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Monday, December 28, 2009

"Peaches", White, Miniature Poodle, Nicolaus, Sutter County, CA

Peaches is a white, 10 pound, 12 year old, deaf, spayed miniature Poodle. She is wearing a collar with ID, but does not have a microchip. She was last seen around 1 AM from her home, a very large farm, when she was let out to go to the bathroom. She did not return, which is her regular routine.

She was missing for only a couple of days when I was called out.

Most of the property is fenced. Since it was totally unclear how she exited the massive property, and there were two choices: either the front gate, which was closed, but she was small enough to get through the metal bars. Or the back field, which was where she was known to hang out to check out the area, and that is where the door to the house is, so that is closer to where she would be. I walked the dogs all around the two barns/storage buildings letting the dogs check out the whole area to determine where her scent left the area from. Her people were convinced she left by the back field, since that was her usual hangout. Both dogs indicated she left by the back field, so we followed that down the "lane" in between the two plowed fields.

It has just rained the night before, so the mud was so thick, it stuck to my shoes and to the dogs' feet. The track led down the lane and then went to the left at the end and then turned around and headed to the right. I mentioned to Peaches' person who was with me that I was noticing a large amount of large paw prints all in the mud. She said she knew that coyotes frequented the field and also neighbors' dogs would regularly come into the field and roam around. She said that is standard in the area for dogs to roam around the property, and there didn't seem to be a concern about that.

The track went around the property following a lane. And then it went across another neighbor's property and then around and around another type of large open property that appeared to be a type of construction site of some sort. There were large ponds and dirt roads and piles of dirt. Once we left the farm, we never saw another person while on the four hour search. It was totally remote and isolated, but this is where Peaches' track was. We also did not hit any concrete until we finally came out to the main highway again. The roads and tracks were also very thick dirt and mud.

Finally we got to the main highway and this is where the track let up a bit to another cross road and then crossed over the highway and kept going down the road in the total opposite direction. At this point Peaches' person stopped the search. She didn't want to go more than the minimum for financial reasons.

My two best guesses were that either Peaches was being carried by a wild predator, like a coyote, or by a neighborhood dog or she was walking on her own and she was picked up on the highway by a passerby. My strongest guess is that she was being carried by a predator. Being deaf, she would not have heard a predator nearby. And due to all the large paw prints in the mud where we walked, and to Peaches' confirmation that neighborhood dogs were known to frequent the area, predators were very common there.

As of 3/15/10, I have not heard from Peaches' person if she has been found.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Sofronio", Bichon Frise, Redwood City - Found!

Hi Marta & Jackie, I just wanted to let you know that I got a message from Sifronio's owner that they got him back! Someone had found him on the other side of Marsh road near flood and first, in Menlo park, and given him to someone in San Jose. Then the story becomes unclear - either that person saw the flyer or yet another person did and somehow the new people found out that he was being looked for and contacted the owners and they said he was well cared for and really happy to see them - great happy ending!
I'm a little bit puzzled by the fact that Jackie's dogs tracked him in the totally opposite direction for so far, but I guess we'll never know ...
thanks for all your help and I'm glad the whole thing had a happy ending.


(This is my response to the email.)

Great to hear that he is found and safe.

When was he found? He made it back all the way to Menlo Park! Since we know he can travel quite a distance, I am not surprised.

Thanks for letting me know.

Details of Search:
Sofronio is a 14 year old Bichon Frise. He was not wearing his collar at the time of his disappearance because he was at the groomer's  home for several days of boarding, and she had recently given him a bath, and had not put it back on yet. He does not have a microchip. His people are out of the country for the holidays and normally have Sofronio living outside in their yard.

While at the groomer, one night the front door blew open in a storm and Sofronio walked out. Luckily none of the other dogs there for boarding left with Sofronio. I was called out the next day by the groomer. I used his collar as the scent article.

First day:
The track led down the street and then down another busy blvd, up through downtown Redwood City and then eventually straight up into the hills. We followed Sofronio's track for several hours and went miles and miles. The majority of his track was not in well populated areas so most people would not see him, plus this was in the middle of the night. They wanted to continue to the next day. The initial guess was that Sofronio was trying to make it back to his home, which was in the direction of his track.

Second day:
We started at the end of the first day and once again went miles and miles along very remote areas along freeways and isolated walking paths, all the way down to San Mateo to where highway 92 starts. The track went through Woodside. Based on this track, very few people would see him. Also we don't know the time frame, or what his reaction would be to somebody trying to help him. My guess is that he was pretty independent since he lived alone outside.

The first part of the track in Woodside did go past his current home, but then the track kept going. We don't know if he missed the turn off or if it was just coincidence that he was going in the direction of his home.

We stopped the second day at the intersection of Highway 92 and Ralston, up at a public parking lot for commuters. We had tracked several more hours that day and several more miles.

Third Day:
The groomer was finally able to walk with me since she had been swamped with customer dogs the first two days. This day was December 24, Christmas Eve.

We followed Sofronio's track for several hours that day and several more miles all around several communities, neighborhoods, schools, juvenile centers, etc.

The groomer stopped the track around 2 PM because she had to go to a family event.

My suggestion was that Sofronio was a traveler and obviously had the ability to travel long distance. I suggested that she expand her search for him in several miles in many directions or further.

She said she had finally told Sofronio's people that he was missing, and he said they were not overly concerned. She mentioned that they said some times he would get loose from their yard and would be gone for a few hours and always came back.

I received the letter at the top of this post after several weeks from our search. There was a lot of unclear information like when was he found? How did they know to contact Sofronio's people to notify him?

The ability to get to San Mateo to Menlo Park is actually quite easy. There are direct roads for him to travel, just like how he got from Redwood City, where the groomer lived, to San Mateo, and he did that in three days. I am not surprised at all that he was found in Menlo Park, especially for a dog that has proven to travel quite comfortably.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Monk", DSH, Solid Grey, Alameda - Found!

I received the following letter about one and a half weeks after the search. Monk had been found on a far end of the island by a person who noticed him hanging around and brought him to the shelter. He was identified by his microchip.

Jackie - Just a note to let you know that Monk was brought in to Alameda Shelter yesterday and returned to us. The person that brought him in had been feeding him outside her home for a week after identifying him as a distressed and probably lost cat.

Search details:
Monk is an eight year old, grey tabby with white, free access indoor/outdoor cat that is not wearing a collar, but does have a microchip. He had been missing for several days when I was called.

I was told about a strong sighting when I was at Monk's people's house about a woman across the street who said she saw Monk on her door step just a couple of days prior to my arrival. She said she was familiar with Monk and did recognize him. However, later in the search, Monk's person said that she did not feel that was a viable sighting. Since I did not know that at the time of the beginning of the search, I did start the search from there, and the dog's did indicate that Monk's scent was there.

If the track had not led us to a distant part of Alameda and then to another distant part of Alameda, I might suspect that the scent was an old Monk's. However, I do always focus the dog's on following the most current scent of the animal's, so, based on that, I felt they were following Monk's current track.

After three hours, Monk's people stopped the track, and they said that they would continue the search on their own. They did say they did not believe that Monk would ever travel as far as the track was indicating since they did not feel that Monk ever traveled very far from his own home. I reminded them that Monk had free access night and day to come and go, and that many neighbors did confirm, in their search for Monk, that he would regularly access their homes and yards and rooms. Monk's people did say that they were totally unaware of this habit of Monk's. They always thought he stayed close by.

We left a few minutes at the end, per the request of Monk's people, to do a search for their cat in their immediate neighborhood, since they believed that Monk was still close by. We did a search for any cat in the area, with the emphasis on Monk's scent. Both dogs did indicate a strong presence of cats all over, but none of them were Monk.

I suggested that they extend their search throughout the island since, if Monk got scared and became lost, he could travel far and become disoriented.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Nova", Great Pyrenees, Sonoma - Found!

(Note from Nova's person)
Hi Jackie.

Nova and I are still thrilled to be reunited. Thanks for your help!!!

(details from the search)
Nova is a three and a half year old spayed Great Pyrenese. She has a collar with ID tags and a microchip. She and her mate, Zeus, have free roam of a multi acre, totally fenced in ranch. Her primary purpose is as a guard dog to prevent wildlife and predators from coming in.

For the months following her disappearance, she and Zeus would periodically leave the ranch and wander down to the Plaza in the middle of town. The caretaker would receive a call and go pick them up. It was discovered that there were some holes in the fence that was allowing them out, onto another neighbor's property and then onto the road into town.

In the week just prior to Nova's last disappearance, all those holes had been patched up and double checked.

Nova was last seen laying on the dirt road between the new house under construction and the house of the caretaker. Within the hour, she was reported as missing from the ranch and how she got out remained a mystery.

Since the dogs did not have any separate bedding and slept in a fenced paddock on the property, the only scent article of either dogs was a shared wire brush. And both dogs' scent was equally all over the ranch. My idea was to show the dogs the brush and then show them a clump of hair from Zeus and then to tell them to follow the scent on the brush that was not from the clump of hair. But first we had to find out how she got off the ranch from seemingly a totally fenced in place.

We did go up to the spot on the ranch where the previous holes were and confirmed they were still secure and they were. From there I showed Dot and Dino the scent article and started the search. We checked all along the road back down to the main houses. Both Dot and Dino went around the former pond and out to the road that led toward the large electronic gate. The scent went out the gate. The caretaker was stunned because he said that he never left the place that day, which was Sunday, and there were no workers coming onto the property to work. Then he suddenly remembered that he did have one visitor that day, but only for a short time, and it happen to be around the last time, as he recalled, that he saw Nova lying on the dirt road near his place. Mystery solved!

Now we had to find Nova and where she went to. There had not been a single sighting of Nova in town or anywhere near her past haunts, and this was a very large white dog. She would have been noticed. So my guess was that she went in a totally different location than in the past.

We followed a track that went literally "over the mountains and through the woods" for the next several hours. The track went up and down hills, crossing roads, up to houses, around houses and then straight into the mountains that are in an open space. There were no roads or trails to follow, just the scent trail from Nova that the dogs were following. Occasionally we would see a partial deer trail, but rarely. Remote would barely describe the area. We didn't see another human for almost the entire five hours. Luckily, Nova's caretaker was a very nice and interesting person and we had a lot great conversations.

Eventually we came to a very large winery and went through that fence and up to their road that led to a back winery. The grapes were delicious. I did not know that grapes from the vine could taste so delicious. I thought they would be bitter. The track went all the way through the winery all the way up to their electronic locked gate. The dogs indicated that the scent went through the gate. But how, we asked?  How did Nova get through? Did she wait until the gate opened and then bolted through? How long did she wait? The weather had been very cold and rainy the previous few days.

Once we climbed the fence and the dogs went under, and we got out onto the road, we left open the possibility that maybe Nova got picked up and put into a car. We followed the paved road leading down the hillside for several miles. The weather was very cold, and foggy and starting to rain.

The trail led straight down the road without deviating at all off to the side. More of an indication that she was in a car. The track led all the way up to the driveway of a house and there it stopped. The dogs indicated that the track led no where else. Nobody was home at the house, but the house was very well cared for with a lot of elaborate gardening. We were now in Agua Caliente, directly on the other side of Sonoma Mountain from the town of Sonoma and Nova's house.

Nova's person talked to the neighbor next door and said that those neighbors were out of the country on business and were regularly gone for long periods. I noted that obviously the house and garden were being cared for by somebody pretty regularly. My immediate guess was that there was a connection to this house and the winery that we tracked Nova from up the hillside. Also there were a couple of "winery" decorations around the outside, but it is Sonoma county so that could just be a coincidence.

Nova's person decided to focus his recovery efforts in that area and to distribute flyers and posters. By this time is was pouring rain and I was cold and tired and it was getting dark. We still had to get a ride back.

I got a phone call from Nova's person about one week later that Nova had walked back onto the ranch. She was sans her collar and she was very hungry and thin. He said that he would have never believed where Nova was tracked to other than that he had received a couple of calls from people saying they saw her walking around Agua Caliente a couple of times by herself.

My guess is that she made it back over the mountain back home following either her own scent or that of the caretaker.  And, I believe, the people who had her in Agua Caliente had attempted to keep her, and removed her collar. Something went wrong and either they let her go or she got away from them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Cedric", Stripped Siamese, Woodacre - Found!

(This is an email from Marta Williams, the animal communicator who helped with Cedric.)

"hey Jackie

Cedric came home! I did some belief clearing for him and he just showed up.... cool eh?"

(This is the email from Cedric's person to Marta.)

You are remarkable. Cedric showed up at our neighbor's house this morning. This is the neighbor I share him with. They have an 11 year old girl who he jumps into bed with in the morning. She tells her Mom she can't get up because snuggling with Cedric is heaven. She is so right. I'm going to pick him up when the kids leave for school. Thank you from the deepest part of my being. I felt like I was missing a part of my soul. Helping him end his walk about and allowing him to return to those who love him is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me. You are an angel.

Warmest Regards,

Cedric is a free access indoor/outdoor neutered three year old stripped Siamese. He is wearing a red collar and is microchipped. He is very friendly with everybody and is known to regularly visit many houses in the area. One morning he did not show up for breakfast.

There were sightings of Cedric on a nearby hillside, and the only scent article we had to use was a door mat of a nearby neighbor, where Cedric was known to hang out. We also did have an old carrier that was stored in an outdoor garage that had not been used for months. We went to the hillside and did find Cedric's scent and followed it all over the nearby hill, up walking paths and down and back toward town and toward  his home.

At this point, Cedric's person told me that there had been another sighting of Cedric that she thought was after the sighting on the hillside. She said she had forgotten about telling me about that. I reminded her that we could have cut out the last hour of following a track that was not the most current.

We went to this place, which was a yard down the street from her house. Cedric's person was doubtful that the sighting was truly Cedric because she did not feel he ever traveled that far, but later told me about other times when she did find Cedric in various parts of the town when she went out driving around and looking for him.

According to the dogs, the track was Cedric's. It went through a couple of yards and then down a street and out to a busier street. From there it went down that street and then up another street and then up another street where several houses were under construction. We then figured out that these streets were near a walking path that Cedric's person told me he was sighted on in the past. This path led from nearby her home and then up to this street. Cedric's scent was all over these houses and up and down the streets.

One of the houses was not under construction. It happened to be a house of a friend of Cedric's person. We talked to the home owner/friend and told her who we were looking for, and she was very helpful and friendly and allowed us to follow Cedric's track around her property. She did acknowledge that many times her German Shepherd, who was allowed loose on the property periodically, would chase unknown animals around the unfenced property, which was probably several acres and bordered on a creek and public walking path.

From this house Cedric's scent continued down the street, back out to the busy street and then went up to another street where other vacant lots for sale existed. The whole town of Woodacre is very remote and rural in the far west of Marin. The place we ended the track at per Cedric's request was even more remote and wooded than the town.

Based on this, my guess is that Cedric actually had a pretty wide territory, moving around the small town regularly. I believe that Cedric's regular territory actually included these two streets with the vacant lots for sale and the houses under construction.

I recommended that Cedric's person continue to put out flyers and posters along these streets and in town. I recommended that she drive around with her window down putting out her scent and giving Cedric a way to get home. She asked me what my opinion was about using an animal communicator, and I recommended that she talk to Marta Williams. I gave her Marta's website. The communication from Marta at the beginning of this post is the outcome of that recommendation.

By the way, we had a lot of problems with dogs off leash throughout the town. Apparently, residents in Woodacre don't believe in using a leash to walk their dogs and allow their dogs loose as they walk around. Cedric's person tried many times to talk to people and to hold on their dogs as we followed the track. Most did not comply and seemed confused why somebody was even asking them such a silly request.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"Gaby", Yorkshire Terrier, San Jose

As of February 15, 2010, Gaby is still missing. 

Gaby is an unspayed, eight month old female Yorkshire Terrier. She is not wearing a collar, nor does she have a microchip. Her family was putting up Christmas decorations when Gaby ran out of the house. She was spotted running through the parking lot of a apartment complex around 8 PM that night, and that was the last time she was sighted.

Her people focused their entire efforts for several days on that apartment complex, thinking somebody had her inside there. However, no additional sightings had been made. Many other Yorkies living in that area where misidentified as Gaby.

I came in and checked the parking lot of the apartment complex and found a track leading out and down the street and made a right turn onto the main street. There was one turn toward one gate of the apartment complex, but then it led out again onto the street.

The track continued down the street and then turned into the grounds of a public high school. The track was all around the grounds of the school and then came back out onto the street and continued down.

It crossed San Tomas Expressway and then through a park and around the park and then back out to the street. It went through another park and around that and back out to the street. At this point Gaby's people stopped the track at the three hour minimum. They said they still wanted to go back to the apartment complex and check that area again. I assured them that Gaby's track led out from the apartment complex and out onto the street.

They drove back to the apartment complex and spoke to the management and asked to have the dogs brought in and check for Gaby's scent. The management refused to allow them in because they were receiving complaints from the residents that they felt harassed that their Yorkies were being confused with Gaby and they were being accused of stealing Gaby.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Molly", DSH, Grey Tabby with White, San Jose - Found!

Molly is an indoor/outdoor spayed, seven year old black and grey tabby with white. She is not wearing a collar, but has a microchip. The family has two young twin boys, and they have been taught not to "chase the kitty."However, the day that Molly disappeared, they did admit to "chasing the kitty." This night was Thursday, Thanksgiving. The twins said they saw Molly run out of the cat door and into the yard.

For the next couple of days, Molly's people looked for her in the immediate neighborhood of a couple of blocks, but did not find her. I was called in a couple of days later. We found Molly's track leading out from the immediate neighborhood out to the main boulevard and then the track made a right down the street. The track continued through many streets, through parks and then all the way to a creek/canal heavily favored by homeless people. Along the way, the path was obviously by somebody walking because the track was along paved paths and walkways and overpasses. This was not the track of a cat walking nor of a car. So, somewhere, pretty close to Molly's home, she was picked up and carried away. Molly's person did say she was somewhat friendly toward strangers, but not overly.

I asked Molly's person what day of the week does their garbage get picked up on. He said usually Thursday morning, but because of the holiday, it would have been Friday morning. Based on where the track started to lead us, my guess at that point was that Molly had been picked up by a homeless person with a shopping cart who found her while going through the trash cans that night or morning.

We continued on the track and it still appeared to go to homeless camps and then up sidewalks and all the way into Campbell to a park in the middle of Campbell. From here the track appeared to change. Here Molly appeared to be on her home because the track went into and all around a fenced, locked and gated corporation yard for the City of Campbell. They said they were locked on the weekend, and they wouldn't not let in a homeless person with a cart. Molly's scent went all over the yard on the perimeter like she was looking for a way out. The track left the yard and then went into a smallish type of junk yard. The scent again went around the perimeter of the yard and then went back out. From there it went into a large condo/apartment complex and again went all along the perimeter of the complex.

At this point Molly's person stopped the search. He had to pick up his child at daycare.

He also mentioned that this spot was within less than a mile from their former home in Campbell. He wondered if Molly was on her way back to that home. I also suggested that he talk to Marta Williams, an animal communicator.

Conversation with Marta Williams, animal communicator:
I got a call from Molly's person that Marta had talked to Molly and confirmed that Molly was on her way back to her former home. Molly gave Marta pictures of where she was, and Molly's person recognized those places as nearby their former home. He said that he would alert neighbors in that area to be on the lookout for Molly in case she did make it back. Marta told Molly's person to visualize to Molly how to make it back to their current home from her current location.

About one week later I got a phone call from Molly's person saying that Molly showed up back at their current home. She walked right into the cat door and into the office of where the wife was sitting at her desk!

"Sugar", DSH, Grey Tabby with White, Oakley

Sugar is a spayed female, five year old brown tabby with white. She is wearing a pink collar with an ID tag. She does not have a microchip. She is all indoors.

Her people were out of town and a relative was caring for Sugar. The other dog in the house and may have chased Sugar around the out, causing her to get scared and run out the dog door. An active search did not occur for Sugar until her people got back from vacation a few days later.

While out looking for Sugar, two people independently said they thought they saw her a block away running from a couple of yards a couple of days prior, but there had been no sighting since then.

When I got there we went to the possible sighting. It was a court street just one block over from where Sugar lives. The dogs picked up her track right away and followed it down the street and right and then across the busy boulevard. From there it went around a large open space and down to a park and then back up to the street.

The scent went up onto the busy street and then down the street for several blocks. It continued for several more blocks and then suddenly turned backwards and crossed the street and went into a large farm. It went down the driveway. We stopped to make contact with the home owner. She had a nice Irish Setter puppy. She said she had not seen Sugar around, but we were welcome to follow the track around her property. The track went around the perimeter of the property and then went back up onto the driveway and back out. We thanked the woman who came out and was concerned that a cat was on her property and she did not know.

The scent went back out to the street and make right going along the same way it was originally. The track continued for several more blocks and then turn suddenly to the right and through a neighborhood and out onto a main street. It continued right down the street and then after a couple of blocks it turned down a gravel dirt road which went down to the end and around a large circular parking lot.

From here Sugar's people stopped the search at the three hour minimum. I suggested they continued searching for her in that area and down the Main street and talking to people for sightings.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Lou", DSH, Grey and White Tabby, Aptos - Found!

Lou is a neutered, seven year old grey and white tabby. He is not wearing a collar or a microchip or tattoo. His people had recently moved to this new home. After about one week, Lou went outside one day and did not return. He had been missing for one week when I was called.

We had a time scheduled for a search on a Tuesday morning. I received a call about 8 PM on Monday evening saying that Lou had been found. His people had received a phone call from a neighbor from their previous home that Lou had returned there. He had traveled over eight miles in a week to return to the previous home.

This story is to accentuate the strong ability of an animal to travel very long distances in a short time. I have had many cases of animals traveling long distances, and yet many people still don't believe that their supposedly sedate pet could travel so far, even after seeing the search for their pet. I have people who still want to check back at their home for their pet after we have just performed a multi hour search for their pet following a track that spanned many, many miles.

"Elvis", DLH, Black, San Francisco

Elvis is a black 18 year old, neutered DLH. He is wearing a pink collar with an ID tag, but does not have a microchip. His brother and littermate had passed away from cancer just a few months prior to Elvis being missing.

I do have to mention that in this case, I had the most difficult time finding a place to park. Everything was two hour parking for blocks in every direction. I finally had to park in a public parking lot at the De Young Museum, which was over 10 blocks away.

A couple of sightings inside gardens were made of Elvis within 24 hours of when his person last saw him. We started there. The dogs found his track and followed it out to the street. From there the track led away from the house for several miles through many neighborhoods, Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, several construction sites, more neighborhoods and public parks. Eventually, the track went all the way to Baker Beach on the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge. The track went onto the beach and all the way down to the end, which eventually went over some high and slippery rocks. The tide was high so we could not go around the cliff.

The funniest part of the whole search was the beach that we ended up. Neither of us knew that it was a gay nude beach, and I think the young gentlemen there were surprised to see two females and two dogs walking toward them. Once we figured out that we could not follow the track any further, I decided to let the dogs run loose on the beach and play since they had put in a hard several hours of tracking. Elvis' person made a phone call to ask a friend to come pick us up, so we did not leave the area quickly, which I think caused a bit more surprise.

After doing the search for Elvis, I still had time to visit the De Young Museum and try to see the King Tut exhibit. However, when I saw the $35 price per ticket, I decided to not see it. I decided instead to look at all the exhibits outside the made exhibit and look through the shop and books. I got a general idea of the main exhibit.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Buster", Border Collie, San Francisco

Buster is a nine year old, black and white, Border Collie. He is wearing a red collar with ID tags and a microchip. He was visiting San Francisco with his person at their work. Periodically, he would be let out and allowed to run around the area nearby, but this time he did not return back to the jobsite. He was spotted several blocks away at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Highway 101. That is where we started our search.

Day One (day before Thanksgiving):
We found his track leading up a very long and steep set of concrete stairs that led directly into a another neighbor and then into another and another. At one point his track led through a set of projects where we encounter a loose pit bull racing toward us. Luckily the dog was a juvenile and scared back easily. Both of us wanted to get out of the area very quickly.

We continued to follow the track out of the projects and then through a community garden and then up to the back end of a school with a large grassy field. Here we encountered the second scariest moment of the day. We came across another loose pit bull charging at us, but I was able to get that dog to back off. However a couple of young punks decided that they did not like me doing what I had to to the pit bull and decided to charge both of us. One came at me and the other came at the Buster's person, who is almost six feet tall. We both tried to back up slowly to hopefully get these guys to calm down, but they didn't. I decided to call 911 on my cell phone in my back pocket. That was enough to get my guy to back off, even though he continued to call me all types of names relating to my white race and femininity. I tried to explain to the dispatcher where I was but I could not remember the exact street name.

Eventually both guys, since they were both either stoned or drunk, decided to go away. I later found out that the dog that charged us did not belong to either of these two punks, but to somebody else in the park.

We did continue the track which led through the park and out into the local neighborhood and then for several more hours continued all along Mission Street and into Daly City. Eventually, the track did cross Mission and then went through more neighborhoods and to the 280 freeway. Here we decided to stop for the day since it was dark and we were all exhausted. He asked if I could come back on Friday, after Thanksgiving. I said "Yes."

Day Two(day after Thanksgiving):

We started the search again in Daly City where we left off two days earlier. The track continued again for miles and miles in Daly City, along the area of the beach. The track led down to an area that connects to the beach and then it went all over and up and down paths along the beach. It was pretty frustrating because Buster went all over this area, criss crossing back and forth and going everywhere and down cliffs and up cliffs.

We finally went back out of the beach area and back up into another neighborhood, through a school and up hills and down. By then it was raining pretty hard, and Buster's person called off the search. He said he would continue to look for Buster.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Sebastien", DSH, Black, San Francisco

Sebastien is an indoor/outdoor male black with white DSH who is wearing a microchip. He had a pattern of not always returning right away, so his person did not become concerned for a couple of days when she started looking for him. There were a couple of sightings. We started our search from one of these spots.

Dot and Dino definitely picked up Sebastien's scent and followed it up the long, steep hill to the top of Twin Peaks. From there the track led up and down some streets and then went down to a dead end and up a deck. We went to talk to the home owner. He said that directly behind his deck and house there is a very steep hillside covered in poison ivy. We went around the block to the bottom of the hill to see if we could pick up Sebastien's scent at the bottom.

We did pick up his scent, and from there we went on a multi hour search following what we became to believe was Sebastien being carried. The track went through multiple neighborhoods, down Market Street for a long time and then it make a sharp right turn across Market Street. Then it went down a couple more blocks and then turned sharply to the right and then right again as it led right to the front door of USF. Sebastien's person went inside and checked around asking if anybody had seen Sebastien around. While she was inside I checked for a track from the door and outside. I did find one. I went back to tell her.

We both agreed that probably a student picked up Sebastien near the steep hill in Twin Peaks and then carried him on a bicycle all the way to the school.

She said she had put up flyers around the school. We followed the track out of the school campus, and through a couple more neighborhoods and all the way to the Embarcadero. From there the track made a right for a few buildings and then suddenly went into a building and all the way to the back. This was a large building along the docks (probably one of the piers, but I don't remember the number). There were several businesses in this large building. We contacted one of them, which was still open, but they had not seen Sebastien.

From that building, the track changed again. Per the track, it looked like Sebastien was now walking on his own. It looked like that the student that carried him to the school brought him to the pier probably because that person knew somebody who worked there and could leave Sebastien. After that, Sebastian somehow escaped and ran out.

The track now led down the piers and in and out of buildings and parking lots. At this point it was getting dark and Sebastien's person decided to stop the search and continue it on her own.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Guido", DSH, Grey Tabby with White, San Jose

Guido is an indoor/outdoor neutered, six month old grey tabby with white. He is wearing a collar with ID tags and he is microchipped. He is very friendly with strangers. He was missing for a few days when I was called.

A couple of possible sightings were made, but it was not sure if that cat was another cat that lives in neighborhood that also looks very similar to Guido.

We found a track that led out of the immediate neighborhood. Within a very short time, it appeared to me that Guido was inside a vehicle and had been carried out of the neighborhood. The track went through a neighborhood, through a school parking lot and through more neighborhoods. Finally the track went through a shopping center parking lot and straight up to a veterinary hospital. Guido's person went into the hospital and asked if they had seen Guido, and the staff there said "no." Directly next to the hospital was attached a large pet store. We were not sure if the person who picked up Guido went into the hospital and then brought him into the store. I suggested that Guido's person check with the staff of the hospital at the time he disappeared. She said she would go back to check.

The track did come back out of the hospital and then went down the parking lot and then made a right and into another apartment complex parking lot. From there it appeared to just jog suddenly off the the left and around another parking lot and then through another and through a business park. It looked like Guido was now on his own and not in a vehicle anymore.

The track continued like this for a shorter distance, and then it started to rain. I did not have a rain jacket and Guido's person needed to get to work. I agreed to get a ride back to their house, get a rain jacket and drive my car back to that spot and restart the track and to continue it.

I continued to follow the track for a few more blocks, which led into another neighborhood and around some blocks to a dead end. At this point I stopped per Guido's people to stop at a certain time.

I walked back to my car and then drove back to their house to tell them what I found. They said they would continue to look for Guido and to check with the hospital staff at the time he disappeared.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Makoa", Greyhound/Afghan mix, Union City

Makoa is a neutered two year old Greyhound/Afghan mix. He is wearing a black nylon collar with ID tags and he has a microchip. He is described as very shy of strangers.

He is also possily dragging a leash that was on him when he was attacked by a loose dog in Garin Regional Park. This park, which is part of the East Bay Regional Parks District and connects for many miles all the way down to Fremont and all the way east into the Tri Valley area. There are many private cattle ranches connected to this park with public access.

He was missing for less than two days when I was called.

His people had scanned the whole area all over the hills, but could not find him and there were no sightings. This included park rangers and park employees.

We started by going to the last known spot where Makoa was seen, and that was a short distance away. We went there and found his track leading up along the designated trails and fire roads. This went on for several miles winding all along the valleys and roads and cattle ranches and lakes. There were a couple of repeated trails, and back tracks. There were no additional sightings of anybody we asked along the trails.

We stopped the track after several hours since it would be getting dark sooner. They decided to continue the search on their own first thing the next morning.

"Shelby", Ragdoll, Saratoga

Shelby is a three year old brown and white DLH with blue eyes Ragdoll. She typically an indoor cat with limited outdoor access to the large backyard and front yard. She had been missing for a few days when I was called.

The last time Shelby was seen was on that Saturday morning when the landscapers came to the house and Shelby was inside. She has to be let in and out, so one of the doors must have be left open and she got out and was scared by the landscaping machines. Her people had scoured their yard and the immediate neighborhood backwards and forth, up and down and side to side since they were convinced that Shelby was hiding out or injured nearby. There were no sightings of Shelby.

The track we found led down the street and then made a left and crossed a very busy street. From here the track led around Saratoga and San Jose streets for a couple of hours and then it went right back to their neighborhood and passed directly in front of their home and kept going down the street. There was a deviation behind a house to a creek, but then it came back up and continued down the street.

From here it crossed into the high school, which was about a block away. The track went through the school and then out to the main street where the front of the school it.

From here the track went straight up the street for many, many blocks without any side deviation. I mentioned this to Shelby's person that this may be Shelby being carried, but I wasn't 100%. The track then turned to the right and then another right and then went straight down the street again. The track was on the side of a vehicle driving, so we could certainly still consider a car.

Then the track turn left and went a couple of more blocks, and then it turned left and then stopped alongside a large neighborhood park just in front of a walking path that went through the park. The track then immediately turned left into the park and followed the paved path through the park and then went to the public restrooms and the scent went into the restroom. Then the track came out, continued along the path paved and then made a left along the sidewalk and continued alongside the park to a walking path that goes along San Tomas Expressway, which went for a long distance (several blocks) along STE.

At the next intersection, the track went right and crossed STE and then went straight along the street.

After about the distance of two blocks the track suddenly turned right up a driveway, which was some type of corporation yard for the City of San Jose. Unfortunately, it was after 5 PM and the yard was closed. We looked all over the different signs but could not find a phone number to call. We looked up and down the fence but could not find another possible way in.

Shelby's person called another family member at home and asked them to look at this place and try to find a number. In the meantime I checked up and down the driveway, but the dogs did not indicate a track leading out. Since we don't know the time frame on this, either Shelby was still inside or was taken out from another gate. From where we were standing and it was dark but this time, the place looked very large with several possible exists.

We all drove back to Shelby's home and they asked me to take the dogs through several neighbor's houses to double check that Shelby was not in these yards. I agreed to do this.

We walked to several houses and we did a "find felix" which is a general cat search without following a specific scent since we know that Shelby's goes to these yards.

We searched several yards, but did not find Shelby anywhere. While we were doing this, Shelby's people got a call from the City of San Jose responding to their request to search the yard. I said I would go to the yard if there would be somebody to meet us, however, The City said they did not have anybody at that time (around 7 PM) to meet us. They said that somebody would be there the following morning.

My best guess about what happened to Shelby is that she was picked up at the high school by a student that was on a bicycle or skateboard. This student got a ride from the school to the park by a person in a car. From the park that student rode with Shelby to the City corp yard because they knew somebody there, like a relative, who could give them a ride home. That is what I explained to Shelby's people.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Oscar", Yorkie/Poodle mix, San Francisco - Found!

On Wednesday, December 23, I received the following email

"Oscar is home for the holidays. Thanks for your help!"


(Search Details)
Oscar is an adult Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle mix. He is wearing a collar with ID tags and a microchip. He had been with his person for about a month after being adopted from Pets Unlimited in San Francisco.

Oscar was walking with his dog walker off leash in a park, when something spooked him and he ran off. Another dog walker ran after Oscar and saw him run into a park on Steiner and Geary, and that was the last time anybody saw him. The dog walker had to get back to his own dogs. Oscar had been missing for a few days when I was called.

After having a bear of a time trying to find a place to park in that area (we finally had to park in a Safeway parking lot and walk over!), we got to the park where Oscar was last seen. The track led out of the park, down the street, up another street and crossed Divisadero. There is a lot of construction is being on Divisadero, and the crosswalk is blocked, so we had to make a three point walk around the intersection to follow the track down Geary, which actually went directly through the construction. This was my first clue that something unusual was happening.

The track continued down Geary block after block after block. That was my second clue. After a few blocks, Oscar person had to turn around and go back to work. She told me how far to go to see what I come up with and then I would email her with the results.

A few blocks down, the track went through a large construction zone that extended out to the sidewalk. The sidewalk was covered with scaffolding and very loud. This was my final clue that Oscar had been carried down Geary and not walked on his own. This combined with the track going straight down Geary without any deviation or side roads and walking through two big construction zone, neither which a dog on their own would not do, led me to believe that Oscar probably was picked up and carried away in the park where he was last seen.

I emailed Oscar's person later that day to tell her to look for Oscar in the Sunset and Richmond area and to have the flyer translated into a common Asian language like either Chinese or Mandarin.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Khloe", Black Pomeranian, Sparks, NV

Khloe is a 10 month old black unspayed Pomeranian who was also in heat at the time she disappeared. She was not wearing a collar, nor was she microchipped. She had been missing for 10 days at the time I was called. There is one additional dog in the house.

I made the four hour drive to Sparks, and I hit a freak snow storm on my way up. Since I don't have four wheel drive or chains, just a large heavy van, I decided to go back a couple of exits to wait for a clearing in the snow report. After about 45 minutes, I lost the snow report on the radio. I guessed it was because the conditions where no longer existing. I decided to get back on the road and proceed slowly. Before hitting the summit, the ground and everything around me was covered in snow, but the snow had stopped and chains were no longer required. There were stranded vehicles on both sides of the roads that were covered in snow. It was very eerie. The sun was out and shining. I am not a snow person in any way, born and raised in San Francisco, however, when I lived in Trinity County in 2008 I developed a very deep respect for snow and ice and I have not forgotten those memories.

I made it to Sparks by about 11 AM. We quickly went over some paperwork, got a scent article from Khloe's things. There had not been a single sighting of Khloe since she went missing. The last time she was seen was around 11 PM in her backyard, which had wrought iron bars in the fence wide enough for her to get through, and in the past she had gotten through, and ran around behind the apartment complex, but then always came back. Directly behind the complex is another complex and a golf course that is not unfenced. In fact, when we were standing there reviewing and discussing the options, a man walked by on the golf course walking his dogs off leash without a care in the world. I asked if that was common, and neither said they had seen that before.

While Khloe and the other dog were outside "doing their duty" their person quickly walked inside to answer a phone call. When she came back outside, Khloe was no where to be seen. The other dog had come back. An extensive search of the immediate area was initiated, including police officers. No body saw a sign of her.

I had a 50/50 shot at which way to go since she could have gone either left or right. Since she had been known to go to the right, and the was part of the extensive search (the left had not been search as extensively or at all, I don't remember), I decided to start the search going to the left and see if a track existed. I found a track leading away from the apartment, along a water drainage pipe and out to the street, and then it went down the street, made a left into another neighborhood and then to the end of a court (which is open to the busy street behind it)and out along the street where road work was being done. Her track went down to the next intersection, across it, made a left over the blvd and then down into another apartment complex. From there is where the search took a permanent long range turn.

Khloe turned down a very, very, very long walking path (several miles) that literally took her and us to the other side of Sparks. The walkway had a waterway on the left, and houses all along on the right. There were multiple ways where she could have gone into these house but she never did. Her people were totally stunned that she would have gone down here and gone this far. They were confused what her motivation would be.

This path literally dead ended at another street and then led right into a pasture with several horses. Since we could not go into the pasture, I decided to check the other sides of the pasture to see where she came out.

The track came out near the street we were just on and then head down the street again. I never had been to Sparks before, but I had no idea how wide and flat it could be.

The track went down to a small neighborhood park, where Khloe circled it a couple of times (probably looking for food). The the track crossed over a very busy street (remember she was doing this crossing sometime in the night, so the traffic would be a lot less.) Then it went through a small shopping center (food!) and then back out to the street. Then it turned into a neighborhood, went around that and then out to an open space area.

Then it came back out and went up the busy street for a long distances before it went into another neighborhood. Then the track went around and around and up and down and back and forth in this neighborhood. There were many backtracks and then out into an open space that was even scary to me. It was wide open on the base of a mountain. It all low scrubs and was definitely jack rabbit and coyote country, and it was getting dark. I wasn't interested in being there at dark. However, Khloe didn't seem to mind. She walk alongside it, which also borders on a school. The track went around the school and back out to the neighborhood and then back around to another court where we had been two additional times. We talked to several people and nobody had seen her, probably because she was still traveling at night.

Since it was almost dark and getting very cold and I still had a long drive home, we decided to stop the search at this point. Khloe's people said they would continue the search on their own.

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Smokey", DSH, Grey, Oakland

Smokey is an indoor/outdoor adult neutered, solid grey DSH. He is not wearing a collar, nor does he have a microchip. He was missing for four weeks at the time I was called.

Smokey had a couple of different ways he would leave, so we checked first the most obvious, which is on a side street where an alley from behind their house leads to. I walked Dot and Dino around the area to have him pick up the most current track since Smokey's scent was all over the area. Dino immediately picked up a track across the street and around the corner and up the block to a street just behind their house. There is a side street that would lead back down to their area. I bet that this was probably a regular routine for Smokey. However, this one particular day, why did he not come home?

The track we found continued down the street and then crossed MacArthur (?) Blvd (which is a super busy street) and then up another street, made a left and then another left back down to MacArthur and then it make a right through a crosswalk and then straight up MacArthur for several blocks. Something did seem very strange about this track. The track was directly up the street without any kind of deviation back and forth and in and out like a cat walking. I began to think that Smokey was somehow being carried. I stopped and told this to Smokey's people, and they agreed that they did not feel Smokey would walk on this street since he always exhibited total fear of cars. We were thinking of either in a car or walking or bicycle.

After a few more block, the track led up the street for several more blocks. Then, all of a sudden the track when up a set of concrete steps. So we could rule out a car. Either a pedestrian or bicyclist. We kept following the track through another neighborhood and then straight toward a shopping center. The track went along the stores and then straight back to the a place where there was a set of benches that wrapped around a large concrete planter.

From here the track then suddenly changes and took off around the back of the shopping center. My belief is that Smokey got away from the person who was carrying him. The track then went around to the far side of the center to a construction site. Just inside the site, underneath some temporary chain link fencing were several bowls of cat food and water dishes. Smokey's people said they checked this spot about a week after he went missing. I asked them if the construction site was here when they came by then, and they said "no." That means that Smokey crossed through this area, so we needed to find the track where it came out. The food indicates that somebody knows there are cats hanging out in the area. I suggested leaving a flyer at this spot.

We continued to follow the track which went up the street and then over a lawn in front of a cemetary. The track went all the way through a cemetary and to the back to where the chain link fence stops. Then the track went to the left up a high mound of dirt over some concrete items and to a large area with dumpsters and other trash items. From here the track led back through the cemetary and back out the front gate.

From here the track went through some neighborhoods and up some hills and through a park. Here we unknowingly entered an off leash dog area, and suddenly had a large german shephard mix come barring down on my dogs. I yelled at the owner to get his dog, but just stood there staring at me. I was able to forcibly get the dog from going forward and stop him in his tracks and run yelping back to his person, with the person still looking at me dumbfounded. Eventually he put his dog back on leash and walked out. As I learned later, where he was at was outside the off leash area. I have my dogs on leash and he needs to have his dog under voice control even if he was in an off leash area. I always try to look ahead and ask people to hold their dogs back and I never allow my dogs to have direct contact with another unless in a valid and fenced off leash dog park (except for Fort Funston in SF due to it immense size). Eventually we followed the track through the park with additional problems with off leash and dogs not in voice control.

On the other side of the park, Smokey's people wanted to stop the search since one of them had to go to work. They explained that they would continue the search on their own.

"DJ", Yorshire Terrier, San Jose - Found!

DJ is a nine month old, neutered Yorkshire Terrier. He is not wearing a collar and he is not microchipped. At the time he was lost, he slipped out of his collar, which held his ID tags. Normally he was walked on a harness but this particular time he was walked on his collar. DJ was staying at a relative's house while his person was on vacation. He had been missing for about four days when I was called.

His caretaker took him for a walk up to the end of the street when DJ got scared by a large vehicle quickly coming up along side him, turning quickly behind him and then stopping. This spooked DJ and he slipped out of his collar and bolted down the street. His caretaker chased after him and the last time she saw him he was turning the corner of the street. We started the track from there.

We found the track went down the street and around the corner and back to the neighborhood where he initially got loose from, but there wasn't anybody there waiting for him. The track went back down the street and out another street and then make a left to eventually cross over San Tomas Expressway, a very busy street. The track then went down a walking trail that parallels STE.

From there for the next six hours, the track went through San Jose and into neighboring Saratoga through parks, high schools, up very long walkways, along more trails, etc. Just around the sixth hour when we were about to stop due to loosing light, DJ's person got a call from a relative that DJ had been found! A person called to say that she had picked up DJ recently along the street near the Saratoga/San Jose border (exact location I did not get) and that she would be bringing him over to their house.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Tux", DSH, Tuxedo Black with White, Berkeley/Oakland border

Tux is a ten plus year old, neutered DSH. He is not wearing a collar nor a microchip. He showed up at the Botanical Gardens in Tilden Park a couple of years ago and stayed. He is outdoors for the day and sometimes would come in at night, less in the summer and more in the winter. He had been missing for one week when I was called.

The person who went with me was a top volunteer at the garden.

Per their request, they wanted to give the garden a quick look around in case Tux had been hiding and they did not find him in their initial checks. The garden is very well maintained, so I did not think that he was able to keep hiding without being seen. The biggest challenge is that inside the park all the plants are protected so I had prevent Dino from lifting his leg anywhere. I had him take care of his business outside and I told him he was not allowed to do that inside because the plants were very special. He did not attempt to lift his leg until we were outside.

What I did was to walk Dino around the office and have him check for the most recent scent to see what direction Tux last went to. We found a track away from the office and around some of the paths and then out one of the large water pipes that went out to the street. From there the track went into the golf course that is just across the street. We checked for a track leading out from that gate, but we did not find anything.

I checked on the main road in both directions, but did not find any tracks leading out. There is another road just across from the main gate that is closed in the winter, and that road had been closed just three days prior. We did find a track that led up that road for a couple of miles that deviated a couple of times into parks and then through the parks and back onto the road.

We followed the track up the road and then it went onto a hiking trail that went in and around the hillsides for several miles. I had no idea where we were, but the person I was with said she knew where we were. We eventually followed the track back down to a parking lot that was near the edge of Oakland and Berkeley.

The track led down into Berkeley and through some neighborhoods and then back onto a fire road that led into the hills alongside and near the Berkeley campus. At this point, Tux's person decided to stop the track since we still had a long way to walk back and it was getting late and it would soon be dark. She said she would continue the search for Tux at that point. She said she still wanted to have us check the garden again just in case Tux was still there.

We checked the garden again, but still did not find Tux.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Kody", Maltese/Coton de Tulear mix, Los Altos Hills

Kody is a white, four month old unneutered Maltese/Coton de Tulear mix. He is not wearing a collar, nor does he have a microchip. He was in his yard, when he got scared of the loud landscaping machines. He got out through some open slates in the gate that leads to the driveway. There had been no sightings of Kody.

We found the track leading out of the driveway and down the street and then down the next street and down the next to the main street. The track went through the downtown area and continued down the main street.

The track went up through some homes with large open spaces behind them and around them. We went to a few doors to let people know he is missing. The track continued up a street/road to where the road ended at a large metal gate. We attempted contact with the home owner. There were two large well groomed standard poodles barking up a storm at us, so I didn't figure it would be too long before somebody came out.

A caretaker of the large property eventually came out and we told them who we were looking for and he let us onto the property and follow the track. The track went through the parking lots and then down through the vineyard all the way to the bottom and then back up (a very steep hill with steps going down but none going up alongside the fence. The track went all the way up to a type of enclosed patio which is enclosed by a four foot tall retaining wall along one side. Dino indicated that Kody jumped up onto the wall and hopped through to the other side, which was underneath one of the houses. We had to go around to get to that spot.

When we got there, we found the track went under the house and then down the steep hillside and then under the deer fencing. Kody's person went around outside the house to the bottom of the hill and met me there. The track led up the street and then down a court. Here he stopped the track due to other commitments that afternoon. He said he would continue to look for Kody on his own.

Professional Letters of Recommendation

Friday, October 30, 2009

Conversation with a So Called Rescuer

I recently had a detailed email conversation on a national Lost Pet Yahoo group. She had found a dog and was looking for a new home for the dog. I told her that she needed to find the owner first before finding a new home. She also wanted to get him to a "no kill" private shelter instead of surrendering him to the local shelter where she found the dog. Here is her response. It is quite harsh and she has some pretty strong emotions about how she feels about a person who has lost a pet.

From: Janna M.
Subject: RE: [K9Alert] Will anyone take in "Buster", the found American Bulldog that nobody's looking for?
To: jackie@thesocialpet .com
Date: Friday, October 30, 2009, 8:53 PM

Jackie, I'm not going to continue this conversation on the group thread, because quite honestly, if I were anyone else I'd be getting tired of this exchange. I know I am. For someone who is supposedly a professional in this field, you don't seem to be very intelligent about it. FIRST OF ALL, as I stated earlier, IF I placed him with a group, I would keep my craigslist postings, FOUND DOG posters, etc. up so that the owners of the dog could contact ME, and I could then refer them to whoever (group or individual) took Buster in. SECOND, why would I spend money on adopting a dog that's not even mine, if I'm already unwilling to pay a $200 fine for getting caught with him at my house??? Come on, have some common sense! THIRD, at the Orange County Animal Shelter they no longer give preference for adoption to the person that turned the animal in. So, in your scenario, if I turned him in intending to adopt him and continue to search for his owner, and someone else adopted him before me, then where would the owners be?? Up the same creek as if I had simply found the dog a home.

Honestly, I don't see any point in continuing this exchange if you're not even going to have the decency to respond to ALL of my questions. I've responded to all of yours, and addressed all of your points, the least you can do is the same. I think you need to admit to yourself that you do what you do to benefit ANIMAL LOVERS, not to benefit the ANIMALS. I think it's great that you are trying to prevent others from the heartache you've experienced, but we all need to admit that when we as humans lose a beloved pet we will cry, we will search, but we will inevitably suck it up, move on, and most likely replace that pet with a new one. However, when a beloved pet finds itself lost, that pet is battling for its life on a moment-by-moment basis, and if it does not get "rescued" by a kind soul that will take it in, it will probably DIE ON THE STREETS, or DIE IN A SHELTER. To me, there is absolutely no argument about who needs our help more between those two situations. I believe that you and I could go around and around about this, probably forever.

Bottom line is that you feel that humans are deserving of your help more than animals, and I feel that humans can (and should) take care of themselves, and that it's the helpless animals that deserve my time and help. By the same token, I'm also in favor of mandatory spay/neuter laws and banning all puppy mills and enforcing STRICT limits and regulations on breeders (actually, I'd like to see them all put out of business, but I know that will never happen)...because I'm tired of cleaning up after other irresponsible pet owners! Somehow I think you probably disagree with me on this, because quite honestly, if it weren't for irresponsible pet owners, you wouldn't have a business... Janna

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Max" Paint Horse, Stolen IL/Found MO 58 weeks later

Merry Christmas card for funds raised for NetPosse through Ebay auction.

This is not a case I worked on. I heard about this case from a website I receive updates on called Stolen Horse International. They help to recover horses who have been lost or stolen from their properties. Please take a look at their great website for more information:

Max had been stolen from his pasture over a year from when he was found several states away. This is proof that animals can be found and how important it is to keep looking. The person who recognized Max saw a flyer his owners had distributed to horse arenas and barns.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Concept", Labrador mix, Black, Ceres, CA

Concept is a black five year old, spayed Labrador mix. She is wearing a collar and ID tags and has a microchip.

Her people had just moved into this new home, and they were having the carpets cleaned. Concept was in the backyard, but had managed to get through the dog door and out the front door. There were no sightings of her. She had been missing for a few days when I was called.

The track we found led from the door and then to the left to the street. The track stayed on this side of the street and went down for a couple of blocks and then crossed over into a neighborhood park. The track went all the way around the park and then down into another neighborhood. The track continued this way for several miles in and out of neighborhoods, crossing railroad tracks and then it did an almost backtrack to the house and she crossed past the house within a half block, back almost to where we started.

At this point her people wanted to take a break at the home, get some water and use the restroom. After several minutes I peaked my head into the front door and asked when we would get going again. I was told that they wanted to stop the track early because they did not believe what me and the dogs were doing. He said that there was no way that Concept would have passed the house by a half a block and not come home. He said she loved her home. I reminded him that they had just moved to that house and that she did not seem to recognize the area. I told him that I have done many searches for animals that, for various reasons, do not recognize the fronts of their homes, and pass right by them when they become lost. I said that she obviously got very scared of the rug cleaning machines (which are EXTREMELY loud) and she become disoriented when she got out and then got lost. I reminded him that she was able to do a backtrack to something familiar, but then appeared to keep going without making the direct connection to the house.

After several more minutes of discussion he agreed to keep going and at least finish out the three hour minimum. He wanted to see what happened after she walked past the house. However, he decided to stay home with his wife and father, and just have his mother accompany me. I could tell he was still very unconvinced and suspicious.

We continued on the search, which continued down their street and crossed the next big street. It made a left down the street and eventually made the right turn into the high school. There was a gate that was open (This was a Saturday.) and the track went through it. The track went all over the school and the yards and the fields. At exactly three hours total the woman who was with me said to stop the search.

It took us another 30 minutes to walk back. When I got back to Concept's home, I told him about the extra 30 minutes which we covered in the beginning was included in the time. He was not happy. I told him I hope he finds his dog. He said he would continue to look for Concept.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Gracie", Shih Tzu, San Francisco - Found

(This is not a photo of Gracie, but she looks a lot like this dog.)

This is an additional letter sent from Gracie's mom:

"My experience with Jackie and Dino were extremely positive and I would highly recommend her services!  I admit, I was a little skeptical in the beginning, but after hiring her, I wouldn't hesitate to contact her should I need her again!

When my dog escaped 2 yrs ago, Jackie helped me find her.  Dino sniffed out Gracie's scent, and traced the path she took before leading us to the location where we found her.  Unfortunately, it was not a happy outcome as our beloved pet had been hit by a car.  A gardner who worked in the area found her, and buried her.  Dino led us to the exact location.  I am extremely grateful to both Jackie and Dino b/c they helped me bring my beloved pet home.

I think were lucky b/c of the following:
-we hired Jackie almost immediately after Gracie went missing
-we live in San Francisco near Golden Gate park, so Gracie's scent 'clings' to the the damp vegetation making it easy for Dino to track her scent

I would not hesitate to use Jackie's services again - she's friendly, professional, and knowledgeable.
San Francisco"


This is a follow up letter from Gracie's person after the search:


I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. As you can imagine, it's been several rough days for me. My beloved baby was not only taken from me, but she was taken in a violent way. I think back to that day and constantly wonder about what ifs. She was a young happy little dog and had years ahead of her. I miss her terribly and wish that I could go back and change that day.

What you've help me do is trace the last hour or so of her life. This is a path that I'd like to walk one day when I'm ready and think about all the good memories I have of Gracie. You, Dino, and Dot led me back to my baby and helped me retrieve her body. We've requested a private cremation, and patiently wait her return home. Thank you so much for everything you have done. I would have liked to personally thank you that day, however given the circumstances that afternoon, I was unable to.

Should anyone ever be in a situation like mine, I would highly recommend you to them. Please let me know if there is anything I can do, or if there is something I can post on your behalf to let people know that there is hope when searching for a furry friend.



(Details of the search)
Gracie is a two year old, spayed salt and pepper Shih Tzu. She is microchipped, but is not wearing a collar or ID tag. There is construction going on at her home and she got scared by all the noise and bolted out the front door. The construction workers were able to follow her around some blocks, down to Golden Gate Park and then she went back home. She made it to the front door, but, since it wasn't open, she took off again and ran down the street toward GGP and that was the last time she was seen. She had been missing for two days when I was called. I came out the next morning.

We found a track that went down a street from her house and then went all the way to Sunset Blvd. There is made a right turn and went right to GGP. The track went through GGP, past Polo Field, horse stables, around a duck pond and then continued on MLK drive. Along the way we are talking to every maintenance person we see to see if anybody saw her walking along.

Along the way, we find an older gentleman with a plastic bucket off in some of the landscaping. Gracie's person approaches him and I continue along the track. After about a minute I turned around, but I did not see her with me. I stopped and waited for her to catch up. About another minute later I see her and the older gentleman walking toward me and she is in full tears. As she approaches she blurts out that this gentleman found Gracie dead in the road a couple of days ago and buried her. I asked him to show us the spot and he agreed. In the meantime, I called the boyfriend and told him what we knew and asked him to meet us at that intersection.

This intersection was about one block ahead of us. The boyfriend met us there and the gardener showed us where he buried Gracie. Her two people went back to their home and dropped the girlfriend off and then the boyfriend came back with a large blanket. In the meantime, with the help of the gardener, we unearthed Gracie's body from the flower bed and placed her in the blanket. He confirmed that the body was Gracie's. He drove her to their vet and met me back at my vehicle a few blocks away.

I make sure that the gardener knew that next time he finds the body of a domestic animal that he surrender the body to animal control. He said he was sorry and would do that next time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Basil", DSH, Grey Tabby with White, Bangor, CA

Basil is a six year old neutered grey tabby with white. He is wearing a collar with ID tag and he is microchipped. He has been at his current home for one month. He had been missing for one week when I was called.

First we had to make a flyer because Basil's person had just received a photo from Basil former person, who is currently living in Japan. We used my Sample Flyer to create a clean and clear flyer.

Basil's people live on several acres and the inner yard is all fenced in with outer fences surrounding the property where various animals are housed. We started by checking the inner fenced area for any tracks leading out. We did find one in the pasture that holds the donkeys. It led over one of the corners of the pasture. However, there are also several very loud and obnoxious barking dogs in the neighbor's yard that also met us there. Basil would not hang out there, but probably jump the fence in a hurry.

We checked around and then found another track that led down the driveway out to the main road. At the bottom of the road the track turned to the left and then went all the way out to the larger paved road which leads in and out of town. At that road the track crossed over and then went right for a short distance and then made a sharp right turn into a drainage pipe which crossed under the road and led out to the other side. However, we did not find a track that led away from the pipe but instead back into the pipe and back out to the original side.

We continued to follow that down the road in the opposite direction for a couple of miles. It then turned up a paved road into private property. From there it continued up the road all the way to where we saw some people and told hem what we were doing. They said it was OK to keep checking. We followed the track up the road all the way to the house. From there it went around and around a huge pile of old cars and a bunch of junk. From there it went down a hill toward what looked to be an old fireroad or horse trail. We followed that along until the track turned to followed a fence.

By this time, we were approaching the three hour minimum and Basil's person needed to get back to her kids who was being babysit by somebody who needed to leave.

We figure that Basil may have gotten chased off the property by an animal and is out wandering around and will come home soon. He is an experienced outdoor cat.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Sadie", English Shepherd, Woodside

Sadie is a two year old, spayed black and white English Shepherd, which closely resembles a Border Collie. Sadie had recently come to this home from English Shepherd rescue, who got her from a very large puppy mill bust with all English Shepherds in Minnesota in 2008. Her personality is described as very shy and undersocialzed and will not approach another person. According to her person she was comfortable around her other dogs. She is microchipped and wearing a collar with ID tags. One night she walked out of the house through an open dog door, that got left open by mistake. She had been missing for a few days before I was called.

She had been spotted off and on in the nearby area and on a local preserve run by Stanford University. The day before I got there she had been spotted within a block of her person's house, within the neighborhood. And that morning, her person said that she thought she spotted Sadie in her large front yard down closer to the road. She said the dog looked kind of like Sadie, but it was still dark and the person was standing inside her house quite a ways away from the dog. She said she saw the dog ran toward the home the other tenant on the property and down into a creek behind her house. She thought maybe it was her tenant's dog, but he confirmed the dog was inside the house at the time, even though the dog has known to be outside unattended.

When I got there we went to the spot in her front yard and started there. I tried in different directions to see if Dino picked up her scent, but all I got was a "no" from Dino, which meant that do she saw was not Sadie.

So we decided to try the sighting from the afternoon before. We found one track that led up a street to a house that was vacant with empty horse stalls and pastures. It looked like Sadie had been spending some time there since it was quiet and isolated. The track then went down the road, down another road and then into the front yard of her person, but then back out and back down the road toward the busy road. At the road, the track turned left and led along the horse/walking trail alongside the road.

After a couple of blocks, the tracked turned left up a road where some large houses were. The track went all the way to the end of the road and up onto the very large property at the dead end. The track went to the back of the property where the creek went. The track went all along the creek, back in the direction of Sadie's home. When I told Sadie's person about that, she said that creek is the same creek that runs along her property. That would make sense, she said, that Sadie is traveling along that creek. It is quiet and safe for her.

Her person wanted me to check one more spot. She wanted me to check the end of the street and see if the scent goes into the street or right back into the nature preserve that has access in the direction.

I checked in the area. I did find a track that led across the street and then made a left at the next street. It went down the street for a couple of blocks and then led left down another street. Here I stopped because it was not safe due to the very narrow streets and lack of sidewalks and that Sadie's person said she only wanted me to go for a short distance. I thought I could show her the area and she could follow up with flyers in that area.

When I got back to her place, I told her where I went, and she said she would follow up in that area. She was not happy that Sadie would go in that direction since it was very dangerous with the narrow roads and fast cars.

She wanted to try setting up a feeding station on her property near the road. She said she could set up a light and the bowls in an area where she can still see it from her front window. She said she would continue to look for Sadie, also, in the surrounding areas.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Bently", DSH, Grey Tabby with White, Los Gatos - Found!

Bentley is a neutered, indoor only, six year old DSH grey tabby white paws and chest. He is not wearing a collar, but he is microchipped. He had been missing for a couple of weeks before I was called. I actually came across Bentley's person while on the search for Raven, the Standard Poodle, in Los Gatos. I gave her my card and she called me a couple of days later. There are five additional cats in the apartment, but we were still able to find an article with just Bentley's scent on it.

There had been a confirmed sighting of Bentley just about four days prior. This was on the doorstep of an apartment inside a complex about two blocks away. We went there and there was a strong scent away from the door and toward some bushes and a drain pipe. We check the bushes but did not find any cat. Both dogs were very eager about a large drain pipe. Dot went in as far as she could, and I shown a flashlight in as far as I could, but the pipe was pretty long and I could not see the end. We decided to set a trap there in case Bentley was coming and going from that pipe, but just not in there now.

We did find his track leading away from the complex and down through downtown Los Gatos, onto the trail that goes along the creek and then winded up and down. Then after about a mile, the track suddenly stopped and turned around and went back down and then headed off in another direction that would eventually take a long way back into town.

We decided to head back and check some other directions that the dogs also indicated scent. When we got back to the door step of the apartment complex, the scent headed down into another neighborhood, through walkways, under gates and into more neighborhoods. The scent eventually came right to the yard of a house several miles away. We followed the scent around the house and then over a fence with a steep drop. That house was actually in another neighborhood with access from another street. It was getting dark, so we decided to head back and she said she would continue the search on her own based on where we left off.

I got a call two days later that Bentley was found inside a neighbor's house, a lower level, where their cat has free indoor/outdoor access and free feeding food. He was well fed and looked good. They figured that Bentley had been coming and going from this spot for the three weeks he had been gone. During this time he has been making the rounds of Los Gatos.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Raven", Standard Poodle, San Jose

Still Missing as of August 24, 2013

This letter was posted 2/9/2010:

In October, 2009, our standard poodle Raven escaped from our friend's backyard and became lost in the West San Jose, CA area.  Frantic to recover her, we spend the first several days of her disappearance postering the area near where Raven had escaped to no avail.  An acquaintance suggested that we look into hiring a pet detective, and through that query we contacted and hired Jackie Philips, and her search dogs Dino and Dot.  Jackie arrived promptly the next day as arranged and immediately turned our search around in a positive direction.  She and her team were able to pick up Raven's scent trail and track her progress through a twisting routes taking her many miles from her origin.  Along this route, we met multiple people who told us they had seen her several days before.  After hearing these sightings, our initial skepticism regarding whether Jackie's dogs were truly able to track Raven evaporated; we were sure that we were actually following her path.  
As Raven never stopped moving, it was necessary to work with Jackie over multiple days in order to continue the tracking process.  We covered quite varied terrain including freeways, apartment buildings, fences, mud, wild open space and creek beds as Raven traversed San Jose and then entered the Los Gatos Creek heading south.  Jackie and her team worked extremely hard on our behalf.  Several times the track was lost and then recovered again, because Jackie did not give up, or balk at getting dirty.  Her tenacity, and the amazing tracking abilities of Dino and Dot were impressive to watch; We very much felt like we had a capable ally in our time of need.  
Beyond her tracking assistance, Jackie helped us set up feeding stations with the idea that Raven might come to them and we'd be able to recover her.  She also arranged for an animal communication session with a prominent communicator as she thought that would help the process along.  It was obvious that she was deeply invested in helping us to recover our dog, and that for her, being a pet detective was a vocation and calling, and not just a source of income.  
Though we searched over a period of six weeks, we were not ever able to recover Raven.  We tracked her to the Lexington Reservoir and then, at our request, we stopped the tracking process.  Though it has been a terrible loss to no longer have Raven in our lives, we feel at peace that we did all we possibly could do to try to bring her home.  Jackie's assistance was instrumental and central to that effort. Without her providing us with scent tracking services and advice, we would not have gotten out of the gate.  Raven's disappearance would have been a total mystery, instead of only a partial one.  We are extremely grateful to her for her help.  

Take a look at this blogspot. This is being updated daily by Raven's people. This is much more detailed than I could ever be.

My own comments are that this is what an ideal missing pet search should be like. I wish all people put as much effort, creativity, passion and focus into their searches as these people are doing for Raven. The highs and lows are real and completely understandable. The frustrations are unbearable and the support from others are rejuvenating, to say the least.

They have clear color photos of Raven, so it is easy for the public to know what she looks like. So many people have shadowy and sketchy photos of their animals that come right off cell phones and this makes it very difficult to clearly understand what their pet really looks like.

They know what it feels like to not find her immediately, yet still have the intense desire to keep looking and put the search into a "long term" mode. I have found many people want instant gratification in locating their missing pet, and barely go beyond putting up posters and checking shelters.

They are using technology to their advantage. I love the idea of a blog to focus all efforts and feelings and frustrations as the risk of publicly displaying their emotions and love for their dog. I like the downloadable flyer directly from the blog so others can assist in the search once they know where Raven is being spotted. Now they have a Yahoo group. Brilliant! I will include that idea on my Finding Lost Pets Checklist. They are using voicemail, Iphones, email and the Internet to the fullest advantage.

Raven is a very lucky dog, though it might not feel that way at this point because she is not home. But many, many, many missing pets never get this amount of attention to their searches, but not for lack of desire by their people to find them. Even though the Bay Area is a very affluent area, many people lack basic resources to find their pets. Many people don't have computers or even a general understanding of the Internet and how to navigate it. I have had people say "well, they can just go to the library to search for their pets." How many libraries have limited hours and when they are open, the computers with Internet access are all full? If you don't know how to make your way around the Internet and get email, then how will that change if you go to a library?

Many people don't have cars to get to the library and many people have strict work schedules and don't have understanding bosses, work multiple jobs or go to school so doing a full and complete search for their missing pet is prohibitive.

And money! Who has the large chucks of money to make all the posters and flyers and create the ads or hire a pet detective or animal communicator to help them out.

When Chessie, my six year old pit bull, became lost in 1992 while I was living by myself in Santa Rosa, I was working full time as an administrative assistant in Novato and going to the local junior college part time to complete my degree. My resources were beyond stretched already. Half way through the semester in April 1992 Chessie was stolen from my backyard in the middle of the night. I failed all my classes that semester to spend every spare moment to find her and to conduct what I thought was an extensive search throughout the county and Bay Area. Even though she had a sturdy collar with a full set of updated tags and a tattoo (this as before microchips) she was never found. I felt so outgunned and outresourced. I felt that if I had only this and that and all these other things to help me I could find her. Nothing ever felt enough.

Unfortunately, Chessie's and Raven's stories are not unique. Thousands of pets, including dogs, cats, small animals and large animals, go missing or get stolen every year. Some are found. Most never are. That is why I became a pet detective. To aid in the massive problem in whatever way possible. I am only one person in the small group of people who do this throughout the country. More trained people are desperately needed. However, it far from glamorous. It can be dirty (cobwebs and spiders, jumping over and climbing under fences), frightening (scaling hillsides and climbing rocks), exhausting (10 to 12 hour hot and emotional days), frustrating (loose dogs and unsympathetic people) and can take a long time to train a dog to track animals (12 to 15 months), especially if a person is new to dog training. What makes it all worthwhile is the gratitude of a single person who you help in any way, even if that means authenticating how they feel about their pet and their intense desire to find them, and not just "to go get a new one."