In late December 2014, we received a sighting report for a dog that had been hanging around a home in Sturtevant, Racine County. One of our volunteers, Cindy H, made contact with the homeowners and gave them suggestions and advice to help the dog settle and relax so that he/she could be safely caught. The homeowners were wonderful! They said that the dog had been coming around to eat for almost a month but was extremely scared and wouldn’t let anyone approach. They could see that he/she had a collar and tags, but could not get close enough to read the number.
Cindy took over a trail camera and within a couple of days was able to get this really good picture on the camera so that we could search our “still missing” files to see if we had a match. Unfortunately we didn’t. But by this time, the dog (whom we now knew was a Sheltie) was comfortable with the camera and a trap that Cindy had set up.
The owners were feeding the dog pulled pork and bacon. They had also used a heated water bowl and heat pad to make the dog comfortable and encourage her to stay.
Within a very few short days, following Cindy’s instructions, they were able to successfully catch the dog in a humane trap. Cindy called the number on the tags (an Iowa phone number) and reached the owner. We now knew that the dog was a female and her name was Heidi! The owner had been visiting family in the area on December 8th when Heidi went missing. He didn’t know about Lost Dogs of Wisconsin so he hadn’t filed a report with us. Heidi travelled about 15 miles to the spot where she was finally captured.
Heidi’s owner, Harry, made the 9 hour journey back this week to pick up Heidi. Everyone met at the owner’s sister’s house, including the homeowners where Heidi was trapped. At first Heidi just shook. Cindy carried Heidi over so she could smell Harry and he touched her and talked to her but she didn’t react at first. Then she started to smell him while he talked to her some more. Then all at once – the lightbulb went on! She knew him! She started to jump on Harry and then wouldn’t leave his side!
Heidi’s story reminds us to Never Give Up! Lost dogs are incredibly resilient and resourceful and we should never doubt their ability to survive. Many thanks to Cindy and the homeowners who helped make sure Heidi got safely back home where she belonged. Lost 12-8-14, Reunited 1-8-15)