Set Up Email Alerts from Shelter Software Systems to Help Locate Your Missing Pet

When your pet goes missing you want to be sure that you use every available tool at your disposal to help you. Thankfully, technology has made some great leaps and bounds in recent years and today we want to tell you about three different search features you’ll want to use.

24 Pet Connect (formerly Pet Harbor) is a shelter software system used by many of the large animal control facilites in North America. You can search the listings manually for your lost pet but better yet, you can register to receive emails every time a possible match for your pet is entered into the system. You can filter these results by distance, animal type, breed, gender, age, size and color.

Adopt a Pet, an online adoption tool used by shelters, has a similar feature. Enter the description details about your missing pet and you will be sent an email notification when there is a possible match to your criteria. Adjust the distance filter in case your missing pet ends up in a shelter or rescue far away from home. Remember pets can travel or be transported a long distance and you wouldn’t want to miss a possible match.

Petfinder, another online adoption tool utilized by shelters, doesn’t currently have an email alert system but you can save your search, bookmark the page and then set yourself a reminder to check frequently to see if there is a possible match to your pet.

Make sure if you set up these email alert systems that you add them to your “approved senders” list so that they don’t get caught in your email’s spam filter.

Of course, computer-made matches shouldn’t substitute for calling and visiting the shelters in person, but they can be a very useful tool, especially to scan shelters far away or for searches which go on for months or years.


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Your Phone is an Important Tool in Lost Dog Recovery!

When your dog goes missing your telephone is vital to their recovery. When you make a lost dog report enter your phone number correctly. Take a minute and review it. If entered incorrectly changing it takes up valuable time and you may lose shares on Facebook pages.

Make sure your voicemail box is not full. If someone is trying to reach you and cannot leave a message they may not make the effort to try again.

Remember that there are people that may try and scam you. If they ask for a verification code ignore or delete the message.

If your pet is missing hopefully your phone will be ringing soon with good news!

Wendy S, LDOW Volunteer

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Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?

When we talk to owners of missing dogs we often hear “I have looked EVERYPLACE”. It may seem like it, but the truth is no you haven’t.

Dogs, big and small, can go into survival mode and run from people including their owners. They can hide in the most unlikely spots. Dogs have been located in storm drains, under porches, window wells, between hay bales, attics, the roof of the house and even in the folds of a couch (yes, a very small dog.)

“Well, my dog would bark.” You may think so but a dog in survival mode acts much different than a dog would normally.

While it is not feasible to look EVERYPLACE the bottom line is don’t just give up because you haven’t found them yet. Start close to home and expand outward. Look in buildings that the doors are closed as they may have followed someone in and they didn’t notice. Look for clues such as pawprints. Your dog may be right under your nose!

Wendy S, LDOW Volunteer

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Stay Pawsitive!

Buttons, reunited after 14 days! She was hiding in a storm drain.

The mission of Lost Dogs of Wisconsin is simple. To try and help reunite lost and found dogs. We couldn’t do it without the help and support of our fans. Your tips,sightings and watchful eyes have reunited countless dogs. We and the owners thank you for this.

Please be mindful and positive in your comments however. In most cases, the circumstances are unknown and being judgemental is not going to bring the dog home. Negative comments may be deleted and that also takes up valuable time for our volunteers monitoring comments.

Let’s make 2022 a record year for reuniteds. We can do it. Never give up!

  • Wendy S, LDOW Volunteer
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Lynn’s Story

(as told by Gina from Chasing Daylight Animal Shelter in Tomah, Wisconsin)

Lynn is a story of survival….She was out on her own for 59 days….She was a dog lost off of transport from Waco, Texas who arrived in Tomah, Wisconsin in October. She bolted from her crate on the day of transport on October 12th on Curry Street in Tomah. This is about three miles southeast of where she finally settled. The rescue group had an initial search party but didn’t have any sightings until we received one on October 31st.

Dogs can survive if not pushed, chased or forced to leave their “safe zone”. The eyes and reporting of Jessica, Bill and Lynn Rose made the difference in her recovery.

The efforts of Beth S, Pamela C, and Susan C were incredible. She was microchipped from the receiving rescue and they graciously turned her over to us. I am so grateful. When you spend 41 days trying to gain the trust of a dog on the run you become very attached. Dogs will often stay near where they were lost, they will stay if not pushed and have a food source. Patience is the key. She survived her cornfield being harvested, deer gun season, and Thanksgiving holiday travel.

In an effort to help other owners learn about lost dog behavior I would like to share a timeline of our involvement:

1. Contacted on October 31st about a brown and black dog that runs between Walmart and their farm by Jessica D. I went out that day and searched the area with no sighting. Went out several times over the next two weeks without seeing the dog.

2. Contacted on November 12th with a sighting of the same dog by Bill, he adopted Sasha, from CDAS. “I was leaving Walmart at 2110 and had just made the curve leading into traffic when a dog raced across the road from east to west. It went about 50 feet into the grass and sat down looking back to where it came from”. “It looked like maybe 35-40 pounds black & brown mutt”. “Straight across from the strip mall between Maurice’s and the traffic light”.

3. Contacted by Lynn at CDAS on November 24th at 0200, when I was there late at night checking on Idaho. She had left a voicemail about a stray dog running across Walmart parking lot consistently each night when she is doing a drop load there as a semi driver. The dog reportedly eats near the dumpster behind US Cellular.

4. Contacted Amber D at MCAS to let her know I was actively trying to live trap a dog that has been running at large for some time. November 24th.

5. Live trap set out at the US Cellular dump. The dog would eat the goods near the trap but not enter..November 24th

6. November 27th Meg Scott saw the dog run across highway 21 near the substation and Linda Johnson’s property. Live trap set up there too. The first night all food was eaten near the trap.

7. Thursday December 2nd, I went and walked the area near the cell tower. I also walked the land behind Johnson’s to Hampton etc….within the hour Beth sees the dog where I had walked….Live trap from Linda J’s moved to cell tower site. Family that rents the farmland agrees to let us set up trap. Pam & Eve contacted about the dog and I asked for help!

8. Friday, December 3rd Beth & I both observe the dog at the cell tower site.

9. Saturday, December 4th The beginning of the Missy Trap set up with Pam, Susan, Beth and me. Two back panels, two side panels on each side. Old pet porter in place. Confirmed sightings! 1850, 1900,

10. Sunday, December 5th Large old pet porter removed, new one placed. Bowl moved to back of Missy Trap. Confirmed sightings! 0248, 1300. 2211, 2253

11. Confirmed Sightings December 6th: 0350, 1239, 1436, 2200 for extended time. Brutal cold with Wind Chills

12. December 7th: Confirmed sightings at 0830 soon after Beth fed! Additional panels place. Hot broasted chicken left ~1100. Sightings: 1130 ½ hour after adding panels! 2100, 0100

13. Wednesday December 8th: 0819, 0900, Added several additional panels @ 1045. Watching in a field and we observed her coming back to the site as we were leaving. One hour later seen in Walmart parking lot and pursued to field…Additional equipment all placed….Finished around 1700. Trap armed until 1900…no sightings….Back at 0200

14. Thursday, December 9th: Lynn did not eat the food overnight at the back of trap….day of rest and no changes…..1005, 1500, 1530, 1600, 1630 near trap but will not enter! 2030 enters the trap! Spent about 6 minutes in the trap. Entered the trap during the night.

15. Friday, December 10th: Entered the trap 0700 looking for food…. Beth fed around 0800 and trap was armed…… 1000 successful trapping of Lynn and transport to CDAS. It took over an hour to gain her trust and get her crated. She tried to bolt!!! Lynn secure at CD

It was truly a group effort of the sightings by Jessica, Bill and Lynn. Then the help of Beth, Pam and Susan. The Missy Trap was the key to her rescue and God watching over her each day.

Gina M

Chasing Daylight Animal Shelter

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Penny, a Five Pound Dog is Home After Sixteen Days!

It’s time for our Monday Miracle! Penny from #BeaverDam#Dodge County is home after 16 days! After two weeks missing in the cold, rain and windy weather in Beaver Dam, Dodge County, Wisconsin, and not one sighting in those two weeks, tonight a 5 lb Chihuahua named Penny is HOME!!!

Friday, December 10th, 2021 Penny and one of her dog buddies was let out for a quick potty break on a farm in Beaver Dam. Five minutes later, her buddy returned but Penny was nowhere to be found. Her family searched for hours into the night but there was no trace of tiny Penny.

Penny’s owner contacted us at the Dodge County Humane Society. We also directed her to contact not only the local Police Dept, vet clinics but also Lost Dogs of Wisconsin. Penny’s owner did what LDOW recommend and passed out flyers, put out signs, posted on social media and put out items with Penny’s and the families scent on their porch. But with no sightings of 5 lb Penny who seemingly disappeared, the family started to think she was picked up by a hawk, owl or coyote or had succumbed to our cold, rainy, windy weather. Luckily during this same time, another lost Wisconsin dog , missing 18 months with also no sightings, was recently found. This story was shared with Penny’s owner. Also shared was advice from LDOW to not give up on looking for Penny until there was evidence she was no longer out there. And the fact that even small dogs can be very resourceful finding shelter, food and water.

Today, 16 days from when she went missing, and two miles away – Penny was found!! A neighbor happened to be checking on a property and vacant cabin owned by his parents. In the yard, he suddenly saw a little dog standing there who appeared out of nowhere. He took a picture, posted on Facebook and took little Penny in out of the cold. Luckily Penny’s owner was connected to his post, and tonight Penny is HOME!

Penny’s owner said she has lost weight and has an eye infection, but seems to be doing well! Penny will have a check up at the vet Monday. Tonight though Penny’s owner said she’s resting comfortably and very happy to be home!

Karen Lietz,

LDOW Volunteer

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Keep your Newly Adopted Dog or Foster Dog Safe!

Bringing home a new or foster dog? You are probably excited and don’t know what to expect. Try to imagine what the dog is feeling.

We are seeing a growing number of dogs in new homes go missing. Some the same day they arrive.  Get some sort of identification on the dog as soon as possible. It may not have a name yet but you can get your phone number onto a tag.   Do not let the dog out off leash until it settles in, even if in a fenced in area.   Double leash during transporting. A martingale collar or harness is safer than a collar that can slip off over their head.  Use caution going in and out of doors as they may see this as a way to escape their fear. Remind your children too.  

The general rule for a new dog is the Rule of 3’s.   Three days for a new dog to decompress, three weeks to get into a routine and three months to start to feel at home.

Wendy Siedschlag. LDOW volunteer

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Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa over the holidays?    Many of us will be going out of town for the holidays and rely on a dog sitter.

This is one of the common ways dogs go missing.They are confused,maybe looking for their owner and slip away from their caregiver, even though it might be someone that they know.They will be especially confused if away from home.  

Ask their caregiver to let them potty in a fenced-in area and have a secure collar on with i.d. tags, even if they don’t usually wear them.You may even want to attach an extra tag with the caregiver’s info. Make sure your pet’s microchip info is current.

Martingale collars or harnesses are recommended by many as they are harder to slip out of.   You don’t want your vacation or holiday visit ruined. Make sure your pet is safe and secure.They are counting on you.

Wendy Siedschlag. LDOW volunteer

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Psychics, Animal Communicators and Dousers

Recently we have had a woman from another state who claims to be “psychic” try to post under our flyers. She has been banned from our page because she was providing bad information.

We want to share with your our warning about Psychics, Animal Communicators and Dousers. They are almost always a scam. Or well-meaning people who think they have a connection with animals but know very little about lost dog behavior.

They may appear to be “psychic” but they are usually studying google maps and satellite photos to talk about landmarks, even though they live far away. Some may do the first reading for free, but then ask for a credit card number for subsequent “readings”. They advertise on Craigslist and they may contact you offering their services. The readings will be vague. “I see your dog with an older couple.” “I see your dog in a yellow house.”

Getting the word out through the use of flyers and signs brings lost dogs home. Psychics can send you in the wrong direction or worst of all tell you that your dog was injured or has “passed”. Don’t give up unless you find the remains of the missing dog. He is out there somewhere and perseverance, common sense and logic will bring him home.

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Dexter’s Story – A Newly Adopted Dog is Lost in Frigid Temperatures in Northern Wisconsin for 7 Nights

As told by Esther Maina, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin volunteer

Dexter, a shy and timid dog, was surrendered by his former owners. After four weeks in the shelter he was finally adopted. When they arrived home, before they could grab his leash to help him out of the car, he ran off. His timing couldn’t have been worse. We were in the middle of a deep freeze up here in Northern Wisconsin with nighttime temperatures dipping as low as -40 below. There was also a concern of him getting tangled up as he was dragging a leash.

The owners immediately notified the shelter who in turn posted an ‘urgent’ message to their followers to help find him. Dozens of people drove to the area to look for him. At one point he was spotted out in the middle of the frozen lake and a person chased him down with their snowmobile. They tried to outrun him thinking they could get him to run back to his new home. Instead, a very scared Dexter disappeared off the other side of the lake and wasn’t seen again the rest of the day. The owners diligently handed out flyers and the shelter brought a live trap to the home. The owners put out food and heated water.

The next day someone with a flyer alerted them that they had seen him on their street (about a mile away). But when they arrived to search, no Dexter. There were no sightings for nearly two days. Temperatures were subzero during the days and evenings. One of our LDOW volunteers who is experienced with trapping and luring in lost dogs volunteered to assist onsite to help find Dexter. On her way there the owners texted her that something had eaten the food in the trap. They did not have trail cams set up so we could not be sure it was Dexter but we were hopeful. She set up a wireless trail cam facing the trap and food station and placed four additional cams around the lake (that would need to be checked manually). She grilled bacon, sausage and hot dogs both at the trap location and in various locations around the lake and quietly left. Dexter spent a fourth night in the subzero temperatures and no further sightings.

That weekend the family had to leave for a couple of days because their daughter and friends were planning to stay at the cabin for their 12th annual ‘girls’ weekend’. Our volunteer and their daughter assured them to not worry as we’d all continue with the process. The next evening our volunteer arrived at the site to refresh the food (grilling) and to check the cams around the lake. The temps were -26 and we knew it was not likely a lost dog would venture out but we wanted to do all we could to continue to lure him to the trap. After she checked grilled and checked cams (no sightings) her brand new car refused to start! Roadside service was called but they couldn’t get to her until the next morning. She was stranded an hour away from home in subzero temperatures. She knocked on the cabin door and explained her situation to the ladies staying for the weekend and they warmly welcomed her with food, a bed and a brand-new toothbrush. Roadside arrived bright and early the next morning to get her back home. Tip: Leave car running if possible when checking trail cams in subzero temperatures! Dexter had now been out five nights out in subzero temperatures.

The next afternoon around 2PM the owner’s daughter and friends spotted Dexter in the trap eating the grilled goodies! Our volunteer also received images of him at the same time. The first thing we noticed was that his leash was chewed off! Given the location of the ‘chew’ we do believe he was caught up or wrapped around something restricting his movement.

Now that sightings had resumed and we could confirm he went into trap we could begin the trapping process. The trap door had been bungeed open and the back had been taken off creating a ‘tunnel’. This allowed him to enter through both sides of the trap. It’s a technique used to help get a dog comfortable going all the way in (and through). We still needed to make sure he would still go inside the trap with the back door replaced. We replaced the door and the food replenished and waited. No Dexter. That night temperatures dipped to -33 below. Our volunteer kept vigil on her trail cam during overnight hoping to see Dexter, no luck. Then finally at 8:30AM he arrived! He looked great and we were ecstatic that he survived the coldest night of the week and was still coming around for food. We had one more step and that was to try to confirm that he didn’t bump his head on the trap door while entering (it was being held up with a bungee cord so if he bumped it, it would not come down). If he bumped his head on the door there was a risk of it coming down on him allowing him to back out. Being a shy and timid dog if this occurred it would more than likely prevent him from entering the trap again setting us back days, weeks or even months. So while it was extremely cold, it was more important to be patient and get it right the first time. Dexter would need to spend a sixth cold night on his own before we could visually confirm he ‘ducked’ his way into the trap. The next day the owners arrived, refreshed the food and waited. Early afternoon they visually watched him enter the trap with no head bump, we were ready to set the trap!

Our volunteer immediately drove to the site to help with the trapping process but on the way there suggested the owners set the trap on their own so we did not miss an opportunity. They all sat inside the lake home watching through the massive windows waiting and waiting. No Dexter. They waited until nearly 10 pm but unfortunately had to bungee the door open and Dexter needed to spend yet another (seventh) night out in the subzero cold.

That night our volunteer woke up at 3AM and immediately checked her trail cam. There were nearly 80 images that were sent during the night. Dexter was laying in the trap! He had not moved from the same spot all night so she began to worry that he may be injured. She could also see the temperatures had dropped from -8 to -14 and then at 4:00AM to -26 degrees! She began texting the owners hoping they’d wake up and at 4:30AM they finally responded! She suggested they warm up the food (which included sardines) and set the trap. She knew if they ventured outside he’d run off but because he was comfortably laying in the trap she assumed he’d come right back to the smell of food. By 5:30AM the trap was set.

Hours passed but no Dexter. The owners remained calm and patient. They had confidence in the process and stayed inside to ensure the location remained quiet. Finally NINE hours later our volunteer began receiving images from her trail cam. The third image showed Dexter safely in the trap! Relieved she called the owners who were already on their way outside to carry the trap inside their home. They had watched the whole event take place from their window.

There were many lessons learned. First, never chase a scared and shy dog. While the people walking the area whistling and calling for him and the person on the snowmobile all had good intentions, it was terribly frightening for Dexter. This only caused him to run further away. Second never assume a dog dragging a leash will get tangled up and die. This was a nylon leash and Dexter was able to chew it off. Third never assume a dog will freeze to death. They are survivors and will find a safe place to hunker down out of the elements. Dexter had so many things working against him and many people assumed he’d never survive but his new owners stayed positive. They trusted the process and after seven nights during a polar vortex was safely trapped and now enjoying his new home with his new ‘sister’ Phoebe. Welcome home Dexter!

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