Category Archives: Usefull Tools

Not All Stray Dogs Are Homeless

Two weeks ago, my brother started to notice a skittish shepherd running loose in his district at night. He began to leave food for her when he figured out her route. This smart girl was going through a hole in the fence of a trucking lot where she likely bedded under a trailer for warmth and safety. Any attempt to approach her was met with her fleeing.

 

FiFi at her feeding station. Using a rubbermaid container to protect the food.

FiFi laying next to her feeding station.

Last week I came to try to trap this sweet girl with my brother. I set the trap up under the trailer where she usually darted under. She’d be hungry and it would be quick. Not so fast! She didn’t even touch a morsel of the warm food trailed in. The trap was new in her spot and spooked her.  So, we placed a camera and bungeed the trap open-ended with food in the middle.

 

Fifi getting use to the trap.

Within 2 nights, it was evident that she was comfortable with the trap; she walked in and out to eat with ease. Last Wednesday night, before the snowfall, we baited and set the trap just at about 1:15am. Like clockwork, she showed up. We pulled away, shut the car off and silenced our phones. Within MINUTES, she was caught! Our patience prevailed!

Fifi caught in the trap.

FiFi trapped.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have a microchip. She was thin, matted and covered in burrs, but walked beautifully on leash and was used to being in a car. I posted her to Lost Dogs Illinois and took her for a check-up and to get cleaned up at the vet thanks to Trio. She was then transferred to a local open-access shelter for her stray hold.
5 days later, I received a phone call, text and email- someone thought it may be their lost dog, Fifi. Fifi went missing on 11/19/2016. After exchanging pictures, it was evident that this was her! Fifi traveled over 4 miles from her home when her gate was accidentally left open. She likely traveled a long running route her owner takes with her that lead her to where we trapped her.
Her owner hung flyers near their house, not realizing the far distance she had traveled. He was then looking through the ‘Is This Your Lost Dog’ album on LDI’s Facebook page when he saw my post. She was missing for 3+ weeks!
Fifi is now microchipped and safe with her owners. She cried out in delight and coated them in kisses when they were reunited at the shelter. It was truly beautiful.

FiFi’s reunion pic!

When shy/skittish dogs are lost, they travel a lot at night, when there are less people out to notice. I am truly thankful for my brother and other CPD officers who spotted her. Without a feeding station being set, she may have left the area. Fifi also reminded us of the importance of patience with lost and stray dogs. She went into the trap on her own time and comfort level. Fifi’s owners never gave up looking for her 3 weeks after she went missing. They were persistent!
Huge thank you to Lost Dogs IL– without your group’s existence, Fifi may have never made it home. Your network has such a large and wonderful impact, and truly made a family whole again. Thank you for continuing to preserve the human-animal bond and helping us remember to think lost, not homeless.
Thank you Katie Campbell for sharing your most excellent trapping and reunion.

Chicago Pets Benefiting from New ID Tag Engraver at Chicago Animal Care and Control

Misty getting her new tag.  Her family being reunited with Misty

Misty getting her new tag. Her family being reunited with Misty

Chicago Animal Care and Control took one giant leap for petkind recently by adding a high-tech ID tag-engraving machine to its shelter facilities.

CACC Administrative Services Officer Susan Cappello said the non-profit group, Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control, donated a VIP Pet ID tag machine to the shelter in January 2016.

“The Pet ID Tag machine will be used to provide free pet ID tags to all customers who adopt a new pet, find their lost pet, and attend our monthly low-cost pet vaccine clinic,” Cappello told Lost Dogs Illinois via email. “In less than one week of use, CACC made over 10 tags already to new or existing pet owners.”

Cappello added that CACC’s next low-cost vaccine clinic will be held Feb. 17 and that “[W]e plan to provide a pet ID tag to every customer” that day.

Providing pets with ID tags can help shelters reduce overcrowding. A 2010 study conducted by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggested that pet ID tags containing owner contact information make it easier for people to help get that animal home should it become lost. That allows a shelter to direct its resources to supporting true homeless pets.

ID tag and collar

ID tag and collar

“Having a microchip is a great safety measure for emergencies or if the pet loses a tag or collar,” Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of shelter research and development for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told New York Times blogger Tara Parker-Pope in 2011. “But an ID tag is the simplest, easiest way to assure your pet is going to get home.”

Chicago Animal Care and Control strongly recommends that all pet owners microchip and obtain a collar and tag for their pets, Cappello said.

Cats that get lost are nine times more likely to be reunited with their owner if they arrive at a shelter with a collar and tag or microchip,” Cappello emphasized.  “Dogs are five times more likely to be returned home to their owner if they have a collar and tag or microchip.

“If your pet gets lost and is found by our shelter, we will research the tag and microchip information and contact you as soon as possible,” Cappello said. “Collars with identification are your pets’ fastest ticket back to you should they become lost.”

Joliet ID machine 5.2015

Engraving an ID tag at Joliet Township Animal Control

CACC joins Joliet Township Animal Control as two major Northern Illinois municipal animal control programs now offering ID tags as part of the adoption/retrieval package. JTAC, which serves Joliet, Joliet Township, Crest Hill and Rockdale, used part of a $20,000 grant awarded it by The Petco Foundation, in partnership with Natural Balance Pet Foods, to purchase its machine in March 2015.

ILresearch

Thank you Lydia Rypcinski for writing this article!

 

 

 

Pictures Matter!

The one thing Lost dogs Illinois has proven time after time on our page is pictures work in getting lost dogs home! Pictures are the universal language.

Point in case…… A match was made this week on the unofficial Animal Welfare League (AWL) – Found/Stray Dogs Facebook Page, which is run by a group of volunteers who absolutely understand the importance of posting found dog pictures. When a volunteer is able to get to AWL, she tries to post pictures of “found” animals to the page.

The match was Pepe, a 19 year old Chihuahua, who was posted as lost on Lost Dogs Illinois Facebook page on July 28th. Pepe

Pepe’s found dog picture was posted on AWL’s unofficial page on August 3rd even though Pepe was brought to Animal Welfare League on July 30th.

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Luckily one of LDI’s fans recognized Pepe and emailed his owner right away. A very Happy Reunited was made!

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 3.26.53 PM

So what do we learn from this?   If there was an official Facebook page or if AWL would use the Pet Harbor software to post found dog photos (like they use for their adoption photos), Pepe would have probably been home by August 1st.  This would have meant less stress for Pepe, Pepe’s family, other dogs in the shelter, volunteers and staff.   It would have also been less of financial strain for Pepe’s family and the shelter.

We hope successful reunions like Pepe will convince Animal Welfare League to post pictures on Pet Harbor or their own official Facebook page. Technology has made it so simple – a cell phone can be used to upload photos directly to Facebook. Don’t our Illinois dogs deserve the very best chance to get back home to their families?

 

Luring a Shy, Lost Dog Using a Portable Grill

grillingforbryleeUsing a portable grill can be very helpful in catching a shy, scared dog. If you are getting sightings of your dog in a general area, we recommend setting up a feeding station. This can help to keep a lost dog in one area and eventually lead to capture. However, sometimes it is difficult to get a lost dog to find the feeding station. Grilling meats with a portable grill can help!

The smell of bacon or bratwurst cooking on a grill is very strong. Humans can pick up the scent of grilled meats when someone in the neighborhood is grilling out. Which means a hungry dog can also pick up that yummy, tempting scent, but from an even greater distance since dogs have a much better sense of smell than humans.

When you are grilling for a shy, lost dog, you must do it very quietly. You do not want to scare him out of the area. Pick a location near to where your dog’s sightings have been, but make sure it is an area that is people-free and safe for your dog (away from roadways, train tracks and thawing ponds). If your sightings have been consistent and you suspect that your dog is using a regular path of travel, then we recommend grilling near that pathway. This can improve your chances of your dog finding the tempting food. It is also important to get permission from the landowner to grill on their property. Make sure to read and abide by the grilling instructions included with your portable grill. Never leave a grill unattended.

Once you choose the location and receive permission from the owner of the property – you can begin. It is best to only have ONE person grilling to prevent your dog from getting scared away by the sounds of your voices. Remember, for a shy, lost dog – two’s a crowd! Once your grill is set up and the meat is cooking, quietly sit in the area for as long as it takes to cook. When the meat is cooked, you can place it on the ground or in your dog’s dish. If possible, set up a trail camera facing the grilled food, so you will know who has stopped by to eat and when (set the time/date function on the camera).

Don’t be disappointed if your dog does not find the food within 24 hours. Just grill quietly again the next day and leave the area. If your dog is seen eating the grilled food, it is important to continue to keeep yummy, tempting food at this location. He or she will be sure to stop by again for more. Once you know that your dog is coming to this feeding station on a regular basis, you can consider setting up a humane live trap near the food. Please see our articles on humane trapping for details.

Good luck and happy grilling! Remember, your lost dog is depending on YOU to bring him safely home.

Colleen Duero, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin Volunteer

Partnership with Helping Lost Pets (HeLP)

Helping Lost Pets LogoWe are very pleased to announce that Lost Dogs Illinois is now partnering with Helping Lost Pets (HeLP). HeLP is a totally free, map-based national lost/found registry.

How will this help more lost and found dogs get reunited with their owners?

  1. The map-based system makes it easy for people to search for lost and found pets in their area.
  2. Listings can be searched by date, name, breed, age, gender, or size.
  3. HeLP technology makes it easy for finders to produce flyers and to share their post via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Linked In and more.
  4. Email and text alerts are sent to HeLP members to notify them when a pet is listed.
  5. Allows anyone to search and match lost and found pets 24/7.

How will this differ from what we are currently doing?

  • Our posts will look slightly different, but our volunteers will still post them to our LDI Facebook page when a volunteer is available.. You can still share our post with your Facebook friends like you have always done. But you will now have the ability to search by area by using the HeLP map.

We would like to encourage our fans, Illinois shelters, animal control facilities and stray holding facilities to check out the HeLP website and become familiar with it.  It truly has the capability of being the ONE national lost and found database that is so badly needed in this country.

Here are the links:

The HeLP map: www.Helpinglostpets.com/MAP

If you have lost or found a dog fill out this report: http://www.helpinglostpets.com/LDIL

Flyer, flyer and flyer some more!

Your friends and family members are eager to help you find your lost dog. They are willing to do whatever it takes to bring him/her home, including combing through every street and back alley in your neighborhood. They are all waiting for instruction from you. But, what should you tell them to do? What is the best way to use their time and effort to find your missing dog?

Friends want to help? Send them out flyering

Friends want to help? Send them out flyering

Even though it may seem counter intuitive, you should not send your friends and family members on a wild goose chase, or, in this case a dog chase, through the streets. Looking for a lost dog by wandering through the streets is like looking for a needle in a haystack. And, a dog who is approached by someone the animal doesn’t know well may get scared and run even farther from home…even if all the person was trying to do was return the dog to its family.

What you should say to your friends and family members is that you’d appreciate them taking some time to put out flyers all over town. Hand each of them a stack of flyers that include a full, current picture of your dog, a description of his or her appearance that highlights any unusual physical or behavioral traits the dog has, and your contact information.

When your friends and family members look at you like you’re crazy, remind them that the most effective way to find a lost dog is by putting up and handing out flyers as soon as possible following an animal’s disappearance. More often than not, a dog is reunited with its family because someone who has reviewed a flyer sees the lost pet, and calls the dog’s distraught owners.

So, if your pet goes missing at some point in the future, gather as many friends and family members as you can, and send each and every one of them out with big stacks of flyers. It is the best way to ensure your lost dog will be returned to your loving arms.

 

Map-Based Website Helps Lost Pets Get Home

The number one way to recover your lost dog is the old-fashioned tried and true method of using flyers and signs to generate sightings. Going door to door with flyers in the area where your dog was last seen has brought the majority of our lost dogs home.

But new technology is constantly giving us more tools in our tool box of lost dog recovery. There are currently dozens, if not hundreds, of lost pet websites and listing services currently available. One stands out because of several unique features.

HeLP (Helpinglostpets.com) is a map-based website that has been in existence for two years. Rob Goddard, President of HeLP says that a national lost/found pet database must have two main features:

“First it has to be free. HeLP is completely free for the public, shelters, rescues and any pet-related businesses or organizations. HeLP brings together the community by giving everyone access to the same lost/found data.

Second, it must be map based.  Location is a key element in locating the family of a missing pet. Starting the virtual search in the area where the pet went missing is exactly how a ground search would be conducted. Having the pet’s details and photo on the map is the most efficient way to conduct a virtual search.”

The HeLP website:

  • allows lost/found pets to be viewed on a worldwide map including a photo and full description that can be zoomed to street level.
  • is free for the public and shelters to use.
  • allows shelters to list all lost/found animals in their shelter
  • allows anyone to search and match lost and found pets 24/7.
  • allows anyone to search by location, species, breed, size or color
  • enables pet owners to easily get the word out to shelters, veterinarians, rescues, volunteer search networks and others near them via the automated email, text and twitter alerts that are generated.

We would like to encourage the owners of lost dogs, our fans, and Illinois Animal Control Facilities, shelters and rescues to check out the HeLP website and become familiar with it. It truly has the capability of being the one national lost and found database that is so badly needed in this country.

Every Door Direct Mail® Can Help Deliver Your Flyers

The number one way that lost dogs are successfully recovered is through the use of flyers and signs that alert the neighborhood and surrounding areas that your dog is missing.

Printing and delivering flyers can be time-consuming and costly. Also, it is illegal for the general public to put flyers into US mailboxes. The USPS has a service to help. Every Door Direct Mail® costs  14.5 per piece and does not require a postage permit. How does it work? You pick the neighborhoods you want to reach, and a Postal Service Letter Carrier takes your printed flyers to every home while delivering the day’s mail. Your lost dog flyer gets directly into the hands of the homeowner.

Ask your local postmaster for details.  Some printing requirements apply.

Our tips, ideas and articles are based on information gathered from over thousands of successful lost dog recoveries. Any advice or suggestions made by Lost Dogs of Wisconsin/Lost Dogs Illinois is not paid-for professional advice and should be taken at owner’s discretion.

Google Maps – A Useful Tool for an Elusive Dog

You’ve lost your shy dog and you’ve done a good job delivering flyers and posting intersection signs. Now your sightings are coming in but you’re having a hard time keeping track. The sightings seem to be all over the place. It couldn’t possibly be your dog, in so many places, in such a short amount of time. Or could it?

Lost dogs in survival mode require three things. They require food and water, hiding places, and avoidance of predators (people).  If you use maps and satellite photos to assess food sources, hiding places and safe, secluded routes of travel; you may start to see a pattern emerge. Using an online mapping service is an invaluable tool to help you record and evaluate your sightings.

Google Maps is a free web mapping service that can help you plot your sightings and give you  clues to your dog’s whereabouts. Be aware though, that Google maps and satellite images are not updated in real time, they could be several months or years old. New construction may not appear on the maps and photos. Buildings and landscapes change and you will have to take that into consideration. Photos are taken during different seasons. Summer photos will appear very different from photos taken in the same area in the autumn after the leaves have fallen.

Different areas of the country have satellite photos taken at different resolutions. Generally, the more populated the area – the better the photo, and the closer that you will be able to zoom in and see detail. Many urban and suburban areas also now have Street View – a setting that lets you see buildings and landmark features as if you were standing on the ground in front of them.

This blog isn’t a tutorial on how to use Google maps. There is plenty of information on-line. Instead, we want to give you some specific tips on how to determine where your dog may be. The best way to learn how to use Google Maps is to dive in and try it. Enter the address where your dog went missing from. Practice changing from map to satellite (aerial photo) view, and zooming in and out.

Practice adding place markers for the following. Use different colors and symbols for:

  • Locations where your dog went missing from
  • Every sighting with a time and date
  • Areas flyered
  • Sign locations
  • Potential food sources
  • Potential hiding places
  • Potential routes that your dog is traveling

Switch to satellite view. Objects viewed from the air appear different from the ground.  Practice somewhere  you are familiar with. What do these things look like from the air?

Common landmarks:

A golf course:

A cemetery:

 

A shopping mall:

 

A mobile home park:

 

Vertical  landmarks from the ground may not be easily apparent on a satellite photo.  Watch for the shadows made by the objects. Vertical landmarks include:

  • Water towers
  • Power lines
  • Church steeples
  • Cell phone towers
  • Tall buildings
  • Doppler radar sites

 

A water tower in satellite imagery. It looks like a golf ball, but notice the shadow that it casts

Look for possible hiding places that lost dogs commonly use:

  • abandoned farms and homes
  • cemeteries
  • golf courses
  • parks near populated areas
  • industrial areas
  • run down neighborhoods
  • quiet suburban neighborhoods especially if they adjoin parks and trails

Look for possible routes of travel that lost dogs commonly use:

  • bike and hiking trails
  • fence lines and the edge of fields
  • logging roads
  • power lines
  • pipelines and cut lines
  • railroad tracks

Be aware that narrow roads, trails,  and power lines may “disappear” in summer photos because of tree foliage. Railroad tracks are usually very apparent in photos because of the width of clearing around the track bed. Trees do not usually overhang train tracks.

Look for possiblefood sources:

  • restaurants and hotels
  • farms (cat food, corn and spilled grain)
  • convenience stores and grocery stores
  • campgrounds, picnic grounds, rest stops and parks
  • golf courses with food services
  • food processing plants
  • feed mills

Keep your Google map updated and share it via email link with the friends, family and volunteers that are helping you. Lost dogs will often fall into an habitual pattern, visiting the same food sources and using the same hiding places and routes of travel. Flyer these areas heavily to get more sightings. Place intersection signs strategically so that passersby will also be on the lookout for your dog.

You may realize that sightings that seemed impossible at first, really are possible when you view them from the air. Driving routes are often much longer than the routes that lost dogs will take. Using shortcuts, they can travel what appears to be a long distance in a short amount of time.

Advances in technology are giving us more and more tools in the toolbox of lost dog recovery. Using Google Maps can save you valuable time when recovering your lost dog.

A tutorial showing how to create a Google map and drop markers to help you organize an effective search for a dog created by Retrievers Volunteer Lost Dog Team: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQRfKf2gb4k