Sheltie back home after more than a month of searching ends in live trap baited with chicken
By Justin Glawe of the Journal Star
Aug 18, 2011
PEKIN — After more than a month of sightings, stakeouts and a Kentucky Fried Chicken lure, Dwight and Connie Morgan finally have their dog back.
Judith Schmider of Groveland, who owns Aunt Jude’s Pampered Pet Care, reunited Cheyenne, a skittish 3-year-old Sheltie, with the Morgans.
Cheyenne was found in a humane animal trap about 7 a.m. Wednesday, a month and three days after disappearing.
“I’m just a pet lover. I was never going to quit, this is like a child to me,” Schmider said.
Dwight Morgan, 80, of Morton is happy Cheyenne is finally home and back to her habit of waking him up every day at 5:30 a.m.
“When we let her out of that cage in my backyard, she jumped almost three feet in the air to get to me,” Morgan said. “She’s been at my feet ever since.”
The Morgans left Cheyenne with Schmider to attend a family reunion in Florida.
“Usually, we leave her with a family member, but all our family was down there,” Morgan said. “The next reunion is going to be in the Peoria area.”
The dog’s stay with Schmider didn’t last long. Shortly after taking possession of the dog, Schmider pulled into her garage and let Cheyenne out of the car without realizing the garage door was still partly open. The dog bolted through the opening and began its monthlong hiatus.
After more than 50 sightings, according to Schmider, she and other searchers were at wit’s end until they talked to Annette Long, 72, of Normal, at Central Illinois Sheltie Rescue in Bloomington.
“You’ve got to use K Fried Chicken because of the odor. Dogs are drawn to it,” Long said Thursday. “And it’s just common sense to use a live trap.”
The trap was provided by Tazewell County Animal Control. The Kentucky Fried Chicken was provided by Schmider.
“Something kept telling me we were going to get her,” she said. “So, all day Tuesday, every two hours I would put a fresh piece of chicken in the trap.”
Early the next day, Schmider arrived to find the door of the trap closed.
“At first, I thought it was a small animal in there,” she said. “When I saw it was her, I fell to my knees sobbing.”
Cheyenne is believed to have survived on scraps from area restaurants as well as the food being left out by Schmider. The dog was taken to a local veterinarian who found that she had lost three pounds, had fleas and bruised paws and was, of course, very dirty.
Dwight Morgan praised Schmider.
“This lady put up signs all over the place, and we had nine or 10 people that said they spotted her and I’m sure more than that called in,” Morgan said. “When she (Schmider) found her, she was crying, she was just so elated that she had finally found her.”
“We’re going to have a welcome home party for her,” Schmider said. “There’s so many people that helped out and they want to get a chance to finally pet this dog.”