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Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Willie", DSH, Silver Tabby, Mill Valley - Found!


I wanted to let you know that Willie came home today! He was gone 13 days, and today he showed up at the back gate. He is a little thin and dirty, but otherwise fine. I wish he could talk, but I’m just so grateful to have him home. I took your advice and just kept walking the neighborhood, put up more flyers and stuffed more mailboxes. I am over the moon with joy! Thank you for giving me hope that he would come home.


Willie is an indoor/outdoor, neutered, DSH, silver tabby with white. He is wearing a collar with ID tag and his micochipped. Willie has a housemate and littermate "Hank", a grey tabby. Willie was missing for a couple of days when I was referred to Willie's person by Sammie's person, also from Mill Valley. Willie and Hank were closely monitored and both let out only for a few hours a day during the day. They were not allowed out at night and always came back for dinner. Behind their home is a very deep canyon which leads to a very large open space, which eventually connects to Mt. Tamalpais. Willie's person described him as the adventurous one of the two brothers.

We started the search by checking the perimeter of the house, which was on a very steep cliff. Behind the house, at the bottom of the canyon is another very short, dead end street, which Willie is known to visit. This street connects up the road to the street where the front of Willie's house is on. We checked the front of the house and found a trail that led off to the left, where the short dead end street connects to. From there we found a track that led down the street and up a street on a hill with multiple houses and eventually a dead end with a gorgeous view of Mt. Tam. We talked to several people on that street and left flyers, but nobody had seen Willie. One person remembered that her brother said their dog was hysterically barking at something in their yard the day that Willie was last seen. She said she would show Willie's photo to him to see if he recognized Willie in their yard.

We continued following the track down the road and into a local nine hold golf course. This course was built into a canyon and was very steep in some parts and went over creeks and roads in other spots. Perfect for a cat to hide and play in. We followed Willie's track throughout the course to the far end and out to the main road. The track continued down the road to a local ball field, creek and park with a playground.

We checked all around the creek area and playground, but did not find Willie or a track leading out anywhere. After numerous attempts we finally did find a track almost doubling back up the main road back in the general direction of Willie's house. We followed the track up the road and back down the short, dead end street behind Willie's house. We climbed all over the steep and thickly wooded canyon, apparently following Willie's scent. Willie's person did acknowledge that this scent is probably part of Willie's territory since he was know to spend a lot of time back there. This is also an area where coyotes are seen and heard. By the way, one golfer we met while on the course said he has seen coyotes lounging on the open fareway in the middle of the day with golfers all around, seemingly unaffected by people.

After checking the canyon for over a half hour, we determined that Willie was not there. We went back up to the street in front of their house and checked down the street to the end, which leads to a very large open space and hiking and jogging and horseback riding trails. We checked up and down the trails, but did not find a scent of Willie or Willie. At this point the strongest track was still the one through the golf course and down into the park and creek area.

My strongest possibility is that Willie has become lost and disoriented from his regular territory. I believe that, since Willie and Hank went out together, and Hank later returned after several hours that evening, and they went way beyond their regular curfew of late afternoon, that they both decided to venture a little further than their usual territory and routine. I think Hank decided to go back and probably tried to convince Willie to return with him, but that Willie decided to continue on further and got lost.

I recommended to Willie's person to follow the track we found at least once a day putting up posters and flyers along the way and talking to people and then ending up back at their home. This would put her scent out onto the track and hopefully give Willie a direction back to their home by helping him to follow her scent, which is repeatedly being laid down day after day.

(entered into lost pet questionnaire 4/7/11)