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Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Chino", Poodle mix, Oakland - Found!

Second email:
Yes, we are so happy.  he has yet to leave our arms.  he is so tired that he can barely walk.  But boy was he hungry!

Yes, you can put his picture up!  He loves attention.  Chino may have three legs, but he sure does not know that.  This dog can move, fast and long.  He typically runs about 5 miles everyday.

We learned a lot through this process.  Make BIG signs and talk to EVERYONE!

First email:
Good news-  we found Chino! today at about 10 AM.  after 16 hours of searching we found him wondering through the nearest neighborhood.

Thanks for all your helpful website.  We are interested in learning more about what you do.

I received a call from Chino's people that he was lost in Temescal Park in Oakland. Since I already had a search scheduled for the next day, they asked to set one for the following day, and they would keep looking for him. I received the above emails the night before the search saying they had found him. 

"Little", DSH, Black, Oakland

This is the last half of the track. The first half didn't survive because the GPS was sporadic through the heavy trees, mountains and stormy weather. The two pins are very strong sightings.

View Track 11 in a larger map

Total Distance: 5.56 km (3.5 mi)
Total Time: 55:44
Moving Time: 24:53
Average Pace: 10.03 min/km (16.1 min/mi)
Average Moving Pace: 4.48 min/km (7.2 min/mi)
Min Pace: 1.96 min/km (3.2 min/mi)
Min Elevation: 224 m (735 ft)
Max Elevation: 323 m (1059 ft)
Elevation Gain: 190 m (624 ft)
Max Grade: 7 %
Min Grade: -53 %
Recorded: Fri Jan 29 15:30:32 PDT 2010

Little is a neutered 12 year old, indoor only, solid black DSH with no collar or ID tags. He escaped by accident as his people were bringing things in from the car. He had been sighted across the street a couple of days after being missing, but was not spotted for almost another two weeks down by the grade school a couple of blocks from his home. His person did not believe that the sighting down at the school was Little, but we did get a positive scent in that area, and we continued it for several miles straight into the hills in that area. Along the way, we did get two positive sightings of a cat matching Little's description along the track.

Little's people stopped the search after the minimum four hours. They said they would keep looking for him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Bido", Jack Russel Terrier, Carmel - Found!

View Bido in a larger map

Total Distance: 8.09 km (5.0 mi)
Total Time: 2:09:57
Moving Time: 1:28:12
Average Pace: 16.06 min/km (25.8 min/mi)
Average Moving Pace: 10.90 min/km (17.5 min/mi)
Min Pace: 6.64 min/km (10.7 min/mi)
Min Elevation: 156 m (512 ft)
Max Elevation: 259 m (851 ft)
Elevation Gain: 310 m (1018 ft)
Max Grade: 0 %
Min Grade: 0 %
Recorded: Sun Jan 24 10:37:40 PDT 2010
Activity type: partial track due to dead battery

(These are current pictures of Bido after she returned home.)

I received the above emails about one week after the search. Bido had been found far outside of the development several miles away. They said she walked up to a house, which also happen to be the house of a friend, who did not know Bido was missing. 

"So she made her way across the canyon to a family friends house. They called tonight and said "hey guys we have your dog and she is covered in ticks and fleas." Her fur was all red from her red collar in the rain. Our friends did not know she had been missing for 9 days! I am not sure how she got that far - I mean she would have had do go down the canyon at the back of the house up and down a second canyon and up a HUGE mountain where there house is up windy roads. But the house is literally a straight shot across the mountains from the back of her house. Unless she went out the gate and down Carmel Valley road around and then up, but that seems even more unlikely. I wish she could talk and tell us where she has been. It is just crazy to me that just today I wrote you back to say at this point I have lost hope that she could still be found alive.  I thought for sure the coyotes had gotten her given the terrain and time passed.

I know my mom and dad will sleep well tonight with little bido snuggled at their feet. Sierra on the other hand I guess it pouting, she had her hair standing straight up her back like "wait a minute, why are you back?? And then she pooped in living room - not sure what that is about?? Weird.

Anyway, I keep snuggling my Yorkie puppy thinking I hope he never gets away from me, but through this experience I am forever thankful to have found you. I know now where to turn. And most of all by encouraging people to continue the search. You do a wonderful thing dedicating your time to helping our lost furry children find their way back home.



(This is my response to Lara)

That is wonderful. I am glad she is safe at home.

I am not surprised she traveled that far since I see it all the time. I had a call a couple of days ago from a man whose cat was missing almost a month in San Francisco. She is a totally indoor only cat with no tags or microchip. We tracked her from Bay View district near Candlestick all over their neighborhood and then all the way down along the bay to near Crissy Fields in the Marina where they stopped the search.

He came home from work this week and found her inside his garage in a trap he had been setting every day.

Give Bido a big hug from me and Dino and Dot. I am sure she is glad to be home. I think Sierra is glad to see her, too.


Bido is a spayed female, brown and white Jack Russell Terrier. She is wearing a collar with ID tags and has a microchip. She accidentally got out of the house during a very large storm in the area when a back door blew open. Her home is in a very large (20,000 acre) private and gated and fenced housing development built deep into the Carmel Mountains. The entire five hours we were tracking Bido, other than other family members and friends on the search, I did not see another resident of the community, other than the guard at the gate. Mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats are very common in the area.

We found Bido's track leading away from the house and then out and around and back out to the road. From here it went left down to where other houses were, however, nobody was living in these houses at this time. They were either under construction or living out of the area. We continued to follow her track for miles in directions all around the area, and finally past her house and then back to the main road which eventually leads to the only way out of the area, which is a guard shack staffed until midnight. 

I explained this to Bido's people, and they said they would continue to look for her, even though they still felt she had a high chance of being eaten by wildlife in the area and they felt their chances of finding her were very slim. I told them that I had seen many animals successfully make their way through all kinds of similar territories and make it out alive.

(Entered into lost pet questionnaire 1/29/10)

"Foo Foo", Cocker Spaniel mix, Oakland - Found!

View Foo Foo in a larger map

Total Distance: 25.00 km (15.5 mi)
Total Time: 6:07:51
Moving Time: 3:45:25
Average Pace: 14.63 min/km (23.5 min/mi)
Average Moving Pace: 9.02 min/km (14.5 min/mi)
Min Pace: 3.86 min/km (6.2 min/mi)
Min Elevation: -51 m (-168 ft)
Max Elevation: 111 m (364 ft)
Elevation Gain: 945 m (3099 ft)
Max Grade: 3 %
Min Grade: -19 %
Recorded: Mon Jan 25 09:41:06 PDT 2010

Foo Foo (aka "Foo") is a microchipped and neutered, small, blond one and a half year old Cocker Spaniel mix. During a rain storm, Foo got out through a side gate in the yard that blew open. According to Foo's person, there was a possible sighting of Foo a few blocks from his house the following day of his disappearance. However, Foo's person was not convinced that the person who said they saw Foo actually saw him. We decided to start the search there to check it out.

According to both dogs, Foo's scent was in that area and it went down the street and continued for several miles through Oakland and into Alameda crossing one of the bridges. While we were in Alameda, Foo's person talked again to the man who said that he saw Foo the 24 hours after his initial disappearance, and he said that the dog on the flyer was definitely Foo and he was positive about the 24 hour time frame.

The track continued around parts of Alameda and then crossed back over another bridge back into Oakland. Just passed this last bridge is where Foo's person stopped the track. He had to go pick up his son at school. He said he would continue the search for Foo on his own.

Two days later I received an estatic call from Foo's person that a positive sighting had been made of Foo by a local food vendor near Fruitvale and 12th in Oakland a few blocks from where we stopped our search on the same day we did the search. He said it gave him hope to keep looking for Foo.

About two weeks later I received another call from Foo's owner, except this time he was extremely upset. He said that Foo had been found, however, he said that Foo had been picked up within only a couple of hours following his disappearance. He was very angry with me because he felt that the dogs and me had led him on an entirely false search, and he demanded his money back. I told him that the people who picked up Foo had to be not stating the correct time when they picked him up. I told him that I had seen that in the past with other people who said they incorrectly stated the wrong time that they picked up an animal. I said that I was 100% certain about the track my dogs followed, plus we had two completely independent people stating they said that they saw Foo. At this point Foo's person now stated that the two independent sightings were incorrect and that my dogs were not following the correct track. He insisted I return his money. I said that I had performed my job correctly, and that he needed to talk to the people who found Foo and ask them why they were telling him the incorrect time when they picked him up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Snuggles", Siamese/Tonkinese, Alameda

Snuggles is an indoor-only, declawed, neutered nine year old Siamese/Tonkinese mix. He is wearing a blue collar with paw prints with a rabies tag from his veterinarian, and he is microchipped. He was last seen sometime during the night. He has access to a side yard through a cat door, though his people says he never leaves the yard and always stays inside.

The best guess how he got out of the yard was to jump up onto a garbage can that was left against the gate.  There had been no sightings of Snuggles at all.

Search Day #1:
The track we found led from the side gate, down the street, zig zagging up and down walkways and driveways. At the end of the street, the track turned to the right and went along the street doing the same, going up and down walkways and driveways. 

When we got to the end of the street, the track crossed the street and make a left hand turn, and we were now on the sidewalk, and we continued down the street, all along the sidewalk for many, many blocks. Pretty soon, I figured that something had changed from how the track was at the beginning since we were now going directly down the street as if he were in a car or being carried. Being in a car was the best guess since we were walking along the right side, the same side as traffic. This continued for several more blocks.

Suddenly, at a corner, the scent when directly to the right, up a set of stairs to the door, down the stairs, around the edge of the house and then under the gate that leads into a backyard. We approached the person at home and asked her if we could check her yard for the missing cat. She was very agreeable. We checked the yard, and the dogs indicated that the scent was to the back and into a couple of storage rooms and then into the closet of one of the rooms. Both dogs indicated that the cat had spent some time inside that closet. We asked the woman, who was Asian, and had a difficultly with speaking English, said she did not know anything about a cat. 

We continued the track, which was still outside the house and continued down the street, as if the cat was still being carried, though not in a car because the track was now along walkways and through schools and over foot bridges. 

We were kind of confused what we we were looking at until we came up to a warehouse after crossing a car bridge and into Oakland. The warehouse was just over the water. However, what we saw when we got to the warehouse were people who looked very similar to the woman at the last house. They let us look through the warehouse when we said who we were looking for. The scent went all over the warehouse, up some stairs to a storage room above the office. 

The give away was that when I got to the office, after on a minute or two, there was a young Asian woman who said she had not seen the cat we were looking for. I thought that was strange since I did not tell her who we were looking for, and Snuggles' person had not talked to her yet. What we thought was that somebody from the front who we were talking to immediately went to this woman and showed her the flyer. This woman looked very similar to the woman at the house where Snuggles' scent was in the yard and closet. 

What we thought was that Snuggles had jumped from the car who initially picked him up near his house, and then he ran into the yard and storage closets. This woman called somebody to help her get the cat out. A relative came to get the cat out and took him to the warehouse where they had their own business.  They had him in the warehouse, probably locked in the small room above the office. From there Snuggles got away because from there his scent was like he was now running on his own. 

The track went all around and around the Home Depot parking lot and then out and around and around the rest of the shopping center and then out to the street and over to a large members only warehouse, and then, the strangest thing, is that the track went back over the same bridge he originally was brought over. It is a small drawbridge and, with cars, it is very loud and bounces. Dot and Dino were pretty nervous crossing it. Heck, I was nervous crossing it. I figured that Snuggles must have crossed it at night when the sound and motion would be less. 

From there the track when back into Alameda and around along Fernside, where Snuggles' person stopped the track. She said they would continue the search for him and use Findtoto to put out messages and more flyers.

Search Day #2:

I got a call from Snuggles' people the next morning that a Siamese looking cat had been sighted on the far end of Alameda. This person had received the Findtoto phone message about a Siamese missing in his area, saw the cat that morning while walking his dog, and called immediately. I went to that spot, and the dogs definitely indicated that the scent belonged to Snuggles.

We followed that track for several hours all along the edge of Alameda going in and out of schools, homes, apartment complexes, shopping areas, more apartments and on and on and on. After about four hours, we were at the far end of Alameda, almost near to where we ended the search the day before. My guess is that Snuggles was backtracking his way from how he got to the far end.

The search was stopped by Snuggles' person and she said they would continue to look for him.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"JoJo", Cattle Dog Mix, San Francisco - Found!

"SF Family Reunited With Stolen Dog - News Story - KTVU San Francisco"
"SAN FRANCISCO: Jojo The Dog Stolen By Woman; Dognapping On The Rise [Rob Roth] - Video - KTVU San Francisco"

Search Details: (January 16)

Jojo is a neutered tan, black and brown five year old Australian Cattle dog mix. He is wearing a collar with ID tags and is microchipped.

His people walked him to a nearby grocery store and tied him up out front of the store and went in to do shopping, like they had done the previous five years with never an incident or evening hearing that this was an unsafe practice. When they came out of the store, they found Jojo gone. A security guard in the parking lot said that he saw an older white woman with a type of accent walking away with Jojo from the front of the store and off to the side. He did not know that she was not Jojo's person since, he said that he did not see Jojo tied up in the beginning. The front of the store did have a security camera pointed in that area, and Jojo's people attempted to have the store management release the tapes. However, the management refused, and the tapes were not released to the public for a couple of days.

I was called by Jojo's people that evening that he was missing, and I came out the next morning. We found a track leading away from the store and then in and around numerous neighborhoods for over an hour. The track eventually lead to an apartment/projects complex, and directly to the back of a specific apartment through the backyard. The dogs even indicated that no other scent led away from the apartment backyard, which meant that the dog had to enter the apartment that way and not come back out.

Jojo's person made contact with the people inside the apartment. They said that they did not know anything about Jojo. Jojo's person asked them if there was anybody else in the apartment that might know about Jojo or who could have come home with him. They said the only other person in the home was their mom, but she wasn't home. They said she was at work. The description of the family matched the description of the woman who was seen by security walking away with Jojo, and the family members all had accents, which we narrowed down to eastern Europe, possibly Russia or Czech.

I took the dogs to the front of the building and found the front door of the apartment. I had the dog check the dog and ask if there was any scent leading away, and they said yes. We followed the scent through the neighborhood and then all the way down to the Embarcadero and then through all of the vendors along that area. It appeared that Jojo was still being walked by a human.

On the Embarcadero, there is a restaurant called "      " where it appeared that Jojo was suddenly walking by himself because the track was erratic and choppy following trash cans and all along all the piers and the wharf all the way to Pier 39 and all the way to the east edge of Chrissy Fields. At this point, we had been tracking for over five hours, and Jojo's person called it off and continue the search in the area with flyers.

The next day I received a phone call that somebody had spotted Jojo at Lombard and Steiner, a few blocks from Chrissy Fields and where we had stopped the day before. The sighting had been late in the afternoon the day before when we tracked him to that area! Jojo's people had been putting out flyers in that area when somebody spotted her and told her. They continued to look for him.

About a week later they received a phone call from Jojo's microchip company that Jojo had been dropped off at a vet clinic in Marin County by some people who said that they had found Jojo in San Francisco. They told the vet that could not keep him since they lived in Oregon and they were on their way home. Luckily the vet was suspicious and scanned him and found his microchip! Jojo was home the next day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Dorian Grey", Persian, Grey, Alameda

Dorian Grey is a outdoor only FIV positive grey Persian who is approximately 5 years old. He is not wearing a collar and he does not have a microchip. He would frequent his person's house and would regularly hangout in the backyard. One day he did not come home to eat.

We found his track leading away from the house and then in various parts of the local neighborhood and then for several blocks down one of the mains streets. We would see the track go off to the left of the street where it appears he finds a dead end along the water (common in Alameda) and then goes back to the main street where he would continue. The continued throughout Alameda where the track went along the water and to the end of parking lots and other areas. In my experience with animals lost on Alameda, the animals just go until they hit water (which is all very close) and then they turn and keep going.

After four hours, the search was stopped by Dorian's person. She said she would continue to look for him. Based on the search, it looks like Dorian was chased out of the area and was trying to find his way back. It appears Dorian and his person are very close and he wants to get home.

"Yoshi", Yorkshire Terrier, Oakland

3/10/10 - Still missing

Yoshi is an unneutered eight month old male Yorkshire Terrier. He is wearing a red collar, but had no tags and does not have a microchip. He escaped from the yard when the side gate got left open by accident. He was last seen approximately 6 Pm that night.

We found Yoshi's scent leading to the left of the house and then up the street and into a yard of a private school. He did the mountain goat routine and was climbing cliffs and hills. Eventually he came out of the schoolyard and then went in and out and up and around numerous neighborhoods for several miles. If he was traveling at night, nobody would see him in these places.

After several hours of searching, we were in the "Broadway" area of Oakland and his people called it off. There were no sightings. They said they would continued the search on their own.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Archer", DSH, Tuxedo, Walnut Creek - Found!

Archer is an indoor/outdoor, neutered, nine year old, 20 lb tuxedo cat. He is not wearing a collar, but is microchipped. He had been missing for a few days when I was called. 

He was outside his home when a loose neighborhood dog chased Archer up a very tall tree. Archer's person was nearby and saw what happened. The dog was brought in doors, and then they attempted to get Archer down from the tree. Archer was coming down from the tree, when he fell to the ground and then ran off. 

We found his track leading out of the condo complex and then to the right into the neighborhood. The track continued up and through some neighborhoods. The dogs did indicate some sustained scent in some large sewage pipes on one of the streets, which I think meant that Archer spent some time in those pipes, maybe waiting until he felt safe to go out, maybe at night. 

From there the track led down to the downtown area of Walnut Creek. Here I learned that Archer's person regularly walked Archer up and down these streets. Actually, she said that she would take Archer to a wide variety of places, where Archer would stay outside the door, like at a friend's house, until his person came out to get him. 

The track went for several blocks all the way down to the end of the downtown area. From here it went under the highway, along the edge of more neighborhoods and then out to a very long and narrow open space in between two neighborhoods. This continued for several miles all the way into another city. This space was a walking path with a lot of hiding spaces for a cat to walk and then dart to the side for quick cover. We did find the track would suddenly dart off to the side at various points. 

We continued until almost five hours when Archer's person stopped the track. We got a ride back to her home. She said she was going to go back to that area later in the day to distribute flyers and walk around. 

I received an email a couple of days later that Archer had returned to his home. His person felt that the search with the dogs was a total fake since she felt that Archer was in the area of his home this whole time, and was hiding somewhere. I explained that I felt that Archer followed her scent all the way back, which actually is quite easy and common for a cat to do, especially an experienced outdoor cat. I explained that it only took us five hours to walk, and it took him 24 to 48 hours to get home. That would have been quite easy, especially once he got back to the downtown area which he was familiar with. She still did not believe me that the dogs tracked him to that spot.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Jess", DSH, Black, Berkeley - Found!

Hi, Marta and Jackie,

(Jackie, we spoke with Marta last night to see if she could help in our
search for Jess. She thought he was close by, within a block or two, so we
continued our search for him this morning). After searching backyards along
San Lorenzo (one block south of us), we turned our attention to yards
between our house on Vincente and Portland Ave. After nearly three hours of
looking, Dwight was nearly out of time (he had a plane to catch) and I was
feeling disheartened. We had stopped to talk about what to do when my
hand-held pet locator beeped and flashed. It has a line of lights--red to
orange to yellow to green--that light up and beep when we're close to the
cat and his radio tag. I saw just one red light--but that's enough to tell
me he was close by. I pointed at a nearby garage and all the lights flashed,
right up to green. Luckily the owner of the house was home, and she opened
the garage. I didn't see Jess but the lights and beeps indicated we were
still close, though he must have run to the back of the garage or, more
likely, into the crawlspace it connected to. I entered the crawl space off
the garage and crawled on hands on knees to the very back left corner of
the space, and there he was, cowering and mewing. After sitting quietly for
a minute and calling to him, I got him to calm down and come to me. He was
unhurt, just hungry and thirsty and scared. The woman was very apologetic
that she hadn't heard him mewing. He was terrified of her garage door, which
makes loud noises, so that may explain why he hadn't come home even when the
door had been opened a number of times over the weekend.

I'd walked by this house numerous times with my pet locator over the past
few days without seeing it register anything. I think that my locator didn't
register before because Jess must have been hiding in the far rear of the
crawl space, away from the sidewalk. Perhaps when Dwight and I stopped to
talk in front of the house where he was trapped he heard our voices and
shaking can of treats and came closer to the garage door.

We are so relieved to have found him safe and relatively sound. I'm taking
him to the vet today to see if his eyes have suffered much from not getting
four days of medication. Since getting home, he has eaten two bowls of cat
food, drunk water, and slept in his usual chair.

A question for both of you: we are looking into ways to keep Jess from
wandering. Marta, you mentioned cat fencing, which looks doable. An electric
collar and electric fence would be less obtrusive, but you seemed to have an
objection to using that method. I'd be interested in hearing from both of
you the pros and cons of that versus the non-electric fencing.

Thank you both for helping us in our search for Jess!

Deborah and Dwight


animal communicator:

(My response to Deborah's email)
"The reason why the indicator did not show Jess' position was because he was not there. As we found by the track, he was a long ways away."

I highly recommend this device. It can help to locate pets who are close by.


Jess is an indoor/outdoor seven year old, neutered, black DSH. He has a collar on with no tags, and he is microchipped. There have been no sightings of him since he went missing, which was less than 48 hours  when I was called. He is on medication for a recently diagnosed eye condition. Due to the eye condition, his person brought a tag to put on his collar called a "Locator." His person would use the hand held device to go find him when he would not come home in time for his medication. The device is a is credit card sized and has a type of "hot" or "cold" set of lights on it to let her know when she was near Jess.

We found his track leading away from the house and then into distant neighborhoods and in and out of canyons, along cliffs and more canyons. Finally, we came out into neighborhoods and then followed it for quite a ways. Jess' person finally stopped the track after five hours. She told me she did not feel we were accurately following Jess since she did not feel that he would ever go this far. I explained that either he was chased from the area of his home or he traveled a little further that day and got lost, which would lead him in areas where he was unfamiliar with. To me, he made it back to the area of his home, though unable to make it back completely, which he is able to do. He is an experienced outdoor cat. He was hiding in the garage, since he was unfamiliar with the area, when they found him.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Julie", Persian, Orange and White, Ross/Marin County - Found

Julie is a seven year old, Orange and White Persian who weighs only four pounds. Due to a birth defect she could not eat solid food through her mouth. She had to be tube fed and her person had been doing this several times a day for several years. While her person was bringing groceries in and out of the car, Julie darted outside. I was called out within 48 hours of her missing. No sightings had been made of Julie.

When I got there, obviously, Julie's person was extremely upset and frightened of Julie's situation since Julie could not eat solid food and would starve without immediate help. She wanted to check the large, enclosed storage areas under the house to see if she had somehow gotten in there, even though all the areas are locked and secure. We also checked the garage, even though she said she had checked it out thoroughly. After an hour of checking parts of the house, we were able to check the track leading from the house.

I found a track from the front door that led out to the street, which was an isolated, narrow and dead end mountain road. There was little to no traffic on the road. Julie's track led out to the road, to the right around the garage and then down the steep hillside, which the garage and house was perched on. With the help of ropes already in place to climb the hill, we were able to follow the track around the perimeter of the house and then the track went around the house and then behind another house and out onto another road that was below Julie's house. From there the track went back up around the road and back to the road that went in front of Julie's house, past it, up the road to the end of the road and through a gate to the property of a house that is under construction. 

We tried contacting the police and the security company, but nobody knew how to enter the property or who the property belonged to. We finally made a drive to the local police department and asked how to reach the property and who might own it. The police officer was very nice and he directed us to the other side of the property, based on a local map. We drove up to that area, and we talked to another neighbor along the property and she said that that property under construction belonged to another person who lived in a house nearby. She told us where that house was and how to reach it. 

We went to the house, and found two young boys at the house. Julie's person told them about Julie and that we needed access to the property to look for Julie. The boys called their parents, and their parents gave them permission to open the property to us. However, they were not able to find the correct keys to the two gates. They said they had the keys to the gate down near Julie's house, but not for the ones up on the top. We decided to drive my van back down to the other road and enter in through there. They met us down there to open the gate.

Once we were in, I had the dogs check and they found a track that led up the driveway under construction. From there it went to the shack where all the tools were kept and then the track went up the stairway and then out to the gate that was up by the house where the boys were staying. What this meant was that Julie had passed through the property and up into the neighborhood. 

At this point, Julie's person had to go to an appointment, and she said that she would continue to look for Julie on the other side of the property and in that neighborhood.

I got a call about three days later that Julie had been found deceased less than 24 hours after our search in a neighborhood off of the neighborhood where we had tracked her to.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Peanut Butter", DSH Tortoiseshell, San Francisco - Found!

I got this email message on January 26, 2010. At this point Peanut Butter had been missing for over three weeks.

Hi Jackie
Just wanted to let you know that Peanut Butter came home tonight! I got home from work, opened the garage door which I had left open a crack on purpose, and the animal trap I bought had a prize! She's home and happy.  Just wanted to give you an update!

Peanut Butter is an indoor only spayed female Tortoise Shell DSH. She has no collar and is not microchipped. There are two other cats in the house. She got out by accident when the garage door was opened. There had been no sightings of her in the area.

Search #1:
We found a track that led up a street next to the house and then it went up and around and around neighborhoods. We got to one neighborhood that was at the base of a hill in the area where we found a set of condos and townhomes perched on the edge of the hill. Peanut Butter's track led straight into a gated community, but we were able to enter it. It went into one of the yards, but the dogs did not indicate that the scent came back out. We asked several people, but nobody saw her. We left posters all around the neighborhood.

All of these apartment, house and townhomes had yards, so I decided to check down the street to see if her scent came out from one of the house somewhere. We did find it down near the end, around the corner and then up another street. This street led up a steep hill into a large public open space which goes to the top of the hill where large power stations are.

We followed the track around and around until it went down into the steep side of the mountain where we were not able to go. We checked back and decided to see if we could pick it up somewhere back down the trail, since it didn't look like she could come out because there was a chain link fence surrounding the whole park, due to the power station.

Eventually we did pick it back up and then followed it back around and back down into the neighborhood and then strangely enough it went right in front of their home, but kept going. We followed the track for a few more blocks, which were now all on the very urban city streets. I asked Peanut Butter's person he noticed how different the first part of the track was compared these last few blocks and he said that he did. I said I thought it looked like somewhere between her coming out of the park on the hill and their home, she got picked up. She may have been hiding somewhere or she may be injured and somebody found her. He was confused since he felt that there were flyers all over the neighborhood and he felt that everybody knew she was missing.

Since it was almost dark, and the neighborhood was not safe, we decided to walk back to his house, call it a day and restart the next day from the same spot where we left off.

Day #2 Search:

We started where we left off, which was a block from third street, a very busy street and a main thoroughfare for the area.

I asked him what day did his trash get picked up in his neighborhood, and he said it was the day after she  went missing, which was a Friday afternoon. So, this person appeared to be a person who goes to the recycling cans during the night and picks them up. He must have found Peanut Butter hiding some place along the way, and maybe she was so scared or hungry and went along. Or this person surprised her and took her by force. Either is possible.

We followed the track mile after mile all along these urban streets until we got a storage yard. Here the track led us around and around the storage units and then directly to a cat food feeding station on the property. We asked the manager and he said that a cat rescue group comes by to fill up the bowls everyday. We left a flyer at the station. The track continued around the yard and then down to where an old RV was sitting. There was somebody living in the RV. The track went around the RV and then went  back up to the main level of the yard. From here the scent went out through a chain link gate and out to the street. After seeing this, I confirm with Peanut Butter's person that it looked like a transient person had Peanut Butter and he agreed.

From the storage yard, the track continued down the road, all the way up along Third Street and onto the Embarcadero and all along the piers all the way to the end of Fisherman's Wharf. By the time we got to the end, it was almost dark again and we had to catch a cab back to his house. The track was clearly following dumpsters and trash cans for the person to pick up recycling or find food.

See the letter at the top of the post from Peanut Butter's person almost one month after she went missing. What this means to me is that she got loose from this person and made it back. This person may have returned to the area  where he picked up Peanut Butter and she got loose, or she made it back along the way.

"Sake", Siamese, Belmont - Found!

Sake is a four year old, indoor only female blue point Siamese. She had no collar or a microchip. There are two other cats in the home. She had been missing for over a week when I was called. 

The husband had moved the washer/dryer away from the way to clean and paint the area. He had covered up the hole for the ventilation hole that leads to the outside, but somehow it came loose and Sake slipped out in the middle of the night sometime between 10 PM and 6 AM the next morning. 

We found Sake's track that led away from the house, down the street and then behind the house where there is a dirt road that connects to houses on both sides. From there her track lead around the neighborhood and down streets and all around the area and eventually went into San Carlos, next door. From there, the track was still Sake running loose on the street until we got to a house where the track went into a front yard and Dot found it around and around the yard and then to a far back corner. 

After this house, it appeared that Sake was in a car because the track suddenly changed to a cat walking on the street to how a car would drive. The track led us for a couple of miles up roads, up driveways and then back out onto the road. After about five hours of searching Sake's people called it off. 

I recommended contacting rescue groups to see if they picked her up since she had not collar or microchip to identify her. I also said that she could escape from these people and attempt to make it home.

I received an email about three weeks later that Sake had been found a few blocks from her home. The husband insisted that Sake had never left the neighborhood and felt that the track we were on was a total fake. He felt that since Sake did not look like she had been on the street for over four weeks and that she was not skinny that there was not way she could have gone that far. He felt that she had been hiding in that same area for since she escaped. I explained that no cat could survive without any food or water for that long of time and would not sit still for that long. He insisted that the track was totally incorrect. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Sophie", Norfolk Terrier, Oroville/Butte County, CA - Found

Sophie is a five year old Norfolk Terrier. She is wearing a purple collar with a bell and ID tags, and she is microchipped. She lives on a six acre farm, and she disappeared from her home as her person went inside to answer the phone. Her people also have a puppy from Sophie who is about four months old. Her people did not know how she left the property, which is fully fenced except for the front gate, which is always open.

Day One:
She had been missing for a couple of days when I was called out. After a three hour drive, I arrived around 10 AM. We found the track that led out of the front gate and then made a left down the street and went down a large driveway that led down to a house with a lot of loose dogs. Then the track led out and into another house. This place was very suspicious because it was all fenced in. The tenant swore that no dog could get in and that the gate is always closed. However, he did allow us in to check and we found Sophie's scent all over the yard, but we couldn't find a way out. I decided to check the surrounding area for her track out. We finally find it coming out of that yard into a next door neighbor's yard and then down their driveway and back out onto the main road. We know she was in that house, but we don't know for how long.

From here Sophie's track took us on a trek all over the area for miles in many directions. This is a very remote, rural and mountainous area with many farms, ranches, abandoned homes and everything in between. At one point, in one of the yards, one of the people said she had seen a mountain lion in her yard just a couple of days before. I mentioned this to Sophie's person, and he patted his left pocket on his safety vest. He said that since moving to this area, he never wandered around with having a hand gun with him. I didn't know if I felt safe or not.

Sophie's track took us that day from one end of the town all the way to the other, which ended at a very large open space that appeared to be a large dirt lot where men would come and drive their massive 4x4 trucks around and get covered in mud. There wasn't a single sighting of Sophie all day. Sophie's person asked me to come back the next day and pick up the track, and I agree to come back the next morning.

Day Two:
We started day two from where we left off yesterday. We continued to follow Sophie's track through Oroville on all types of roads in every direction. This took all the way back toward the other side of Oroville, closer to her home. The track went into some very remote mountains where we found ourselves totally stuck in a bunch of thick berry bushes and practically crawling on our hands and knees. Remember, Sophie is only an 11 pound dog, so this would not be difficult for her.

We finally crawled our way over some fencing and the dogs crawled underneath. The scent continued up a road, and we found ourselves on a very isolated farm with very large, modern buildings. The woman who came out with a very large and aggressive dog was not nice and ordered us off the property immediately or she would call the police, even after we told her we were tracking a dog that came through here.

We did find the track off the property and it went out onto another remote dirt road. Among ourselves, we figured that we had stumbled upon either a pot farm or a meth lab. Strangely enough, before we entered onto that property and we had just climbed over the fence we found a ShihTzu type dog hiding in some bushes. I walked right past him, but Sophie's person saw him hiding. She walked up to him and picked him up. He was very scared and hungry.

Once we were out onto the road, we called the husband who came to pick up the dog and his wife, who was having a hard time walking since recent knew surgery. The daughter and myself continued following the track down the road.

About a mile down the road, a small truck drove past us and the daughter flagged them down and asked if they had seen Sophie. They said they had seen her, but they didn't remember the day. Today was Thursday, and I asked if it was in the last couple of days, and he said "no." He thought it was on the weekend. I asked Saturday or Sunday and he thought for a minute and said "Saturday." I asked him morning or afternoon. He said morning. I asked him around what time and he said around 9 or 10 because he was coming back from an event. He said he tried to help Sophie, but she ran away. He looked at the picture, and said it was definitely Sophie. He confirmed the purple collar and the tag.

We were estastic because that was the first sighting we had the whole time, but we were also dejected because that was several days ago. Where was she since she passed here on Saturday?

We continued on the search. The track led down the road and then made a right. About a quarter of a mile, both the dogs dragged me over to a spot on the left side of the remote road where there was a lot of old and dried blood and a lot of tufts of brown and black hair. The hair and blood was across the road and on the right side, but heaviest on the left side. I showed the hair to the daughter and she thought that the hair looked like Sophie's, especially since Sophie had a recent hair cut before being lost. We looked all over the area, but could not find her collar.

I also double checked with the dogs to see if there was any more track past the spot of the blood and hair and they said "no scent."

Since we were in a very remote area, and it would be dark soon (we were in the sixth hour of the search), we decided to call her father to show him the spot to get his. We had to walk quite a ways to get cell phone reception. When we did, we called him and asked him to come pick us up. When I saw him, I could tell he knew something was up.

We drove back to the area, and showed him the hair. He thought it was Sophie's, also. I told him I had a scanner back at my van, and that I could follow him back here to see if we could scan the road for a microchip. I scanned the bag of hair he had picked up and I scanned the road, but could not pick up the microchip.

He took the bag of hair and told him about the service to do a DNA test on the hair to see if they could confirm it was Sophie's. I emailed him the form the next day when I got home.