How to Contact Me!

Feel free to contact me anytime at 510/415-6185 or or view my website:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"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.