, and it was clear. She she was on the job of searching for Zoe 24-7, starting Monday afternoon, following a failed attempt to go to work the same way you do when your dogs are safe at home.

There was a flurry of activity on Monday afternoon and evening as we gave Debbie and her daughters one thing after another to do, which spilled in to Tuesday. By the afternoon, some tips started coming in and Debbie was out the door in a flash, investigating. Sighting calls basically kept coming. But by the end of Wednesday, while everyone was busy fliering, checking with the shelter, setting up and monitoring feeding stations, and performing electronic outreach to spread the word, we realized that there were no sightings that actually occurred on Wednesday. There were only some calls of sightings that had occurred Monday or Tuesday.

Then Thursday, Zoe started turning up a distance away from where the Monday and Tuesday sightings were, according to calls coming in, though still not terribly far from home. It seemed she really was trying to get home. Debbie was at one site no more than five minutes after Zoe was seen, but her girl had managed to slip out of sight.

Thursday slipped away too, into Friday, with still no Zoe. Annie was spending all her time watching out the front window for her sister to come home.
By Friday morning, there had been several hot tips, and Debbie had been great about shooting an alert out to our Find Zoe listserv and Facebook group when she would get one and dash out to check on it. So we knew about it when she got a live sighting call over by the high school (back closer to the first sighting area). We could only wait (most of us are nowhere near the area during the business day, if ever).

Now cut to what was happening at the high school site.

Another Debbie was out for her walk or jog when she saw Zoe trotting along. As a resident of the neighborhood, she'd seen the fliers and figured this was the dog being sought. She immediately went to go find a phone, which took her a few minutes to get to, to call the number.

While she was doing that, Zoe was busy getting caught up in some briars! That stopped her, and it did so in view of a girls sports team, or class, at the school which was nearby. A half dozen or so girls worked to free her from the briars, but not from their grip on her collar. They led her inside the building where they stashed her in the restroom while they finished the class. (I guess that’s what they did; it gets a little fuzzy here!)

As the girls and their coach, or teacher, were heading back into the building, up drives a woman asking if they’ve seen an Australian shepherd around there somewhere. They had a few seconds of fun with that, simply saying, "Yes, we have," and making the woman have to ask where they last saw her. The adult simply said, “in my bathroom.” Debbie practically lost it at that point! Then the other Debbie appeared, the one whose call was responsible for Zoe’s mom knowing where to find her girl. So the gang was now all there for the emotional reunion!

The girls were crying too, as they all witnessed it, and I’m sure that Friday was a big day for them. What fun to think about how many times they must have repeated their story to their school friends! And on top of that, the girls sports program is getting a nice little reward out of it that will help out with the purchase of supplies that they need so badly.

For the first time all week, Debbie and everyone in her family were finally able to do some very sound sleeping Friday night!

Zoe, back home again, and her sister Annie

More information, including Debbie's version of the story, at

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gator, a Yorkshire Terrier

Tireless searches? I'm sure they weren't tireless! She's probably still exhausted from searching for two years!

Dog and his owner reunited 2 years later, thanks to microchip
By Dante Lima, the Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 6:12 p.m.

After two years of prayers, tireless searches and desperate phone calls, former University of Florida student Krystal Mossel was reunited with her Gator.

Krystal Mossel holds her long lost Yorkshire Terrier named Gator on Saturday after an emotional reunion. Gator was lost two years ago when Mossel, a former UF student, lived in Gainesville.

Saturday morning at the Alachua County Humane Society, Mossel walked in to find her 4 1/2-pound Yorkshire Terrier, Gator, not only alive, but clean, groomed and as loving as the day he got lost.

Concerns of whether her dog would even recognize her melted away as it wagged its tail, kissed her face and nearly squirmed its way out of her grip, which is now tighter than ever.

"It seems like a dream," Mossel said. "I didn't think I'd ever see him again. I felt like I lost my child."

Gator went missing in late 2007, when Mossel said he slipped through an opening in their privacy fence. Within 10 minutes, she noticed the dog was gone and began asking neighbors to join in the search. She suspects the friendly and unassuming Yorkie was snatched up by someone and quickly removed from the area.

Her suspicions weren't far off.

On Oct. 6, Alachua County Animal Services received a report of three dogs who were living in an abandoned apartment in northwest Gainesville. Workers found Gator and the two other dogs living in unspeakable conditions.

The apartment had no electricity and there was feces everywhere, according to a report by ACAS. Officials assume that neighbors in the area would feed the dogs on occasion.

After being rescued, Gator was scanned for a microchip, a centimeter-long, cylindrical chip placed between the shoulder blades of dogs with a series of numbers that register the dog's name, owner and address.

At first, ACAS was actually unable to detect the microchip, so Gator wound up at the Alachua County Humane Society.

To double-check, volunteers at the Humane Society scanned Gator one more time and found, yes, he did in fact have a microchip.

All of the sudden, Mossel was a phone call and a three-hour drive from Okeechobee away from her pet.

"We owe everything to that chip. It helped save Gator's life," Mossel said. "If you love your pet, it's necessary to get the chip, because nobody expects to lose their pet."

In the two years Gator has been missing, Mossel said she prayed that Gator was alive, or in the hands of good, loving owners. Fortunately for her, Gator was rescued before his living conditions worsened, and he now has only minor, but treatable skin problems.

"I don't see how somebody could abandon an animal as sweet as this one, it's horrible," she said. "But he's going to get spoiled even more now, because I know how hard it's been for him."

Gator will have to form a fast friendship with the Mossel family's new almond-brown Chihuahua, Acorn. Though there are two dogs in the family now, Mossel says Acorn was never a replacement; Gator was and always will be her special pet.

Jeb Heuss, a worker at the Humane Society, says he adopts out anywhere between five to seven animals a day, but has never been part of a reunion such as the one Saturday.

"I can't imagine what it would be like to lose the equivalent of a family member for two years, but if there's anything that we can take away from today, it's that the chip works," he said. "I'm so happy for the family."


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Diesel, Siberian Husky

Missing dog reunited with Liberty family
By Walter Griffin, BDN Staff

BELFAST, Maine — A Siberian husky that bolted from its owner’s car on Tuesday, and at one point was mistaken for a coyote, was found Thursday morning hungry and exhausted beside a convenience store trash container.

The dog had been sighted at various locations the past few days but police had been unable to coax the pet to come to them.

The dog, named Diesel, was rescued after a tourist from Illinois called police from the Dead River store at 7 a.m. Thursday and told them the animal was hanging around the trash container and appeared to be stressed.

“He was sitting by the Dumpster exhausted,” Patrolman Howard Dakin said. “I got him in the cruiser and called the owner.”

The dog was one of two retired sled dogs that were adopted from Alaska by Liberty residents Brett and Meaghan Oathout. Diesel bolted from their car Tuesday evening while it was parked at Rite Aid. Police received several reports the next morning about the dog being spotted in the area of Starrett Drive. One caller from nearby Alto Street reported that a “coyote” was eating from a dish of cat food.

Dakin said police informed the owners about the sighting, and that Brett Oathout spent much of Wednesday searching those areas but could not find Diesel. When Dakin called the next day to alert the owners that the dog had been found, the phone was answered by a recording.

Acting on a hunch, Dakin swung his cruiser by the carwash on Starrett Drive and came upon Brett Oathout, who was out looking for Diesel.

“When I rolled down the window and told him I had Diesel he was quite happy,” Dakin said, “so happy that he asked, ‘I don’t know if it’s against the rules but can I give you a hug?’”


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Virginia Dog Found in Oklahoma 10 Years After Disappearing
Volunteers to reunite dog with owner
By Matthew Stabley and Craig Melvin
First Published: Sep 30, 2009 5:57 PM CDT
Updated 12:28 PM CDT, Fri, Oct 2, 2009

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- A dog missing from northern Virginia for a decade may soon be reunited with his owner after showing up in Oklahoma.

Tristan Rohde, 8, her family found Brindle under a bush in their Lawton, OK, neighborhood a couple of weeks ago -- more than 1,300 miles from where he disappeared. The Rohdes thought Brindle was dead, but when he lifted his head, Tristan decided to take him in.

"If I didn't, then he would just be sitting there right now with no family, no friends, no nothing," she said.

The Rohdes took Brindle, who was near death, to a veterinarian who found a microchip with tracking information under Brindle's skin.

"I'm just so proud of my daughter being so caring like she is, taking in the dog that was probably knocking on heaven's door," said Tristan's father, Jon Rohde.

The family then used Facebook to track down Brindle's owner, Gary Rowley.

Brindle was a smart dog, Rowley said. He could open doors.

"He would hook his toenails into the side of the door and he opened it," Rowley said Wednesday.

On Super Bowl Sunday 1999, Brindle opened the door and never returned.

The circumstances surrounding Brindle's disappearance, past 10 years and incredible journey to Oklahoma are unknown.

"I'm not mad at the dog," Rowley joked. "All I want to ask him is, 'Why in the hell did you run off 10 years ago?'"

The reunion awaits Brindle's recuperation. He's not yet well enough to travel, but if the vet OKs him Friday, Brindle and Rowley could be together again next week.


Update here:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Zoe, a Boston Terrier

Owner's Persistence Pays Off In Lost Dog Search
Sep 24, 2009 12:21 pm US/Eastern
What started off as a leisurely stroll through the woods, quickly turned into a town-wide manhunt, or should we say dog-hunt, for a little Boston terrier named Zoe.

Zoe went missing while on a walk in Foxboro's Gilbert State Forest.


Last Sunday, while Zoe's owners, John and Jess Karalis, were returning from a weekend away, Zoe was out for a walk with Jess' father in Foxboro's Gilbert State Forest.

As the two were making their way down a path, two mountain bikers flew by and spooked Zoe, who managed to shimmy out of her collar and bolt further into the woods, leaving Jess' father in the dust. "There is my father-in-law standing there with just a leash and collar saying, 'Oh…,'" John explained.


Karalis was in the grocery store when he heard the news from his wife. Karalis bolted home and that's when the search began. All that day the family desperately looked for Zoe, with no luck.

Zoe is 3-years old and was adopted by the Karalis' over a year ago.

She was originally from a puppy mill, so all John and his wife wanted to do was give her a good home and lots of love. So when they learned that Zoe was lost, they were devastated. "You get so attached to this dog, you know what her history is. The whole point of adopting her is to give her a good life, and now she's in the wilderness."


The next morning, Karalis decided to get the word out to the neighborhood. He started putting calls out to people, asking them to keep an eye out for Zoe.

Karalis tried everything to spread the news about Zoe's disappearance. "At that point, I made up 500 lost dog posters, which I started blanketing around the neighborhood, putting in mailboxes and telephone poles," Karalis said.

He went to the post office and handed out flyers to letter carriers. He went to the schools and handed flyers out to bus drivers. He even went to the police station, where flyers were given out to officers during roll call. "Anyone driving that could do some looking while I couldn't got one."

And that's not all. Karalis took to the Web. He went on Twitter and found tweeters in the Foxboro area and told them all to keep an eye out for his missing dog.

Those people started tweeting people they knew, who then tweeted their friends, and before Karalis knew it, the word spread so fast, he started getting messages from Boston terrier message boards. "It had gotten to the point where I'd find people and say, 'I'm looking for a dog,' and they'd say, 'You looking for Zoe?'"


So now that the word was out, the entire town had their eyes peeled for little Zoe. Over the next few days, Karalis got multiple calls from tipsters who spotted Zoe around town. "She's a small dog. She's scared, she runs away from people, but she wouldn't go far."

On Thursday, Zoe was spotted by a man mowing a large field in town, and within a half hour, Karalis was notified about his terrier's whereabouts. But by the time Karalis' family got there, Zoe was gone.

That night, Karalis went out to the field where Zoe was spotted and put out her pad and some food, hoping she would come and eat, but by Friday morning, the food had not been touched.


That same day, while Karalis' father-in-law was in the field searching for Zoe, he spotted her in the distance – staring at him. "There he is, face-to-face with Zoe again, days after he lost her," said Karalis.

But before he knew, Zoe took off. She could not be caught.


Karalis received multiple tips from people all over town who saw his little lost dog, but each tip would lead to disappointment. Karalis would rush to the spot where Zoe was last seen only to find that she was not there anymore.

But on Friday night, Karalis got the call he had been waiting for six days to hear. "I think I have your dog," the caller told him.

Karalis rushed to the woman's home and was finally reunited with his lost dog.


The woman who rescued Zoe recognized her from a flyer that Karalis had left in her mailbox earlier that week.

She found Zoe as she was returning from the hospital with her daughter, who plays field hockey for Foxboro High School. The teen was taken to the emergency room after hitting her head during practice.

On their way home, the family decided to get something to eat, so instead of taking their usual exit, they got off one exit early to see if they could grab something on their way home.

As they made their way onto the ramp, they found themselves behind a car that had stopped. When they got out to see what was going on, the woman spotted a dog walking nearby and quickly realized it was Zoe.

The woman called an exhausted and hungry Zoe over to her. The terrier slowly made walked toward the woman who scooped her up and brought her home.

Karalis said it was that family's decision to get off the highway early that saved his dog. "Because of the turn of events, they happened upon my dog."


Minutes after getting the phone call, Zoe was finally back in her owner's arms.

The first thing Karalis did when Zoe came home was take her to the vet. She had a few bumps and bruises, but will be OK.

During the search, Karalis' in-laws had offered a $500 reward for Zoe's return. When they went to deliver the money, the family would not take it. "We came to an agreement to donate it to the North Attleboro Animal Shelter in Zoe's name," Karalis said.

This search has turned Zoe into quite the celebrity. People around town are able to pick her out and Karalis says he's been stopped several times by people who want to know how his search went.

Since the incident, the Karalis' have invested in a more secure leash for Zoe to make sure this doesn't happen again. "First thing we did was get her a harness… So no more slipping out for her!"


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Annie, a greyhound

Annie: Lost, Found, and Loved
Barbara Brooks
Coastal Greys Coordinator for Greyhound Friends of North Carolina

Annie is a 14-year-old greyhound who went missing over Easter weekend in 2009.

Then after three days Annie’s family received a call.

“I saw your lost dog flyer and I’ve found your dog,” said the caller.

She had been found, yes, but not yet rescued. Annie was stuck in the mud of a tidal creek with water rising and a storm on the way.

But thanks to the heroic actions of her dad, Annie was rescued from certain death. He borrowed a boat and got Annie back to shore.

Annie's Dad rescues her with a borrowed boat

Although hope was fading from her eyes, once in the boat with her dad, Annie felt the urge to fight and live.

Annie is pulled to safety on shore

After her ordeal, she needed round-the-clock care and she still gets daily dressing changes. In the weeks since her rescue she has been battling severe infections in her feet caused by bacteria in the mud.

Annie rests

The doctors at Carolina Beach Animal Hospital pulled out all the stops to give Annie a fighting chance and make her strong enough to walk on her own again.

The wounds to her feet and legs are still healing, yet Annie has become playful again.
What a touching story of love and support, not only the commitment of Annie’s family, but the commitment of the greyhound community stepping up to support a family in need.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Max, an Airedale Terrier

Lost dog finds way home to Coventry
By Michelle Brown
Published: October 2, 2008

COVENTRY, R.I.—A tenacious 2-year-old Airedale terrier was lost following an accident Sterling, Conn. But somehow, he found his way back to Coventry. The dog apparently walked along highways and back roads all the way home, and his owner was thrilled to have him back.

“He’s had a long trip home,“ said Bill Clark.

Three weeks and three days ago, Max ran away when Clark, driving his convertible in Sterling, was struck by another car.

“The dog jumped out the back through the trunk and ran into the woods,“ Clark said.

Clark began a three-week search for his beloved terrier. There were many sightings, but no luck. That was until Tuesday, when Clark said he came home and found Max sitting in the back yard. The dog had apparently found his way home from Sterling, about 45 miles away.

“I couldn’t believe that he came home,“ Clark said. “All that way." Even the experts can’t explain it.

“We don’t really know how they do that. We do know that dogs’ memories are very detailed, very sense-oriented,“ said Jim Barry, a dog behavior consultant.

Whatever it was, Clark is just happy to have Max home. He put up a sign thanking all the people who helped looked for him.

“The vet said he hasn’t been injured. He lost 11 pounds,“ Clark said. “I lost seven.“

Experts recommend that pet owners implant a microchip in their dogs so they can be tracked in case they get lost. Max did not have one.

Also, make sure pets are secure in a vehicle so they don’t get thrown loose in case of an accident.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Gus/Sam, a large black grey dog

Finding Gus a Home
A lost dog ends up right where he belongs
By Nancy Rose, New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania
January, 1999

My husband has a soft spot for strays. Driving down the highway one rainy day, we spotted a hulking mass of grayish-black fur, with paws the size of a bear's, wandering along the roadside. "We already have two dogs and two cats," I protested as he pulled over.

"We can't just leave him there," he said. "No telling what will happen to him." He opened the door and the dog climbed in.

"Okay," I agreed, "but we have to try hard to find his owner." The dog seemed friendly enough, but there was a look about him that spoke of a wilder nature.

We called him Gus, and ran ads in the paper and on the radio, but no one claimed him. For the next year and a half Gus lived with us. He was a boisterous dog, and one day his energy got the best of him and he nipped someone.

A dog his size needed more space to run. Lord, help us find the home where Gus will be happy, I prayed. We started a new search, for a new owner, a home where Gus was meant to be.

One day a friend mentioned a family that might be interested. "They used to have a big dog out on their farm. The boys were real torn up when Sam disappeared," he said.

Two days later the Delancy family came to meet Gus. The kids piled out of the car. "Sam!" they cried, as the dog, tail wagging, bounded toward them joyously. "We thought you'd never come back!"

Sam, a.k.a. Gus, was the happiest dog in the world. He was going home at last.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009


Letter to the editor: Lost dog found with help of community
September 28, 2009 05:23 am

To the editor:

A beautiful Sunday on Stacy Boulevard at an event turned out to be our nightmare as our young rescue dog, Nalla, became abruptly frightened, twisted out of her harness and took off running down the middle of Route 133. We tried to catch her and an hour later we were confronted by our worst fears. A police officer called to tell us she had been hit by a car. Concerned witnesses tried to help her when she ran under a bush yelping, but she was too scared and ran into the woods and vanished.
By nightfall, we still had not found her. We placed her dog blankets and towels in several locations hoping she would come back and stay on one of the blankets. At nightfall, we set up her crate next to our car at the back of The Heights, where she was last seen, and stayed through the night, praying that she might wander back and find her crate.

Leslie, the owner of The Manor Inn, kindly offered us a room for the night that overlooked the tree line and into the marsh, where Nalla had vanished.
A young woman, who did not know me, let me take her bike to ride through the area because I was too tired to run anymore.
A man who saw Nalla get hit by a car found a way to reach me, gave me cold water, dog treats to help catch Nalla and details of how she was hit and what he believed her condition to be. So many kind people in the community spent hours helping us look for Nalla.

Just before daybreak, we went back to the Inn, where my sister had stayed. We were looking out over the marsh, when, suddenly, we spotted Nalla. We took off running through the woods and into the marsh with our other dog, Calvin, who put his nose to the ground and within minutes led us straight to Nalla. The veterinarian checked her out and she was scraped up, frightened, but, otherwise, OK.

We cannot thank everyone enough for their kindness in helping us find her, especially Leslie, who owns The Manor, for giving us the room overlooking the marsh; the young woman who so willing gave her bike to a stranger; and the man who found a way to reach us to let us know Nalla's condition after being hit.

Not knowing Nalla's history before she was rescued and never experiencing her panic like she did that day, we purchased new equipment with the help of our friends at Animal Krackers, so she should not be able to twist and pull free again.

Our sincere thank you to our friends and strangers who helped us search many hours for Nalla. We are so grateful for all your help and to have her back.

Sheila Wilson, Scott & Fiona Noring
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bella, a husky

Reunited and it feels so good
Sept 9, 2009
Kristan Hoffman

Today was crazy, unexpected, intense, draining, exciting, rushed, and fulfilling. All before noon!

No, this is not a new member of our family. Almost, though!

Every morning before work, I take Riley on a walk. Today, this beautiful and sweet dog came up to us. I didn’t recognize her from the neighborhood, so I was wary at first. (Let’s be honest, she could eat Riley for breakfast.) But she was calm and friendly upon greeting us, and I figured her owner was just around the corner. Wrong.

When I realized she was alone, I asked her to “go home.” (This has worked with lost neighborhood dogs in the past.) To my joy and relief, she went right up to the front door of a nearby house! Then she came back to me, and went right up to the next one! And the next one. And the next one… Doh.

Realizing she was lost, I did the only thing I could do, the thing I would want someone who found Riley to do: I brought her home (coaxing her with kibbles), tied her to my patio, and took some pictures. For FOUND posters, of course. I taped a couple up around the neighborhood, asked my neighbor to check on the dog while I was gone, and went to work half an hour late.

(During this process, I also called Andy and my dog-loving coworker Suzie to ask their advice on what to do. Per Suzie’s very good suggestion, I planned to take the dog to the vet this evening to see if she had a microchip. Luckily it didn’t come to that.)

At work, I went on Craigslist to post a FOUND listing. Before I even finished, I noticed a LOST listing with a picture. A picture of a dog that looked just like the one tied up on my patio! So of course I called the number, got the story from the dog’s owner, and quizzed him a bit. What color is the collar? What’s the dog’s gender? What’s the dog’s name? Obviously I didn’t know the answer to the last one, but I intended to find out at lunch.

A work errand allowed me to take an early lunch and swing by my house. Bella, as her name turned out to be, was still lying patiently on my patio, although she was hungry and playful when I went out to see her. Riley was wound up as usual, running and jumping and generally not being helpful.

Bella wasn’t very responsive to her name, so I asked the supposed owner for one more detail: what else was on her collar besides her tags? (Well, besides the ring for her tags. The tags had fallen off, probably during the night while she was wandering around lost in the storm.) He said that he had just bought the collar and it was too big, so he’d had to put a green twist-tie around the extra “tail” to keep it from flapping around. There was in fact a green twist-tie on Bella’s collar, so responsive or not, I knew she was his dog. Because seriously, HOW ELSE could he possibly know about a green twist-tie?!

Long story short (oops too late) I walked Bella and Riley over to rendezvous with Bella’s owner. He was obviously glad to see her. She was relatively aloof, but I’ve heard that huskies are like that. Apparently they are also escape artists and wanderers. GEE, I HADN’T NOTICED. Anyway, they were happily reunited, and I turned down a thank you lunch since I had to get back to work.

(I also showered and changed, because it was freaking hot as heck, and running around with two dogs at the same time was a workout!)

So that was my adventure. Thankfully this one had a happy ending — although I must confess I was a little sad when I got home and there wasn’t an extra puppy in my backyard. :P


Monday, October 12, 2009

Duchess, a min pin

Like a number of my friends, I cruise Craigslist regularly to see what dogs are lost in my area. I took a slight notice to a dog lost in the Sterling -- not far from me but in the next county over. However, I was working on another case, and since I always work on only one case at a time, I didn't pursue it.

So one morning, a case that our lost dog recovery volunteer network was working broke when George came home. He'd been out for 2 months, and his "aunt" Jaime had posted to Craigslist frequently until our group finally stepped forward to help. When George was found, Jaime posted one final notice to Craiglist, to say he'd been found, and she made a point to mention that it couldn't have happened without the help of a group of volunteers.

She got a response from Diana, whose min pin was lost, and wanted to know who the volunteers were that helped her. Jaime forwarded that email to the George search leader, Daphne, who responded to Diana and copied me. I invited Diana to call me for a chat, which she did. However, by the time of that email, our group had already moved in to pick up another case that was over a week old, but was being handled by a rescue with no experience in searching for lost dogs. So all I was going to do (and did do) with Diana was have a conversation with her.


As I told Diana, Daphne's email did say pretty much everything I'd want to say if I was going to do a brain dump about looking for lost dogs. But we managed to find enough new material to discuss and we talked for a half hour or so. I found her to be pretty sharp, and clearly she'd been acquiring a lot of knowledge in the several weeks since the dog was lost. There were a few things I could tell her, but honestly, very little.
I was clear about the reality that I and our group could not help her, beyond this conversation, as Daphne's email did, too. She understood, and we agreed that she'd stay in touch with the search for the other dog, a dachshund, so she would know when we were available.

I told a couple of the other volunteers about Diana's dog -- one of whom has min pins of her own, so you can only imagine how much she wanted to help Diana find Duchess. As with me, the volunteers that I told about Duchess, Diana's lost min pin, found they kept thinking of her while working to find Gus, the lost dachshund.
To my surprise and delight, several days after our conversation, Daphne and I got this email from Diana:

Ladies: I'm very happy to report that Duchess was found and that she is doing great. All your advice and suggestions were very valuable to me. Thanks to all the flyering I did, on Friday AM I got a call from someone who had seen Duchess that very morning in the same spot that she had been seen on 9/24. I went back there and on Saturday 11:45am, she showed up. Dirty, sad, skinny, but in one piece. First she appeared not to know who I was, she sniffed the air for a minute or two, she began wagging her tail, jumped on me and told me to take her home. Thank you from my heart for all your support, your time and your dedication to helping find lost pets.

When I asked her if she would write up the story for my blog, she responded this way:

You were wonderfully helpful and supportive and your advice and tips were very very valuable. I have been so overwhelmed with this that I'm just gettng back to my senses and have not been keeping a journal, which now I realize I should have done, because all the details are blurry. Thank you from my heart and from Duchess' who is resting peacefully in her bed as if she had never left.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bailey, bassett hound

Thirty Days Later, Missing Anderson Township Dog Found

Bailey If you're a pet lover, you can relate to the stress of your dog running off without a trace. For a local family, a month-long search for their bassett hound has a happy ending and technology is a big reason why. Local 12's Paula Toti has one family's desperate search for their dog Bailey.

It's hard when any pet is lost, but Bailey is 13 years old and you'd really have to worry about a dog that old making it on his own.

His owners did all the right things, he had been micro-chipped, they had lots of photos and they posted those photos all over their neighborhood. But it's the power of the internet that has Bailey's tail wagging once again.

Bailey left the vets office on Tuesday 20 pounds lighter than when he appeared very briefly on Local 12 in July. We were at his Anderson Township home because coyotes had been spotted. "That's the first thing I thought of, I knew if a coyote got him, it was the end of him."

A week after the coyote interview, Bailey ran off when a gate was left ajar, beginning a 32 day ordeal. Soon, there were Bailey postings on Craig's List, Local 12, Facebook and Fido Finder.

People started calling Pat Borders with Bailey sightings. One woman saw him and remembered the coyote story. "So she went to the Local 12 archives and looked the story up and it was him. So she called me and let me know she'd seen him."

That call and others only let Pat know Bailey was alive. "All the calls were coming from the same neighborhood, so we knew that was a pretty good sign."

The calls were coming from the busy Beechmont Road area. At one home, two miles away in Mount Washington, Bailey was being fed by the Reif family. "I actually decided to go on Craig's List, typed in bassett hound and found three posts of him, three different pictures."

While the web is responsible for getting Bailey home, the SPCA's Harold Dates has this to say about technology: "It can be a good thing. You have to be careful about communicating on the internet, you never know who you're communicating with."

The reunion happened this past Saturday and Bailey was a bit weak at first, but his energy has returned.

You heard that warning from the SPCA. One thing you might want to do in a case like this is withhold a little information about your pet so you know if the person at the other end of the phone or internet is legit. Fortunately, Bailey ran into a lot of animal lovers.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Koko, a Chocolate Labradoodle

This story came from the Missing Pet Partnership website, from their Testimonials section. (I actually did some cut & pasting so it's close but not word for word the way the dog's owner told the story.) It's a good illustration of why it's good to seek help from the experienced when faced with the task of looking for a lost dog.

Koko became separated from me in the Cedar River Watershed, east of Seattle. I had her off leash because I had her hiking with me in the past without any problem. When I called her name in a likely too loud and frightening tone, she bolted into an awful swampy area full of blackberries, thick brush, and water.

I thought for sure she would become tangled and trapped, leaving her easy prey to cougars, bobcats or coyotes in the area. It was a very large swamp (wetland) and I looked for her until 10 p.m. before finally returning home having to give the bad news to my daughter and wife.

The next day began at 4:00 a.m. I returned to the swamp, thinking for sure Koko was trapped in the blackberries yet too scared to make any noise.

A fellow employee at the watershed called SARS and they told us about MPP and so I called Kat who was in L.A. at the time. She was very generous with her time, explaining to me all the things to consider in trying to find a lost dog. She also told me to call Jim Branson who has a tracking dog named Kelsy. After talking with Kat and getting all of that very helpful and encouraging advice, I met with Jim at the site. I was amazed at how soon he was able to arrive at the scene. He arrived within a couple hours without Kelsy to size up the situation and interview me. We looked for Koko until evening again sat in.

Jim advised that I leave a feeding station with some scent items at the scene that night. The next morning we planned to post signs provided by MPP, and then use Kelsy to determine if Koko was in the swamp area.
I had brought my wife and daughter to help. Jim had previously cautioned us to be very careful if we came across Koko. To our delight, she was at the feeding station when we arrived. So we followed Jim's advice and slowly got out of our vehicles and walked around talking to each other as if Koko wasn't there. We did not want her to become scared again and run off.

We played catch with each other using a tennis ball and frisbee. Koko ran up when the frisbee hit the ground at my daughter's feet. It was a very joyful moment when my daughter gave Koko a big hug and we had her back on lease.

The amazing thing is that Koko spent two nights somewhere nearby in below freezing temperatures and she looked just as clean and groomed as she did before she ran away. She somehow got out of the swamp and must have found shelter in some higher ground under cover of trees.

I am very grateful to MPP and particularly Jim Branson and his dog Kelsy for helping me find "Koko", my 9 month old chocolate Labradoodle. Kelsy was ready to do her job but fortunately for us, her services were not needed.

Thank you Kat and Jim for this happy ending!!!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

George, a collie mix

Poor George. He stupidly left his home when he found the chance to do so, on August 5th, and got almost hopelessly lost. He left behind 2 lab sisters and a grieving mother, and not to mention a houseful of kids that his mom, Barbara, takes care of during the day as a day care provider.

From the start, Barbara’s daughter Jaime started posting to Craigslist looking for sightings. She’d post once or twice a week – which most lost dog owners don’t do. LOTS of people I know noticed the repeated George postings, and wanted to help. But for weeks and weeks, it wasn’t happening. 

Then one day, there was a sighting! Jaime posted to Craigslist again with the info. Since a number of our volunteers cruise Craigslist to see what lost dogs are out there, this was noticed right away, and we whipped a search team into shape. Among the things we did was fliering; Barbara’s family had done some, but not really enough to do the trick. Now, I think, there was enough fliering.

We know that when a dog has been out on the run for weeks or months, you have no idea if he will come to his owner when they encounter each other. You can hope with everything you have, but it might not happen. We always advise lost dog owners not to be surprised or get discouraged if their dog doesn’t come to them or seem happy to see them, initially.

Barbara had long been saying that she thought that if she could ever got near him, he would obey if she scolded him just like if he’s getting into mischief at home. I actually thought it was an interesting idea despite how cautious I try to be in these cases.

So Jaime, whose idea I think that actually was, got to test her theory out! A sizzling hot George sighting call came in, and she jumped in her car and drove to the neighborhood. She actually caught up with George, and she got out of the car. Just as though she had the upper hand, she put her hands on her hips and said “George! You get in this car right now!!”

And he did just that!!!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Coco, a beagle

Wayward beagle reunited with family after 350-mile sojourn
Friday, September 25th, 2009

LAKE ELSINORE — Three months ago, Coco the beagle wandered away from his Central California suburban home. After weeks of searching, the Zamora family assumed the worst and gave up hope of ever finding him.

“We were heartbroken. Coco was nowhere to be found,” Albert Zamora said. “We walked through our neighborhood every night for two weeks. We called local shelters and put up flyers and heard nothing.”

Today, Coco is back home with his family after a mysterious 350-mile journey to Riverside County. His sojourn ended with a joyous reunion at the Animal Friends of the Valleys (AFV) shelter in Lake Elsinore.

It came to a close after a Lake Elsinore resident saw a beagle and Chihuahua running along busy Central Avenue and stopped to pick them up. The resident then transported them to AFV, which provides contract animal control services to Temecula, Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake and Murrieta. The nonprofit organization, which was established in 1987, offers pets for adoption and operates a shelter that serves nearly 10,000 animals each year.

The two corralled dogs were checked in by shelter staff, cleaned up and scanned for the presence of implanted microchips.

“When dogs are microchipped, we are able to return them to their owners about 90 percent of the time,” said Willa Bagwell, AFV executive director. “Thankfully, the beagle had a microchip, but we couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw his address.”

“Often, families will move and not update the contact information for their pet’s microchip. We were worried that was what had happened,” she said. The shelter staff contacted Zamora, who found it hard to believe his dog was safe and sound 350 miles from his home in Livingston, a suburb of Modesto.

“I was totally amazed when I answered the phone. I had never even been to Lake Elsinore before and couldn’t imagine how Coco had ended up there,” Zamora said. “I didn’t tell the kids right away because I still thought they might have had the wrong dog.”

As a result, one day after he dropped off his children at school, Zamora set off for Lake Elsinore to bring Coco back home. After driving for more than seven hours, a tired Zamora was greeted by six AFV employees who had stayed after hours to help with the reunion. Zamora walked over to a cage and found a happy Coco ready to go home. Zamora slipped Coco’s collar on him and said, “Okay, buddy, time to come home.”

The pair made it home a little after midnight and Zamora woke up the children the following morning with the news.

“They were elated. This was such a big surprise for them,” Zamora said.

How Coco ended up in Lake Elsinore so far from home remains a mystery.

“It was such a neat moment to witness; we all wish we could know this dog’s story,” Bagwell said. “These happy endings remind us why we do what we do, and with the advent of microchips we’ve had a lot more stories that end like this.”

AFV offers microchipping at its Lake Elsinore shelter from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and also hosts microchip clinics at the Lake Elsinore PetSmart and Petco stores every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The shelter provides the service for a one-time $20 fee and lifetime registration. Thanks to microchip technology, AFV returns 30 to 35 pets to their owners every month, Bagwell said.

“Coco had been wearing a collar but it fell off when he broke out of the yard,” Zamora said. “All he had left was the microchip. We got it just to be safe but never thought it would lead to something like this.”


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Buck, a blue heeler

Buck's Back: Selma couple discover one-eyed pooch at Lake Selmac
June 12, 2009
By Buffy Pollock, for the Mail Tribune

Julie Fritz is reunited with her son’s one-eyed dog, Buck. Her son, Tim Langley, is a member of the Oregon National Guard and is training in Georgia for a tour in Iraq.

Buck the one-eyed blue heeler is home safe and sound.

The wandering dog made headlines when Oregon National Guard member Tim Langley's girlfriend, Diana Snyder of Eagle Point, posted ads around the valley searching for the lost pooch.

Residents of Rogue River, where Buck was last seen, e-mailed to promise they'd drive around looking for the dog. A professor at Southern Oregon University posted online ads and a local investigator tackled the case "pro bono."

Ultimately, Selma residents Danny and Regina Jordan actually were "found" by the lost dog, who followed them around as they spent part of Friday on Lake Selmac.

At first, the family thought the dog belonged to a family from Crescent City. They spent part of the week tracking that family down before hearing of news reports about the one-eyed dog.

That Buck wound up at Lake Selmac, north of Grants Pass, is just the latest in a string of unknowns about his two years of life.

Buck was on the run after his master, Langley, headed to Georgia for an advanced training before being deployed to Iraq for a year and left him with a friend in Grants Pass.

A trip to Boatnik with Langley's pal, Zak Firestone of Grants Pass, spooked the one-eyed dog, resulting in a series of relocations.

First, a family in Grants Pass found the dog wandering alone and returned him to an old address, still listed on his dog tags, near the Valley of the Rogue State Park. The family had adopted Buck from a shelter after a tractor-chasing accident that cost him his missing eye, but surrendered him to Sanctuary One animal rescue in Grants Pass where Langley's mom claimed the dog for her son.

When Buck was returned to his former owner last week, his collar was removed and he disappeared again.

While the Jordans were looking to Northern California for the dog's rightful owners, Mail Tribune readers and Langley's friends and family were scouting Rogue River.

Until Thursday, when the Jordans found Snyder's number and called to reunite her with her boyfriend's dog.

"I'm so happy someone found him," Snyder said on her way to meet the Jordans in Grants Pass. "Tim had been so worried."

A choked-up Langley said he was grateful his dog had been returned.

"Oh, thank God. Oh, thank God. I'm just happy to have my dog back," he said on a conference call from Georgia.

"I was really surprised someone would return him and they didn't just find him and keep him. He's a great dog."

Langley's mom, Julie Fritz of Eagle Point, drove with Snyder to retrieve the wandering canine.

"He looks good. He's a little shaky and a little thin and he smells really bad," Fritz said. "But he's going to be just fine back at home waiting for Tim to get back."

Jordan said he was happy to return the dog to a fellow veteran.

"I was in the Army 12 years. If it was my dog, I'd want him returned and want to know he was OK," he said.

"He's a neat little dog. I really liked him."

Private investigator Tim Martinez, of White City, said the community's response to the lost dog was a nice gesture for a solider.

"All we needed to know was a solider was about to go over to Iraq to serve his country and he was going to be worrying about his little buddy," Martinez said.

"I'm sure there were folks out looking and helping that no one even knows about."


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yema, an Azawakh

Yes, pet detectives do exist.

Missing dog's owner hires pet detective to help her find hound
By Amy McRary
Posted January 18, 2008 at midnight

A sign posted Thursday by pet detective Bonnie Hale asks for calls if anyone has seen Yema, a missing Azawakh. Yema’s owner, Margaret Cooter, purposely misspelled the dog’s name on the posters to help people pronounce it correctly if they saw the dog. Yema is pronounced like “Emma” with a “Y.” 

Bonnie Hale has heard the "Ace Ventura" remarks over and over. But animal lovers who call the St. Louis, Mo., pet detective aren't laughing.

Hale's a certified missing animal response technician; she and her 6-year-old Australian shepherd Murphy hunt lost dogs and cats like other search-and-rescue workers look for missing humans. On Thursday, the pair roamed streets, parking lots, back yards and underbrush looking for a shy canine escape artist called Yema.

Yema's owner, Margaret Cooter of Farragut, called Hale after her Internet search found that pet detectives really exist.

Yema, a rare greyhound-looking Azawakh hound, somehow escaped Jan. 9 from the enclosed porch and backyard fence at Cooter's Landoak Lane home. The fast, skittish tan-colored Yema (pronounced like Emma with a "Y") had lived with Cooter for eight days; Cooter bought the 5-year-old animal in Clarksville on New Year's Day.

Cooter had searched, posted $500 reward flyers and called the Young-Williams Animal Center before she dialed Hale. She was willing to pay the $1,000 for Hale's work and expenses. "If I take on an animal, I'm going to do whatever I can for them. I'm responsible for her," said Cooter, manager of contracts and compliance for the Knoxville office of AMEC Earth and Environmental.

"There are no guarantees," Hale said. "By the time I get them, the cases are difficult."

While using a rescue dog is the most unusual and talked-about part of Hale's work, Murphy is just one tool. "And he's not the best tool," she says. Hale also uses more standard methods including hanging large "lost dog" posters and canvassing neighborhoods.

Hale's been a pet detective for slightly more than a year; she and Murphy had worked 11 cases on location. She often helps pet owners through phone consultations. More than half the pets the two looked for were found at some point. Murphy, however, hasn't yet flushed one out.

Pet detectives may be as rare as Azawakhs; Hale says about 25 certified ones are active in the United States.

The sad plight of another lost dog began her work. In November 2006, a car belonging to a couple visiting St. Louis from Michigan was stolen. Their white dog was in the car.

Hale led the volunteers who hunted unsuccessfully for the dog. "My life hasn't been the same since."

Hale, who also does faux finishes and mural painting, decided she also wanted to find animals. She completed 100 hours of training, and Murphy passed a four-day course from the California-based Missing Pet Partnership's pet detective academy.

On Thursday, Hale drove her red Ford Escape Hybrid, with Murphy resting in a large crate in the rear, to various West Knoxville locations where Yema may have been seen. She opened a plastic bag that held a white T-shirt with Yema's smell on it. She put a bright orange harness reading "rescue" on the 53-pound Murphy and donned her own yellow vest with the words "PET RESCUE" across the back.

Murphy works for food treats, and cheese is his constant encouragement.

Cueing Murphy with the question "Do you want to work," Hale held onto the dog's long leather leash as he sniffed and meandered along driveways, around flowerbeds and down streets, "Look for it, find it," she encouraged. Occasionally she told Murphy to "get back to work" or ordered "no squirrels" when he got distracted.

When Murphy found Yema's scent, his stance changed instantly and dramatically. Head up, tail waging and eyes shining, Murphy twice Thursday tracked where Yema had been in a residential and office area between Landoak Road and Center Park Drive.

Employees at Modern Salon at 10133 Kingston Pike spotted the lost hound about 10:30 a.m. Thursday; Murphy found but then lost that trail.

By late afternoon, he'd picked up the trail again and pulled Hale into a Cogdill Road back yard not far from the salon.

By dusk, the tracking duo hadn't found Yema. But Hale was confident they'd outlined a rectangle of about one-half mile where the hound was likely surviving. Members of the Greyhound Rescue Foundation of Tennessee helped search for Yema and set a humane trap near Cooter's residence.

They hoped the dog would be tempted by the tuna in a bowl there.

It was Murphy's tracking, however, that may have pushed Yema home.

At 9 p.m., Cooter and Hale returned from a nighttime search to find the hound sitting by the same porch she had escaped from.

Slightly scratched up, Yema otherwise appeared healthy after her weeklong adventure.