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Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Bobette" English Bulldog - Sunnyvale

Bobette is a six year old, spayed English Bulldog who was wearing collar and tags and is microchipped. Her person had just moved into a new apartment and during the commotion, Bobette walked out of her front door. She was noticed missing a short time later. She is very friendly with people and other dogs.

Dino picked up on Bobette's trail around the apartment complex and out onto the street. The trail continued through a couple of apartment complexes, out to El Camino and back down to another apartment complex. The trail led down to the end of the path in the complex and then made a left out onto the street. Dino followed the trail into a neighborhood of homes, through their park and out onto Sylvan Ave, in front of Sylvan Park in Mountain View. We followed Bobette's trail around the through the park and then around multiple streets that led away from and back to the park.

The next day Bobette's person waited in the park to see if somebody was walking her around. A maintenance person said he saw a dog that resembled Bobette with a tall man in the park. Later that day, while me and Bobette's person waited in his car, a man fitting that description and a dog very similar to Bobette pulled into the parking lot and got out. The dog did resemble Bobette, except that dog was taller and had a tail.

I was in the park for several more hours handing out flyers and talking to people to see if anybody had seen her. Nobody said they recognized the dog.

We believe that Bobette was picked up in the parked and is possibly either nearby or has been removed from the area. Notices and alerts have been sent out to bulldog rescue and various other rescue, website, shelter, neighborhood and email lists.

(entered into lost pet questionnaire 2/3/10)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Kitty", Lilac Point Burmese - Pacifica - FOUND!

This photo is not Kitty, but it looks a lot like her. 

The owner is a 96 year old blind woman, and the cat had been missing for over 40 hours. Strictly indoor, six years old, spayed. The cat had never been out before in living with her for over four years.

The daughter called me totally panicked because this cat was everything to her mom, who lived alone. The area is suburban coastal with older style houses.

We started by doing a check of the house just in case the cat was trapped inside, but Dino indicated no cat in the house. Then we went to the front porch where she escaped. We checked the perimeter of the house and Dino was definitely indicating the cat had been all around there very recently. There were open vents to crawl spaces under the house that had strong scent. The backyard was a steep hillside going up with high overgrown weeds and thick berry bushes. No fences on the owner's property. They had all fallen down long ago.

We started checking the backyard one section at a time. Dino was saying the cat was all over. After about a half hour, I heard a "Meow" twice. The daughter's friend who was with us said she also heard it. We continued to check and after several minutes found the cat crouched down hiding one of the berry bushes, looking right at me. I walked away with Dino so she wouldn't bolt while the friend stayed there to watch the cat, and the daughter got her mother to come out and get "Kitty."

By the time I got back from putting Dino in the car and giving him his treats, "Kitty" was back inside and strutting around. She was checking out Dino's scent all over the house inside as if to say "You got a dog and I have only been gone a short time!"

She was totally healthy and fine. She was visiting everybody and acting like a queen.

(Entered into lost pet questionnaire 2/1/10)

"Buck", Japanese Chin - San Jose - FOUND!

(This photo is not Buck, but it looks very similar.)

 From:  Joan Brackett
Subject: Re: My story has a happy ending
Date: November 7, 2011
To: Jackie Phillips
Dear Jackie & Dino:

It was good to hear from you.

Not a single day has gone by since Buck was found that I haven’t remembered with thanks the help I received to bring my little sweetie home.

It was on the 10th day of his becoming lost that you were instrumental in our finding him.

I know that Buck remembers too because since his ordeal and return home he comes to me daily, with gently lowered head, to express his quiet love. I’m sending along a copy of a letter that I sent back then in the hope that others might benefit from this experience.

Buck, his brother Chap, and all of his dog & kitty home-mates are well and tail wagging happy. I hope you are well too.

Best wishes,


P.S.  Please let me know if you need a reference

I would like to address my letter to the following individuals at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley:

Christine Benninger - President
Elena Battles - Chief Operating Officer
Stephanie Ladeira - VP, Development
Cathy Martin - VP, Finance
Beth Ward - VP, Animal & Customer Care
Laura Fulda - VP, Marketing & Communications
Dr. Julia Wang-Lewis – Staff Veterinarian and director of Animal Welfare

Board Officers:
Chair: Kate Mulligan
Vice Chair: Melissa Dyrdahl
Treasurer: Geoffrey Powell
Secretary: Sue Levy

Board Members:
Leonard Almalech
Kara Berg
Michael “Mickey” Bonasera
Sue Diekman
Dr. David H. Mack
Lars Rabbe

     I am writing to ask you to consider offering a link through your website for persons needing professional assistance in finding their lost pet.  This is why:

     Through a series of unfortunate events my dog escaped and was running loose.  We quickly put up flyers and received two calls of sightings within hours.
We drove the neighborhood, searched on foot, handled out more flyers and put up  posters followed by online and print ads in the Mercury News, Craigslist, and several online lost pet web sites.  We visited all the local shelters daily in person and posted our dog on their lost pet pages.
     After five days we received a call with a sighting that led us to a neighborhood ¾ mile away.  After going door to door for many blocks we learned of a person who had been keeping our dog, but that the gardener had accidentally let him out of their yard.
We learned that this person had no intention of returning our dog and that our dog was kept outside.
     After a week had passed with no more calls I became desperate and depressed.  It was very hard to continue a search that consumed all my waking hours.  None of the shelters or my Vet knew of any professional pet finding services. 

     After 7-days of searching, I found “Pet Search and Rescue” online and began consulting with MAR Technicians Annalisa Berns and Landa Coldiron on techniques for finding my dog.
This was extremely helpful as is their incredibly informative book “Lost Dog Recovery Guide”
With the advice of Annalisa and Landa we were able to concentrate our efforts on the search.
     On the 10th day I found and called Bay Area MAR Technician Jackie Phillips, at to begin a search with her Specific Scent search dog, Dino.
Within 2-hours of Jackie’s and Dino’s arrival, my dog Buck was in my arms.

My story has a happy ending, my dog was found.

      My wish is to help other heartbroken people to quickly locate the professional help they need to find their lost pet.  In our case the usual methods for finding our pet were not enough. 

 P.S. The May/June 2009 Humane Society of the U.S. newsletter has an article on this subject by Julie Falconer titled “You can go HOME again”. (

Joan Brackett


This Japanese Chin, about six years old, full coat and spoiled house dog, no collar, neutered, no chip, walked away from his home in San Jose 10 days ago. This put his owners in full panic. There were numerous sightings along the way, but nobody could catch him, and for the last week he had been spotted several times in a neighborhood in Southern San Jose on the border of open space/coyote territory.

I met the owner at a corner in this neighborhood. She had three other dogs and two cats all sharing the same beds and blankets. Nothing specific with this dog's scent. To complicate things further she and her husband had been walking around another Chin in the area for several days hoping to attract this dog, Buck.

I had verbal conversation with Dino just before allowing him to sniff one of the beds. I told him that there was a dog missing and that multiple animals in this house are on this bed including the missing dog and that another dog in the house, who isn't missing had been walking around. I said that if he finds anything out there that smells like anything on this bed to follow it.

He immediately seemed to pick up on a track on a footpath near our cars. It led up and around and back down the other side of the creek. He seemed very sure. This was for over an hour. Then we came upon a house that was vacant that Dino was super interested in on the stairs, yard and sidewalk, like he was going around in circles. Just then two women passed by and the owner approached them and asked if they had seen her dog. They exclaimed, "He was here yesterday afternoon." And they then described the direction up a hillside alongside some house that they followed him and then he disappeared in a neighborhood at the top.

At this time the owner's husband was yelling at us from the other side of the creek in his truck that their dog had been spotted up the hill in another neighborhood, in the direction where the ladies had seen him last.

We ran up there and the owner said that this was the spot she and her husband camped out last night in their cars until midnight looking for the dog. They had left a crate with a blanket and food. We followed the street up to a large gate to an open space where a girl had recently seen him. We looked around and I had Dino re scent. He indicated he was in this area.

Just then we saw the dog in some bushes on a path. The owner called but the dog ran away. We looked and looked in this wooden area next to a creek behind some houses. Other people were up on the street. We lost the dog. We couldn't find him, but Dino indicated the path and I let him follow the track. After about 15 minutes walking in brush and weeds we came upon the dog cornered and hiding at the end of some fencing behind a house. I took Dino away while the owner came in. It took a couple of minutes for the dog to come to her.

Of course, the owner was in tears and Dino was jumping up and down wanting to visit with the dog. The dog was covered in burrs and everything else. He probably had ticks all over him. She said they were going to have to shave him.

I can't believe how lucky this dog was. He was in coyote country and had managed to survive for 10 days by himself on the street, especially with all the intense heat we have had.

"Skippy", Shih Tzu - San Pablo

Skippy is an unneutered male brown and white Shih Tzu. He was wearing a chain choke collar. On Sunday, April 20, Skippy took off from his front yard. His persons called me a couple of days later while searching the area. Skippy had gotten out of his yard previously, but had come back or his persons had found him.

I scented Dino in front of his house and Dino immediately went to the right, up the street to the dead end and made a left through an abandoned lot which then led to a set of railroad tracks. Dino crossed the set of tracks and made a left up the tracks. We continued up the tracks for over 100 yards. Then Dino turned right to an open gate which led to an apartment complex. Dino went through the apartment complex and out to 7th Street. Dino made a right and then continued up 7th. After about two blocks, Dino crossed the street and continued for about four more blocks, just past a firehouse. At the next block Dino indicated that the trail had ended.

We decided to go back and check the past street, in case Skippy backtracked and took another route. Dino made a left down Kelsey and continued for another block. Near the end of this block Dino found a black plastic bag off the sidewalk. There was a very strong decomposing smell. I kicked the bag around and there clearly was a small animal inside. The smell was very strong. I believe the bag had been there for at least a couple of days. The weather had been very hot the past few days.

Just past this spot on the railroad tracks, Dino indicated that there wasn't anymore scent. We decided that either Skippy had been picked up at this located and I advised his person to put up large flourescent posters in this spot coming and going from these two neighborhoods and to concentrate flyers also in this area. Or we needed to find out what was in this bag. After leaving his person at their home I called animal control and told them about this bag and that we were trying to find a lost dog and that my dog had tracked him to this location. They said they would pick it up in about 24 hours, and I informed Skippy's person to contact AC to contact them after this time to ask about the identity of the body in the bag.

"Sheba", Mixed Breed - Martinez FOUND!

Sheba's person called to say that he made a quick store stop while his dog was at a dog park. When he came back, his dog was missing and nobody else was at the park. He asked how I could help him find his dog. I asked him if he had put up flyers at the park to see if anybody knew what had happened to his dog. I also asked him if he had checked at his local animal shelter.

He called me back to say that he found his dog at the shelter.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Calypso", Maine Coon Kitten - Los Altos

Calypso is an unspayed 10 month old silver Maine Coon kitten. She had taken a couple of other previous jaunts into the large yard of her person's home, but had always stayed close by in the past. Her person does have three other cats that are indoor/outdoor and have a routine of visiting neighbors' yards behind their house. This area is very thickly wooded with large homes and large wooded yards. There is a house under construction right next door to her person's house.

I checked with Dino up and down the street and several houses in front of the house. He indicated there wasn't any scent. We checked several yards.

We went back to the yard of Calypso's person. I rechecked another spot that Dino seemed interested in at the back of the property, and Calypso's person indicated that this narrow space between two fences of their rear neighbors is where her three other cats tend to travel back and forth to the other properties. We drove to the other street that connects to these houses. We went to the back of this one property to where these narrow space is in their backyard. Dino definitely indicated that Calypso and many other cats had been through here. He indicated up and down the fence line and then under a gate into this property, down the hill past a pool pump and then he led us down the hill to an overgrown creek/swampy area. This was also a deer highway. I would guess a lot of wildlife use this area for water and to transport up and down the creek.

Dino indicated that Calypso had crossed this creek and then went up the steep cliff to another neighborhood. We checked that neighborhood and talked to the home owners. Further up the road Dino indicated there wasn't anymore scent. We guessed that Calypso had gone this far and was probably around this area and may also be going up and down the creek. The creek is very thick with high weeds, trees, brush and it is not possible to walk up and down it.

We checked with other neighbors and their yards that border Calypso person's property. There wasn't any indication that Calypso had visited these properties.

After four hour search, we decided to put a trap at the opening to this "kitty highway" on Calypso person's property to trap her when she attempts to come back. Since Calypso is unspayed there is a high probability that she will get pregnant and thus her focus changes from coming home to finding a nest and safe place to have her kittens.

Her person and the family are continuing with putting up large posters in the neighborhood and distributing flyers to try to find her.

(Entered into lost pet questionnaire 1/28/10)

"Cui Cui", Chihuahua - Richmond FOUND!

I receive a call from a young man who had lost his Chihuahua on Saturday evening around 8 PM. Actually, his dad lost the dog while he took the young dog in a grocery store in Richmond, next door to Berkeley where he lived. Somehow, the dog got away from him inside the store and escaped out the front door.

When I first spoke to the young man I asked how old he was and he said he was 14. I said that I needed to speak to a parent. He put his mother on, but he mother could barely speak English and only spoke Spanish. He young boy was listening in on another line. He continued the conversation while his mother listened in on another line.

He told me that they did not have a vehicle and had not made it to the shelter yet or called them. They were in the process of making flyers, but had not distributed them yet.

The dog was tricolor, one year old, unneutered, no collar and no microchip.

I agreed to bring Dino to the grocery store and see which direction the dog traveled, and we agreed to meet the next morning at 8 AM. We had been having some intense heat, so I wanted to start early.

After hanging up the phone with the young man, I decided to check the shelter's website to see if they had a listing for stray animals. I looked under dogs and, right at the end, was what appeared to be their dog. The dog had been at the shelter since that previous Saturday night.
I immediately called the owner back and sent him the link. I could hear him saying on this phone when he saw the picture after opening the link"It is him!" I was thrilled. I told them to get to the shelter first thing in the AM to pick up their dog.

(Entered into lost pet questionnaire 1/28/10)

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Zimba", Pomeranian - Belevedere/Tiburon

Still Missing!
Here is a new video put together by Zimba's person:

Zimba is a 13 year old Pomeranian. He was stolen from in front of a grocery story in Tiburon/Belvedere, CA. His person had several sightings of Zimba in the Canal District of San Rafael. I met his person out in that area Sunday afternoon and we started searching in the last sighting which was the night before. His person was unsure whether the sighting was authentic due to some personal comments he made to Zimba's person. We decided to check out that area thoroughly anyway. Unfortunately, no scent was found after checking the area for over a half hour.

We decided to check out the other sightings there were cumulative over the past week in the same Canal District. We were in the area for over two hours checking out several locations. We even spoke to another young man who swore he saw Zimba with a Asian man just the night before jogging down a path. We checked out that area and there was no indication Zimba had been there.

The other sightings had been from people under 18 that had seen Zimba's person out distributing flyers, and nobody had called based on all the hundreds of flyers Zimba's person had been distributing over the past two weeks in this area.

We figured that either the sightings were not accurate and had been other dogs or that Zimba had been removed from the area since any of those sightings from the past week. Clearly the hoax was the man who said he saw Zimba just the night before. Zimba's scent would be fresh and in that area, easy for Dino to pick up.

The search continues.

(Entered into lost pet questionnaire 1/28/10)

"Zak", Lowchen - Saratoga

Zak is a 10 year old Lowchen and he and his littermate, Morgan, were hanging out in their gated and walled front yard. Sometime after 7 AM on the previous Wednesday, we believe that two Hispanic or Latino men abducted Zak from the front yard. Two men matching this description were seen by Zak and Morgan's person from inside his house whistling and trying to attract the attention of the two dogs just two days previous to Zak's disappearance.

The only scent that Dino picked up outside the gate was down the hill, outside the gate and down the hill which leads into town. We believe this was due to Zak struggling inside the truck cab with their windows down which shed Zak's scent onto the road as they drove away.

Zak's person is performing an extensive email, fax and internet search for Zak throughout the area.

(Entered into lost pet questionnaire 1/28/10.)