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Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Bonita", DSH, Grey Tabby, San Leandro

Bonita is a 13 year old, spayed DSH Grey Tabby. She is wearing a pink collar with no tags, but is not microchipped. She typically is inside the apartment, but would go out to the back parking lot to hang out or just on the back steps leading down from the second story apartment.

The last time she was seen was around 11 PM one evening as her people were getting ready to go to bed. Her person did say she heard what sounded like animals fighting around that time, but she did not think Bonita was involved.

We searched up and down her street and found no scent in one direction so we checked the other. We did find a scent leading down the street and out across a very busy boulevard. It then led down a neighborhood street, around the corner, through a small park, around and up and down more streets and all the way to another neighborhood on the other side of another school. As it happens Bonita's person works at this distant school, and the path that Bonita took, according to her person, is the path she takes to walk to work everyday.

The track led directly up a long driveway and into a yard. We approached the home owner and showed him Bonita's picture. He said that he had seen that cat just the night before in his yard and then saw her again that morning in his yard, but he saw her jump the back fence and into his neighbor's yard. We looked all over these yards and in the neighborhood, but did not see her. Another family member came out and helped looked in the area, but nobody saw her.

While the family member were looking around, I took Dino and tried to find her scent leading out somewhere. I finally found it leading out from the neighborhood and down the street. I let her people know. They left flyers all around in case Bonita was seen again.

We followed the track down the street, close back to her neighborhood, but instead of making a left back to her home on the busy street, the track made a right, heading to the edge of San Leandro and Oakland, not a great neighborhood.

The track led down some very busy streets and all the way to a warehouse district. The track then led directly under a fence. I could not find a track leading away from the area, so we figured that she had gone under that fence. At that time we got a phone call that Bonita was seen back in the previous neighborhood. I was very confused since her track was over here. Maybe she went back there after leaving this current sight since we were no sure of the timeframe of this spot.

We walked all the way back, where one of her people were already there. I talked to the person who said that they saw Bonita, and the description was not correct. The cat he said he saw had a shorten tail, but Bonita has a full tail. The coloring of a grey tabby was the same, but the tail definitely was not her. I was pretty disappointed because now we were so far away from the last known place that I did not feel that her people would go back to that spot.

They said they would continue to check around.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Bisquit", DSH, Grey with White Paws, Palo Alto - Found!

Bisquit is a solid grey DSH male with white paws and a white chest. He is not wearing a collar nor is he microchipped. He is approximately 12-13 years old and he has a tattoo in his ear by a vet in Canada. He is an indoor only cat. He escaped by accident when his people were on vacation and the caretaker left a door open. No sightings had been made of Bisquit. There are two other cats in the home.

He had been missing for almost two weeks when I was called due to his people being out of the country and only recently arriving home to start the search. No posters, flyers or ads had been put up until they got home and started their search.

We tracked Bisquit for over six hours all over Palo Alto, through the campus, through the medical center, crossing several busy streets, through neighborhoods, business parks and then back near his home within a few blocks when I was told to stop the search by his person.

When I arrived back at their home, she said she had received a call that a couple nearby in their apartment complex had Bisquit and would bring him back. I was told they had him for about four days after he ran into their front garden and stayed there. They were going to take him to the vet to check for a microchip when they decided to go out and look for flyers. That is when they saw the flyers put up by Bisquit's people.

The photos above were taken with an iphone by the people who found Bisquit shortly after they brought him home.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Magic", DSH, Black, Novato

As of December 17, 2009, Magic is still missing.

Magic is a 12 pound, 16 year old solid black, microchipped DSH wearing a collar with ID tags. He has a regular routine of being indoors and outdoors. The last time he was seen was around 11 PM. He had been missing for a couple of days when I was called. We did two separate searches for Magic starting from his home and following him for many, many miles. To the best of my knowledge no official sightings were recorded. However, that would not be unusual for a common color of solid black.

My best guess was that since Magic had been so regular in his routine of coming and going that he was chased by another animal while outside and chased onto the air base.

Day #1:
We started the search in Novato on what is former Hamilton Air Force Base. Parts of the base still exist and are considered active. Magic's home is a very short distance from that border. We actually found Magic's scent going through a large hole in the chain link fence directly onto the base. From there it led around the edge of the base and way out to the far reaches of the former airstrip, that was being torn up and cleaned up. Literally, we did not see another human being for miles and miles while out in that area. Neither myself or Magic's person had seen something like that.

The only person we did run across was a security guard with a very thick Russian accent, who was sitting in his vehicle making sure that people did not go onto the former airstrip and sabotage all the equipment and clean up. I guess the whole operation was very controversial because of all the toxins that were being found in the area from decades of the air force in the area. We explained to him what we were doing and who were were looking for, and he was very helpful and let us pass through to follow Magic's scent, as long as we did not go to the forbidden areas. Luckily Magic's scent did not go there, but skirted it along the side. The man had a lot of stories to tell us about seeing packs of coyotes and single bobcats in the area during his watch, both night and day. He was very funny. Unfortunately, we had to keep going and gave him a flyer in case he saw Magic pass back through.

We followed the scent along a waterway and then jumped a barricade onto a public walkway that was several miles away from a public parking lot. Magic's scent led up all along this way, turning left and right to get back to parking lot. We saw several people along the way and posted flyers.

We got to the parking lot and decided to call it a day because it was very late and getting dark. Magic's person called a cab and we drove back to her place in Novato. I think we stopped the track in Corte Madera on the far east side of Smith Ranch Road. We decided to restart the search at that spot where we left off.

We restarted from the parking lot and found Magic's scent go through the power plant adjacent to the lot, then onto a gold course behind the plant and then onto the large open space with elevated paved paths and waterways. We found his track up and down on various paths and then to a fenced in area of multiple warehouses on the edge of the airport. The track then led in and around a large mobile home park. We were approached by a woman who swore that Magic was the cat that had been hanging around her back yard for the past couple of days, and visited regularly. I had the dogs scour the area, but we could not find any of Magic's scent there. The track still appeared to be out on the street and leading away from the park. Magic's person said she would double check the area later and see if she saw Magic just in case.

We continued out the mobile home park and across the street to a large set of apartments/condos under construction. The track led us up and around to the edge of the apartments, where Magic's person decided to call it a day. She said she would restart the search another day. I did not hear from her again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Sabrina" DSH, Tortishell, Dixon - Found!

Sabrina is an 11 year old spayed and microchipped tortoiseshell DSH. She is not wearing a collar or tags. She is typically 70% indoor and 30% outdoor. Her known territory was thought to be very close to the house, within less than 1/2 a block in either direction. She is not known to be friendly toward strangers. She had been missing for three days when I was called. There are two other cats and a rabbit in the home.

On the search we found Sabrina's scent in both directions of the street and down at least a two to three blocks in both direction. We also found her scent behind a school and around those streets. We did find her track leading down a street away from the school for several blocks and then straight into a very large farm and agricultural area. Due to the vastness, Sabrina's people decided rightly to check other areas for her scent. We did check in both directions left and right on that street, but we did not find her scent in either direction, so we headed back toward the house.

We check different blocks, but did not find her scent. Flyers were left up along the way we tracked her. There were still other areas to check, however Sabrina's people decided to stop the search at the three hour minimum. They said they would continue to look for her on their own.

About two weeks later, I received an email saying that Sabrina had been found a couple of blocks away in a neighbor's yard, safe and healthy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Hank", DLH, Grey, Redwood City - Found!

Hank is a blind, indoor only, 10 year old solid grey, microchipped cat. He was accidentally let out the front door by a family member. He had been missing for 10 days when I was called. There is another dog in the house. We did two consecutive days of searches.

We followed Hank's track for miles throughout neighborhoods, parks, more neighborhoods and back to the parks. His person was totally amazed that he could travel this far. One of the parks is where his people walk a lot on the trails.

We followed his track back to his neighborhood and that he circled the block where he lives at least a couple of times. He walked all over the surrounding neighborhood.

He crossed a very busy street back and forth several times back and forth to the neighborhood where he lives and the large county park.

His people stopped the track on the second day after multi hour searches on both days. My suggestion was that he was nearby in either the immediate neighborhood or crossing back and forth to the park. I suggested to put up large signs on the busy street, one block away and to re flyer the surrounding neighborhoods.

Three days later I received a phone call that Hank had bee found. They received a call from a man who lived on the busy street that Hank had been in his yard for a couple of days. He saw their flyer on his street.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Boo" , "Pippin", Flame Point Himalayans, Larkspur - Pip Found!

"Boo" and "Pippin" are two male neutered, indoor/outdoor flame point Himalayans. They are wearing collars with tags, but do not have microchips.

They were seen by neighbors jumping into a moving van in their neighborhood. The moving van went to a large apartment complex in Larkspur. One of the cats was caught by one of the movers, but eventually got away and were seen running into the bushes of the complex.

We did two separate days of searches starting from the complex and leading out and down into a neighborhood of houses built into a canyon. This led down the street and out to a large marsh. The track came out of a marsh and led down the street, up through some more apartments and down to an old winery that was now a private residence with horses and vacationers.

There weren't any people at the residence, so we were unable to follow the track any further. By that time, it was getting late and near dark, so we decided to contact the property owner via phone and set up another time to restart the track.

About three days later we were able to restart the search from that property. It went through and around the horse pasture and then back out to the street. We followed the track around Larkspur for a few more hours. The track led back up the canyon road and back to the base of the original apartment complex where the cats were lost. Now we didn't know if we were following both cats or just one. Their person decided to stop the search at this point and continue the search on her own.

About three days later I received an email that "Pippin" was found back at the original apartment complex near where he jumped out of the van. His person thought that he had been at the complex this whole time in hiding. However, I reminded her that the search led us back to the apartment complex and that he had made it back. "Boo" was still missing.

As of November 21, 2009, "Boo" is still missing.

"Chocolate", "Ashley", Pit Bull Puppies, Hayward

This is a GPS map of both days of searching.

Chocolate and Ashley are two eight week old brown and white pit bull puppies. They are not wearing collars not are they microchipped. They were loose in their very large yard with a fence that had a lot of open gaps and holes. The person who was watching the puppies outside went inside for a few minutes to take a call. During that time the puppies took off through a large hole in the fence. We tracked them from a hole in the fence and across the unfenced back yard of their neighbor and then up to the street.

Search Day #1:

The first day was tracking the puppies from their home, down the street, up into a neighborhood, around several houses, into an open space, into the creek behind the house and around the rock quarry next to the creek.

We did hear what we thought were cries of a puppy who sounded in distress coming from the creek, though we could not find the sources. All three of us heard the sounds, and the sounds were not mechanical and repetitive. They were different and did respond to us calling. The owner went up and down the creek, but could not find any dogs.

This search was for several hours that day.

We had several people say that they did see the puppies in various spots in the same neighborhoods we were tracking them.

Search Day #2:

The second day we followed up on a couple of sightings. We did find a track that led from the 7 Eleven store and up into Memorial Park, just behind the store. The tracks went all over the park and up into the cemetery that borders the park. The track came back down the street and then back into the park and back down to the neighborhood that was right along the track of another confirmed sighting. That track went into the creek again.

We followed up on another possible sighting from the 7 Eleven store and that did lead from the store to a motel next door. The tracks where all over the motel. We asked several employees but nobody had seen the dogs.

At this point the owner stopped the search, saying they would follow up on further leads by themselves.

"MiMi", Chihuhua, Oakland

Mimi is a four year old, unspayed, beige and white Chihuahua. She is not wearing a collar not does she have a microchip or tattoo. She had been missing for eight days when I was called out. Mimi was let out accidently by a family member who forgot to close the front gate after leaving home that day. However, her disappearance was not noticed for several hours.

We found Mimi's scent leading out from the front gate and going down the street and then around the block and then back home, but nobody was home. She then continued down the street and wandered around in the neighborhood and next door to the apartment complex. There were several tracks throughout that complex. The track was around another block and then back to the house and then through some industrial parking lots. Then it went out toward the freeway off ramp and around another neighborhood to a loft/business combination that does allow dogs to live there.

Thee were a couple of other directions to follow, however, Mimi's owner stopped the search after three hours to go to an appointment.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Jewel", Kelpie Mix, Pescadero - Found!

Jewel is an brown adult Kelpie mix, who is wearing a collar with tags and is microchipped. She has been a regular visitor to a private off leash ranch in Pescadero for a few years and was familiar with the location and people. However, she lives a ways away in Palo Alto/Menlo Park. I was called after Jewel had been missing for about four days. The owner of the private ranch and several other people had been scouring the massive ranch looking for her, but had not seen any sign of her, and there wasn't a sign of her anywhere in town.

We did an extensive three day search for her following her track out of the ranch, past the company vans and down another road on the ranch and then out to a main gate of the ranch. However, she could not get through the gate due to wiring, so she cut through a large cattle field and then out the gate with a large hole underneath. This led her out to the heavily traveled road and then toward some sheep ranches.

She went up into ranches and more sheep farms and goat farms, traveling extensively throughout the canyons and fields of multiple farms. These search days averaged 10 to 12 hours each days. Jewel's person was not able to accompany me on the search due to health reasons so she had a very fit neighbor who was also an experienced hiker come with me on the searches.

We went very deep into many distant canyons following Jewel throughout Pescadero. We went over and under many gates and fences. At one point we got to a point where we could not get through a very thick set of trees and bushes and weeds. We decided to go around to the bottom and pick up Jewel's scent there and we did. She had come out of the bushes and then walked onto another private ranch, where we met the owner's of the property who were not happy to see us and got very upset that we were their with our viscious tracking dogs who could tear apart their precious livestock (distant horses off in a field who did charge at us!) at any times, especially being on leash the whole time.

Eventually all that got settled out and we continued the next day through gardens and more food growing land and then back into town. Her track was all over town in many directions including around and through nurseries. I intimately saw more of Pescadero then I care to remember.

By the end of the third day nobody could stay awake. The dogs were falling asleep at any rest stop and I was worn out to the bone.

Jewel's people and the ranch owner decided to check in the area again the next day to see what they could find.

Two days later Jewel re emerged back onto the ranch close to the place where she was last seen.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Ella" Black and White Cockapoo, Alameda - Found!

Thanks Jackie!

She's doing well. We went to the vet this morning and they checked out her icky paw - which was infected with three foxtails! Other than that she's fine! I've attached a picture of Ella for you. I'm actually meeting with a journalist from the Oakland Tribune tomorrow who will take photos of us together.

Thank you, Dot and Dino for all of your help. :-)


Ella is a black and white Cockapoo. She was staying with a friend of her person in Alameda, though she lives in Oakland. By accident she got away from the home. She has a collar with tags and is microchipped. I was called after Ella had been missing for a few days. They had already set up humane traps in a couple of different locations where she repeatedly visited, though she did not enter them.

There were multiple ongoing sightings of Ella throughout a small area of Alameda, and she did not appear to veer much further from those areas. The sightings seemed to be in the early evening (between 8 PM to 11 pM) and early morning (5 AM to 8 AM).

Since there were multiple sightings of Ella in a small area, I told her person that it would be very difficult to do a straight track because her scent would be all over the area criss crossing each other. What we decided to do instead is to search the known area in the daytime to look for possible hideaways. Amazing, we found several secluded areas where her scent was very strong and repetitive, and where sightings had not been.

We found a small school yard that had a large cut in the fence, however, the cut was well hidden in the far corner of a child's playground. Dino found the scent that led directly to that spot, and with the permission of the school, we entered the locked and gated field. There were several "pools of scent" in this field under the stadium seats, under storage bins and under other large discarded items. In both or opinions we felt that, based on the centrality of that spot to all the sightings, that Ella was spending a lot of time there, and easily remaining hidden, especially since the school was closed for the summer.

There was also a large old house that had its lower level completely open and gutted, and there was Ella's scent in that area and all around the yard. This building was also in the area of all the sightings.

We did find a perimeter to Ella's scent several blocks away in each direction, which confirmed that she was still in the area and had not strayed.

About one week later, I received the above email from Ella's person that she had been sighted, once again, in the same area in the same time frames. Her person had been staying in the area of these sightings and in the timeframes in case there was another sighting so she could quickly get there. It worked! There was another sighting, and she was nearby. She ran over there and there was Ella. She called to Ella and the dog quickly came to her!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Mismee", DLH, White with Grey Tabby, Menlo Park

Mismee is an indoor only, adult, spayed female, all white with a little grey on the head, longhaired, bobtailed cat weighing approximately 10 pounds. She is microchipped, but has no collar on. She was let out accidently when some service workers were working on Mismee's person home.

We did a four separate searches for Mismee spanning a couple of weeks. Each day was several hours long.

We tracked her extensively throughout Menlo Park, Palo Alto, the Standford campus and surrounding areas. The tracks went through urban as well as rural and open space. There were horses, goats, loose dogs, lots of fences to jump, business parks, creeks and climb over and even a place run by the federal government who outright refused to allow us onto the property. After over a half hour, they finally allowed us to do the track with an armed guard following behind us. Luckily Mismee did not spend a lot of time on that property and we were able to leave quickly.

There were a couple of sightings along the way, near the apartment complex where she escaped from. Traps were set out with food, but Mismee did not go into them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Chance" Lhasa Apso/Maltese mix, Hayward

Chance is a four year old, brown/white, neutered Lhasa Apso. He is wearing a collar and tag with a San Jose address of the recent former person who had Chance. They have been notified that Chance is missing. He has no microchip or tattoo. He had been missing for a few days when I was called. Chance got out the garage door by accident as people were coming and going after unloading the car.

We found the track that led away from the house, around the corner, through a neighborhood that was behind Chance's home. The track then came back to the house. It then led away from the house again, through a park across the street from their house, through a set of small shops and behind the stores to the dumpsters. The track then went back through the park, and out onto the street. It continued again down another street and through another neighborhood and then back to his house. In this last neighborhood a woman we spoke to said she saw Chance on her front lawn two days previously. She said she tried to help him but he ran away.

It then led away again and through another neighborhood where two people confirmed they saw him walking down the street. They said they tried to help him and gave him some food. They said he ate the food but then took off down the street. We continued on that street and across the next street into another neighborhood.

Chance's person stopped the track at three hours because he had another appointment to get to. He said he would resume the search for Chance on his own.

"Mug Y", DLH Grey Tabby with White, San Jose

December 5, 2009 - Still Missing.

Mug Y is a friendly indoor/outdoor DLH 16 year old grey/black tabby and he is wearing a collar but no tags, microchip or tattoo. A neighbor said she saw another woman attempting to get Mug Y into a cage and get him into a car. However, his person said she did not believe this person because this neighbor has a tendancy to make up stories.

We found a couple of tracks of Mug Y's that were around the neighborhood and then came back home, so we figured they were part of his regular territory.

While we were on the second track, I saw Dino repeatedly glance across the street, which was a very busy urban street. I made note of that. After we searched an empty lot and were following his track, Dino indicated that their was scent across the street. We went over there and found another track that led straight down the street for several miles. After a few blocks I could tell that Mug Y was not walking because when cats walk they dart in and out of places and streets and parks and walkways. This track was not doing that. I was going straight down the street with no turns so far. My guess was that Mug Y was not walking but in a car and his scent was coming out of the car and Dino was tracking that. I explained this to Mug Y's person and told her that I think her neighbor was correct and saw Mug Y being put into a car.

We continued to follow the track and then suddenly after several miles of going in a straight line, the scent turn to the right and make a sharp right turn into a driveway. The scent continued over a wall that was directly to the right of the driveway and into a parking lot of a type of professional building. The scent went all around the parking lot and up and down a set of stairs and back into the parking lot and up to a fence that borders on the house that has the driveway that the scent went into originally.

We contacted the person at the house and asked them if they knew about anybody with a cat that come over that night, and, as it turns out, the homeowner was a friend of Mug Y's person. He said he knew nothing about anybody coming over that night or any cat. He let us check his backyard, and Mug Y's scent was definitely in there. My guess is that he jumped the fence from the parking lot and made it into that yard and then exited over another fence into another yard. The fencing in that yard was broken and in disrepair in many spots, making it easy for Mug Y to leave.

We checked the area in all directions and did not find any other indication of Mug Y's scent. My suggestion was to check the neighborhood in the areas of the houses that border on this particular yard to see if he came out anywhere and if anybody had seen him.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"Hef", DSH, Silver Tabby, Monterey - Found

Email received October 10, 2008:
Yesterday a neighbor found him on his porch. We had a huge storm with high winds and it appears that he was hit in the head with flying debris and was killed. There is a house being built next to him so all sorts of things could have hit him. The man mentioned that Hef befriended his Dachshund so whomever found him (my guess is a construction worker) placed him on his porch. He was only a block away. He was rescued at a construction site from a garbage can (he was in a plastic bag so the rescuers named him “Hefty” for Hefty garbage bag) and he went out the same way he came him (the neighbor had him in a bag too.)

I am very sad but at least it is closure.

He was lost on July 13th and found on October 13th.

Thanks again for trying to help me find him. You did give me hope that I would see him again. I wish I would have found him alive but at least I know he wasn’t suffering.


Thank you card from Hef's person.

Hef is an indoor only eight year old silver tabby DSH. He escaped one night through a broken screen on a window. There were no sightings or calls on his location prior to me coming out. He had been missing for several days before I was called.

We found his scent down the street, to the left and up a walking path. This lead up a street and through many neighborhoods in this very wooded and hilly area. Some of the roads were very narrow and had absolutely no shoulder for us to walk on and the cars drove very fast.

We followed this track for three hours all over the area and then his person called off the track. She said she would continue the search in that area, even though I said, based on his track record of traveling, he is probably long gone from this area and has moved on, especially since he has been missing for over a week.