How Are We Doing? Year to Date April 2020

LDOW April 2020

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Tips for Newly Adopted Dogs or Foster Dogs Who Get Lost From Their New Home

dog-1543329_960_720More and more people are choosing to adopt their new best friend from a rescue or shelter. This is a wonderful thing! Many dogs, through no fault of their own, need a new home.  Unfortunately though, many people are unprepared for the challenges of living with a dog who may be shy, fearful or stressed by the changes in their lives.  These dogs are considered “high flight risk” and go missing with alarming frequency from either their new owner or a foster family who may be temporarily caring for them until a permanent home is found.  Many owners bring home their new dog and within a few hours or few days, the dog has slipped out of his collar, out of the yard or out of the house.

By far, the greatest risk to these dogs when they go missing is that they will be hit by a car and killed. It happens far too often and this article was written to give you tips to help you safely capture your new pet.  Although it sounds like a horrifying situation and many people panic, the good news is that with a calm, clear head and a good plan of action these dogs are usually quite predictable in their actions and can be successfully recovered.

Although we never say never,  please consider these tips:

  • These dogs do not generally travel very far – often staying VERY close to the spot where they went missing from.  We find this to be true even if they are unfamiliar with their new location. They generally do not head for an old home or shelter,  or set off on long journeys unless they are chased or pressured.
  • The MOST important thing you can do is to spread the word to everyone that is helping you to NOT call, whistle, approach or pursue your dog. The dog needs to be lured back to the spot it went missing from, as if you were trying to lure a scared cat or tame a wild animal like a squirrel or chipmunk.
  • Using scent articles (the dog’s bed, his kennel or crate, toys, and dirty articles of clothing or bed sheets from the person most bonded with the dog) will help keep the dog in the area. If the dog is not yet bonded with you you may want to ask the shelter or rescue to provide clothing of the kennel attendant or foster parent who cared for him.  If the dog had a kennel mate ask if you can rub an old towel over that dog to use as a scent item also. Place the scent articles somewhere safe (well away from roadways) along with smelly, tasty food and water. When hunters lose a dog while hunting they leave their coat out on the ground at the place they last saw their dog. The dog is often lying on it when the hunter returns the next day.
  • If you see your dog, immediately sit down on the ground and toss a few tasty treats out around you.  It may take a few minutes, or a few hours, but your dog might approach you.  He may circle around and approach you from behind.  Be patient and speak softly or not at all.  Do not be surprised if he does not respond to his name.  Newly adopted stressed dogs do not usually respond to sound or sight. They respond best to the smell of familiarity.
  • Flyer the area heavily and use intersection signs to alert passing motorists about your missing dog.  Again, remember to stress “Do NOT Chase” on your flyers and signs. The greatest risk to a shy lost dog is that he will be chased into traffic and killed.
  • Be patient.  Dogs lost from a new home or foster home may hunker down for a day or two and then creep back out to where they went missing from – lured by the tasty food and scent items you left.

Please read through the rest of our articles on Shy Lost Dog Strategies.  If shelter and rescue staff and volunteers are helping you please ask them to read through our series Harnessing the Energy to give them pointers on how to most effectively use their time. Never give up! Your lost dog is counting on you to bring him safely home.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Shy Lost Dog Strategies | Tagged ,

How Are We Doing? Year to Date March 2020

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COVID-19 Update

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All of our volunteers are working safely from home on their computers and phones. Our services will continue as normal during the COVID-19 outbreak. We look forward to being able to help you during this very stressful time.

If you have lost or found a dog please file a report with us at www.helpinglostpets.com/LDOW so that we can create your free flyer and share it to our page. A volunteer will contact you with helpful tips, support and possible matches.

Posted in Our Organization, Uncategorized

How Are We doing? Year to Date February 2020

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date January 2020

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date December 2019

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Where Could Your Lost Dog Be?

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As the year draws to a close we are going to ask you to click on this link to look through our 2019 Lost Dogs listings one more time.

Lost Dogs of Wisconsin/Helping Lost Pets database search tool

We have had a very successful year (over 2500 reunions so far) but 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 nine 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 who 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 people) 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 4 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.  Using the FREE centralized database at Helping Lost Petswould also help pull all of the lost and found listings into one place.  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 listings,  and maybe, just maybe we can help reunite a few more of these dogs in 2019.

Posted in Our Organization

Successfully Negotiating the Return of Your Lost Dog from a Rescue

Your missing dog has turned up at a rescue and is now available for adoption. How does this happen?

  1. A microchipped dog who is scanned may be backtracked to a rescue or may have a rescue as a secondary contact. If you were unable to be reached, the microchip company may have called the rescue who reclaimed the dog from the finder or shelter.
  2. In an attempt to prevent dogs from being put down in overcrowded shelters a rescue may “pull” dogs to adopt them into new homes. Some animal control facilities even allow rescues to pull dogs before the official stray hold has ended on medical grounds.
  3. A Good Samaritan who picks up a lost dog may take the dog to a rescue because they either don’t know where the correct stray holding facility for the area is or they are fearful that the dog will be put down at a publicly funded shelter.

To prevent problems: If your dog is microchipped, immediately contact the microchip company to “red flag” your dog as missing and make sure all of your contact information is up to date.  This should prevent a rescue or new adopter from being able to transfer the microchip records without you being notified. If your dog has been lost for a long time, remember to stay in touch with the microchip company to remind them that your dog is still missing. 

If you find your dog at a local rescue here are some tips to help successfully reclaim your dog.

  1. BE POLITE!  Keep your tone respectful and appreciative. Get your facts straight and don’t make accusations or assumptions.   Rescues are often volunteer-run and usually have a mission to protect animals and save lives. Abusive or disrespectful language will not endear you to them.  They may even misconstrue your bad temper as proof that you are not a fit pet parent. Remember, your conversations may be recorded and your text messages will be retained.  Keep a cool head and stay professional.
  2. BE ORGANIZED! Most rescues want the best outcome for an animal.  They may mistakenly think your dog was abandoned and/or abused. Provide photos, microchip records, veterinary records and proof of licensing to show that your dog is a loved and well cared for family member.
  3. BE PREPARED! Rescues may have invested money into your dog for grooming and veterinary care.  Be prepared to offer to reimburse them for some of their costs. Be polite as you negotiate these details with them. Be prepared to set up a payment plan if necessary.
  4. BE DISCREET!  These situations often take a bad turn when an owner, or the friends or family of an owner, blast the rescue on social media.  This can be damaging for a rescue’s reputation and they may resort to digging in their heels and defending their decision to keep your pet from you. Remember, bad behavior from you or your supporters never looks good.  Private negotiations will yield the best results.
  5. BE PERSISTENT! You may need to take your case to civil court.  If you have followed our tips above you will look much more credible in the eyes of the judge and you will have a greater chance of success.  Contact an attorney if you need assistance.

It is our hope that your dog is home soon!  Returning dogs to their family means that shelters and rescues can focus their resources and energy on helping truly homeless dogs.  Stay calm, cool and professional for the best chance of a happy reunion.

Posted in Friendly Lost Dog Strategies, Microchips, Rescues and Shelters | Tagged ,

A Dog’s Appearance Can Change Over Time

Don’t be too hasty to dismiss a possible match! As shown below, a dog’s appearance can change over time It is always best to go in person to confirm. Many thanks to our volunteer, Tracie, for sharing these photos of her dog Maisie.

Posted in Photo Tips | Tagged