(15 minutes into search!)
Super Good News! Hugo was found today alive and well and very happy!
Hugo is a 4 year old, neutered, black and tan, Rottweiler and Great Dane mix, weighing in at 110 pounds. He is microchipped and wearing a collar with only a microchip ID tag. He was staying at the home of some family members while his people were out of town on vacation. He jumped part of the fence and took off on a Thursday afternoon. There were no sightings of Hugo. His people got back into town the following Saturday night. I was emailed late Sunday evening, we talked Monday morning, and I went out onto the search early Monday afternoon.
I arrived to do a search with my tracking dog, Dino, at the house of where Hugo was last seen in San Jose, the house he was staying at while his people were on vacation. Upon arriving, I was told that they had just received a call that Hugo was seen both on the past Friday and just last night (Sunday) in the area of Lee Matheson school in San Jose. Apparently, there is some kind of field on the school grounds where he was seen, and that we should go there.
When we got to the school, we found that the field was massive, yet all fenced in. Hugo's person called the person who said they saw Hugo, to get a more accurate location on the field. Instead of the school, we were told by the young man on the phone, Hugo was actually seen at the MACSA (Mexican American Community Services Agency) adjacent to the school. The person we spoke to on the phone was a 15 year old boy, and we found out that it was his younger sister who said she saw Hugo, but we still did not a have a specific location at MACSA where Hugo was sighted.
We went out of the school, and around the corner to the MACSA center, and this time I spoke to the boy personally to get more accurate information. He told me that it wasn't his sister who saw Hugo, but his sister's friend, and that his sister needed to call her friend to get a more accurate location on the center grounds where Hugo was seen. The boy, Jesus, said that he would call the friend and call us back.
In the meantime, we got permission from the front office to be on their property, and we started to look around. The center was huge, and it included a large parking lot, a large playground, a small field next to the playground and lots of trees and bushes. Finally, the phone rang, and Jesus told me the exact location on the center grounds. which was the field next to the playground where Hugo was seen. Apparently, the girl was feeding and petting Hugo near the playground both Sunday and Friday evenings. Adults were there, but nobody attempted to catch Hugo and read his tags. They just let him go, and he walked away. Monday morning, the father, who does not speak English, saw Hugo's flyer near his work, which was several miles from the MACSA center, and closer to the house where Hugo escaped. Since he did not speak English, the conversation was pretty minimal. However, Hugo's people knew somebody who spoke fluent Spanish and that person called back and got more accurate information.
While I showed Dino the area for him to get a current track and Hugo's direction of travel, the husband started to look all around the center, including all the bushes and trees. As he was whistling and calling Hugo's name, he thought he saw something move inside some of the bushes. When he looked further, he saw Hugo buried deep inside the bushes. He started to call him and coax him out, and finally Hugo came to him! He ran over to the other side where I was with his wife and Dino, and he had Hugo with him all happy and wiggly, even for a 110lb dog.
The last time Hugo was seen was approximately 8:30 PM last night by the children at the MACSA center. We don't know if he was out running around and then came back to the center, or was he at the center the whole time. The temperatures were pretty high today, around 80 degrees, so he could have just been hiding away from the heat. And since the sighting of Hugo did not come in until just this morning, there were no flyers in the area for Hugo being missing. It was pure luck that the father saw the flyer at his work, several miles away from where Hugo was seen. Then, it was fortunate that he actually called, even though he knew his English was not perfect. He could have ignored it and said it was somebody else's problem. Then we had more luck that we were able to reach the kids while we were on the search to get a more accurate location. Then, there was even more luck, that Hugo was at the center when we were there, and that he did not bolt when he was discovered. That exact thing occurred with another search I had over the weekend when the dog was spotted by his people because he was so scared and disoriented.
It takes a small village (and some luck) to bring a pet safely home. The flyers needed to be put up, people need to respond to the flyers and the response to sightings has to be immediate.
Thanks to everyone who helped to bring Hugo home!
View Hugo Track in a larger map
Total Distance: 1.37 km (0.9 mi)
Total Time: 35:27
Moving Time: 14:32
Average Speed: 2.32 km/h (1.4 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 5.65 km/h (3.5 mi/h)
Max Speed: 7.22 km/h (4.5 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 11 m (36 ft)
Max Elevation: 38 m (126 ft)
Elevation Gain: 61 m (201 ft)
Max Grade: 0 %
Min Grade: 0 %
Recorded: Mon Jun 27 14:28:02 PDT 2011