Missing Dog, Rollercoaster of Emotions - Part 2
Then, it happened. She trotted into my arms. I was filled with happiness and disbelieve. We had finally found her. All this time she was simply waiting for a familiar face. Waiting for us to find her and bring her home. To the only home where she received the love she deserved…the shelter.
We finally had Iree safe in our arms. We drove back to the shelter where the veterinarian was waiting to exam her. As she stepped out of the car, excited shelter workers came to greet us. Everyone was ecstatic with the news of her recovery. Her weight was down to 56 lbs., about 20 lbs. lighter than where she should be, she was covered in ticks, and had numerous scraps. The biggest concern was frostbite, but she looked good, much better than the vet had imagined. I didn’t have the heart to leave this extremely exhausted girl at the stress filled shelter, so yes, she came to my home. I was feeling very protective and didn’t want to let her out of my sight.
After a quiet night, much of it removing ticks, we went back to the shelter for a nice bath to wash away her collection of dirt and germs. The vet prescribed an antibiotic assuming she had been exposed to Lyme disease, which is very common in this part of the country.
After keeping her quiet and comfortable for a couple days, it was time to introduce Iree to the rest of the pack. She had never lived with dogs before, so she was excited and slightly overwhelmed. It has now been 6 days at home and she’s gaining weight and gets along fabulously with the resident dogs and entire family; with the exception of our two cockatiels. Iree is not allowed unattended in view of the birds, as her natural prey drive is higher than the other dogs in the home.
Soon, Iree will be moving on to her new, forever home. A home where a loving family will give her the patience she needs to slowly bond to new people; a home where she will feel safe and not go in search of a familiar face. I will miss her dearly and she will always have a special place in my heart.
Important things to do when searching for a missing dog:
1) Make 100+ of flyers with a general description, phone number, and photo if possible.
2) Place flyers in protective sleeves upside down to keep rain from ruining them.
3) Using a staple gun - place flyers on every other telephone pole within a 3 mile radius of where the dog was lost. This will help to get the community involved in the search and get real time sightings.
4) Enlist volunteers to help you with the flyer postings. Have the volunteers bring a friendly dog, treats and leash/slip lead with them in case they run into the lost dog while hanging flyers.
5) When you get a sighting -- go to the site. Bring a slip lead and a friendly dog with you on a long lead. Scared dogs are much more likely to approach another dog than a human.
6) If you see the dog, sit down and try to lure him in with the other dog. Do not look directly at the dog or chase the dog. Make sure the volunteers know not to chase the dog as well.
7) Let the dog come to you. You might even walk away from the dog and try to get him to follow you to your vehicle (leave your car door open). Have yummy food already open and waiting in the car. Have your dog jump in to the car. Step away from the car entrance and see if the lost dog will follow your dog into the car.
8) Feed your dog treats (hot dogs work well), then try to offer the scared dog the same treats. Toss them casually on the ground -- still not looking directly at the dog.
9) If you still are not able to get close enough to catch the dog -- leave a bowl of food out for the dog; wet dog or cat food. Leave or go sit in your car for a while. You want the dog to stay in the same area, so leaving without scaring or chasing him is better than trying to force him to come with you.
10) If you can get the dog used to being fed in the same area, then place a live trap in that area with something really delicious inside (tuna fish - hot dogs - meatballs). Live traps should always be placed in an out of the way area (under a tree, in the brush) not out in the open. Live trap should be covered with a dark blanket/tarp and blankets should be placed inside the trap as well.
Generally dogs get tired of running and settle in one area. That is when they get caught, so be patient.