We found two separate tracks belonging to Horus. The first one went up a hill on a busy highway and then looped around and around a nearby neighborhood and then came back within a block of home. I figured that this was Horus' regular routine.
We then found another track that was much more extensive and never looped back. This track went all around and up and down through downtown Santa Cruz and eventually led us out to the Boardwalk and to the beach. Since the wooden sign on the beach clearly said No Dogs On Beach, we made an attempt with local authorities to ask permission to go onto the beach to continue the search. We finally spoke to a non emergency person at the local police station, but they could not stop laughing when we told them we were tracking a cat with a dog on the beach. We decided to go onto the beach and follow the track and take our chances.
The track went down onto the sand and then skirted along the concrete retaining wall and then under a large pier and out onto the beach. Dino followed the track all along the tide line all the way down the beach to the other side. The beach was very crowded, but nobody bothered or stopped us. We went all the way down without a single interruption.
The track continued left up a fresh water creek. Here we took a brief break and I let the dogs play in the water. They were very grateful.
We continued the search up the creek and back out onto the walkway. The scent continued all along the walkway until we got to a bridge that turned right to cover back over the creek. Here Horus' person decided to stop the search after about five hours. It was getting dark. He said he would continue the search on the other side of the bridge and in the surrounding neighborhoods.
I was out of town for the next few days, and I received several text messages from Horus' person that he had been putting up flyers and that he had received a couple of sightings. He followed up on those.
I did not hear anything for about two weeks. I got a text message about three weeks after our search to say that Horus' walked into his yard on his own. He said that Horus was very dirty and very hungry.
(entered into lost pet questionnaire 4/8/11)
I sent this letter out to the national Yahoo groups after getting home that night of tracking Horus on the beach.
[FindingPaws] Dino's Incredible Track Across the Beach!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 9:20 AM
From: "Jackie Phillips"
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, FindingPaws@yahoogroups.com
Personally, I never thought a dog could track across the beach. I mean how do follow a track that gets washed out that night!
I was in City of Santa Cruz, tracking a cat that had been missing for almost a week. Horus is an Indoor/outdoor cat with one eye missing and the other eye barely usable. The owner swore Horus never went more than three houses in either direction. One morning he never showed up for breaksfast.
We tracked this cat all over downtown Santa Cruz, and then we headed in the direction of the Boardwalk. The crowds were pretty heavy for a Tuesday. I thought the cat would have gone down the actual Boardwalk where all the games and rides were since he would have been out in the middle of the night. Instead, Dino led us through the large parking lot and straight toward the beach. The big sign before us said, amoung other things, "No Dogs." We attempted to contact local authorities, but when they started to laugh on the phone that a dog was tracking a cat on the beach, we figured we should take a shot and let Dino continue to lead us on the track.
My other hesitation is that Dino LOVES the beach. He goes beserk in the car when he knows we are approaching and then runs around like an idiot on the sand the whole time. At first, I didn't believe that track actually went down to the beach. I thought Dino might want to play. I decided to trust him and see what happened.
We followed the track along the wall and under the pier and then straight down the mile long beach, all the way following the tideline. This is the furthest point the tide reaches each night (or so said Horus' owner who has lived in Santa Cruz for 14 years.) Where ever Horus had gone when he crossed the beach Dino never waivered from the tideline the whole time. I was blown away. We never once did a practice track on the beach, and that was our first time with a track on the beach since starting cases several months ago, and Dino followed it like he was tracking on grass.
I was so happy with him. When we reached the edge of the water, I let both of them take a break and play in the water.