Where Could Your Lost Dog Be?


As the year draws to a close we are going to ask you to click on these links and to look through our 2017 Lost Dogs Albums one more time.

Lost Dogs 2017 – January to June

Lost Dogs 2017 – July to December

Although we have had an incredibly successful year (over 2800 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 seven 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 lost (July – December) and lost (Jan – June) and  found albums, and maybe, just maybe we can help reunite a few more of these dogs in 2017.

Posted in Uncategorized

Annie’s Story – A Dog Lost From A Truck Rollover is Safely Caught After Three Long Weeks

Annie’s story as told by Annie’s owner:

“On December 2nd Annie and I were involved in a car accident where my truck rolled three times. Annie was ejected from the vehicle and somehow managed to get away unscathed. I thankfully walked away with very minor injuries and was released from the hospital a few hours after the accident. That night we went to where the accident happened hoping our Annie girl would run up to us, but that wasn’t the case. Annie had gone into full survival mode.

Days led to weeks of sightings and people all saying the same thing, that she has been spotted but ran away and I started getting very discouraged. So many people were reaching out a kind hand of hope that we could get her back, from Lost Dogs of Wisconsin to locals who knew the area very well, to people letting us walk their property in hopes that we could find her or at least find a sign of her in the area. After about 10 days we had to head back home to Chicago without our girl.

It was heartbreaking to see a pattern of where she was and what she was doing but no luck on getting her. December 23rd, three weeks to the day, is when she finally approached me and we were able to get her. We had setup a feed station for her in the area she had been spotted the most (which I have been calling Fort Annie) and after I left some food something caught the corner of my eye and 15 feet away Annie was standing there, she made a loud yelp, ran to me and rolled over. Three weeks of combing woods, taking leads, cold December days hoping nothing would happen to her. The day before Christmas Eve we got our miracle, we got our Annie girl back.

There’s no way to describe the joy of laying in bed and writing this with Annie cuddling next to me. I cannot thank everyone enough who has helped with finding and getting her back home. I have met so many beautiful people who all helped bringing her back home. What I’ve learned from this whole situation is that even if you feel hopeless still hold onto hope, there are still kind people out there, to pay it forward or back and that more than just the living can help in times of need. Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart for the love and kindness extended to us these past three weeks, you guys are living angels. Merry Christmas and I wish nothing but the best for everyone in 2018!” (Lost 12-2-17, Reunited 12-23-17)

Annie reunited.png

Posted in Reunion Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Do Not Allow Family, Friends, or Volunteers to “Search” For Your Dog. Ask Them to Flyer Instead…


In the early hours and days of the dog going missing; volunteers, friends and family may want to rush to a sighting location to “search”. This is almost always a bad idea. Their energy should be used for quickly flyering the area – going door to door and trying to speak to as many people as possible and leaving a flyer in their hands. Searching for a shy lost dog will chase the dog out of the area and possibly into the path of traffic. Or the dog may go into hiding, reducing sightings and prolonging the search. Your goal is to let the shy lost dog settle, without the pressure of being pursued. You will have a much greater chance of catching him.

Don’t congregate noisily in an area to flyer. Don’t slam car doors. The dog may be hidden somewhere nearby watching you. Too much activity may frighten him into leaving the area. Flyer in groups of two for safety, but be quiet and calm.

For more tips on organizing a group of people to help you find your dog, click here. 

Posted in Generating Sightings, Shy Lost Dog Strategies | Tagged ,

Tips for Returning a Found Dog to the Rightful Owner

found dogYou found a loose dog, posted him with our software partner,  Helping Lost Pets and now you’ve received a phone call from a potential owner. Great job! What next? How do you make sure you are returning the dog to the right person?

When someone calls in response to an ad and/or flyer you have posted for the dog you found, ask the caller’s name and telephone number and tell him/her that you will call back right away. This will give you their information in case you need it later.

Call back and then let the person inquiring describe the dog including unique identifying characteristics. (i.e. scars, tattoo, behaviors, color patterns, etc.) If the dog was found with a collar, ask them to describe the collar colour and pattern.

Ask the owner to provide Proof of Ownership via email or text which should include some of the following documents:

  • Vet records (call their vet to confirm)
  • Rabies certificate or license
  • Adoption papers, registration papers, transfer of ownership or bill of sale
  • Photos (dated and w/family members)

Make arrangements to meet the owner at your local police parking lot, vet office, or a safe public place in the daylight. Be sure to let a friend or family member know where you are meeting or ask one of them to go along. If you meet at a police station, go into the police station first to inform them of what is happening so they can keep an eye out.

Observe the meeting of the dog and person. Does the dog show familiarity with the person?  Be aware that a dog who has been missing a long time or who were in survival mode may not immediately show familiarity or affection so do not be alarmed if this happens. It may take time for a long-lost dog to recognize their owners or feel comfortable with them.

Thank you for helping reunite a dog with their family. Together we can help more lost dogs get home!

Posted in Found A Dog?

How Are We Doing? Year to Date October 2017

Oct 2017 LDOW stats

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date September 2017

sept 2017 ldow stats

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date July 2017


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Two Little Known Facts About Microchips

1. Animals should never be scanned for a microchip on a metal examination table or near other objects that may cause scanning interference like computers, metal objects and metal doorframes or while wearing a metal collar. This may cause a microchip to be missed. Yet many vet clinics and shelters routinely scan pets on an exam table. Please let them know that this isn’t a good practice!

2. Pets who are going to be microchipped should be kept quiet for several hours afterwards to allow the microchip to “set” in the muscle. This may prevent it from migrating to another location (another cause of a missed microchip). When doing microchip events, owners should be informed that they should make the microchip station their last stop before heading home. They shouldn’t allow their dog to partake in other activities like obstacle courses, lure coursing or anything that involves running or jumping after the microchip is implanted.

For more information on best scanning procedures here is an excellent article from Animal Sheltering Magazinehttps://www.animalsheltering.org/…/articl…/do-good-scan-stan


Posted in Microchips, Veterinary Care | Tagged

Bennie’s Story

(as told by Bennie’s owners)

We live in the Shawnee Nat’l Forest in southern Illinois, about 15 miles from a college town where animals are sometimes abandoned at the end of semester. Bennie appeared at the end of spring semester, extremely skittish, although eager to eat the many small meals/day we put out. We could not get within 50 yards of him, but of course we were calling & whistling!! Google provided info that one should kneel down, smack lips, pretend to eat food, no eye contact. He came to me IMMEDIATELY  and I put him in our pen using a trail of braunschweiger. He had no collar, wasn’t microchipped and the first vet visit revealed ear mites, several intestinal worms & heartworm. We were all in. It was on his first vacation a couple weeks later (pre-heartworm treatment, on antibiotics) that he showed us he was the perfect family dog in many ways!

But then we went to visit friends in Mercer, Iron County, Wisconsin  for an overnight stay (before taking our grandkids to the Milwaukee airport two days later) and Bennie got a scent while we were all still talking in the driveway. He was gone without a trace. We did all the wrong things, driving around in cars for hours, calling and calling.

After a call from Lost Dogs of Wisconsin caseworker, David Woods we learned to stop calling, put out some used clothes on the porch, hang his blanket on the mailbox and leave out food.

We made a flyer from your website the next day and posted everywhere, driving around in the area. Many folks had already heard about Bennie! The network is phenomenal! Your personal phone call that morning was so kind & supportive. Just so hard to believe he could make it back to us in an unfamiliar region, with a mother bear in the neighborhood, coyotes and wolves.

With heavy hearts after two nights, we packed up to drive to Milwaukee, getting a phone call four hours later that Bennie had run through the yard! We got the kids on their flight and drove back to Mercer, where Bennie was waiting under the porch. He was eating food but would not approach our friends, who were wearing our stinky teeshirts! He heard us pull in the drive and was all over us immediately! We believe he was truly lost and found his way back to a strange house because of your suggestions.

Thank you all, so very very much! You are doing incredible work!

All of our best, Mary & Harry

Posted in Reunion Stories | Tagged , ,

Did Your Dog Get Scared By Fireworks? Don’t Panic!

If your dog went missing from the fireworks last night – don’t panic. Immediately put out your dog’s favorite blanket, some food and water, and something that smells like you (a dirty sock or pillowcase). Then file a report with us from this link: https://lostdogsofwisconsin.org/report/lost-dog-report/ .

Our volunteer flyer processors will make a flyer for you to print and share. (Check your email!) We will also post it on our Facebook page (70,000 fans) and send it out on our Twitter feed. Distribute your flyers door to door in your neighborhood.

Tell EVERYONE – to not call or chase or whistle to your dog. Let him relax and he may very likely come home on his own when it is quiet. Do NOT let people congregate in your yard or driveway. Your dog is frightened and will stay in hiding until everything calms down.


Posted in Fireworks, Lost Dog Behavior Tips, Photo Tips, Recovery Tips, Shy Lost Dog Strategies | Tagged , , , ,