How Are We Doing? Year to Date April 2017

Statistics April 2017

Image | Posted on by | Tagged ,

Raleigh’s Story


raleigh 1

Raleigh, waiting in my car for his “Dad” to pick him up. 


As told by Esther Maina, Raleigh’s caseworker and Lost Dogs of Wisconsin volunteer 

No doubt it was an exhilarating feeling to be able to slip my hand inside his collar. I knew in that moment, he was going home.

For ten days this awesome community kept an eye out for Raleigh the Golden Retriever. Social media, door to door flyers and a community with a big heart are what helped get this dog home. People would message me with sightings, others would call Dave, (Raleigh’s owner) and within a short period of time Dave would arrive on the scene but as we all know, Raleigh would slip into the woods and out of sight. With every sighting, we would flyer to get the word out that he was in the area. We had sighting calls from people in neighborhoods, people passing by, postal carriers, everyone was sending alerts.

Raleigh was in survival mode which is a typical lost dog frame of mind. While in this mode he will view everyone as a predator, even his owner. Catching a dog in this mindset is very tricky. Calling his name or approaching him will cause him to run, this would be similar to trying to catch a deer or a chipmunk. People let us set up food stations in their yards where we would grill hot dogs, bacon and sausage. We would leave the food and set up a trail camera in hopes of getting a glimpse of him. He wasn’t having any of that, he kept us running.


Setting up a grill – we cook bacon and hot dogs to try to lure a shy dog in.  We also set up the trail cam in hopes to see him at the food station. 

I started to keep a map of his sightings in an effort to try and predict his next move – but he was so unpredictable and boy did this guy put on the miles!

map of sightings

Tracking Raleigh’s sightings, at least 40 miles in ten days, probably more.  The X’s are the sightings. 

Yesterday he was sighted several times from Hwy 77 then on Nelson Lake Road. Dave headed over right away and began searching and handing out flyers. I showed up a few hours later and also fliered. Together we probably handed out 100 posters. I prayed that Raleigh would stay in that area, it was a perfect place for a lost dog. There was shelter, food and water.


Owner Dave setting up another food station. 


Raleigh’s house mate on a 50 foot rope.  Our hope was to use her as a magnet dog.  We would send her out to Raleigh and like a magnet, whe would bring him close to his owner. 

OKAY so on to the ‘capture’ that everyone is wanting to hear about.

This morning I messaged Dave to see if any news. He texted me back saying “I just saw him on Tanning’s Point Road”. Praise GOD he stayed in the area! I told my husband I was skipping church and heading over to help. I told him I thought God was ‘okay’ with my decision. On the drive over to Tanning’s Point Road I had a really REALLY good conversation with God. I can say with all honesty it was probably one of the best I’ve ever had with him. When it was over I had a real sense he was going to answer this prayer.

I met Dave on the road and by then he had seen Raleigh twice but he would run from him as soon as Dave got near. He was close enough to throw a dog treat his way but Raleigh retreated into the woods. Dave had to run into town so I told him I would take his post and stand guard. Right away I set up a grill with bacon, smoked sausage and hot dogs. I parked off in the distance and waited. My phone rang and it was Dave – a lady on Tannings Point Road had him in her sight and gave us the address. “Wish me luck” I said and hung up.

I found the lady in her car, she was staying far enough away to not scare him (good move) but close enough to see him. I saw him from where I was standing and could see he was limping. He would walk a few feet, stop, lay down and walk again.

I drove my car up a little closer to him, grabbed my package of hot dogs and walked to the grassy edge where he was standing. I didn’t walk toward him, I walked away but stayed on the same side. As soon as I got to the grass I laid down flat on my stomach, I held the food out and covered my face. (I kept my fingers spread so I could peak though! lol) He was ‘kind of interested’ as his nose began to sniff the air but he quickly retreated into the woods and thankfully, he stopped after just a few feet.

I got down low and did a backwards duck walk toward him – no go, he didn’t like that. He retreated further into the woods. I ran to my car and drove down a driveway that ran alongside the wooded area he was in. I could see him, he was moving, but slowly.

I got out of the car and with my best “army girl” moves I meandered toward him and then hit the ground on my belly again. I threw him the bacon soaked hot dog. It landed right at his feet – score! He gobbled it up in two seconds flat. But then like an ungracious guest, he ran away from me! Thankfully he stopped about 20 feet away.

I dug my elbows into the ground and dragged myself toward him stopping with every drag to hold out a hot dog. I ripped off pieces and tossed them his way. He ate them gladly. Then with some caution he walked toward me and ate a piece from my hand. My brain was screaming ‘YES!’, but then as soon as he took the hot dog from my fingers he ran from me again! Ack!

I then noticed that a man and woman had gotten out of their car and kind of circled the wooded area. Raleigh was also aware that there were people on all sides (three of us). I got up and started to walk (staying low) toward him, he continued to trot away and it was then I decided to call his name (something you would not normally do). He responded as if it was something he recognized and stopped. I started to speak in low tones saying his name softly and approached slowly getting closer and closer. He gave in, and that is when I was able to slip my hand under his collar and attach my leash.

After telling Raleigh he was finally going home, I looked up toward the sky and said – “thank you God, you did answer my prayer today”.

I slipped both arms under Raleigh and carried him back to my car. The man and woman who circled the woods had already called Dave who was on his way. We put him into my backseat filled with fluffy dog beds and waited.


Laying in my car after being “captured”, snuggling on the soft doggie beds. 

Raleigh immediately got comfy on the beds and the woman and I worked to pull the ticks off of him. He was calm and relieved! Dave finally arrived and I while I had my arms around Raleigh, Dave peeked into my car and got nose to nose with his dog. Raleigh perked up and his tail wagged. He was exhausted so there wasn’t a lot of butt wiggly stuff we see with reunions but it was obvious Raleigh was happy to see him.

Dave carried him to his Jeep where his other dog eagerly awaited the return of her “brother”. Raleigh began eating the dog food that was on the front seat. Everyone hugged, tears were shed and off we went in our separate directions.

I can’t explain the feeling I had as I drove home but to copy Sponge Bob Square Pants, it was the greatest day ever!



Posted in Uncategorized

How Are We Doing? Year to Date March 2017

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , ,

What To Expect When You Get Your Lost Dog Home


Amy’s Owner Finally Has Her!


Amy at the Vet Clinic

Great news! You’ve successfully been reunited with your missing dog!  If your dog has been gone for more than a day or two you will want to get them in to see a vet as quickly as possible to make sure they haven’t suffered any ill effects while out on their own.

Pictured above is Amy, a black lab/German Shepherd cross who was missing for almost three weeks in Waukesha County.  She was finally successfully caught by her owner on a wooded hillside that adjoined a marshy field behind some apartment buildings. She had been seen in that area for several days but eluded capture.   Amy’s owners immediately made her a vet appointment to have her checked over.   Thankfully, other than sore, raw paw pads, six ticks, some dehydration and weight loss of about nine pounds, she was in good shape!


Amy’s Tender Feet

Sore feet and raw paw pads are very common from the amount of travelling the lost dog may be doing. Asphalt roadways and twigs and sticks on paths are especially hard on a dog’s feet. Often the sightings of these dogs will report the dog as limping and the owner might panic thinking their dog has been hit by a car. But raw paws heal pretty quickly and have no lasting damage.

Sore feet may make the dog avoid roadways and stick to softer paths of travel like dirt trails and grassy paths and ditches.

It is very common for dogs to have embedded ticks when they are found. Your vet may feel it is prudent to draw blood and do a “tick panel” to check for any tick-borne diseases.  He may recommend a course of antibiotics if any disease is present or as a precautionary measure.

It is also common for a dog to have picked up some worms while out on their own. Remember, their diet may have consisted of roadkill, manure, waterfowl eggs and/or other sorts of nasty things! Your vet may recommend a dewormer if he diagnoses or suspects worms.

Dehydration and some weight loss are also common and are easily treated.  Remember to follow your vet’s feeding instructions which will probably be small amounts of food and water at frequent intervals.  You don’t want your dog to gorge on his food and risk the possibility of bloat or other stomach problems.

Allow your dog lots of quiet time when he gets home.  He has been on an extremely stressful adventure and you will want to let him decompress and rest.  It may take several days or more for him to seem like his old self.  Schedule another vet visit if you don’t see improvement after the first week.

Most long-lost dogs recover totally and go on to live full happy lives.  Enjoy it with them to the fullest!

(Thank you to Amy’s family for providing the photos for this article)

Posted in Veterinary Care | Tagged ,

Lost Dog, Libby, is Home Because of a Newspaper Ad

Libby ad_LI

One of the most overlooked ways to get the word out about your missing dog is placing an ad in your local newspaper or shopper. Libby, the Australian Cattle Dog from Kenosha, Wisconsin was found because her owners placed a $54 ad in their local shopper.   Someone saw the ad and called to say they had seen Libby.  Libby’s owners headed to the location with their other dog. She came out of hiding when she recognized them. Libby had been missing for two weeks when the owners got that important phone call.

Social media has taken the world by storm, providing a cheap, easy way to spread the word; but you must always remember that there are still many people that don’t use computers or social media. It doesn’t do any good to have your dog posted only on Facebook if the person who sees your dog isn’t a Facebook user.  So it is really important to use as many different communication methods as possible including flyers, signs, social media, Craigslist, newspaper and radio ads. Generating sightings is the key to getting your dog home safely.

Remember that lost dogs can travel far and wide. Don’t limit yourself to just one area. Cover surrounding counties as well.  Your dog is depending on you to bring him safely home.

Posted in Generating Sightings, Useful Tools | Tagged , , ,

Is This a Match? Are Both Photos of the Same Dog? Yes!

reversed photos of dog

When trying to match lost and found pets, be aware of potential problems when comparing photos. Lighting conditions, exposure, subject position, camera angles, the age of photos (of lost pets), the pet’s condition, the position of eyes or ears, etc. All can affect our perception and cause us to miss a match. An obvious difference in these two photos is the location of the eye patch. Why the difference? When you snap a photo with the front-facing (selfie) camera on a cell phone and send it with Facebook Messenger using the camera icon on the command menu, Messenger sends the image as it appears in the preview on your phone – as a mirror image. Photos taken with the selfie camera are flipped when they are stored as files (on both Android phones and iPhones), so there is no problem with sharing images previously saved as files (left is left in the photo image).

When viewing photos, look for clues that suggest the photo was taken with a selfie camera and sent with Messenger (or perhaps some other app) as a mirror image – text that is reversed, objects that are reversed (e.g. a steering wheel on the right side of a car), or a rearview mirror angled toward the passenger side of a car. Also look for other telling features (though this can be tricky). In these two photos, notice the tiny dark spot beneath the eye surrounded by white. It appears in both photos – an indication that this is the same dog. But notice the splotch of brown at the base of the eye patch in the photo on the left. It is barely visible in the photo on the right, obscured by the upward tilt of the dog’s head.

Of course it always helps to have more photos that can reveal additional markings and features of the pet. Note that when filing a lost or found report with (HeLP) you can upload as many as five photos. And if you are a pet owner, keep plenty of photos of your pets – easy to do in this age of digital photography and cell phone cameras. If your pet ever goes missing, those photos may help to get him or her back home!

(Thanks Richard Gilreath of Texas for this tip!)

Posted in Useful Tools | Tagged , ,

How Are We Doing? Year To Date February 2017

Feruary 2917 reunions

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , ,

How Are We Doing? Year to Date January 2017

LDOW reunion figures January 2017

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , ,

How Are We Doing? Year to Date December 2016

December 2016 statistics

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , ,

Where Could My Lost Dog Be?

lost dog

As the year draws to a close we are going to ask you to click on this link and to look through our 2016 Lost Dogs Album one more time. Although we have had an incredibly successful year (over 2700 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 six 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 Pets would 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 lost and found albums, and maybe, just maybe we can help reunite a few more of these dogs in 2016.

Posted in Our Organization, Still Missing | Tagged , , , ,