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Monday, December 28, 2009

"Peaches", White, Miniature Poodle, Nicolaus, Sutter County, CA

Peaches is a white, 10 pound, 12 year old, deaf, spayed miniature Poodle. She is wearing a collar with ID, but does not have a microchip. She was last seen around 1 AM from her home, a very large farm, when she was let out to go to the bathroom. She did not return, which is her regular routine.

She was missing for only a couple of days when I was called out.

Most of the property is fenced. Since it was totally unclear how she exited the massive property, and there were two choices: either the front gate, which was closed, but she was small enough to get through the metal bars. Or the back field, which was where she was known to hang out to check out the area, and that is where the door to the house is, so that is closer to where she would be. I walked the dogs all around the two barns/storage buildings letting the dogs check out the whole area to determine where her scent left the area from. Her people were convinced she left by the back field, since that was her usual hangout. Both dogs indicated she left by the back field, so we followed that down the "lane" in between the two plowed fields.

It has just rained the night before, so the mud was so thick, it stuck to my shoes and to the dogs' feet. The track led down the lane and then went to the left at the end and then turned around and headed to the right. I mentioned to Peaches' person who was with me that I was noticing a large amount of large paw prints all in the mud. She said she knew that coyotes frequented the field and also neighbors' dogs would regularly come into the field and roam around. She said that is standard in the area for dogs to roam around the property, and there didn't seem to be a concern about that.

The track went around the property following a lane. And then it went across another neighbor's property and then around and around another type of large open property that appeared to be a type of construction site of some sort. There were large ponds and dirt roads and piles of dirt. Once we left the farm, we never saw another person while on the four hour search. It was totally remote and isolated, but this is where Peaches' track was. We also did not hit any concrete until we finally came out to the main highway again. The roads and tracks were also very thick dirt and mud.

Finally we got to the main highway and this is where the track let up a bit to another cross road and then crossed over the highway and kept going down the road in the total opposite direction. At this point Peaches' person stopped the search. She didn't want to go more than the minimum for financial reasons.

My two best guesses were that either Peaches was being carried by a wild predator, like a coyote, or by a neighborhood dog or she was walking on her own and she was picked up on the highway by a passerby. My strongest guess is that she was being carried by a predator. Being deaf, she would not have heard a predator nearby. And due to all the large paw prints in the mud where we walked, and to Peaches' confirmation that neighborhood dogs were known to frequent the area, predators were very common there.

As of 3/15/10, I have not heard from Peaches' person if she has been found.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Sofronio", Bichon Frise, Redwood City - Found!

Hi Marta & Jackie, I just wanted to let you know that I got a message from Sifronio's owner that they got him back! Someone had found him on the other side of Marsh road near flood and first, in Menlo park, and given him to someone in San Jose. Then the story becomes unclear - either that person saw the flyer or yet another person did and somehow the new people found out that he was being looked for and contacted the owners and they said he was well cared for and really happy to see them - great happy ending!
I'm a little bit puzzled by the fact that Jackie's dogs tracked him in the totally opposite direction for so far, but I guess we'll never know ...
thanks for all your help and I'm glad the whole thing had a happy ending.


(This is my response to the email.)

Great to hear that he is found and safe.

When was he found? He made it back all the way to Menlo Park! Since we know he can travel quite a distance, I am not surprised.

Thanks for letting me know.

Details of Search:
Sofronio is a 14 year old Bichon Frise. He was not wearing his collar at the time of his disappearance because he was at the groomer's  home for several days of boarding, and she had recently given him a bath, and had not put it back on yet. He does not have a microchip. His people are out of the country for the holidays and normally have Sofronio living outside in their yard.

While at the groomer, one night the front door blew open in a storm and Sofronio walked out. Luckily none of the other dogs there for boarding left with Sofronio. I was called out the next day by the groomer. I used his collar as the scent article.

First day:
The track led down the street and then down another busy blvd, up through downtown Redwood City and then eventually straight up into the hills. We followed Sofronio's track for several hours and went miles and miles. The majority of his track was not in well populated areas so most people would not see him, plus this was in the middle of the night. They wanted to continue to the next day. The initial guess was that Sofronio was trying to make it back to his home, which was in the direction of his track.

Second day:
We started at the end of the first day and once again went miles and miles along very remote areas along freeways and isolated walking paths, all the way down to San Mateo to where highway 92 starts. The track went through Woodside. Based on this track, very few people would see him. Also we don't know the time frame, or what his reaction would be to somebody trying to help him. My guess is that he was pretty independent since he lived alone outside.

The first part of the track in Woodside did go past his current home, but then the track kept going. We don't know if he missed the turn off or if it was just coincidence that he was going in the direction of his home.

We stopped the second day at the intersection of Highway 92 and Ralston, up at a public parking lot for commuters. We had tracked several more hours that day and several more miles.

Third Day:
The groomer was finally able to walk with me since she had been swamped with customer dogs the first two days. This day was December 24, Christmas Eve.

We followed Sofronio's track for several hours that day and several more miles all around several communities, neighborhoods, schools, juvenile centers, etc.

The groomer stopped the track around 2 PM because she had to go to a family event.

My suggestion was that Sofronio was a traveler and obviously had the ability to travel long distance. I suggested that she expand her search for him in several miles in many directions or further.

She said she had finally told Sofronio's people that he was missing, and he said they were not overly concerned. She mentioned that they said some times he would get loose from their yard and would be gone for a few hours and always came back.

I received the letter at the top of this post after several weeks from our search. There was a lot of unclear information like when was he found? How did they know to contact Sofronio's people to notify him?

The ability to get to San Mateo to Menlo Park is actually quite easy. There are direct roads for him to travel, just like how he got from Redwood City, where the groomer lived, to San Mateo, and he did that in three days. I am not surprised at all that he was found in Menlo Park, especially for a dog that has proven to travel quite comfortably.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Monk", DSH, Solid Grey, Alameda - Found!

I received the following letter about one and a half weeks after the search. Monk had been found on a far end of the island by a person who noticed him hanging around and brought him to the shelter. He was identified by his microchip.

Jackie - Just a note to let you know that Monk was brought in to Alameda Shelter yesterday and returned to us. The person that brought him in had been feeding him outside her home for a week after identifying him as a distressed and probably lost cat.

Search details:
Monk is an eight year old, grey tabby with white, free access indoor/outdoor cat that is not wearing a collar, but does have a microchip. He had been missing for several days when I was called.

I was told about a strong sighting when I was at Monk's people's house about a woman across the street who said she saw Monk on her door step just a couple of days prior to my arrival. She said she was familiar with Monk and did recognize him. However, later in the search, Monk's person said that she did not feel that was a viable sighting. Since I did not know that at the time of the beginning of the search, I did start the search from there, and the dog's did indicate that Monk's scent was there.

If the track had not led us to a distant part of Alameda and then to another distant part of Alameda, I might suspect that the scent was an old Monk's. However, I do always focus the dog's on following the most current scent of the animal's, so, based on that, I felt they were following Monk's current track.

After three hours, Monk's people stopped the track, and they said that they would continue the search on their own. They did say they did not believe that Monk would ever travel as far as the track was indicating since they did not feel that Monk ever traveled very far from his own home. I reminded them that Monk had free access night and day to come and go, and that many neighbors did confirm, in their search for Monk, that he would regularly access their homes and yards and rooms. Monk's people did say that they were totally unaware of this habit of Monk's. They always thought he stayed close by.

We left a few minutes at the end, per the request of Monk's people, to do a search for their cat in their immediate neighborhood, since they believed that Monk was still close by. We did a search for any cat in the area, with the emphasis on Monk's scent. Both dogs did indicate a strong presence of cats all over, but none of them were Monk.

I suggested that they extend their search throughout the island since, if Monk got scared and became lost, he could travel far and become disoriented.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Nova", Great Pyrenees, Sonoma - Found!

(Note from Nova's person)
Hi Jackie.

Nova and I are still thrilled to be reunited. Thanks for your help!!!

(details from the search)
Nova is a three and a half year old spayed Great Pyrenese. She has a collar with ID tags and a microchip. She and her mate, Zeus, have free roam of a multi acre, totally fenced in ranch. Her primary purpose is as a guard dog to prevent wildlife and predators from coming in.

For the months following her disappearance, she and Zeus would periodically leave the ranch and wander down to the Plaza in the middle of town. The caretaker would receive a call and go pick them up. It was discovered that there were some holes in the fence that was allowing them out, onto another neighbor's property and then onto the road into town.

In the week just prior to Nova's last disappearance, all those holes had been patched up and double checked.

Nova was last seen laying on the dirt road between the new house under construction and the house of the caretaker. Within the hour, she was reported as missing from the ranch and how she got out remained a mystery.

Since the dogs did not have any separate bedding and slept in a fenced paddock on the property, the only scent article of either dogs was a shared wire brush. And both dogs' scent was equally all over the ranch. My idea was to show the dogs the brush and then show them a clump of hair from Zeus and then to tell them to follow the scent on the brush that was not from the clump of hair. But first we had to find out how she got off the ranch from seemingly a totally fenced in place.

We did go up to the spot on the ranch where the previous holes were and confirmed they were still secure and they were. From there I showed Dot and Dino the scent article and started the search. We checked all along the road back down to the main houses. Both Dot and Dino went around the former pond and out to the road that led toward the large electronic gate. The scent went out the gate. The caretaker was stunned because he said that he never left the place that day, which was Sunday, and there were no workers coming onto the property to work. Then he suddenly remembered that he did have one visitor that day, but only for a short time, and it happen to be around the last time, as he recalled, that he saw Nova lying on the dirt road near his place. Mystery solved!

Now we had to find Nova and where she went to. There had not been a single sighting of Nova in town or anywhere near her past haunts, and this was a very large white dog. She would have been noticed. So my guess was that she went in a totally different location than in the past.

We followed a track that went literally "over the mountains and through the woods" for the next several hours. The track went up and down hills, crossing roads, up to houses, around houses and then straight into the mountains that are in an open space. There were no roads or trails to follow, just the scent trail from Nova that the dogs were following. Occasionally we would see a partial deer trail, but rarely. Remote would barely describe the area. We didn't see another human for almost the entire five hours. Luckily, Nova's caretaker was a very nice and interesting person and we had a lot great conversations.

Eventually we came to a very large winery and went through that fence and up to their road that led to a back winery. The grapes were delicious. I did not know that grapes from the vine could taste so delicious. I thought they would be bitter. The track went all the way through the winery all the way up to their electronic locked gate. The dogs indicated that the scent went through the gate. But how, we asked?  How did Nova get through? Did she wait until the gate opened and then bolted through? How long did she wait? The weather had been very cold and rainy the previous few days.

Once we climbed the fence and the dogs went under, and we got out onto the road, we left open the possibility that maybe Nova got picked up and put into a car. We followed the paved road leading down the hillside for several miles. The weather was very cold, and foggy and starting to rain.

The trail led straight down the road without deviating at all off to the side. More of an indication that she was in a car. The track led all the way up to the driveway of a house and there it stopped. The dogs indicated that the track led no where else. Nobody was home at the house, but the house was very well cared for with a lot of elaborate gardening. We were now in Agua Caliente, directly on the other side of Sonoma Mountain from the town of Sonoma and Nova's house.

Nova's person talked to the neighbor next door and said that those neighbors were out of the country on business and were regularly gone for long periods. I noted that obviously the house and garden were being cared for by somebody pretty regularly. My immediate guess was that there was a connection to this house and the winery that we tracked Nova from up the hillside. Also there were a couple of "winery" decorations around the outside, but it is Sonoma county so that could just be a coincidence.

Nova's person decided to focus his recovery efforts in that area and to distribute flyers and posters. By this time is was pouring rain and I was cold and tired and it was getting dark. We still had to get a ride back.

I got a phone call from Nova's person about one week later that Nova had walked back onto the ranch. She was sans her collar and she was very hungry and thin. He said that he would have never believed where Nova was tracked to other than that he had received a couple of calls from people saying they saw her walking around Agua Caliente a couple of times by herself.

My guess is that she made it back over the mountain back home following either her own scent or that of the caretaker.  And, I believe, the people who had her in Agua Caliente had attempted to keep her, and removed her collar. Something went wrong and either they let her go or she got away from them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Cedric", Stripped Siamese, Woodacre - Found!

(This is an email from Marta Williams, the animal communicator who helped with Cedric.)

"hey Jackie

Cedric came home! I did some belief clearing for him and he just showed up.... cool eh?"

(This is the email from Cedric's person to Marta.)

You are remarkable. Cedric showed up at our neighbor's house this morning. This is the neighbor I share him with. They have an 11 year old girl who he jumps into bed with in the morning. She tells her Mom she can't get up because snuggling with Cedric is heaven. She is so right. I'm going to pick him up when the kids leave for school. Thank you from the deepest part of my being. I felt like I was missing a part of my soul. Helping him end his walk about and allowing him to return to those who love him is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me. You are an angel.

Warmest Regards,

Cedric is a free access indoor/outdoor neutered three year old stripped Siamese. He is wearing a red collar and is microchipped. He is very friendly with everybody and is known to regularly visit many houses in the area. One morning he did not show up for breakfast.

There were sightings of Cedric on a nearby hillside, and the only scent article we had to use was a door mat of a nearby neighbor, where Cedric was known to hang out. We also did have an old carrier that was stored in an outdoor garage that had not been used for months. We went to the hillside and did find Cedric's scent and followed it all over the nearby hill, up walking paths and down and back toward town and toward  his home.

At this point, Cedric's person told me that there had been another sighting of Cedric that she thought was after the sighting on the hillside. She said she had forgotten about telling me about that. I reminded her that we could have cut out the last hour of following a track that was not the most current.

We went to this place, which was a yard down the street from her house. Cedric's person was doubtful that the sighting was truly Cedric because she did not feel he ever traveled that far, but later told me about other times when she did find Cedric in various parts of the town when she went out driving around and looking for him.

According to the dogs, the track was Cedric's. It went through a couple of yards and then down a street and out to a busier street. From there it went down that street and then up another street and then up another street where several houses were under construction. We then figured out that these streets were near a walking path that Cedric's person told me he was sighted on in the past. This path led from nearby her home and then up to this street. Cedric's scent was all over these houses and up and down the streets.

One of the houses was not under construction. It happened to be a house of a friend of Cedric's person. We talked to the home owner/friend and told her who we were looking for, and she was very helpful and friendly and allowed us to follow Cedric's track around her property. She did acknowledge that many times her German Shepherd, who was allowed loose on the property periodically, would chase unknown animals around the unfenced property, which was probably several acres and bordered on a creek and public walking path.

From this house Cedric's scent continued down the street, back out to the busy street and then went up to another street where other vacant lots for sale existed. The whole town of Woodacre is very remote and rural in the far west of Marin. The place we ended the track at per Cedric's request was even more remote and wooded than the town.

Based on this, my guess is that Cedric actually had a pretty wide territory, moving around the small town regularly. I believe that Cedric's regular territory actually included these two streets with the vacant lots for sale and the houses under construction.

I recommended that Cedric's person continue to put out flyers and posters along these streets and in town. I recommended that she drive around with her window down putting out her scent and giving Cedric a way to get home. She asked me what my opinion was about using an animal communicator, and I recommended that she talk to Marta Williams. I gave her Marta's website. The communication from Marta at the beginning of this post is the outcome of that recommendation.

By the way, we had a lot of problems with dogs off leash throughout the town. Apparently, residents in Woodacre don't believe in using a leash to walk their dogs and allow their dogs loose as they walk around. Cedric's person tried many times to talk to people and to hold on their dogs as we followed the track. Most did not comply and seemed confused why somebody was even asking them such a silly request.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"Gaby", Yorkshire Terrier, San Jose

As of February 15, 2010, Gaby is still missing. 

Gaby is an unspayed, eight month old female Yorkshire Terrier. She is not wearing a collar, nor does she have a microchip. Her family was putting up Christmas decorations when Gaby ran out of the house. She was spotted running through the parking lot of a apartment complex around 8 PM that night, and that was the last time she was sighted.

Her people focused their entire efforts for several days on that apartment complex, thinking somebody had her inside there. However, no additional sightings had been made. Many other Yorkies living in that area where misidentified as Gaby.

I came in and checked the parking lot of the apartment complex and found a track leading out and down the street and made a right turn onto the main street. There was one turn toward one gate of the apartment complex, but then it led out again onto the street.

The track continued down the street and then turned into the grounds of a public high school. The track was all around the grounds of the school and then came back out onto the street and continued down.

It crossed San Tomas Expressway and then through a park and around the park and then back out to the street. It went through another park and around that and back out to the street. At this point Gaby's people stopped the track at the three hour minimum. They said they still wanted to go back to the apartment complex and check that area again. I assured them that Gaby's track led out from the apartment complex and out onto the street.

They drove back to the apartment complex and spoke to the management and asked to have the dogs brought in and check for Gaby's scent. The management refused to allow them in because they were receiving complaints from the residents that they felt harassed that their Yorkies were being confused with Gaby and they were being accused of stealing Gaby.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Molly", DSH, Grey Tabby with White, San Jose - Found!

Molly is an indoor/outdoor spayed, seven year old black and grey tabby with white. She is not wearing a collar, but has a microchip. The family has two young twin boys, and they have been taught not to "chase the kitty."However, the day that Molly disappeared, they did admit to "chasing the kitty." This night was Thursday, Thanksgiving. The twins said they saw Molly run out of the cat door and into the yard.

For the next couple of days, Molly's people looked for her in the immediate neighborhood of a couple of blocks, but did not find her. I was called in a couple of days later. We found Molly's track leading out from the immediate neighborhood out to the main boulevard and then the track made a right down the street. The track continued through many streets, through parks and then all the way to a creek/canal heavily favored by homeless people. Along the way, the path was obviously by somebody walking because the track was along paved paths and walkways and overpasses. This was not the track of a cat walking nor of a car. So, somewhere, pretty close to Molly's home, she was picked up and carried away. Molly's person did say she was somewhat friendly toward strangers, but not overly.

I asked Molly's person what day of the week does their garbage get picked up on. He said usually Thursday morning, but because of the holiday, it would have been Friday morning. Based on where the track started to lead us, my guess at that point was that Molly had been picked up by a homeless person with a shopping cart who found her while going through the trash cans that night or morning.

We continued on the track and it still appeared to go to homeless camps and then up sidewalks and all the way into Campbell to a park in the middle of Campbell. From here the track appeared to change. Here Molly appeared to be on her home because the track went into and all around a fenced, locked and gated corporation yard for the City of Campbell. They said they were locked on the weekend, and they wouldn't not let in a homeless person with a cart. Molly's scent went all over the yard on the perimeter like she was looking for a way out. The track left the yard and then went into a smallish type of junk yard. The scent again went around the perimeter of the yard and then went back out. From there it went into a large condo/apartment complex and again went all along the perimeter of the complex.

At this point Molly's person stopped the search. He had to pick up his child at daycare.

He also mentioned that this spot was within less than a mile from their former home in Campbell. He wondered if Molly was on her way back to that home. I also suggested that he talk to Marta Williams, an animal communicator.

Conversation with Marta Williams, animal communicator:
I got a call from Molly's person that Marta had talked to Molly and confirmed that Molly was on her way back to her former home. Molly gave Marta pictures of where she was, and Molly's person recognized those places as nearby their former home. He said that he would alert neighbors in that area to be on the lookout for Molly in case she did make it back. Marta told Molly's person to visualize to Molly how to make it back to their current home from her current location.

About one week later I got a phone call from Molly's person saying that Molly showed up back at their current home. She walked right into the cat door and into the office of where the wife was sitting at her desk!

"Sugar", DSH, Grey Tabby with White, Oakley

Sugar is a spayed female, five year old brown tabby with white. She is wearing a pink collar with an ID tag. She does not have a microchip. She is all indoors.

Her people were out of town and a relative was caring for Sugar. The other dog in the house and may have chased Sugar around the out, causing her to get scared and run out the dog door. An active search did not occur for Sugar until her people got back from vacation a few days later.

While out looking for Sugar, two people independently said they thought they saw her a block away running from a couple of yards a couple of days prior, but there had been no sighting since then.

When I got there we went to the possible sighting. It was a court street just one block over from where Sugar lives. The dogs picked up her track right away and followed it down the street and right and then across the busy boulevard. From there it went around a large open space and down to a park and then back up to the street.

The scent went up onto the busy street and then down the street for several blocks. It continued for several more blocks and then suddenly turned backwards and crossed the street and went into a large farm. It went down the driveway. We stopped to make contact with the home owner. She had a nice Irish Setter puppy. She said she had not seen Sugar around, but we were welcome to follow the track around her property. The track went around the perimeter of the property and then went back up onto the driveway and back out. We thanked the woman who came out and was concerned that a cat was on her property and she did not know.

The scent went back out to the street and make right going along the same way it was originally. The track continued for several more blocks and then turn suddenly to the right and through a neighborhood and out onto a main street. It continued right down the street and then after a couple of blocks it turned down a gravel dirt road which went down to the end and around a large circular parking lot.

From here Sugar's people stopped the search at the three hour minimum. I suggested they continued searching for her in that area and down the Main street and talking to people for sightings.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Lou", DSH, Grey and White Tabby, Aptos - Found!

Lou is a neutered, seven year old grey and white tabby. He is not wearing a collar or a microchip or tattoo. His people had recently moved to this new home. After about one week, Lou went outside one day and did not return. He had been missing for one week when I was called.

We had a time scheduled for a search on a Tuesday morning. I received a call about 8 PM on Monday evening saying that Lou had been found. His people had received a phone call from a neighbor from their previous home that Lou had returned there. He had traveled over eight miles in a week to return to the previous home.

This story is to accentuate the strong ability of an animal to travel very long distances in a short time. I have had many cases of animals traveling long distances, and yet many people still don't believe that their supposedly sedate pet could travel so far, even after seeing the search for their pet. I have people who still want to check back at their home for their pet after we have just performed a multi hour search for their pet following a track that spanned many, many miles.

"Elvis", DLH, Black, San Francisco

Elvis is a black 18 year old, neutered DLH. He is wearing a pink collar with an ID tag, but does not have a microchip. His brother and littermate had passed away from cancer just a few months prior to Elvis being missing.

I do have to mention that in this case, I had the most difficult time finding a place to park. Everything was two hour parking for blocks in every direction. I finally had to park in a public parking lot at the De Young Museum, which was over 10 blocks away.

A couple of sightings inside gardens were made of Elvis within 24 hours of when his person last saw him. We started there. The dogs found his track and followed it out to the street. From there the track led away from the house for several miles through many neighborhoods, Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, several construction sites, more neighborhoods and public parks. Eventually, the track went all the way to Baker Beach on the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge. The track went onto the beach and all the way down to the end, which eventually went over some high and slippery rocks. The tide was high so we could not go around the cliff.

The funniest part of the whole search was the beach that we ended up. Neither of us knew that it was a gay nude beach, and I think the young gentlemen there were surprised to see two females and two dogs walking toward them. Once we figured out that we could not follow the track any further, I decided to let the dogs run loose on the beach and play since they had put in a hard several hours of tracking. Elvis' person made a phone call to ask a friend to come pick us up, so we did not leave the area quickly, which I think caused a bit more surprise.

After doing the search for Elvis, I still had time to visit the De Young Museum and try to see the King Tut exhibit. However, when I saw the $35 price per ticket, I decided to not see it. I decided instead to look at all the exhibits outside the made exhibit and look through the shop and books. I got a general idea of the main exhibit.