Monday, May 31, 2010

Harry, Airedale Terrier

Herald Sun hurries Harry’s family reunion
The Lost Dogs Home
Posted 24 Feb 2010

No sooner had the Evans family of Niddrie put their feet up to take in the arrival of the New Year, did they realise that their beloved eight-year-old Airedale Terrier, Harry, was missing.

Harry resting at the Evan's family home

“Much to our dismay, we discovered in the early morning that Harry was gone - a first - as he has never disappeared before,” said Brad.

Brad suspected that sudden weather changes and loud New Year celebrations were a catalyst in Harry’s out of character behaviour. “We think that Harry got spooked from the dramatic storms and fireworks that went off yesterday.”

With no leads to follow even after knocking on neighbours’ doors, all the Evans family could do was comfort their distraught son, who was especially attached to Harry.

Having had Harry microchipped and registered to the National Pet Register, they decided to cover all bases by posting a message on the Lost and Found Pets section on The Lost Dogs' Home website.

Starting with a simple three-worded plea, “Please help us”, the Evans was fully unaware that their plea will shortly be heard by a complete stranger in Delahey.

As a professional working in an online advertising company, good Samaritan Alex usually starts her day reading headlines online. This day was no different except for the sheer coincidence of Alex seeing a lost Airedale Terrier on the Herald Sun website and then coming across the message that the Evans had posted on the Lost and Found page on The Lost Dogs' Home’s website.

“Remembering that I had seen an Airedale Terrier on, I thought that it was highly likely that it was (the Evans’) little boy. I didn’t have anything to lose so I contacted the family online through their post and also followed this up with an SMS. I was convinced that this dog was Harry and wanted to alert the Evans immediately,” Alex recalls.

“We received a text message from a person who had read our post on The Lost Dogs' Home website, notifying us of an Airedale Terrier that was on the Herald Sun website. We looked it up and thankfully, it was Harry,” Brad Evans said with relief.

Harry with one of his favourite toys

Being an animal lover, Alex knows how much Harry meant to the Evans. “I know how I would feel if it were one of my animals missing and I hope that someone would return the favour if ever I were in the same situation”.

Without haste, Brad picked Harry up from the North Melbourne shelter, realising how lucky they were to be reunited back with Harry so soon. “When we picked Harry up, he was in good condition, and was very excited and happy. Our two-year-old son can finally sleep knowing that his best mate is safe”.

Not forgetting to thank Alex, Brad sent her a heart-warming SMS that made it all worthwhile for Alex. “The Evans seemed ecstatic that their boy had been found safely. I think their message was something along the lines of making their year!”

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Holly, Angel & Many More

Reunited and It Feels So Good
Animal lover connects lost dogs with their people without leaving her home
By Cathy Scott, Best Friends staff writer
May 13, 2010, 4:59PM MT

Mari Levine has a daily ritual. Early each morning, she grabs her coffee and heads for her computer. That’s where she reunites lost dogs with their families.

Levine, who lives in Watsonville, Calif., has done the same thing for the last four years, reading “lost” online ads, such as craigslist and Petfinder, and matching them with “found” dogs listed on area shelters’ websites.

Like the other day, when she read an online ad, with photo, about a “black female dog, very curly with little white fur on her chest and front paw” who was missing. She went straight to the website of a local shelter.

There, she found a poodle mix who looked like she’d been through the ringer but still resembled the photo of the family’s dog. Levine was 99-percent sure she was the family’s missing canine. So, she called the number from the ad to let the family know where to pick up their dog. She provided them with the dog’s shelter ID, the phone number, address and hours of the shelter. Then, “I follow up to make sure the dog is picked up,” she said.

The same thing happened a day later after Levine read an online ad about Holly, another missing dog. Sure enough, Levine went to the shelter site and found Holly by matching a description and photo. From their ad, she sent the family an e-mail with a subject line that read, “Your lost dog Holly is at the shelter!”

The same day, Mari received the following e-mail from the family, who had retrieved Holly.

“She is our world,” the wife wrote. “Thank you so much for the time and effort that you have shown. It is really nice and refreshing. She was safely found. So happy! Thanks again!”

That kind of e-mail makes Levine’s day. She began this reuniting process when she realized too many people often aren’t aware that animal shelters exist and don't know where to look for their lost animals.

“These dogs are sitting in a kennel at the shelter waiting for their owner, who doesn’t even know about the shelter,” she said.

In another case, when she found a Siberian husky mix at the shelter, she called a “lost” ad. The person on the other end asked, “Who is this?” When Levine told her, the woman said, “Mari, it’s Vickie.” Levine had taken music lessons from her but hadn’t seen her in 15 years. She, too, was reunited with Kado, her husky.

Then there was a recent case involving Angel, a tiny tan-and-brown Chihuahua mix with medical issues who’d accidentally gotten lost while vacationing in California with her people. The family placed an online ad. Levine was at her computer to see that ad too.

“My family and I sincerely appreciate your consideration in helping us reunite with our little Angel,” said the “thank you” from the dog’s person. “She’s getting additional medical attention. We just wanted to let you know that your actions make us proud, knowing that people out there care. Although Angel is a dog, she’s like family to us. Thank you for bringing our family home. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

The woman was so inspired by Levine’s actions that she told Levine she was going to do the same thing back home in Texas and match “lost” ads with shelter animals.

Levine hasn’t tackled reuniting cats with their people, but she doesn’t rule it out. "I love all animals," she said, including Emma, her 13-year-old rescued dog.

Levine’s one-person reunion service is probably contributing more good than she realizes, said Kristi Littrell, manager of Best Friends’ Adoptions department.

“The service she is doing for not only the homeless animals of her community but also the heartbroken owners of these animals is amazing,” said Littrell. “One person can indeed make all the difference in an animal’s life.”

And that, Levine said, is exactly why she does it, one canine at a time: “These dogs are all home now. It only takes 15 minutes a day.”


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gus, pug

Pet column: Hospital technician rescues lost dog from busy street
By Kathy Dennis Moore
February 20, 2010

Janyna Russelburg and her dog Gus pose in their Henderson home after Gus ran away and was rescued.

Anybody who knows Gus would never describe the mischievous little dog as shy.

So it probably shouldn’t be surprising that when the pug recently became lost after he accidentally got out of his home, he just sat in the middle of North Elm Street until the right person came along.

And fortunately for Gus on that cold Feb. 10 morning, animal lover Maggie Dunn was on the way to her 7 a.m. shift at Methodist Hospital when she saw the pup.

She pulled up near the dog and tooted her horn, but he didn’t budge. “He just looked around like, ‘Where in the heck am I?’” said Dunn, an X-ray and ultrasound technologist. “I couldn’t go by. He was just sitting there freezing his buns off.”

After another honk didn’t convince the dog to move, Dunn opened the car door and called to him. The pup gave her an appraising look and then jumped into her lap — all while traffic backed up behind her.

“He put both arms around my neck and started kissing me,” said Dunn, an animal lover who has three cats and two dogs at her Corydon home.

She drove to work and called hospital security to see if an officer could keep the dog until the animal shelter could be called.

“I said, ‘This dog belongs to somebody,’” Dunn recalled.


While Dunn was rescuing the cold pup, Henderson resident and teacher Janyna Russelburg was warm and snug in bed. Her husband, Bryan, had left earlier, and because it was a school snow day, Janyna slept in until 8 a.m.

“When I woke up, Gus wasn’t in bed with me,” Janyna said of her 20-month-old pug.

Then she realized it was cold inside the house, “the door is hanging open and Gus is nowhere.”

After checking the house, she knew the pup had to be outside.

“At this point I’m panicking. So I threw on a coat and go out in the yard, yelling, ‘Gus, Gus.’”

She’s not exactly dressed for the 27-degree day, wearing just shorts, a T-shirt and snow boots over bare feet. But she runs around her North Elm Street neighborhood, calling for Gus.

Not having any luck, Janyna returns home and gets Bella, their shepherd mix, to make another trek around the block.

Because pugs don’t tolerate extreme temperatures very well, Janyna was especially concerned about Gus’ welfare.

“I worried that he’d get hypothermia, or was run over by a car, or was in a snow drift,” said Janyna, a special education teacher at Chandler Elementary School.

She called her husband, who by then was already at the University of Southern Indiana, where he’s enrolled in the ROTC program.

“He’s like, ‘Oh my gosh. I’ll be there in a minute.’”


Not knowing what else to do, Janyna dialed 911.

“I said, ‘I know this is an unconventional call, but my pug is missing,’” she recalled.

The dispatcher said nobody had reported finding a dog but she took Janyna’s name and number, obviously realizing how upset the pet owner was.

“I was screaming and crying and hyperventilating, because he’s my baby. This is like a lost child for me,” Janyna said.

About the time she yanked on some old sweat pants so she could get in her car and start driving around to look for Gus, the dispatcher called back and said a lost pug had turned up at the hospital.

Janyna quickly jumped into her car and “drove to the hospital in my ratty get-up. I looked like a vagabond.”

At the hospital, she first asked about the dog at the admissions office, where “the lady was looking at me like I’m crazy.” Then dispatch called and told her to go to the emergency room, where the security office is located.

That’s where security officer Tom Antonini, who let Gus ride around in his car with him until his shift ended, had left the dog.

“I’m practically mowing people over” on the way there, Janyna said.

Finally, what seems like an eternity later, she was reunited with her lost pup.

“My poor little baby is cowering over in the corner, shaking,” Janyna said. “The poor thing was clinging to me and started licking my face like he was saying ‘Oh, Mommy, I’m so happy to see you.’”


As the happy pair returned to the hospital’s front entrance, they happened to see Florence Sandefur, a radiology clerk who works with Dunn.

“That little dog was belly up in her arms,” Sandefur said, realizing that the lost dog her co-worker had told her about earlier and its owner had been reunited.

The clerk offered to take Janyna to meet the woman who rescued Gus from the frosty street.

“She (Dunn) said he was sitting in the middle of the street,” Janyna said. “I know in his puggy brain he was thinking, ‘I will sit here until my mommy gets to me.’”

And while Gus’ mommy didn’t get there as quickly as Dunn did, Janyna is grateful that the woman’s quick actions saved Gus’ life.

“He could have been hit; he could have been dog-napped; he could have frozen to death,” Janyna said. “Thankfully someone who’s a dog lover came by.”


While the fear Janyna felt is still fresh in her mind, Gus took less than a day to get over it.

After Janyna brought Gus home, “he slept all day. I think he was traumatized. When we got home, he stayed on the back of the couch right behind me or on my lap all day long.”

Normally he and Bella fight and play, but not that afternoon or evening. The following day, however, he was back to normal, rough-housing with Bella and being his usual active, chewing-everything-in-sight self.

Janyna, though, can’t help but think about how Gus’ escape could have ended differently.

“I couldn’t imagine life without him,” she said.

Bryan, too, who rushed home that day only to learn that Gus had been found, is thrilled that the pup is back home, especially since it was his lack of securely shutting the back door that allowed Gus to get out.

“I was freaking out, scared, nervous,” as he drove home that morning, especially worried that Gus would be picked up by somebody and never returned. “I didn’t know what would happen to him.”


Now, though, the Russelburgs can sit back, relax and wait for Gus’ next big adventure. But they’re taking steps to make sure that whatever the energetic pup does, it will be within their own house or yard.

Completely fencing in their backyard is a high priority. “It definitely is going to be the first thing we buy with our tax refund,” Janyna said.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Chloe, bichon frise

Lost and Found: Dog reunited with family after story breaks online
Rebecca Clark
2010-05-24 14:10:57

SHELBY – For nearly three days Chloe’s owners didn’t know where the fluffy white dog was.

While taking Chloe and another family pet for a walk near his home Friday evening, Butch Bowen said the dog wandered away from him while he was on his phone. Moments later, a car stopped, someone picked the dog up and drove off with her.

After reading the story about the missing pet on The Star’s website Monday, Joe Carpenter called to say the dog was safe and in his care.

Carpenter said he and his wife were driving down College Avenue when they saw the dog in the middle of the road.

“Traffic was backed up both ways,” he said. “My wife was not going to leave it in the middle of the road. We didn’t see anybody.”

He said his wife jumped out, picked the dog up so it wouldn’t get hit by a car, and they drove down the road. Carpenter said his grandson went through the neighborhood hoping to find the owner.

“We took the dog to the Humane Shelter Saturday and had it scanned for a chip,” he said. “The dog did not have identification on it other than a tag with its name on it.”

He said he called Animal Control and left his name and number in case someone called for Chloe.

“We’ve been trying since Friday to find the owner,” Carpenter said.

Bowen was pleased to find out about the dog’s recovery.

He previously told The Star that Chloe, a Bichon Frise, was like a member of the family. Bowen said they have had the dog for nearly five years.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Macy, American Foxhound

Dale Huffman: Missing dog saga has happy end
By Dale Huffman, Contributing columnist
12:39 AM Thursday, January 14, 2010

Meet Macy. She is an American Foxhound show dog; a vivacious brown and white dog with white legs who has style, spunk, and a strong will to survive.

According to her owner and handler, Larkin Vonalt, of Dayton View, when Macy wandered away from home, the ensuing adventure “seemed to bring out the very best in many caring people in the Dayton area who helped search for her.”

At Christmastime, Vonalt brought pastry treats to the entire staff and volunteers at Hospice of Dayton, 324 Wilmington Ave., to thank them for their help in locating the lost dog.

Vonalt and her husband, Elmer Lieu, were relatively new in Dayton, transplants from Montana, when the prized dog was able to wiggle through a space under a fence and escape from their property.

“I was devastated and panicked when Macy got loose,” Larkin said. “I put an ad in the Dayton newspaper, put it on Craigslist. I delivered posters all over town. I notified Fifth District police, and reported it to the animal shelter folks.”

Larkin visited a soup kitchen and recruited some homeless people who promised to be on the lookout.

“My mailman promised to keep his eye out, too. I asked for help from everyone. And the longer Macy was gone, the worse I felt.”

She even called the Dayton street maintenance department, every day, to see if her dog might have been struck by a vehicle.

Then, nine days later, a call came from Hospice of Dayton, where a nurse saw a dog that matched the photo on the poster.

“I rushed over there, on the other side of the river, on the other side of town, and staked out the area near the woods behind the beautiful setting,” Vonalt said.

“I spent a day waiting and watching. Nothing.”

She said she returned early the next day, at dawn’s first light, with a bowl of chicken, and a familiar turtleneck sweater she had worn, and placed the items at the edge of the woods.

“About 2 p.m. that afternoon, while sitting in my warm car, I thought I saw Macy at the edge of the woods. The Hospice maintenance man, who was waiting with me, stepped back so not to frighten the dog.”

She continued, “I sat on the ground and softly called, ‘Macy. Macy, it’s me.’ ”

Then, she said, “the dog flew to me. I was euphoric. It was a warm and tender reunion.”

Vonalt said the bottom line is that her personal ordeal confirmed in her opinion that the people in her new home of Dayton are “helpful, sensitive, caring ... just marvelous people.”

An example of the generous and caring spirit came the following day.

“A man delivering a package to my home from UPS knocked on my door, and noticed that the poster advertising the missing dog was missing from the door.”

She added, “I explained to him that the Hospice nurses helped find my Macy, and that she was home. The delivery guy smiled and did a little happy jig on my front step. That’s how good the people of Dayton are. They really care, and show it.”

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chihuahua/dachshund mix

Caught on Tape - Surveillance video shows dog stealer in action
By Cary Ashby - Reflector Staff Writer
Tuesday March 02 2010, 1:07pm

The Norwalk woman accused of stealing a grocery store customer's dog apparently didn't know her victim.

Bonnie Heyman, 52, of 12 W. Elm St., was charged with theft in connection with she and her 16-year-old grandson stealing a small chihuahua/daschund dog from the front of Gardner's SuperValu, 117 Whittlesey Ave. Nothing in Norwalk Police Sgt. Dave Smith's report indicates any reason why Heyman wanted to steal the dog.

The victim called police about 8:15 p.m. March 20 when she noticed her very small dog was no longer tied to the ice machine in front of Gardner's when she exited the business.

"She always tied her dog to the machine (while she went shopping). ... It was like a weekly deal," Chief Dave Light said.

The chief credited Gardner's state of the art video surveillance system with greatly helping Smith in identifying the suspects.

"They had the dog back in 45 minutes," Light said.

The video footage shows Heyman talking to the dog at first. A few minutes later, the woman then sent her grandson to the front of the store to steal the dog, Light said. He said the boy simply untied the straps holding the dog that were tied to the handle of the ice machine near the front doors of the grocery store.

"You could clearly see Bonnie Heyman and her grandson," the chief added.

Just after the boy took the dog, the owner saw him "walking away with a barking dog under his coat. (She) advised she called after him, asking if that was her dog and demanding he give it back, however the subject ignored her," Smith wrote in his report.

"The subject entered a white vehicle, being operated by another person and left the scene, (heading) southbound on Whittlesey," Smith continued.

After identifying the woman and her grandson, the officer went to Heyman's home where he saw both the dog and Heyman's grandson.

The woman first denied being at Gardner's, Light said.

"She first tried to say the grandson just brought it home," the chief said. "Her only defense is you should never leave a dog alone outside in this weather."

Smith seized the dog and returned it to its owner. On Thursday, police forwarded a report about the case to the Huron County Prosecutor's Office and Huron County Juvenile Court. Light said police want the state to file a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor against Heyman.

Detective Dave Pigman, who handles juvenile cases, made a follow-up call to the prosecutor's office Friday to explain the case, Light said.

Norwalk Municipal Court lists eight criminal cases filed against Heyman from 1988 through 1991, but court records indicate the cases are no longer on file.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Penny, jack russell terrier

Widow reunited with beloved missing Jack Russell... after animal rescue centre SOLD it to someone else
By Daily Mail Reporter
12th May 2010

A widow devastated when an animal sanctuary 'rescued' and sold on her missing pet dog was celebrating today after she was finally reunited with the beloved pooch.

Liz Hiorns, 72, searched for days after 11-year-old Jack Russell Penny ran away from the family farm near Warwick.

But Liz was stunned when she discovered a dog warden found Penny a week later and handed her in to an animal rescue centre which in turn sold her to new owners for £80.

Reunited at last: Liz Hiorns was devastated when an animal sanctuary 'rescued' and sold on her missing dog Penny

Liz begged the animal rescue centre to tell her who had bought Penny - but they refused, claiming it was against data protection laws.

Penny was only returned to Liz after she threatened Denamere Animal Rescue Centre with legal action, it emerged.

Liz's family applied to the High Court in Birmingham to force the rescue centre to reveal the identity of jack russel Penny's new owners - who had renamed her 'Angel'.

But the new owners of 'Angel' decided to return her to Liz before the case was heard.

Grandmother-of-six Liz said: 'I'm absolutely delighted, thrilled to have her home.

'The last month has been extremely stressful but I am just so relieved it is all over. I will certainly be keeping a close eye on Penny in future.

'This should never have happened and I am very angry with the local council who were too quick to palm her off onto someone else.' Stratford District Council, which is responsible for what happens to stray dogs when they are picked up by the warden, apologised for the cock-up.

A spokesman said: 'This is the first time such an incident has happened and the district council regrets this and will use its best endeavours to ensure this does not happen again.

'Sadly, the district council picks up a number of dogs weekly and scans the dogs routinely for identification in the form of a microchip or any other distinguishing marks.

'This all helps with the process of reuniting the dog back with its rightful owner.

Much loved: The dog was passed to Danemere Animal Rescue Centre at Tibberton, near Droitwich, who sold Penny to a couple living nearby just one week later

'Unfortunately on this occasion the missing dog, Penny, had no form of identification and was found with an eye infection covered in fleas and ticks.

'There are lessons to be learned but the council assures the public that they make all reasonable efforts to reunite stray dogs with their owners.

'The district council is currently reviewing its procedures and considering putting photographs of stray dogs on the website in the future.'

Penny, who did not have a name collar or micro-chip, went missing on April 12 after Liz let her out the back door at lunchtime.

Liz searched the local area for days after Penny failed to return home but to no avail.

Two weeks later Liz called a vets in nearby Leamington Spa, to be told a dog matching Penny's description had been found by a dog warden in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 13.

The dog was passed to Danemere Animal Rescue Centre at Tibberton, near Droitwich, who sold Penny to a couple living nearby just one week later.

Liz said yesterday: 'I still can't understand how this happened. It still sends shivers up my spine that within a week Penny was sold to someone else without my knowledge.'

David Lannie, supervisor at the rescue centre, said: 'We acted in good faith when re-homing Penny.

'As far as we knew she had been with Stratford District Council for eight days which is the cut-off point before we try and re-home dogs.

'Data protection rules meant we could not release the names of her new owners but the family threatened to take us to court.

'Before the case was heard by a judge the owners decided they did not want to be dragged into a public battle over the dog so they reluctantly gave her back.

'They wanted to keep her at first because she was in such a bad condition.'


See also:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cami, border collie

Lost dog, rescuers reunited after 21 months
By Peter Schelden, the Orange County Register
March 11, 2010

Cami has been brought back to the care of a San Clemente veterinarian, but she still needs an adoptive home, according to The Ark of San Juan.

Cami has a special trick. It's not the kind of trick you teach a dog on purpose, though.

After volunteers from The Ark of San Juan rescued the border collie from the Orange County pound in May 2008, the 2-year-old found herself in San Clemente veterinarian Nagy Amin's dog run. Then she quickly found her way out of it.
Cami, a border collie, spent 21 months living on the kindness of strangers after escaping soon after being rescued from the county pound. She was re-rescued in February.

"Dr. Amin was just devastated this happened under his watch," said Cynde Van Vleet, The Ark's animal behaviorist.

Amin quickly fixed the pen to prevent further escapes, but Cami was back on the streets and her rescuers had no idea where she went.

Van Vleet said she was saddened by the escape, though not particularly surprised.

"Border collies are the most intelligent dog, and they have to be kept entertained," she said. "They need a job to do."

Then last month, The Ark got a call from the San Clemente/Dana Point Animal Shelter. The shelter had picked up Cami at an apartment complex in San Clemente's Talega area. She was identified by a microchip the county pound had injected beneath her skin.

Residents of the apartment complex must have fed her, Van Vleet said. "That's how she survived."

Now, Cami is back with Amin in his new and improved pen, waiting to be adopted by a family with a strong fence.

Van Vleet said Ark volunteers work with pet adopters to prevent or solve problems like escapes.

She described Cami as intelligent and people-friendly but very shy.

"She's just so sweet and loves to be close to you and to be petted," Van Vleet said. "I think she'll be a fabulous dog in a well-secured home."


Friday, May 21, 2010

Gigi, Chihuahua

Missing dog survives for months on cheeseburgers before reunited with owner
Olivia Neeley

SHELBY - Jo Anne Warlick never thought she would see Gigi again. But God had other plans for the 3-pound Chihuahua and it included surviving off of Wendy's Jr. Cheeseburgers for six months.

"It was beyond my dreams that I would ever have her again," Warlick said.

Warlick and Gigi were inseparable for five years until the unthinkable happened in October.

"I had a stroke," she said. "The doctor told me he wasn't sure I would ever walk again."

Warlick's family decided it would be best to give Gigi a new home because of circumstances surrounding the life-changing event.

"Since it would be a lot on us, we had to find the dog another home," said Rhonda Lovelace, Warlick's daughter.

The family had no idea how long Warlick's recovery would take and the decision was made to give Gigi to another family.

After Gigi was given a new home, she somehow got out of her cage one day and decided to run away.
Warlick never knew Gigi was on a mission to find her way back home.


The new owners called the Cleveland County Humane Society for help and the search began for the Chihuahua.

"No one had been able to catch her," said Sherry Crowder, who is a volunteer with the organization. Crowder has spent most of her life rescuing animals, especially the missions that are a little more challenging than others.

"They know I like these special missions that take a lot of time," Crowder said. "They told me about the story of Gigi." Crowder began her quest and started in the area where Gigi was last spotted.

The stakeout

Crowder talked with neighbors who had seen the dog and found out she was staying in an abandoned house.

"We went over there ... the Lord led us to the area," she said. Weeks went by and Crowder would stake out the house for hours at a time trying to capture the little dog - even making a bed in an old room and giving her wet and dry dog food.

But Gigi wanted to eat something different.

Crowder said she had a hunch that neighbors in the area were probably giving Gigi human food.

"It popped in our heads - cheeseburgers."

For the next few months, she bought a Wendy's Jr. Cheeseburger daily and broke it into little pieces for Gigi at the abandoned home.

"The only way to have a really good chance of catching an abandoned, scared or shy animal is to establish a pattern," she said. "You have to learn their routine."

Crowder tried everything including sitting in the attic of the house in hopes of catching the dog.
But it didn't work.

With a little faith and trust in God, Crowder said a miracle happened one day.

"We had made a little bed inside the room and noticed there was a rabies tag on the little bed," she said.

That rabies tag would be the key to Gigi's rescue.


The Humane Society tracked down the original owners with the rabies tag and Warlick's daughter was contacted at work.

They asked Lovelace to meet them near the abandoned house. Lovelace said they had no idea the dog had been missing so long.

"I prayed all the way over, ‘Please God let me find her,'" Lovelace said.

Crowder met her with a cheeseburger in hand and both starting looking and couldn't find Gigi anywhere.

"I crossed the street just on a hunch," Lovelace said. "She (Gigi) stuck her head out around the building and came running to me after I called her name."

Crowder said they all had tears of joy and the countless hours were worth the wait.

"To see that little angel in the lady's arms within a minute or two ... my prayer had been answered," Crowder said.


Lovelace took Gigi home to her mother who couldn't believe what she saw.

"I sat her down and she ran over to mom and dad and jumped up on the couch with them," Lovelace said.
During the months Gigi was missing, Warlick also received some other bad news - she had cancer.

"I am fighting the battle right now," Warlick said. "The Lord has helped me ... I feel like he is the one who gave me back my dog."

Lovelace and Warlick said it's wonderful to be reunited with their dog and thank the Humane Society for caring so much.

"It has been a good story for me," Warlick said. "After all the bad things this is a good thing to have my little doggie back."

Although Warlick has been through a whirlwind of change in recent months, she knows God brought Gigi back to her to help her through the difficult times ahead.

"I don't have time to think about my problems," she said. "That dog has not forgotten one thing about being here."

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Thursday, May 20, 2010


Microchip helps reunite lost dog, owner after 2 years
Elizabeth Evans
Sep. 3

--Roxy the wayward affenpinscher has quite a tale to tell, if only she could.

Melissa Smith, executive director of the York County SPCA, said she and Roxy's owners have no clue where the little dog -- who got lost in Baltimore about two years ago -- has been, who had her, how they got her and how she managed to get away.

"It's a mystery," Smith said. "We may never know."

Roxy was brought to the Emigsville shelter on Wednesday from the Wal-Mart in West Manchester Township after the wiry-haired toy dog was found running inside the store with no tags, Smith said.

Roxy has a microchip imbedded under her skin, but it didn't immediately lead to her owners, Ronnie and Dorothea Jeffries of Craigsville, W.Va.

Fortunately, SPCA staffer Kim Feldman loves a good mystery as much as she loves dogs, Smith said.

"Whenever we get an animal mystery, which happens quite often, she loves to take those on," Smith said.

Feldman tracked the chip to the manufacturer, then to the Petland pet-store chain that had sold the chip in West Virginia.

Heartfelt reunion: Finally, Feldman found herself on the phone with an "ecstatic" Ronnie Jeffries, who drove from West Virginia Thursday to pick up his dog, Smith said.

"It was a very, very heartfelt reunion," she said. "That dog absolutely recognized him."

Roxy is now back home with Ronnie Jeffries, 63, and his wife, 58-year-old Dorothea Jeffries. The couple bought her as a puppy and had her for the next year and a half,

Dorothea Jeffries said. That's when she ran off.

"We were devastated when we lost her," she said. "We grieved and grieved. It's almost like losing one of your kids."

Roxy ran off in Baltimore a little more than two years ago while the Jeffrieses were there visiting family, Dorothea Jeffries said.

"We spent four days and nights searching for her," Dorothea Jeffries said -- knocking on doors, driving around, putting up fliers and offering a reward. They even hired a pet detective.

"We did everything possible," she said. "After six months, I gave up on getting her back."

'Total miracle': Dorothea Jeffries said she cried when they learned the good news.

"It's just a total miracle we got her back," she said.

As her husband was making the six-hour drive to York to retrieve their dog, Dorothea Jeffries said she worried that Roxy wouldn't be her same old self.

"But as soon as she saw me, it was like she'd never been gone," she said. "She knew she was home. She never forgot us."

Dorothea Jeffries said she always thought microchipping was "a money-making gimmick." She no longer feels that way.

"If it hadn't have been for that chip, we'd have never gotten Roxy back," she said. "I've been telling everybody about it. I would recommend to everybody to get those chips in their dogs."

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Coby, border collie

Lost Dog
by Susan Orlean, The New Yorker
February 14 & 21, 2005

On August 6, 2003, Stephen Morris parked his car at the Atlanta History Center, expecting to spend half an hour or so edifying himself and his nephew on the particulars of the Civil War. It was the beginning of what would turn out to be a very bad day. At the time, though, everything seemed fine. Morris, a sinewy guy in his fifties with a scramble of light-brown hair and the deliberative air of a non-practicing academic, was at work on his doctoral dissertation -- a biography of William Young, a seventeenth-century composer in the court of the Archduke of Innsbruck. Morris's teenage nephew was visiting from British Columbia, and Morris had taken a break to show him the highlights of Atlanta. Morris's wife, Beth Bell, a compact, gray-haired, dry-witted epidemiologist whose specialty is hepatitis, was at her job at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she is a senior investigator; that day, she was knee-deep in a disease outbreak among attendees of jam-band concerts.

Morris found parking at the History Center easily enough -- the open-air three-story garage is small but had plenty of available spaces. A sign above the entrance reads, "Help Us Keep Your Vehicle Safe While You Are Here. Please Remove All Valuables From Vehicle," but the History Center is in Buckhead, a prosperous, bosky section of the city where people and vehicles are generally out of harm's way. Morris and Bell's car -- a dinged-up but serviceable 1999 Volvo station wagon -- was not the sort to attract much attention anyway. The only noteworthy thing about the car was that Morris and Bell's dog, Coby -- a black Border collie with a false hip and a missing tooth -- was in it, and so was a rather nice viola da gamba that Morris was looking after in his capacity as a rental program director of the Viola da Gamba Society of America.

August 6th was a hot, soupy Wednesday in Atlanta. On Coby's behalf, Morris left the car in the History Center garage with its doors locked but with the engine running and the air-conditioner on -- a bit of animal husbandry that is not unheard of in Southern climates if you leave your dog in a parked car and don't want to return to find him cooked. Uncooked dog notwithstanding, an unoccupied but idling car in a relatively empty parking garage might present to a certain kind of person an irresistible temptation. But if anyone saw such a person in the vicinity, he didn't make an impression. Meanwhile, Morris and his nephew wandered through the cool, white halls of the museum, did a quick appraisal of the War Between the States, and then got ready to leave. At first, they thought they had misremembered where they'd parked the car, but after looking through the whole garage they came back to where they were sure they had left it. The Volvo, the viola da gamba, and the dog were gone. All that marked the spot was a glittering blue sprinkle of broken glass.

Around eighty cars are stolen in greater Atlanta every day -- a steady but not exceptional amount, putting the city's number of disappearing cars a little behind Houston's and a little ahead of Seattle's. Most of the thefts reward the perpetrator with, in addition to a car, nothing more than a couple of cassette tapes, some fast-food flotsam, and a clutch of exhausted air fresheners. Stephen Morris and Beth Bell's car, though, offered its unusual booty of dog and viola da gamba. The best guess is that the thief never even noticed; he was probably too excited about finding a car with a key in the ignition to take stock of its contents. Morris and Bell were upset about losing the viola da gamba -- it was a fine reproduction of a fifteenth-century instrument and worth thousands of dollars -- and they were not happy about losing their car, but those were trifling concerns compared with how they felt about losing their dog. In the report that Morris filed as soon as police arrived at the History Center, he didn't even mention the viola da gamba, but he brought up Coby's kidnapping a number of times.

Generally speaking, people love their dogs. Morris and Bell may be particularly devoted to Coby because they have nursed him through a variety of misadventures. They first spotted him at a sheepherding event nearly seven years ago when they were out bicycling in the Georgia countryside, but the breeder had promised the puppy to someone else, then decided that she wanted him for herself. Only after a day of negotiating did Coby end up with Morris and Bell. By the time he was two, he had full-blown dysplasia in his hips and needed a four-thousand-dollar surgery to replace one of them. At two and a half, he busted a tooth playing catch. Sometime later, he caught a stick wrong, and it jammed down his throat a few millimetres from his windpipe. Coby's vet likes to describe him as a dog with nine lives. In this life, anyway, Coby is a bushy-haired, prick-eared dog with tensed shoulders, an arresting stare, and an avid fetch-centric attitude. His dedication to retrieving bounceable rubber objects is so inexhaustible that it is exhausting. He has worn a deep, dusty path in Bell and Morris's yard between where they like to stand when they throw his Kong toy and where he likes to lie in wait for it. Morris has, thanks to Coby, developed a hot pitching arm and a firm way of saying, "That will do, Coby," when he runs out of steam.

So here was the problem: a dog on foot can travel at about five miles an hour, but a dog in a car can travel at sixty or seventy miles an hour. If Coby had jumped out of the car and walked away from the History Center, a perimeter of his possible whereabouts could have been plotted according to his likely pace. If he was still in the car -- well, there was no way of knowing where he might be. Within an hour or two, he could have been in Alabama or South Carolina or Tennessee. Epidemiological science was of some help. That evening, a number of Bell's C.D.C. colleagues joined Morris, who had set out to search the thirty-three acres of the History Center and the surrounding area. "We were in the hypothesis-generation stage of the investigation," Bell said recently. "We first developed the hypothesis that Coby might still be at the History Center." Bell advanced the theory that the guy who had taken the car did not want a dog, and that it was likely that as soon as he noticed Coby he let him out. Her secondary theory was that as soon as the thief broke the window to get in, Coby had escaped. Both theories led to the Tullie Smith Farm -- an antebellum homestead on the grounds of the History Center, where maidens in muslin churn butter and dip candles, and which, in the interest of total authenticity, also features a small herd of sheep. Border collies love sheep, so the crew of epidemiologists headed straight for the farm, and went there the next day, too. "We looked around and didn't see Coby, but we stopped everyone who passed us," one of the searchers told me. "We got some interesting responses. We approached one older woman and asked her if she had seen the dog, and she said no. Then she said that she had just lost her family and she asked us if we'd seen them." The search party hung some hastily made posters on light poles; they checked around trash cans and Dumpsters; they flagged down cars driving past on West Paces Ferry Road; they crisscrossed the History Center's Mary Howard Gilbert Memorial Quarry Garden and its Victorian Playhouse and its Swan Woods Trail. They searched until eleven on Wednesday, and most of the day Thursday, but there was no dog, and no sign of the dog.

In all sorts of circumstances, dogs go missing. They slip out the door with trick-or-treaters; they burrow under fences; they take off after unattainable squirrels and pigeons. Some dogs are repeat offenders. Recently, I heard the story of Huey and Dewey -- Shetland sheepdog siblings living in Massachusetts -- who took exception to a visit to the veterinarian and ran off. Huey was recovered a quarter mile from the clinic by a dog-search volunteer after forty-three days, but Dewey was gone for good. A year and a half after that, Huey took exception to a visit to a kennel and was found eighty-nine days later a few feet from where she'd escaped. Sometimes a dog, presumed irretrievable, unexpectedly reappears: a certain Doberman pinscher from San Francisco, capable of standing on its head, vanished for three years; his owner finally located him when she overheard a waiter in a restaurant discussing his roommate's new dog, a Doberman with a knack for standing on its head. According to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association, there are sixty-five million pet dogs in this country, and an estimated ten million of them go astray every year. About half of those are returned. Others end up in new homes under assumed names, or are killed by cars; most, though, disappear without a trace.

Dog-identification contraptions are a gigantic subset of the gigantic $34.3 billion-a-year pet-care industry. Aside from tags shaped like hearts and stars and hydrants in aluminum, gold, steel, and rhinestone, there is a brisk business in microchip tags -- grain-size data-bearing devices that are implanted under the skin between an animal's shoulder blades. Microchips were introduced in the early eighties; AVID Identification Systems, of Norco, California, one of the largest microchip companies in the world, now has more than eleven million pets in its international database, and HomeAgain, another major microchip supplier, has chips in close to three million. And GPS Tracks, a Jericho, New York-based company, will soon introduce the world's first global-positioning system for dogs -- a fist-size transmitter called a GlobalPetFinder, which will attach to the animal's collar and transmit its exact location every thirty seconds to a cell phone, computer, or a P.D.A. Before the device was even officially announced, the company had a waiting list of more than three thousand customers. "One night, it was pouring rain, my dogs had run away, the kids were hysterically crying, and I thought, This has to stop," Jennifer Durst, the founder and C.E.O. of GPS Tracks, said recently. "If they have Lo-Jack for cars, why can't there be a Lo-Dog for dogs?"

Coby, regrettably, had neither a microchip implant nor an early-release prototype of GlobalPetFinder. He wasn't even wearing his rabies tag, which is one more chance for an animal to be identified. Coby wears a nylon collar printed with his name and phone number and bearing his rabies tag, but Bell and Morris take it off every night so that Coby can sleep in the nude; that particular day, Morris hadn't put the collar on because he expected that the History Center trip would be brief and that Coby would be safely cosseted in the car. So the dog was now at large and anonymous, and everything that could identify him was at home, in a basket by the back door of Bell and Morris's sprawling split-level in Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta.

After Wednesday night's fruitless search, Bell decided that it was time to accelerate into an outbreak investigation -- that is, to apply the same techniques she uses when analyzing, say, a wave of contagion among methamphetamine users in Wyoming. She and Morris blast-faxed Atlanta-area animal shelters, local rescue groups, and nearby veterinarian offices. They listed Coby on many of the almost countless Internet lost-pet sites: PetFinder; Pets 911; Pets Missing in Action; FindFido; Petznjam; K9Finder; Dog Tracer; Lassie Come Home. They made hundreds of posters, and on Thursday hung them in high-volume, highly animal-sensitive areas like the parking lots of pet stores. They also hung them along Peachtree Road, which cuts diagonally through northeast Atlanta and is lined with the city's busiest restaurants and bars. Bell reasoned that it was one of the few places in Atlanta where people travel on foot -- in other words, at a speed allowing for a close reading of a lost-dog poster.

They got responses immediately. A woman in northern Gwinnett County, about an hour's drive away, called to say that she had found a dog loosely fitting Coby's description; Bell and Morris drove up to take a look, but he turned out to be a Border collie someone else had lost. A woman called from Alabama, but the dog she had found was a small white poodle. The phone kept ringing -- some of the calls reported dog-sightings, some offered advice, many were from people who had also lost dogs and just wanted to commiserate. Bell and Morris were also flooded with e-mails:

Hi, This is Amy. . . . I'm so sorry to hear about this tragedy.

Maybe the thieves put him out in Buckhead, but who knows? Wonder why the dog was left in a car on a HOT summer day??????

I'm sorry your dog is missing, what a sad story.

On Thursday and Friday, they visited animal shelters around Atlanta to make sure that Coby wasn't waiting among the errant terriers and golden retrievers in the urban pounds, or the pit bulls and hounds languishing in shelters out of town. Bell realized that it was also time to start checking with the city employee who was assigned the unpleasant task of cataloguing each day's roadkill. "When you're searching for something, you never know what you're going to find," she said recently. "But you do have to ask the question."

One other question was whether to look for help elsewhere. The cohort of people with lost pets is large and constantly renewed, and forms a significant and often free-spending market to be served. In fact, one of the best-known lost-pet detectives in the country, Sherlock Bones, got into the business on a price-per-pound basis. Fed up with a job in the insurance industry, Bones, whose civilian name is John Keane, decided to start his own business but wasn't sure what to pursue until he noticed an ad for a lost Chihuahua. Keane said that the ad was an epiphany. "There was a thousand-dollar reward for that Chihuahua," he told me recently. "I thought to myself, That's five hundred dollars a pound." Keane, who started Sherlock Bones twenty-nine years ago and now operates out of Washougal, Washington, works on about five hundred cases a year. He used to do ground searches but now limits his involvement to consulting and to producing materials -- primarily posters and mailers -- for bereft owners. "Doing actual searches was very stressful," he said. At the time we spoke, he was out for a morning walk with his own dog, a French briard, and he was puffing lightly as he talked. "You're dealing with people in crisis. It's a serious business, since after eight hours it is unlikely someone will find their pet themselves, unless they're very lucky. They need help from someone who has the right information. You don't go to a rabbi to learn how to play baseball." He specializes in dogs and cats. "I don't deal with infrequent animals," he said. "Although I did make up a poster for a lost llama once, named Fernando Llama."

Bell and Morris decided to call Bones on Monday if they hadn't had any success; they also got in touch with a volunteer dog searcher named Debbie Hall, a member of a loose community of people across the country who trace lost pets for free. Hall helped them redesign their flyer, suggesting that they describe their car as well as the dog, and sent them extensive recommendations -- eight long documents -- on pet searches. Hall and her husband live in southeastern Massachusetts with a Yorkie-Chihuahua mix, a Yorkie-poodle mix, and three parakeets, two of which they got as a gift and a third that is probably someone's lost pet, because it just showed up in their yard one day. An entire room in the Halls' house is taken up by pet-detective appurtenances -- a rack of camouflage clothes, a few Havahart traps, and half a dozen notebooks detailing her searches. Hall often stays out all night on cases. "It's a long-ass day," she explained, "but I love what I do. This is the one thing in my life that I'm good enough at to call my work." It has not been without its mishaps. She had a gun pulled on her while searching for a German shepherd in Virginia and once got trapped in her own six-foot Havahart trap. Worst of all, she has spent countless days mourning dogs that she found only after they had died. "It still hurts," she said, flipping to a page in her notebook about her first case -- Tia, a runaway Border collie who eventually was found drowned. "But I am always optimistic that you will find your dog."

Late Saturday night, three days after Coby had disappeared, Bell and Morris got a break. A young guy walking down Peachtree had noticed one of their posters, and called to say that a few days earlier he had been playing rugby in a park downtown and had seen a dog that looked like Coby. "He said a man had been walking around the park with the dog, saying someone had just dropped it off," Bell said.

First thing Sunday morning, Bell and Morris headed over to the park, a weary-looking plot of land in a hardluck section of the city known as Old Fourth Ward. At the nearby Tabernacle Baptist Church and Mount Sinai Baptist Church, services were just ending, so Bell and Morris stopped and asked if anyone there had seen the dog, but no one had. They walked down Boulevard, the wide road on the western edge of Old Fourth Ward, past men playing dice in minimart parking lots and loitering in front of signs saying, "Private Property Do Not Sit On Wall." They passed out flyers and asked after Coby. "My brother has that dog," one of the men told Bell. "If you give me two dollars, I'll go get him." Someone else said he'd played catch with the dog. Bell and Morris handed out more flyers. A young man took one, walked away, and then turned on his heel and came back to talk to them. He said that his name was Chris Walker and that he didn't know anything about the dog, but he did know something about their car: he had seen it near the park over the last few days, and he recognized the driver because they'd been in police detention together a few months earlier.

"This guy Chris was a true scientist," Bell said, admiringly. "He said there were only three other people released from detention with him. One was Egyptian, one was elderly, and the third was the car thief, and that all we needed to do was get the detention records, eliminate those other two, and we would end up with this guy's name." Walker insisted that they call the police right away, so that they could check his story. He waited with them for almost an hour until a cruiser responded, and was disgusted that the police didn't have a computer in the car that could review detention records on the spot. Walker was so determined to have his tip substantiated that he accompanied Bell and Morris to a nearby precinct house to see if a police officer there would pull up the records. The officer wouldn't oblige them but he did believe that Walker was telling the truth, and he suggested that Morris and Bell contact Midtown Blue, an organization of police officers who do security work when they're off duty, which he thought might help them. Morris and Bell gave Walker reward money, but he seemed more interested in making sure that they followed up on his tip. "It's a family curse," Walker's uncle Lee Harris told me when I visited him last summer. "We'll just bend over backward to help anyone in pain." Later that Sunday, after leaving Bell and Morris, Walker tangled with a police officer again, and on Monday, when he called Bell to find out if she'd found her car, he was calling from jail.

As astonishing as Walker's story seemed, Bell and Morris came to believe that he had indeed seen their car, and that, from what the rugby player who had called them from Peachtree had told them, the thief had let the dog out in the park. On a shallow slope near the playing fields, they talked to the homeless people who sleep there under a small stand of oak trees, and they all remembered Coby. Some of those same people were still in the park this summer when I went to Atlanta. It was another blistering day; someone was listlessly banging tennis balls against a wall, and muffled cheers and hollers from a soccer game at the far end of the park rose up in the heavy air. Under a cement pavilion in a sliver of shade, a man was sitting on a bench, plunking on a guitar held together with duct tape. He said that his name was Ben Macon, that he had lived in the park for ten years, and that he had spent several days during the previous summer with Coby, whom he described precisely, down to Coby's striking stare and predatory crouch while playing catch. "That dog was unbelievable," Macon said. "He was someone you could play with. He'd be your friend. You could tell he was a people dog." Macon strummed a little and then leaned on the guitar. "IfI had a place of my own, I'd like a dog like that. But people with dogs, those are people who have good jobs." He paused for a moment and then added, "A dog like that gives you a warm feeling. I miss him."

By mid-afternoon that Sunday, Bell and Morris had spent hours searching in the park and going up and down Boulevard, so they took a break from handing out flyers and hanging posters and went home to shower and eat. Their phone rang. A woman on the line said that on Saturday she and her partner had picked up a black male Border collie with no collar as he chased a tennis ball across Boulevard. They had had no luck finding his owner through rescue groups, and they were currently in their car with the dog on their way to the veterinarian because they had decided to keep him. But en route to the vet they had seen one of Bell and Morris's posters -- they had probably hung it no more than an hour before. The woman, Danielle Ross, suggested that Bell and Morris meet them at the vet's. When she got off the phone, Ross, who also works at the C.D.C. but had never met Bell, decided to say the name of the dog on the poster to the dog in her car. First she pronounced it "Cobbie," and the dog, who looked reasonably healthy but was totally exhausted, didn't lift his head. Then she tried another pronunciation -- "Cobee" -- and he sat up. By the time she and her partner, Debbie Doyle, and the dog arrived at the Pets Are People, Too clinic, she knew the dog was going home.

When Bell and Morris pulled into the parking lot, they could see the dog through the front window of the clinic, and they knew it was Coby. As exhausted as he was, he raced to meet them at the door. 


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mia, pitbull or mix

Volunteers reunite man, missing dog
Posted: Mar 09, 2010 11:11 PM EST

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Thanks to the help of volunteers, a 10-week-old puppy missing since last month has been reunited with her owner.

Mia has lost almost 20 pounds since she went missing. She is bruised and badly scraped, but is home.

Mia went missing on February 25 after falling out of a dog trailer driven by her trainer.

"He heard it, looked in his rear view mirror, saw it was open immediately pulled over to the side and saw she was gone," owner Greg Taylor recalled.

Mia's ride began on Arno Road in Williamson County and her trainer discovered her missing on Briley Parkway in Nashville. It was a lot of ground to cover.

"We started that Thursday night, we spent all night long," Taylor continued. "We covered every inch of the path."

Taylor told News 2 he didn't sleep for days. He made fliers, sent emails and with the help of volunteers, spent days searching.

Volunteers Judy Johnson and Lana Russell didn't give up and were still searching Tuesday afternoon.

Just as they were about to give up, the women decided to retrace the route where Mia was lost one more time.

It paid off. Mia was found near a fence along Briley Parkway between Clarksville Pike and White's Creek Pike.

After a quick phone call to Turner, who was just minutes away, man and best friend were reunited.

Taylor told News 2 he never lost faith that he would find Mia, adding, "I was determined that we would find her with God's help, and we did. He gave us a miracle. He gave us a miracle of people like [Johnson and Russell]."

(Johnson and Russell give their accounts of what happened here.)
Printer-friendly version here and video here

Monday, May 17, 2010

Biscuit, sharpei mix

Lost dog search incredible
By Linda Wilson Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Saturday, August 15, 2009

Biscuit, a sharpei mix, was reunited with the Cawley family after slipping out of his sitter's house in Brookline while the Cawley's were on vacation.

The sad face of a Chinese Shar-Pei/beagle mix named Biscuit adorned more than 1,500 "lost" fliers distributed in Brookline last month. After two weeks the dog's owners replaced them with fliers announcing that their dog was back home, thanks to the efforts of so many people whom they wish to thank.

On the "found" flier the yellowish-tan dog with the wrinkled forehead has that happy, open-mouth look that dog lovers describe as "smiling."

When a beloved pet goes missing "you just cannot describe the stress," said Joe Cawley, one of her owners.

He and his wife, Lori, along with friends and relatives, spent countless hours looking for her. But they didn't stop there.

They called three animal control agencies to report her missing and made regular call-backs to see if she had turned up. They repeatedly called local shelters, including the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society where Joy Kealy coordinates "lost and found" postings at

The Cawleys printed and distributed 1,500 fliers, and Brookline volunteers passed out several hundred more.

"We got at least 100 telephone calls, and we followed up on every lead," Mr. Cawley said. "Some called to express their concern. Some said their children were sleeping with Biscuit's picture. Many called to report where they had spotted Biscuit, and we'd immediately drive over there, but we never saw her."

Several people "dropped everything to look for our dog," Mr. Cawley said. "I can't believe there are people like that."

Biscuit ran from everyone who tried to help her.

Biscuit was a little puppy when the Cawleys adopted her four years ago from a Fayette County shelter. She is loving and affectionate with Joe, Lori, their 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son. Biscuit is shy around strangers.

There was another problem. Biscuit wasn't lost in her own neighborhood. A family friend in Brookline was pet sitting, several miles away from the Cawley residence. Biscuit is not shy with the friend and had stayed there before, but for some reason on this visit "she squeezed through the front gate and took off," Mr. Cawley said.

On Aug. 1, the Cawley family was scheduled to go to the Delaware beach for one week. They had paid a nonrefundable rental fee but just couldn't leave while Biscuit was out there. They stayed home to continue the search.

"By Aug. 4, I thought our chances of finding her were slim," Mr. Cawley said. "And the kids were upset so we thought it would be good to get them away from home. It was a tough family decision but we decided to take half of our vacation."

They went to the beach on Aug. 4.

On Aug. 6, Joan Benson saw a tannish yellow dog in the alley behind her Brookline home. She put out hot dogs and called the cell phone number on the flier. Joe Cawley picked up the call at the beach and called a Brookline volunteer who had been dog-searching every day.

When the volunteer got to Mrs. Benson's house, the dog bolted. The volunteer ran after her, waving a leash and collar. Two blocks later she was flagged down by Madeline Huff and her grandson, Zachary, 11.

"I told her there was a tan dog lying in the bushes, and Zachary was sure it was Biscuit," Mrs. Huff said. The volunteer handed them the collar and leash and Mrs. Huff caught Biscuit-- just two blocks away from the pet sitter's house.

Mrs. Cawley's parents, Kenneth and Dianne Awenowicz, picked up Biscuit and took her to the Cawleys' house. Mrs. Cawley flew home that night and took Biscuit to the veterinarian the next day. The 45-pound dog was fine, although she had lost seven pounds.

Mrs. Cawley flew back to the beach on Aug. 7, while her parents stayed with Biscuit. The Cawley family came home on Aug. 9.

"It was a fantastic, happy reunion," Mr. Cawley said. "Biscuit went berserk. She usually is not vocal, but she was yelping and crying. It was very dramatic. The children are very happy."

As a detective with the Allegheny County Police Department, "I arrest a lot of bad guys," said Mr. Cawley, asking that the names of his children and the town they live in be left out of this column.

Joe and Lori Cawley appreciate the kindness of the many strangers who helped find Biscuit, and they hope the steps they took can be used by other people when pets go missing.

Some of the Brookline residents who searched for Biscuit are members of local e-mail lists -- TrackAPet-Pittsburgh and PghDogs. Both post information about lost pets. Go to to learn more or to join.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Skipper, papillion

A doggone good story
Family reunited with runaway canine
Dawn Castro, The Valdosta Daily Times
March 30, 2010

VALDOSTA — A family traveling from Bradenton, Fla., to a cabin in North Carolina earlier this month did not realize they had left their beloved pet behind after a gas stop.

Carol Dimsdale holds Skipper, a dog she helped reunite with a Florida family after the dog jumped out of the family's mini-van in Lake Park.

On March 19, the mother, her four children and the child of a family friend were in a small mini-van with their Papillon, Skipper, tucked safely away in the back. They stopped in Lake Park to get gas, not knowing Skipper jumped out of an open rear door.

As good fortune would have it, Carol Dimsdale of Jacksonville, Fla., was traveling to Valdosta to be by her father’s side during his heart surgery.

“I stopped to get gas in Lake Park and saw a gorgeous black-and-white, very fluffy dog trotting around all the cars,” she said. “The dog was well-groomed, gentle as a lamb and had on a collar.”

Dimsdale picked up the dog, went into the store and inquired if anyone saw anything or came in looking for the dog. She said the store clerk told her that the dog had been wandering around, among the traffic for about 15 minutes.

Dimsdale put the dog in her car and looked for information on his collar. She called the number on the collar, but no one answered.

“I was trying to devise my plan of what I was going to do with my new furry passenger,” she said. She called her daughter, who used the Internet to search veterinary hospitals in Valdosta. The search turned up Baytree Animal Hospital.

Unfamiliar with the area, Dimsdale picked up her two brothers, who were at South Georgia Medical Center with their dad, and the three of them went on a hunt for the veterinary hospital. When she arrived, Baytree Animal Hospital staff members were waiting for her.

“They told me my daughter had already called them and explained the situation,” Dimsdale said. “The staff was so wonderful and the facility was really nice.”

The dog was scanned for a microchip, but he did not have one. Dimsdale was told they could board the dog, but he had to be vaccinated first. She told them she would be back Monday morning to pick him up.

When Dimsdale and her brothers got back to SGMC to be with their dad, they started searching the Internet, trying to locate Skipper’s family. The search brought up a name, address and another phone number, but there was no answer at that one either.

They did property searches, hoping to find at least a neighbor or two so the owners could be alerted about Skipper.

“We just put in random house numbers on that street and called the phone numbers that came up,” Dimsdale said. “On about the fifth one, I got an answer. I asked the woman if she had a neighbor who owns a dog with the description I gave, and she said, Yes.”

It turned out Skipper lived across the street from the woman on the phone. The woman’s husband went to the house and rang the doorbell, but no one came to the door. The couple said they knew where the man of the house worked, so they called him on the job. He told them his family and Skipper went out of town for spring break. He contacted his wife, who was then north of Atlanta, and gave her Dimsdale’s number.

Dimsdale said she had no idea that the dots were being connected as she waited with her phone in hand for some good news.

As she sat by her father’s side with her mind in two places, Dimsdale finally got the call she was hoping to get.

“The owner called me and said, Skipper is in the van, and I told her, No. In fact, he is at Baytree Animal Hospital in Valdosta, Ga.,” said Dimsdale. “Needless to say, she was speechless.”

The owner thought Skipper was snuggled into his favorite spot in the back of the van.

Dimsdale said she could hear what sounded like a little boy in the background saying, “Mom, here’s Skipper’s leash.”

Rather than turn around to retrieve Skipper, the owner’s husband said he would make the drive from Bradenton to Valdosta. The woman and five children continued their roadtrip to the mountains in North Carolina.

“I’ve made some friends out of this ordeal,” Dimsdale said, “with Skipper’s family and the very concerned neighbors who tracked down the husband for me. Skipper’s family even called to check on my dad after his surgery and said they had been praying for him.”

Dimsdale said she called Baytree Animal Hospital when she made it back to Jacksonville to see if Skipper had been picked up. The staff member told her the male owner had picked up Skipper on Saturday morning for the journey back to Bradenton.

Dimsdale said she’s hoping to travel to Bradenton one day with her own two dogs to meet Skipper’s family and his wonderful neighbors.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Regis, standard poodle

Runaway dog, owner reunited
by Steve Wiandt, Reporter
April 11, 2010

Although Regis the Runaway Dog sounds like a storybook character, he's real -- except he's no longer a runaway. Regis is home safe and sound.

Teri Gibson and her son, Sonny, are glad to be reunited with their dog, Regis, after he ran away and lived outside on his own for 10 days. Gibson said it was a “miracle” that they found him unharmed.

After spending 10 days on his own roaming around the high-traffic area of State Route 8 and Graham Road, Regis returned to his owner, Teri Gibson of Tallmadge, who didn't know if she was ever going see her chocolate standard poodle again.

Gibson and her fiancé, Nick Pierson, were among many people looking for Regis, who will turn 3 in May. Pierson's mother, Peggy Lee of Cuyahoga Falls, looked for Regis every day while Pierson, Gibson and Gibson's 6-year-old son, Sonny, were away on vacation. Many members of Pierson's family joined in the search, including his sister, Dawn Wilson of Tallmadge, who searched for Regis on her lunch hour every day he was missing.

Regis began his wayward journey the evening of March 12 when Lee brought him to her home on Notre Dame Avenue in the Falls with Gibson's two other standard poodles to dog-sit them while their owner was away. Before Lee could get Regis into her house, he broke his collar and ran away. The other two dogs went into the house without a struggle.

"He must have had separation anxiety," Gibson said. "He never ran away before." Gibson said Regis had a name tag and a microchip on his collar, but the collar fell off when it snapped in two. Gibson and Pierson delayed their trip to Orlando for a day to look for Regis, but couldn't find him.

Gibson's parents, Sylvia and Don "Sonny" Kling of Tallmadge, were also among the many people who tirelessly searched for the rambling canine. Mrs. Kling said she saw Regis several times, even as far as two miles north of Graham Road on Hudson Drive, but he never came to her when she called him.

"He acted the way lost dogs act -- he was scared," Mrs. Kling said.

Gibson said she is thankful for the help of the Silver Lake, Cuyahoga Falls and Stow police departments and their dispatchers who fielded calls from people who spotted her dog. Falls Community Service Officer Kenny Johnson said the Falls Police got a lot of calls from concerned citizens, adding that most of the sightings took place at night.

"Everybody got involved in the search," Johnson said. "Thank God he was OK."

Many callers were worried the animal was going to get hit by a car. One Silver Lake Police officer actually saw the dog get clipped by a pickup truck and then run away. Ptl. Amy Brauning said she went off duty at 3 a.m. March 19 and was getting on Route 8 at Graham Road after stopping at a store when she saw a "big, black blur" run across the on-ramp in front of her, but up ahead.

"I wasn't close to him, but I could see he was absolutely huge," Brauning said. "I knew it wasn't a deer, but some kind of big dog. Being a dog lover I pulled over." Brauning said she got out of her vehicle and called to the dog, but he acted scared and didn't come to her, instead running south into Stow on the northbound side of Route 8.

The dog wasn't hurt from its encounter with the truck, Brauning said.

Regis had a regular schedule as he traveled along Graham Road, Brauning said, and stopped at the same restaurants at the same time every night. The dog lived off of food scraps he dug out of trash cans or found in doggy bags left out for him, she said. Although he didn't go hungry, he still lost weight while he was on his own, Gibson said.

Gibson said that after spending seven "miserable" days at Disney World she, Pierson and Sonny drove all day March 21 to get home, and then rejoined the search party with practically no sleep. Pierson, she said, was out all night and fell asleep in a park where two Falls officers found him and helped him on his way.

Regis was reunited with Gibson the following evening, March 22. Brauning was sitting in her cruiser at Crystal Lake when two women from Kent stopped and told her they saw a big stray dog along Graham Road. Brauning said she knew Gibson and her son were nearby and called her cell phone.

With Brauning's help, Gibson found Regis near the northbound on-ramp of Route 8. Holding her dog again was an unforgettable moment for Gibson.

"It was like a scene out of a movie," Gibson said. "When Regis heard my voice, he came running and jumped on me, crying and howling like a big baby. He was so happy to see us."

While at Disney World, Gibson said she and her son threw a penny in every fountain or wishing well they saw and said a prayer that they would get Regis back safe and sound.

"We did a lot of praying," she said. "It must have paid off, because this is a miracle. This is a happy-ending story."

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Maya, Siberian huskey

Real life pet detectives: Web-biz uses Amber-style alerts to find Fido
BY Phyllis Furman, Daily News Staff Writer
Monday, November 23rd 2009, 4:00 AM

When their beloved Siberian husky Maya slipped out the door and wandered off two months ago, Destiny and Marquis Rosado drove around their Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, neighborhood all night looking for her.

The next day, with Maya still on the loose, the couple stumbled on a new way to look for lost pets.

The Rosado family (Olivia, Marquis, Tristan and Destiny) of Brooklyn was thrilled when helped return their dog, Maya

A worker at a nearby Petco store recommended, an automated telephone service that can quickly identify and call neighbors to say a pet is missing and asks them to report any sightings.

The Rosados paid $175 to alert 1,275 people in the surrounding blocks that their black and white, blue-eyed husky was missing. Within two hours they got the call they’d prayed for: Maya was found.

“For someone you love, money is no object,” said Destiny Rosado, a 29-year-old dental assistant. “She is part of the family.”

Founded two years ago, FindToto has reunited 2,000 cats, dogs, birds and even a wallaby and goat with their owners nationwide. The critter-tracking service charges from $70 to call 250 homes to $875 to reach 10,000 homes. It claims a 70% success rate.

The idea to launch a pet-finding service came to founder Dustin Sterlino, a Brentwood, Calif., entrepreneur, after his own cat, Cutie McPretty, went missing, never to be found.

“Think of us as an Amber Alert for missing pets,” FindToto spokeswoman Colleen Busch said. “It takes us 15 minutes to call 1,000 of your neighbors.”

The calls are 30-second messages that begin, “This is a lost pet alert,” and include a description of the animal, the owner’s contact info and a Web address with pictures and additional details.

Calls go to landlines, but not to unlisted or mobile numbers. Because nothing is being sold, calls are not restricted by the federal Do Not Call registry.

FindToto has raised its profile by offering its services free to celebrities. The paw trackers recently tried to help Jessica Simpson track down her dog Daisy after she saw it snatched by a coyote. Daisy wasn’t found. Two other celebs had better luck: one-time “Baywatch” star Brooke Burns was reunited with her dog, Max, and Victoria’s Secret vixen Alessandra Ambrosio welcomed back her Maltese terrier, Buddha.

In Park Slope, Brooklyn, a heartbroken Christina Renzi, a 31-year-old quality control analyst at, paid $300 for the service when her brown and black cat Baby recently ran away.

As it turned out, Renzi and Baby were reunited an old-fashioned way: A neighbor who’d seen a cat under a stoop spotted a flyer Renzi had posted with a picture.

Even so, Renzi said she’d recommend FindToto. “This allowed me to reach out to a large number of people I couldn’t have found myself. It is for someone who wants to exhaust every option.”


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Frankie, Boston Terrier

Microchip helps U.S. family reunite with lost dog after four months of searching
By Pat Curry and John Keilman, MCT
May 11, 2010

CHICAGO - Thanks to a microchip and a Wheeling, Ill., man who loves dogs, a Michigan farm family has been reunited with their 3-year-old Boston terrier Frankie who ran away four months ago.

Frankie, a dog from Battle Creek, Mich. missing since January, reunited with owner Denise Shepard in Wheeling, Ill. on May 11, 2010.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Shepard family arrived at the Wheeling Animal Hospital and Pet Resort - 200 miles from their home - for a joyous reunion with Frankie.

The 20-pound dog let out a howl when he saw Denise Shepard - and she howled right back. "This is like finding a lost child to us," Shepard said.

"My husband Joe was outside with Frankie and Xena, our Rottweiler, and it was like one minute he wasn't watching that when he turned around and both were gone," Shepherd said. "Xena came back that night, but not Frankie.

"Joe ran ads, contacted vets within a 50-mile radius, put up plywood signs, everything. But no sign," Denise said. "I never gave up hope. Everyone should have their dog micro-chipped. We probably never would have seen this day if we hadn't done that."

Mark Feldstein was returning to his Wheeling home from his niece's graduation around 1 a.m. this past Sunday when he spotted Frankie as he was getting out of the car.

"Here's this dog sitting there just looking at me. He looked so friendly, and he actually looked healthy. He followed me right up to my house. He followed me everywhere," Feldstein said.

Feldstein, who has two dogs of his own, describes himself as an animal lover. He said he called police right away but got voicemail.

"So I went to the police station and talked to the desk sergeant. I asked if they would put the dog to sleep if no one adopted him, and was told it was always a possibility.

"I thought, over my dead body," Feldstein said. "In fact, I was thinking if he wasn't claimed, I or my girlfriend would adopt him and name him 'Lost.' He was a real sweetie."

As he followed police to the Wheeling animal hospital, he asked officers not to put Frankie in a cage.

On Monday morning Feldstein, his girlfriend and best friend went to visit the dog and were told Frankie had a microchip under his skin that connected him to the Shepherds in Battle Creek, Mich.

"It blew me away," Feldstein said. "I'm asking him, the dog, how did you get here?"

Denise Shepard wants to know as well, but is just delighted that Frankie was found.

The staff told her he was healthy, she said. "So I know someone took good care of him, and now I get to see him. I hope he remembers me."

It was rough not only on the family, but on Xena as well, according to Shepard.

"She moped for weeks. Especially the first month. She'd wander around like she was lost. But when I found out yesterday, I called everyone I knew. I even told our chihuahua, Raffy, and she just started wagging her tail. I freaked my husband out because by the time he called me back, I'd already left eight messages." Shepard said.

On Tuesday afternoon, she said she "just kept praying for (Frankie) and here he is."

The Shepards - who have six acres of unfenced land - will be taking him back to Battle Creek. "I think we're going to put a fence in the backyard now."

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cookie, maltese

Dognapped ‘Cookie’ returned to owner
By David Hayes
October 22, 2008

The hallways at the Issaquah Police Department were a little noisy today with the excited sounds of a yipping dog. Employees were willing to tolerate the distraction, however. It’s not often a stolen dog is reunited with its owner.

Cookie, a 1-year-old Maltese, poses for the camera before heading home with her reunited owner, Mark.

Cookie, a 1-year-old Maltese was returned to her owner Mark, of Bellevue, (who was only willing to provide his first name for fear of retaliation from the thieves should they learn his full identity.) He said it was actually hard to decide who was more excited.“It took her about five seconds when they brought her out,” Mark said. “First, she sniffed me, unsure, then recognized me, then wouldn’t stop yipping.”

Amazingly, the reunion came more than two months after Cookie was stolen. Thanks to some vigilant employees at the Sammamish Club and detective work by Issaquah police, Mark and Cookie were reunited.

The Sammamish Club, 2115 N.W. Poplar Way, has been experiencing an increase in car prowls in the past few months, according to Cmdr. Stan Conrad.

On Sept. 11, Mark’s car and another were broken into. Inside was Cookie in her carrier cage. Mark was devastated to lose essentially the only family he had left. He said his wife had died a little over year ago and Cookie was like a child to him.

“You feel just, like, losing direction. It was a pretty deep loss,” Mark said, struggling to find the right words. “It’s hard to understand why anyone would do something like that. It’s just like kidnapping.”

Because the private athletic club had been having so many problems, Conrad said employees began to be more vigilant for visitors who appeared out of place. Such was the case today.

“They saw a suspect casing vehicles and actually tried to catch him themselves, but then called us,” Conrad said.

A quick response by Issaquah police led to the suspect being apprehended just down the road from Sammamish Club. He was charged with reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, possession of marijuana and possession of tools used for break-ins, Conrad said.

Facing the four misdemeanor charges, the suspect admitted knowing the location of the stolen dog.

“He wouldn’t actually admit to taking the dog,” Conrad said.

Detectives then went to the Bellevue home the suspect told them about and did indeed find Cookie.

“It’s rare to find stolen property, much less a stolen dog,” Conrad said.

Unfortunately, the homeowners were an innocent third party who paid for stolen property, he said. So, they were out both their money and their new dog.

Cookie was brought back to Issaquah and Mark was called. They were reunited shortly after 3 p.m.

“It’s hard to describe my emotions,” said Mark. “I’m going to take her to the vet for a checkup, then we’re going to catch up. So, I’d say I’m a little more than excited.”

The reunion was a present for Cookie, too. Yesterday was her first birthday.

“You feel just, like, losing direction. It was a pretty deep loss. It’s hard to understand why anyone would do something like that. It’s just like kidnapping.” — Mark
Cookie’s owner


Monday, May 10, 2010

Keinai, black lab

Happy reunion: Dog limps home after going missing for more than a month
By Joseph Robertia | Peninsula Clarion
Sunday, April 04, 2010

The bond between humans and their pets is strong one, as proven by a locally-known dog named Kenai. Gone missing more than a month, he'd lost a third of his body weight and part of one paw during his lonely attempt to hobble home.

"He was skin and bones, and very, very dehydrated," said his owner, Colin Lowe of Cooper Landing, when he first got his dog back late last month.

Colin Lowe of Cooper Landing, poses with his black Labrador named Kenai, who was missing for more than 30 days after disappearing near the Russian River Ferry area, but recently found his way home. The dog had a severely injured paw when found.

The dog first went missing on Feb. 20, while hiking with Lowe and his family in the Russian River area, near Cooper Landing.

"We were walking around the ferry area when Kenai took off," Lowe said, referring to his 6-year old black Labrador -- a hefty 110-pound male.

"It wasn't that unusual at first," Lowe added. "He usually explores a little, then comes back, but this day he didn't come back."

Lowe and his family became worried, as minutes turned into hours, and eventually hours turned into days and weeks.

"We went back daily," he said. "We would call and search for him. We even made a search grid of the old camping area. We were very broken up about the whole thing."

Lowe and his family pursued all the usual channels for attempting to find a lost dog. He posted the dog on several Web sites and radio programs for lost pets, and regularly called animal shelters in Kenai, Soldotna, Anchorage and Wasilla.

"We even called the UPS driver in this area to keep an eye out for him," Lowe said.

Finally, after 35 days missing, the Lowe's phone rang. On the other end was Anchorage resident Robert Heavlin, who was calling to say he had picked up a skinny dog along the Sterling Highway on his drive home from Soldotna.

"He called the number on Kenai's tag," Lowe said. "He had picked him up about 3/4 of a mile from the ferry, after seeing him limping down the road."

Lowe and his family immediately drove to meet Heavlin and reunite with Kenai.

"We were ecstatic. My wife was in tears," he said.

But when the family got there, they barely recognized Kenai as the same animal they knew a month earlier.

"I'm not sure how much longer he would have made it," Lowe said.

They quickly rushed Kenai to a veterinarian, where it was determined the dog had lost 45 pounds. But more critically, the dog had lost several toes and roughly half of his left paw.

"There's no way it's frostbite or from another animal's bite," Lowe said.

As an experienced woodsman and the owner of the Kenai Cache Outfitters in Cooper Landing, he recognized the tell-tale signs of the dog's injury.

"The type of wound that it is, the chop is so lean -- like his foot was in a paper cutter -- I think it had to be a caused by a trap," he said.

While many trappers would consider leaving a trap unchecked for more than 30 days unethical, the State of Alaska does not require trappers to check their traps regularly. However, in this area of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, all leghold traps must be checked at least every four days.

This is not an isolated incident. In 2007, approximately half a mile upstream from the Russian River Ferry crossing, troopers found the carcass of an adult black bear, dead for at least two days, that had been caught in a trapper's snare set for wolf or coyote two months after trapping season had closed.

Lowe said once reunited with Kenai, he tried to track the bloody paw prints back to a trap, to alert authorities if it was set illegally, but a fresh snowfall complicated his efforts.

Since returning home, Kenai is slowly putting on weight and the Lowes are still working with veterinarians to save the rest of his paw.

"He's on antibiotics and bed rest," Lowe said. "We want to keep him immobilized so that it can heal. He wears a bandage and plastic bag over it when he walks around."

For years, Kenai has accompanied Lowe to work at the outfitting business. As a result the dog has made many friends.

"He's a celebrity around here," Lowe said. "Everybody knows him, and there's Internet sites and blogs about him. He doesn't even eat dog food in summer -- he doesn't have to, people cook him steaks."

As such, many people have come to wish him well upon hearing of his return.

"He's received several calls, e-mails and doggy treats since he's been home" Lowe said. "Everyone's happy he's back, he's happy he's back and we're happy to have him back."