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Lost Dogs of America Announces the First Annual National Lost Dog Awareness Day

get-attachment.aspxOn April 23, the U.S. will celebrate its first annual National Lost Dog Awareness Day (NLDAD)! Created by Susan Taney and Kathy Pobloskie – directors of Lost Dogs Illinois and Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, respectively – the canine-centric holiday aims to bring attention to all dogs that are lost each year. On a happier note, NLDAD also celebrates the thousands of lost dogs successfully reunited with their families.

Lost Dogs Illinois (LDI) is an all-volunteer organization created for the exclusive purpose of providing a free service to help reunite families with their lost dogs. With the help of popular social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, and their extensive connections throughout Illinois, LDI is able to facilitate a statewide alert as soon as a lost dog posting is released. By working to recover lost dogs, this 501 (c) 3 non-profit helps to decrease the number of homeless animals brought into shelters and animal control facilities, thereby preventing unnecessary euthanasia. Lost Dogs Illinois offers an invaluable service when many feel helpless otherwise. The Lost Dogs mission has been
so successful that the concept has been accepted and put into practice in Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Colorado, New Jersey and Iowa under the umbrella organization Lost Dogs of America.

The tenacious efforts of these combined states’ volunteers along with over 150,000 fans have helped reunite over 21,000 dogs with their families since 2010. Getting lost dogs back home reduces stress on owners’, staff at shelters/animal control facilities, other dogs in the facilities, and ultimately saves taxpayers’ money. It also opens up cage and kennel space for truly homeless dogs.

“When a dog goes missing, many families give up looking for their lost pet. National Lost Dog Awareness Day was created to give hope to the families still looking for their dogs and remind the public that not all stray dogs are homeless” explains Taney. “One of our most recent success stories was finding a beagle named Charlie. He was missing for almost two months in the most brutal winter ever. We never gave up, and neither did Charlie’s foster family. Together, and with the help of our social media following, Charlie was trapped and he was successfully reunited with his foster family. Never doubt a dog’s ability to survive.”


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March Reunion Figures


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Tips to Keep Your Dog Securely in Your Yard

The neighbor’s husky pup can’t get past the buried landscape timber. An hour later he made his way into my yard. He found a spot where there was no barrier. 

by Barb McDonald, LDOW Volunteer and Founder of the Lost/found Husky Dogs Facebook page

Here are some ways, many cheap and still very effective ways to keep your dog from getting through the fence and getting lost. Dogs that jump over, climb over, dig under, squeeze through gaps, etc. Some ways can also help keep coyotes and other animals out of the fence as well. Most of these will work for almost any type of fence

DOGS THAT CLIMB THE FENCE- Use Coyote Rollers or Lean Ins. Coyote rollers are mounted at the top along the entire fence and they literally roll so it’s impossible for your dog to get a grip on it to get over the fence. If you’re a handy man you can make these out of PVC pipe for cheaper. Just make sure they ROLL and that you place them high enough to keep your dogs paw from getting stuck but low enough to keep your dogs head/body from getting stuck. These can be installed on pretty much any type of fence and also work great for keeping coyotes and other animals out of your fence and keeping your animals safe.Lean ins are simple and cheap. You can use welded/chicken wire for these. It’s just angled fencing attached to the top. This makes it impossible for a climbing dog to keep a grip to get over the fence. Both of these methods are used at wolf hybrid rescues to keep them from escaping. Both can also be taken down and moved if you ever move to a new place.

DOGS THAT DIG UNDER THE FENCE- Use a “no dig” fencing/L-footer system. For no digging wire/fence you can use welded wire literally dug into the ground and buried at a slant but enough left out to connect it to the fence. If you have to cut the wire for any reason be sure to keep the sharp edges facing where the dog won’t come in contact with them or you can dull the ends of them. You can also use welded wire and lay it directly on the ground along the fencing still connecting it to your fence though like an “L.” To secure it to the ground use lawn staples. You can always use concrete to make a no dig “fence” or footer too. Same concept but with concrete.

DOGS THAT SQUEEZE THROUGH SMALL SPACES- If your dog is squeezing through small spaces such as the spaces in a picket fence you can do a couple things. You can buy a puppy bumper. They connect to the collar so as long as the collar fits correctly the bumper won’t fall off. Do not make your dog wear these 24/7 & make sure there is nothing around your dog can get caught on. Use them when letting the dog out to potty or just to run around and play for bit. They are light weight but your dog may need time to get used to it because it may be a little “uncomfortable” at first but it’s better than having a lost dog. Besides a puppy bumper you can use a Bar Harness, these are just a few dollars more but will work better with wider gaps and probably more comfortable. They make these for large dogs as well.If you don’t want to use a puppy bumper/bar harness you can always line the fence with a mesh wire, they do sell some mesh wire that is hardly even noticeable. If you don’t like the look of wire you can use bamboo rolls to line the fence with.

DOGS THAT DASH THROUGH THE FENCE DOOR WHEN OPENING IT- Simple and quick fix. Make an Airlock Fence Entrance. This is just a small extra fenced area/barrier attached to your fence entrance (inside the fence or outside the fence) so if your dog dashes out it prevents him from running off by keeping him inside the entrance. Making it easier on you to keep your dog in the yard. Also great for people that have kids that don’t always pay attention when opening the gate and causing the dog to get loose. If your fence doesn’t stay latched, buy new latches and/or locks. If you’re worried about your dog dashing through the front door and it’s a small dog a wrap around baby gate as an “airlock entrance” may do the trick for inside the home.

FENCE JUMPERS- Remove anything the dog can use to help them jump over the fence… tables, dog house, etc. Install an extension either to make the fence taller by using welded wire or to put a flat barrier to block them from getting past where they jump.

*If your dog is just squeezing under a chain link fence that has gaps under it or just isn’t secured to the ground… you can buy some lawn anchor/staples for $15-$25 and secure the bottom of the fence to the ground.

*If your fence has a hole patch it up or if it’s possible remove that section of the fence and replace it with a new section.





PUPPY BUMPER- (might be cheaper on Amazon)


AIRLOCK- (Can’t seem to find anything online explaining how to make one of these for a fence. If you look at the picture I’m sure you’ll be able to make it just fine.)



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Place an Ad in Your Local Newspaper When Your Dog is Missing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the most overlooked ways to get the word out about your missing dog is placing an ad in your local newspaper or shopper. 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 that has found 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.

The following is a list of Illinois newspapers per township.  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.

Click here for a list of Illinois newspapers:

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Good-bye Winter

Good-Bye Winter

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February Reunion Figures


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For the Love of Abby

For the Love of Abby

On December 27, 2013 our beloved Toy Fox Terrier, Abby ran away from our in home pet sitter while we were on vacation in Florida.  Despite the best efforts of friends and notifications to Animal Control, Lost Dogs Illinois and local veterinarians, our baby was found deceased.  The whole episode has been so heart breaking, that I hope no one ever has to go through what we did.  Below are some tips for keeping your dog from becoming one of the lost.

  • Micro-chip your pet.  It is very easy and cost effective to do.
  • Tag your pet.  In some towns, this is required by law along with a rabies tag.
  • If someone other than you or any of the family members that the pet lives with are taking your dog out for any reason, have them take the pet out on a leash no matter what!  Your friends would feel awful if your pet escaped on their watch.
  • Periodically check the fenced yard your pet uses.  Check for broken pieces on wood fences and bent areas on chain link fences.  Make sure lawn clippings piles and wood piles are not too close to a fence line giving your pet an easy stairway over a fence.
  • Interview all pet care givers that interact with your pet and in some cases your home.  Have a meet and greet with the caregiver and the pet.  Are they insured? Bonded? Licensed if your jurisdiction requires?  Do they have references?  Any internet reviews?  DO THEY HAVE A LOST PET PLAN??
  • Always require that all caregivers have a leash on your pet when out of doors.
  • Have pictures of your pet on your phone or in your computer archives.  Especially useful, are pictures of your pet next to an object (like a footstool) to give a sense of the pet’s size.  Have a picture that shows and unusual markings or features like two different colored eyes or odd shaped spots, etc.  If a lost flyer needs to be made, it can be done in a hurry.


Despite all of your best laid efforts, some dogs can still escape and become lost.  Now what?

  • Let neighbors know that pet is missing.
  • Contact town police and Animal Control.
  • Post listing on Lost Dogs Illinois
  • Have family and friends search with flyers in hand or at the very least a picture on their phone.
  • Have someone contact any vets or shelters in your area by phone.
  • Drop off or email a “Missing” flyer to all area vets, shelters & rescues.
  • Use social media and other internet portals but do not offer a reward as this can attract scammers. Have your Facebook/ Twitter friends in the local area spread the word.
  • Put flyers in the windows of local stores, especially gas stations.
  • Think outside the box:  put up stake signs (yard sale signs) with your flyer on it at local intersections.  Live near a sports field?  Hand out flyers there.  Live near a commuter train station?  Put up flyers there.  Live near a school? Leave flyers at the main desk to be given to the PE and maintenance staff.  Live near farmland?  Ask the owner if you can check the outbuildings.
  • If your pet is still missing after several days, re-group and touch base with all contacts.
  • Continue developing new contacts to send information to and try to stay motivated during your search.


Developing a missing pet plan now may help you identify and address safety issues preventing a lost pet.  While we will never ever forget what happened to our darling girl, we found we so loved having a dog in our lives that we have adopted a rescue dog.


For the Love of Bean

Thank you Janice D.
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LadyBird, this is Haven1. Come in LadyBird.

Here at HoundSong we believe in an open door. We have long proselytized the open sharing of what happens from day to day in our rescue. An easy thing when all is good and the stories we share are like handing out warm chocolate chip cookies. Not so easy a thing when we “screw the pooch”. Grab a coffee; kick up your feet, here comes the story of most ridiculous gaffe ever made in the search for lost dog.


On Wednesday, Febuary 5th 2014 LadyBird the Beagle went “missing” from her foster home. LadyBird is an odd cookie. Others have called her a puppy-mill dog. This is somewhat of a misnomer. She was a breeder dog, but not from a puppy mill environment. She does suffer some of the same malady’s common to puppy mill dogs. She is a timid, antisocial, brooding, sort of gal who is not particularly interested in interaction of any sort. She is a “duck and cover” gal. She can hide in plain sight…like a Ninja. LadyBird, the Beagle Ninja.
(…and thinking about it now, if she were a Black Ops Specialist, she even has a cool code name. Haven1, this is LadyBird.
This is Haven1, go ahead LadyBird
I have eyes on the package, are we ROE clear?
Red light! I say again, Red Light!  We are not ROE clear. Hold at Epsilon 1. Cover and observe.
Copy Haven1, hold and cover. Observe but do not engage. LadyBird out.)

LadyBird’s ninja like skills is why, at first, her foster mom did not panic when she seemed to be missing. It is not uncommon to go most of a day and not see, or only have a fleeting glimpse of, LadyBird. In what has become a practiced routine, her foster mom set about a search patrol of all LadyBird’s usual hidey holes. Behind the couch, under the computer desk, behind the toilet, under the bed. One by one these locations were searched and cleared. One by one these locations were empty. After about 4 hours since the last LadyBird sighting, frantic destruction of the entire house began. At 8 hours and a search of the house, yard, and neighborhood, it seemed LadyBird had gone off mission…
LadyBird had gone rogue.

We have been rescuing hounds for 18 years. In those 18 years, the wanderlust of the hound has afforded us a particular set of skills. We have searched for A LOT of dogs. Add to these the dogs for whom we have used the skilled nose of our Bluetick Coonhound, Ranger, to track and locate for other people, and we have spent more hours stooped over muddy prints in the rain and baiting feed stations than I care to count. My point being, we are not amateurs. We know how to get it done. Or so we thought…


We spent the next week following our lost dog SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
Phone calls to authorities – Check.
Fliers and posters – Check.
Boots on the ground (in snow up to our asses) and eyes on task - Check.
…and so on and so forth right down the list.
We followed the procedure, as we had SUCCESSFULLY done a hundred times. My wife, in her usual obsessive manner, drove off an entire oil change up and down every street and alley with her wide, panicked eyes peering into every shadow as though this could be the moment we found her. We tripped and tracked behind every print in the snow as though our hopeful steps would surely lead us to old LadyBird. We did, as we had always done on every search. Only this time nothing happened. Not even a sighting.
In 18 years we have never had that happen. We always had at least a sighting.

By the 5th day we were deeply worried.
On the 6th day, at 10:30PM, LadyBird was found pattering around in the backyard of her foster home as though she had never left.

…and she hadn’t.
She was in the backyard the whole time.

This is what we saw.

This is what we saw.

I want you to keep in mind we had searched everywhere in the house and yard for LadyBird. We had gone as far as poking snow drifts with a broom handle like we were searching for an avalanche victim.


The foyer to LadyBird's underground bunker

The foyer to LadyBird’s underground bunker


LadyBird had made herself an “underground” bunker with a hidden secret entrance that would make the designers of NORAD jealous.


Oh look, a hallway.

Oh look, a hallway.

Peeking into the common use room.

Peeking into the common use room.

She divided her bunker into three areas. A entry, a common area, and sleeping quarters, all joined by a short hallway at 90 degrees to the previous “room”.


The sleeping quarters.

The sleeping quarters.

Here, back far enough where not even the most harsh weather and strongest winds could not reach her, is the sleeping quarters. We found her choker collar here. So cozy a room had she made for herself, while it was about 10 degrees outside, the collar was warm to the touch.

Opening holes to the common area and sleeping quarters.

Opening holes to the common area and sleeping quarters.

What was left after we nuked her bunker.

What was left after we nuked her bunker.

You can laugh at us if you like.
Feel free to call us stupid. You can even accuse us of being irresponsible or remark how unbelievable it is that we left her there…in some of the worst weather “the region” has seen in years…to shiver and suffer in the cold.
Truth is, we have no excuses.
It seems unfathomable that we did not find her hiding, in the snow, under decorative grasses, just 35 feet from the backdoor of her foster home. It seems unfathomable and inexcusable. However, our mistakes are not the moral of this story.

The moral of this story is multifaceted.
1. When searching for a lost dog, never rely on what you “know”. Our experience blinded us. We had searched the yard for LadyBird. Not seeing any tracks or visible sign of her presence (and having poked to death the snow drifts with a broom handle) we wrote it off a possibility. We went about our search thinking like people, rather than like a dog. We approached this search as we had approached a hundred others, seeing it through the eyes of all our previous searches…when we should have tried to approach it using LadyBird’s eyes.
2. Double Check and Triple check. Even if you have searched an area, search it again. Even if your dogs is not hiding under a bush in your own yard, he/she may return near home from time to time.
3. Do not give up. In severe weather (or severe experiences like tornado’s or floods) people have a tendency to assume “Fluffy could just not have lived through that.”  In temperatures as low as -30 degrees, inches upon inches of snow stacking up all over the area, and without a single sighting of her, we were just a day or two from assuming the worst for LadyBird. Nagging in a dark corner of our minds was the thought that LadyBird had been hit by a plow and was buried somewhere under one of the mountainous piles of snow along the roadway.  We were very close to calling it hopeless….for you and I it would have been hopeless. For our animals though…well…when it comes to staying alive they are just smarter.

We post this in the hope that others may learn from our mistake.
Never assume…always look with unfettered eyes…and always know that, in terms of survival, you are not smarter than your dog.

Thank you Darin Lee of RodDar Houndsong Rescue for your honest account of LadyBird’s adventure.

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Flyering for Your Lost Dog at Local Schools

Lost Dog Flyering at Local Schools

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