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Lost Dog Is Found
What a great way to start the day!
From right: Man cajoles his runaway dog; hero of the day, Blackjack; Lauren and Blackjack.

On Monday morning, when Cameron and I were walking our dogs at local 30-acre dog park, we ran into our friend, Lauren, who told us about a Chihuahua who was lost there on Sunday. She described the poor owner, a man in his sixties with a pronounced limp, who was frantically asking for help, crying as he told people his very sad tale. He was inconsolable. We saw him there on Monday too, calling and calling to his dog—it was so heartbreaking.

On Tuesday morning, again we saw Lauren, who excitedly told us that she had “spotted” the dog but had been unable to catch her. So we decided to try to help and, after our walk, we set out to try to find her. We weren’t aware Lauren had gone back to where she had seen the dog and was trying to contact the owner.
It turned out that the little dog had wandered into a fairly remote area, outside the park boundary, where few people venture. Luckily that morning, Lauren and her Blackjack, a gorgeous German Shorthaired Pointer, decided to take their walk there, when true to his sporting dog nature, Blackjack “flushed” the small dog out from under a shrub. But the fearful pup simply scampered away.
When we arrived, Lauren pointed to the dog, who was huddled alongside a doorway of a communication tower building at the water’s edge, behind a 12-foot fence topped with barbed wire. We both tried to entice her to come but she wasn’t responding. Thankfully, after repeated attempts, Lauren got through to the man and he was on his way. A few minutes later, he drove up and we flagged him down. He ran up the path to the fence gate, crouched down and called to his dog, and magically she crawled under the gate and bolted into his arms. With tears streaming, he held her closely to his chest.
We were all very happy that we could help in any small measure, especially proud of Blackjack’s feat, and greatly relieved that a dog and her human were reunited. Even Lauren’s boss played a part in accepting why she needed to be so late to the office that day—there was no way, as she later told us, that she wasn’t going to stand guard over her “charge” until she was safely back with her owner.
There are a couple important lessons in this. #1 Teaching a solid and reliable recall is one of the main responsibilities we owe our dogs. You just never know what might spook or divert a dog, especially in unfamiliar situations. In the case of this small dog, she wasn’t used to dog parks at all and when a larger dog tried to play with her and she simply ran off.
#2 Some larger off-leash areas, especially those that aren’t fully fenced, might not be right for some dogs. It certainly seemed to be the case with this dog. She will need much more training, or simply a more secure alternative, like a nearby fenced-in dog park with an area set aside for small dogs, for her future off-leash recreation. Luckily, the man thought so too!
Have you ever lost (and hopefully found) a dog? Did you use any special strategies to find your dog?


Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and editor in chief. thebark.com
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Submitted by Kristiana | November 17 2010 |


Your description of the man's reunion with his
little dog brought tears to my eyes.
You've earned even more good doggie karma
for your efforts.

Here's to stories with happy endings!


Submitted by Joyce Freedman | November 17 2010 |

I saw that man at Point Isabel on Monday morning and was so relieved to hear that little dog was found and reunited with his person. It brought to mind when my dog, Honey, got out one day while I was at work. I frantically searched my neighborhood, calling, calling, when I see coming down the street Honey straining on a leash held by three 9 year old girls. She was happy to see me, yes, but seemed equally happy to be in the company of three doting young girls. "We took her home" one of them said, "and we fed her and gave her a bath." "You gave her a bath? Honey hates baths" I said. "Well she liked it." They reluctantly released her to my care, but later that week I ran into my friend and dog walker in the 'hood, Carol who said one of the girls told her that she had lobbied to keep Honey, but their mother insisted she be returned to her rightful owner.


Submitted by Toni Benfit | November 17 2010 |

This is not my dog; he belongs to some friends of mine. He was missing for 19 days in the wilderness. It really was a miraculous reunion.


Submitted by Anonymous | November 17 2010 |

Go Blackjack, German Shorthair Wonderdog!

Submitted by CollieMom01 | November 18 2010 |

Beautiful story. I'm so glad that the man got his little dog back. What a way to start the day, indeed. Bravo!

Submitted by Sandi K | November 18 2010 |

We have had many lost dogs come to our house to be found--so many so that we have dog lead we fasten to a front yard tree--fasten the lost dog on that, (we also have several collars in various sizes outgrown by our dogs) with a bowl of water to get a drink--and usually within an hour or two the owners show up looking for it. Happy leaps and licks and the lead goes back to the garage til next time.
I also keep the city "lost dog" number handy for when there are dogs we can't catch so we can try to get them caught by a professional before getting onto nearby busy streets and highways.

Submitted by Carolyn | November 18 2010 |

My old girl Suki, was a husky-Houdini mix. She could get out of any enclosure and I could never quite figure out how it happened. She loved to go dumpster-diving, so once I figured that out, that's where I would look and 9 times out of 10 find her.

One of the first times I lost her, I set off at a jog, trying to find her and calling frantically. There in a nearby park, some people heard me and replied: "Are you looking for Suki? We have her!" They'd read her tag and we were reunited just that fast.

Moral of the story: make sure your dog is wearing ID!

Submitted by Anonymous | November 18 2010 |

Thankfully, I haven't lost my dog but I did care for a found dog once. A friend had found the dog running along side a four lane highway with his leash dragging behind him, coaxed him in to her car and then brought him to my house because she couldn't have animals where she lived. I put an ad in the paper and within a few days a man called and asked if I would meet him with the dog. We arranged to meet at the Animal Shelter the next day and within a few hours of hanging up the phone his wife called me back. She told me that her husband's dog had run away four months ago and he had gone to see every black dog listed in the paper since then. She told me she didn't want me to get my hopes up that I had found the owner. The next day, I was at the shelter parking lot with "Rowdy" (name for obvious reasons)and the man pulled up and got up, the dog went bananas and lept into the man's arms nuzzling in to his neck, yelping a little bit and licking him all over his face. I was crying, the owner was crying, and the shelter staff who had come out to see what was going on were crying too. The dog had been missing for 4 months and was found about 20 miles from where the owner lived, no-one has any idea what he had been doing all that time, but clearly (because of the leash) someone had either taken him or tried to care for him. I guess, just a lesson in not giving up.

Submitted by Pamela | November 18 2010 |

One of my favorite things is to reunite lost dogs with their people. It's happened for me several times in my neighborhood. In part, it's because I'm so thankful to the person who saved me.

I adopted Shadow on January 18, 2008 at 5 p.m. The next morning, I was walking her down the block when I lost hold of her leash. Since she hadn't been with us more than 12 hours, Shadow wasn't bonded to me and couldn't care less that I was behind her.

My normal technique would be to run excitedly in the other direction to coax her to come. But since I was virtually a stranger to her, I wasn't sure this would work. So I followed as calmly as I could while crying over losing the dog I had just brought home.

Several blocks away, I saw a woman walking her dog. She saw what was happening and calmly took her dog inside, came back out, and crouched down to coax Shadow to her side. Fortunately, Shadow went up to her and the woman handed me the leash when I got to her.

I was so grateful. And I say a little blessing for that woman every time I walk by her house.

Submitted by mari | November 18 2010 |

My Boston terrier Henry wiggled out of the yard a few years ago- it was the most terrifying day searching for him. I looked on foot while a few friends rode their bikes. Then I called our local pound and humane society, and the emergency vet. A dog fitting his description was brought into the e-vet where I found him injured, but still alive! Most likely, he had been hit by a car.

They let me contact the woman who found him who told me that she spotted him wandering around, looking a bit worse for wear. Luckily, he's very friendly so he let her catch him. She took him to the vet, hoping no one would claim him- apparently, despite his condition, all he wanted to do was make friends! I was so grateful that someone had the presence of mind to stop and get him help. And I've made sure that the gates in the yard spring shut. No more great escapes!

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