How Are We Doing? Year to Date November 2014


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Where Could They Be?


10414408_10152656312201241_8719763296687688633_nAs the year draws to a close we are going to ask you to click on this link and to look through our 2014 Lost Dogs Album one more time. Although we have had an incredibly successful year (over 1900 reunions so far) we have many dogs that we are still searching for.

Where are they? In this blog post we’ll take a wild stab at our best guess (based on what we have learned over the last four years).

A small percentage of the still missing dogs are probably sadly deceased. BUT, we do know that a body is usually found and we encourage all owners to not give up unless they have confirmed physical evidence that their dog is deceased.  By far and away, our largest single cause of death is dogs that have been hit by a car (usually when they are being called or chased by well-meaning but misinformed citizens who do not know that you should never chase or call a scared lost dog). Our next most common cause of death is being hit by a train. Scared lost dogs will use the path of least resistance, and railroad tracks often provide a convenient route of travel between their hiding places and food sources. Unfortunately, some dogs are killed when the train comes, but again, a body is almost always found.  Our third most common cause of death is drowning; either by falling through thin ice, or by making a poor decision and bolting towards a body of water.  Lost dogs that are not being chased, approached or pressured  will make wise decisions and may survive indefinitely.  Dogs that are being pressured or pursued will make poor decisions and may meet an untimely end.

Many people fear that their dog has been eaten or killed by coyotes. We do not find this to be common and very few of our deceased dogs have evidence of being killed by a predator.  Is it impossible? No. But dog/coyote altercations are almost always territorial (the dog is defending his yard or his territory) and scared, lost dogs are not territorial. They will defer to a larger predator.  Lost dogs simply want to survive - so they need to do three things – they will hide from predators (including man) and they will spend their time sleeping and travelling between their food sources and hiding places.   If a dog is killed by a larger predator – the body will usually be found. Predators do not tend to eat other predators and all members of the canine family are predators.

Where are the other still missing dogs? Some are still “out there” as described above. Scared and living in “survival mode”, these dogs may be rarely seen because they have become so adept at hiding and may be mostly nocturnal.  Eventually they will  start to hang around one or more reliable food sources (often a farm that is leaving food out for outdoor cats).  If they are left alone they will become more domesticated and may be seen during daylight hours or even attempting to play with neighborhood dogs or farm dogs.  This is why it is SO important to continue to flyer in an ever-increasing radius of where your dog went missing from. Somebody, somewhere WILL see your dog and they need to know who to call when they do.

Some of our still missing dogs wandered far beyond their “jurisdiction”, out of the flyered area,  and end up in the maze of animal sheltering and animal control. They may have been adopted to a new family or put down when their 7 day stray hold was up. These are a heartbreaker for us because the simple act of posting pictures on line of impounded found dogs would bring most of these dogs home.  Our dedicated volunteers and fans scour the internet watching for possible matches but they cannot do this when there are no pictures available. Many Wisconsin shelters still do not reliably post pictures of impounded found dogs. Please ask them to do so. It is perhaps the simplest way to save lives and free up shelter space for those dogs that truly need it.

The last component (and probably the largest) are lost dogs that have been picked up by a Good Samaritan who meant well but then kept or rehomed the dog without searching for the owner.  Of course, this is illegal in Wisconsin, but it happens all too frequently. The current “rescue” phenomenom that is sweeping our country has kind -hearted people making false assumptions about the owners of a dog they find. They speculate that the dog has been abused, neglected or “dumped” and needs a new home. We have great success  when we can get the finder to file a report with us so that we can post a flyer online.  This serves to dispel the false notion that people that have lost their dog don’t deserve him/her back.  We ask all of our fans to please spread the word to their friends, family and neighbors – Lost dogs don’t need a new home.  They just need to go home. Do not assume that you can keep a dog that you find. He/she is somebody else’s personal property and keeping him/her is illegal.

Thank you for helping us. Please take a few moments, scroll through our lost and found albums, and maybe, just maybe we can help reunite a few more of these dogs in 2014.


Posted in Our Organization, Still Missing

Princessa’s Story Helps Another Lost Dog



At Lost Dogs of Wisconsin our motto is Never Give Up. Our mission has always included educating the public on successful methods of finding shy, lost dogs.  We have found that many owners give up far too soon, so we always try to post ideas and happy reunion stories of long missing dogs.  We feel that it is important to share what we have learned with others so that more dogs can be safely reunited with their owners.

We recently received the following email from a dog rescue group in London, Ontario.

“We wanted to share with you that your story about Princessa helped us greatly in saving a lost dog. 
We are volunteers with Animalert, a Dog rescue group in London, Ontario Canada.  Recently one of our dogs escaped her foster home.  We were terribly worried.  It was cold, we have Coyotes in the city along the extensive bike path wild area around the river that cuts through our city.
We were worried about how our Miss Ruby Bettina would be doing in the bitter cold weather.  One of our members googled that question and found Princessa’s story.  That story and the information within it gave us hope, comfort and guidance in recovering Ruby.
We realized that Ruby was going to a house with a perfectly fenced back yard, and a gate across the driveway.  For usthis was the equivalent of your tennis court.  So we started feeding Ruby further and further in the gate.  We waited patiently for an opportunity to close the gate, and were careful not to scare her away into the wilds again, with all the dangers there.
So we want to say thank you very much and to tell you how much your story helped us.  We are writing our own story, hoping it may help someone else recover a lost dog.  Your point is good, people may give up too soon.
I will send you our story, in case it is of interest to you.”

Again, Thank you, Teresa Corrigan
Animalert London Ontario

Welcome home, Ruby!  We are very glad that Princessa’s story helped!


Posted in Reunion Stories, Shy Lost Dog Strategies | Tagged , ,

Duncan’s Story

10801565_517049821765113_8872458241677192031_nDo you remember Duncan’s story? He was the missing beagle from the Fox Valley, whose teenage owner, Bernardo rode his bike in terrible weather to check out leads and deliver flyers. Duncan was finally brought in to Fox Valley Humane Association after being hit by a car. Although Bernardo could not afford to reclaim him and get his leg fixed , through YOUR kindness and donations, enough money was raised to pay the reclaim fees and amputate Duncan’s leg at a local vet clinic. Here is a link to the whole story fromDogTime:

We would like to share this heartwarming update and picture from Bernardo:
“A year and a half ago, my best friend was found near death after a month missing, a month of countless search.
His leg could not be saved, yet he stood from the ground and he strived over and over,
And successfully walked again.
He is truly a friend to me.
He’s there when no one else is,
No matter the day or night,
He is always there.
This is him,
The three legged furball always happy to see the world.
This is him,
The heart and soul of this family.”

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Princessa’s Story – A Small Lost Dog Survives Four Months During a Brutal Wisconsin Winter

Once upon a time there was a small 8 lb. chihuahua/rat terrier cross named Princessa who was the princess of the house. She sat on the back of the couch and probably ate bon-bons.
Then one day on November 6, 2010 while on a big trip to a semi-rural Super Walmart in Pewaukee, Wisconsin she managed to slip out of the car and she was off! She had a collar and tags, and was a friendly little girl, but that big parking lot and all those cars must have been scary; even for a Princess, because she ran into a residential subdivision, and vanished.

The owner contacted Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, we posted her, and she was reported missing to all the correct places. But still nothing. Nobody had seen her and the worst was feared.

But what we have learned is that the worst seldom happens. Coyotes are not lurking behind every bush; dog fighters are not waiting to scoop up lost dogs and use them for bait dogs; and lost dogs are usually way too resourceful to starve or freeze to death.

We have learned that many owners give up far too early and because of this our shelters are overcrowded with “strays” which are in reality – lost pets.  Helping educate owners on effective methods to recover their lost pets is a large part of the No Kill Equation. Why try to find a new home for that “stray” when it has a perfectly good home already? There are far needier animals in need of shelter space and new homes.

So back to Princessa’s story. We still had nothing to go on. Until one day early in December, we had a call that a small brown dog was hanging out behind the Thunder Bay Grille just off of I-94, a great restaurant with a fine menu. It was only about 3 miles from the Walmart, so we knew it was possible for it to be Princessa.  We took a live trap over thinking this was going to be an easy catch.

Well, it was not. Why eat rotisserie chicken in the trap when you can have prime rib at the dumpster?  Some nights she almost went in, reaching with her long beautiful Princess neck just over the trip plate. Some nights she snubbed us completely – “You expect me to eat that?”  We offered her everything we could think of – delicious concoctions provided by our volunteers. The Christmas season came and along with it all the holiday parties at the restaurant, with large trays of lovely offerings – lots of which missed the dumpster and became a doggy smorgasbord.

On bitterly cold nights we had to close the trap for fear that she would be caught too long and freeze. But no worries there – she wasn’t going in. We tried big traps, small traps, covered traps, cozy traps, traps fit for a Princess. Christmas and New Year’s came and went.

The Thunder Bay Princess became the Thunder Bay Devil Dog in my mind. I’d lie awake at nights and dream up ways to catch her. My husband, an engineer, tinkered with the traps and came up with a double catch method. Other Lost Dogs members and myself would spend hours on the phone or over coffee scheming. I think we were getting crazed looks in our eyes – kind of like Bill Murray in Caddyshack trying to catch the gopher.

She lived in a hole under the porch at the restaurant, but was seldom seen. Only her tiny footprints in the snow showed us her daily whereabouts.

Then one day in mid January –  she was gone again. A worrisome couple of weeks. Why would she give up the restaurant food? Was she concerned about her waistline and her high fat/low fiber diet? Looking for a new kingdom to conquer? Luckily a phone call from a neighboring condominium subdivision came in – just when we were beginning to think we’d completely lost track of her and were back to square one. The caller said a fat brown, sausagey looking dog with short legs was seen running across the patio.

Late January. More blizzards, bitterly cold weather and very deep snow. A sighting here, a sighting there. She was now the Princess of Avondale and Stillwater, two very nice, spacious condo subdivisions with a lot of green space, plenty of birdseed, and endless decks and sunrooms to crawl under for shelter. An upscale neighborhood with a regular garbage day – what more could a Princess want? So here a trap, there a trap, everywhere a trap, trap. But only an angry possum. Never a Princess in a trap.

February came and went. The snow started to melt.  Princessa was a busy girl. One day I saw her – her coat glistening in the sun. I made a note to add more sunflower seeds to my diet. Sometime in February she lost her collar.

The residents were wonderful. They called with every sighting. They helped man the feeding station and the trap. One resident that was helping us took this picture, as she warmed herself by a vent on the side of a condo.
She was now very comfortable in this quiet neighborhood and would be seen five or ten times a day. Our phones were busy, but our trap was not.

March arrives. The snow starts to melt and the Princess is enjoying rolling on bare patches of grass in the sunshine. And suddenly a bunch of us had the same idea at the same time. Maybe we just needed a bigger trap! The snow had melted away from the gates of the tennis court. The wonderful Avondale property manager opened it up for us and offered to keep her food bowl filled. He moved it progressively into the tennis court – a little bit at a time, so she didn’t get suspicious of our plan. I was envisioning tennis players in August having to jump a small, fat dog as they dove for the ball.

But – thankfully, it didn’t take that long. On March 10th we got the call. A lady walking by had seen her in the tennis courts eating from her bowl and had snuck up and shut the gate.

And so the story of the Pewaukee Princess came to an extremely happy ending. No frostbite, no medical problems. An 8 lb dog that lived outside for four months through a brutally cold Wisconsin winter. She spent a few days in rehabilitation with one of our Lost Dogs of Wisconsin volunteers, Kathie D; but then came right back around to being a Couch and Lap Princess. Princessa gave us memories to last a lifetime plus another success story to encourage owners of lost dogs to Never, Ever Give Up.

A huge thank you to the residents and management of the Avondale and Stillwater condominium subdivisions, the staff and management at the Thunder Bay Grille, the Mobil station, the Machine Shed restaurant and the Radisson hotel; the staff at the AT&T building; BREW Midwest for the loan of a trap; Mark H at HAWS; and to the wonderful members of Lost Dogs of Wisconsin – Carlene and Becca H, Kathie D, Larry D, Susan T and Carol S, and my husband, all of whom manned the trap, delivered flyers, concocted wild schemes, and commiserated with me during the entire process.


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How Are We Doing? Year to Date October 2014


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The Top Five Reasons Shelters Should Post Pictures of Lost and Found Pets on Facebook


5. Shelters that post pictures and flyers of lost and found pets on Facebook generate goodwill, positive press and donations.

4. Shelters will elevate their reputation in the community from “dogcatcher” to compassionate life-savers. Since “stray” contracts are funded with taxpayer money, they will show that they are using their funds wisely.

3. Pictures and information about lost and found pets are widely shared.  This will increase a shelter’s Facebook “edgerank” making their other posts appear more frequently in their supporters newsfeeds, generating more adoptions and donations. We will also share some of your posts to our 40,000 plus Facebook fans, increasing visibility for your shelter.

2. Since  an estimated 40 – 60% of animals in shelters are lost pets, proactively working to get them home by posting pictures will  reduce overcrowding and disease, and free up kennel space for needier animals.

1. And the NUMBER ONE reason that shelters should post pictures of lost and found pets on Facebook?   Because it makes reunions like this happen. Need we say more?Oreo

Reunited ~Oreo the German Shepherd/Poodle mix from#Milwaukee in Milwaukee County. Oreo was at MADACC. A LDoW volunteer called to let the owner know he was there. Oreo is a very good example of making sure that you check out every possible match in person, because sometimes shelters get the details wrong. Based on what the owner was told on the phone, she may never have gone to check. But our volunteer encouraged her to check in person, and it was Oreo! Congrats and welcome home Oreo!! (Lost 07-21-14, Reunited 08-04-14)

Thank you to all of the shelters who do post pictures and share flyers of lost and found pets on your Facebook page.  YOU are saving lives.

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Happy Howl – O- Ween


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Helping Lost Pets (HeLP) Can Help Your Shelter Reunite Pets and Families

969673_529650997093809_387608333_nWhy would a shelter want to improve their RTO (Return To Owner) rate? 

Goodwill, positive press and donations are generated when an animal control agency or shelter takes a proactive approach to reuniting lost pets with their families. Heartwarming stories and photos (easily posted on Facebook) elevate the reputation of the facility from “dog catcher” to compassionate life-savers.  Plus, of course, getting lost pets out of the shelter and back home frees up resources for shelter staff and volunteers to help those animals that are truly homeless.

Whether your shelter is already proactively helping owners to find their missing pet or expect the owner to come to your shelter to check every few days Helping Lost Pets (HeLP) can assist you and your community. (HeLP) has built the much needed solution to connect shelters, veterinary clinics, volunteer groups, pet rescues and every pet business together so that everyone can access the same lost and found listings. It’s FREE for all and its map based.

Here are the TOP 6 Reasons Your Shelter should join:

1) HeLP provides a means for people anywhere, anytime to search for their missing pet. Shelter Found Listings, Public Found, Adoptable, Deceased and Sightings are all available.

2) Well organized and experienced volunteers and volunteer groups, such as Lost Dogs of Wisconsin,  are already using HeLP in conjunction with their Facebook Page and other means to get pets home.

3) No double entry needed. The purpose of HeLP is not to replace your current systems, but to connect to them automatically. For smaller shelters with no system, it means they can now have technology they could never afford.

4) FAST and EASY Setup. Your shelter can be set up in just a few minutes to begin to take advantage of Public Lost Listings, reducing the number of Lost Reports you need to take over the phone. Automating your Found Listings can be done at a later date and will depend upon your current system. Our software and services to your shelter are always FREE.

5) Eliminating County and Municipal Borders means Pet Owners and Volunteers save time. This increases the pets that will get home and also decreases the time they will be in your shelter.

6) Pet Owners can provide additional Private Contact Information Available only to Shelters and Veterinarian Clinics. You can access this information as soon as your shelter joins using this link: . For pets that have invalid microchip registration information or no microchip or tags, this allows your shelter to quickly connect.

Together, we can help more lost pets get home!

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date September 2014


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