Friday, July 18, 2014

Nekita, husky mix

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

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

Nekita never came back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“They work miracles.”

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

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

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

Villeneuve lists success stories like so many memories.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Donald's Story
July 8th, 2014

Donald started out at a high kill shelter on the put to sleep list (all dogs are on the pts list there) when a wonderful rescue stepped in to save him.

He was put on the transport van, labeled as a flight risk, which traveled from SC to DE on Saturday, 6/28.

Donald - before, during and after trapping
Once he arrived, he was placed into the backseat of a car to head to his overnight stop.  An inexperienced volunteer opened the car door, with Donald in the back, and that is when he made his escape.  People took off after him, but he was off into waist high weeds.

Later that night a search was on for him, with a dog friendly dog (since he loves dogs), but it was getting dark and the ticks were everywhere.  The search was called off.

The following morning at 8:30am, 6/29 Donald was spotted in the same spot where he escaped from the night before. But took off once he saw people.

A trap was borrowed from a local rescue, a trail was set up with food to lead him back to the area he escaped, and to lure him near the trap.  It was baited with food and left set up overnight in hopes of catching him.

That same day 6/29, two volunteers spent over three hours in the woods looking for him, and spotted him with on the top of the hill far away.  The pink slip lead is what allowed the volunteers to spot him in all the green.

Another volunteer traveled from NJ set up a camera, donated two cases of dog food and supplied the two volunteers with 200 large posters with protective covers to hang and tons of hand out posters.  The volunteer from NJ also spent hours waiting on Donald, but he never showed up.

On 6/30 at 7am Donald was spotted in the same spot as he was previously seen, but didn't go into the trap.

The food was changed and later that day the area was blanketed with the posters. Neighborhoods were walked and people were told of Donald's escape by the three volunteers.  The trap was checked three times before it got dark; no Donald.  The clock was ticking.  Fourth of July was just around the corner and the fear was that the fireworks would scare him from his spot.

The plan for the next day, 7/1 was to change the food again, but this time with freshly cooked fatty bacon including the grease, and KFC honey BBQ tenders due to the pungent smell.  Since Donald's feeding time at the shelter was 7:30, the idea was to place the food a couple of hours before his normal feeding so it would be fresh when he came to eat.  Another trapper said that dogs usually come out at dawn and dusk so the plan was changed to dawn.

Dawn the next day, 7/1, was at 5am. So the KFC was purchased the night before, the bacon was cooked the following morning at 3:30am, and the KFC was heated to bring out the aroma.  Both items were packed up and by 4am, two volunteers were at the trap.

Since it was dark when the volunteers arrived, the headlights were pointed in the area of the trap.  As the volunteer's approached the trap, they could see the trap door was down.  At that moment they knew something was in the trap.  Further into the weeds, suddenly barking!

It was Donald!  He was super scared, but safe.

A call was made to a volunteer with a SUV to transport Donald. Another volunteer was called to help lift the trap with Donald in it.  Trappers warned the volunteers never take a trapped dog out of the trap at the spot they were caught.  If they escaped again, the chances of them being trapped again are very slim.  The dog should be taken in the trap to a safe place and then taken out of the trap.  When the two additional volunteers arrived, Donald was loaded into the SUV and escorted via caravan style to a volunteer's house.

The SUV was pulled into the garage where Donald was safely taken out.  Donald was scared and very thirsty.  He was taken to his own room, put in a large crate with fresh bedding, food and a lot of water.  The volunteer stayed with him downstairs as emails & texts were sent out that he was safe.

Later that day he was bathed, had over 300 ticks removed from his body, played with some of the volunteers dogs and was taken to his temporary foster home until he can join the transport next weekend. He will then, finally make it to his rescue.

So many people were involved in his recovery.All the advice given made the difference in his safe capture.

Donald's normal life can now begin!