On December 8th we received the fantastic news, that Abner, missing since October 5th was finally safely contained at a home in White Lake, Langlade County; about 65 miles from where he went missing. You can read the newspaper accounts of his adventure at these two links:
Antigo Daily Journal: “Abner Back Home in Madison After a Wild Journey”
Wisconsin State Journal: “Doug Moe: Looking for Abner”
We would like to share with you an email received from Mary, Abner’s owner that she sent to our volunteer caseworker, David Woods, who covers the area where Abner was lost. We think it has a lot of good suggestions and hopeful encouragement for people who are missing a dog, especially one that may be shy or has been lost a long time.
Thank YOU, Dave. The information and support from Lost Dogs of Wisconsin was incredible, and gave me the tools I needed to get Abner home. I submitted the form, and would like to share more what I think worked the best in my situation – a shy, smart dog lost away from home in a rural area where people do not have internet access at home.
1.Flyers – exactly as you said – door to door (or to mailboxes behind the flag or in the shopper stopper box)
2. Flyers and personal contacts at key businesses – the town store, bar/restaurant, hardware store, etc.
3. Ads in local newspapers with picture of the dog – quite economical and effective. (and now I am going to put in ads thanking everyone and notifying them Abner is found)
What brought Abner in was not a trap, but that he found a place where he was fed regularly, and the people who lived there built his trust and did not pressure him. They created a “safe space” in this woodshed, where he knew he could find food, shelter and water (and warmth). They acknowledged him (Hey, buddy) but did not chase or call him, so little by little he relaxed in their presence. Their sweet dog (pictured in the woodshed, attached) befriended him.
Then I was on their property and in their house, so he smelled me and heard my voice (although just as your articles said, he did NOT come to me when I saw him and called him!). We left his blanket in this woodshed. I befriended their sweet dog as well. And of course – grilled out a whole mess of bacon & cheese hot dogs (the Dave Woods trick!!). Somehow, it all came together and broke through, and the day I left, that evening he followed their dog into the house.
The couple who live in the house also prayed quite a bit that day to bring Abner in, and I believe their good energy reached out to Abner and he knew he was safe. He was so relaxed when I got there – he greeted me just like always,wagging, licking my face, and then (as in picture) ran to get a toy to bring to me! If you think this can help others please share this information! Thanks again – your help and encouragement really helped me keep hope alive and keep going! Mary