Chili is a four year old Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier mix. She was wearing a collar with ID tag, but did not have a microchip or tattoo when she disappeared. The location is suburban.
Chili was staying at her person's parent's house for a couple of weeks while her people moved. Chili had spent a lot of time at this house, and, at one time, had lived there with her person. The single yard extended to both the front and back of the house. The front of the house led out to a busy street, and the back of the house was adjacent to another backyard.
At about 9 PM, Chili was put out into the yard to eat her dinner. When her people went to sleep at around midnight, they thought Chili was back in the house, however, she was not. They went out to the yard, and Chili was no where around. Since the yard was totally fenced and gated with the fences and wall being at least five feet tall or higher all around, it was completely unclear how she had escaped. I was called about three days after Chili had escaped.
I walked the entire yard, and there was no clear way that Chili had escaped. The walls were solid and there were no holes. The gate to the front yard could only be opened through a buzzer inside the house. What I did see was at the front of the yard, there was some short wooden furniture pieces up along the wall, and if Chili was able to scramble about another three feet up the wall, she could have made it up and over. We decided to go with that idea to begin with.
However, when I took Dino out to the front of the house, we checked up and down the street and up and down side streets. We could not find any scent anywhere out front. We doublechecked all the streets again, and still no scent. I decided to go back to the yard, and check again to see for another way out that we missed the first time.
We checked the yard again and this time we did find another possible exit. The back fence, which was wooden, had a pile of landscaping rock up against the fence that raised up a couple of feet. When I stepped on them, I was tall enough to look over the back fence into the next door neighbor's yard, and I am only five feet tall. I thought that we could check the street out of front of this house to see if Chili's scent was there and if it led away somewhere.
At this point, Chili's person came over and took over for her father on the search. I explained to her that we did not find any scent out front and that I wanted to check the house behind her parent's house to see if Chili's scent was there. She did confirm that Chili was known to climb trees and could jump straight up. But she was very confused why Chili would intentionally leave the yard.
There had been two potential, but unconfirmed, sitings of Chili at a school and a park, and we decided to check out those locations and see if Chili's scent came from the neighbor. Along the way, we checked an intersection at the end of the street to see if Chili's scent was there. Three of the directions showed no scent. However, the fourth direction did indicate Chili's scent and Dino went in that direction. This direction headed us toward the first sighting.
Along this way, we came upon and crossed the street that led from the street in front of the house behind the house where Chili escaped from. This told us that Chili had escaped through the house behind the house. We continued along the street past the school where the first sighting was, which was along the way from the house where she got out of the yard. According to Dino, Chili's scent continued along the side of the park. We decided due to time, to move onto the second sighting, which was at a large community park that was next to a school.
Dino should us the Chili's scent was all around the park and the school, which told us that Chili had been spending time in the area. I found out also, that Chili's person and her father had been driving around the area trying to find her after they received the report of the sighting. I felt this was keeping Chili in the area, since she would recognize both of their scents and want to stay around.
We also found her scent down the street past the park and into Ardenwood Regional Park, which is a very large suburban park, which was also private property originally and had a variety of large houses and large gardens. There was a solid cyclone fence all around the park, but under the large gate, there was an opening where a small dog or cat could fit through to go in and out. Dino indicated that Chili had gone into and out of the park.
We decided to focus on the community park and setting up feeding stations back at the park, in order to draw Chili into the park and keep her there to prevent her from going back into Ardenwood or leaving the area to find food. We found an isolated part of the park where we could put out feeding stations inside bushes that would be not visible to people. We also decided to put out Chili's bed in the area to keep her there. We thought to put these out at night and pick them up in the morning.
When we got back to her parent's home, Chili's person found out that a sighting of Chili had been made about one block from the park while we were there. The father had received the call, but he was not able to reach Chili's person by cell phone to let us know and he didn't know where we were. They decided to go back to the area to look for Chili.
(entered into lost pet questionnaire 2/18/10)