Last year a Shepherd mix named Daisy was adopted from a Northern California animal shelter, but escaped from their backyard just two days later. Members of the Hollister Animal Lost and Found Facebook group recorded sightings and organized searches, but Daisy was in "fight or flight mode" and no one could capture her. Local animal rescuer Deanna Barth compared Daisy's skill at eluding capture with that of a coyote.
After two months without success, Deanna knew they needed a different strategy and decided they needed to find someone that Daisy trusted. Deanna found out that that prior to her adoption, Daisy was with a foster family and had become attached to a little girl there. Deanna managed to track the family down and enlisted the help of six year old Meghan Topping.
Meghan may be six, but she has a lot of experience fostering and training dogs. In fact, 75 homeless pups passed through her family's home in the last year alone.
So in December, Meghan and her mom drove to one of Daisy's usual spots, an empty field. From there, Meghan says that Daisy told her what to do.
"She told me, because you can talk to dogs in your brain, if Mom stayed in the truck she would come to me and I believed it," recalls Meghan.
Meghan got out of the truck, walked to the middle of the field, and sat down patiently. She also got on her tummy in an army crawl. This made Daisy curious and she eventually crept closer to Meghan and began wagging her tail. Daisy finally let Meghan pet her and clip on a leash.
"I used all my experience with dogs," explained Meghan. "We earn their trust--play with them, trust, love."
The adults were all left in awe. You can hear Meghan's mom, Karen, in the background of the video saying how proud she is of her daughter.
Meghan and Daisy's bond is apparent, but the Toppings didn't end up adopting the Daisy. Instead they wanted to continue their focus on helping the thousands of other dogs in need of fostering and training. However, Daisy is in great hands.
She's been adopted by the nearby Craft family. Their daughter Ava missed the therapy dogs she encountered while spending time in the hospital several years ago, and Daisy was the perfect fit. Now Ava wants to train Daisy to become a therapy dog and help other kids.