Merlin is a shy, partially blind, deaf border collie who went missing from Milton, Rock County, on July 7, 2018. His owners filed a report with us and also alerted a county Facebook group page, Rock County Lost Found Pets HSSW, which shared his listing. This Facebook group is NOT associated with Lost Dogs of Wisconsin. We want to be very clear about that.
At Lost Dogs of Wisconsin we pride ourselves on giving owners good advice, encouragement and support when their dog is missing. We have learned over the past eight years of our existence and thousands of successful recoveries, that you can never, ever doubt the resiliency and resourcefulness of a lost dog.
A lost dog’s ability to go into survival mode gives them the skills to survive adverse circumstances. Our advice is always the same. Never call, chase, whistle to or approach a lost dog. Let them settle and relax in one area. Lost dogs who are not being chased will make wise decisions and survive indefinitely and you can then implement a strategic plan to catch them. Lost dogs who are being chased are at a great risk of being hit by a car or train and killed. We also know that keeping an owner’s hopes up will encourage them to keep looking. Dogs have been recovered weeks, months and even years after they have gone missing. But owners need to be hopeful and persistent to get the sightings and tips that will lead to a successful recovery.
Unfortunately, one of the administrators of the county Facebook group (not associated with Lost Dogs of Wisconsin) did the opposite of what we know to be helpful. She discouraged the owner and doubted the ability of Merlin to survive. Here are some of the posts she made. She portrayed herself as an “expert” which probably also discouraged other people who would have been willing to help Merlin’s owners.
Local and county Facebook groups are doing an important service to their communites but when they are giving out bad advice they need to be called out on it. They are hurting, not helping the cause. They need to rethink their purpose and whether they should even be in the lost pet arena because this type of negativity has no place in our line of work. We have blocked the name of the administrator for privacy purposes but all three comments were made by one person.
Merlin was found safely on July 30th and his owner reports that he is doing well and is happy to be home. Despite his limitations he did what lost dogs usually do. He survived. Welcome home, Merlin! We never gave up on you!