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providing assistance searching for Lost Pets Using Tracking & Trailing Dogs
How We Started our journey
It all started with my two boys, Frankie and Tony. They are brothers, litter mates and are almost always on top of each other. In February, 2018, I came home from work and called for my boys to come in for the night. They were indoor/outdoor cats. Frankie came yelling and barreling home without his brother. This wasn't a first. There have been a few evenings where one has come home without the other. I've been forced to holler throughout the neighborhood on occasion to finally hear the other yelling as loud as he can to announce his arrival an hour, at most, later. I spent hours upon hours walking the neighborhood calling for Tony with no success. I couldn't find him. I was worried for his safety. It was strangely warm that day. I told myself I wasn't going to "sound the alarms" right away. Maybe he went a little too far with the unseasonably warm day. I would wait until morning before I started to panic. I didn't sleep. I was out all night looking everywhere. My alarm went off and I was supposed to start getting ready for work. Instead, I took the day off. I called every place I could think of. Shelters, vets offices, police departments, rescues, the list is long. I walked for hours upon hours. We were expecting a nor'easter in a couple days. I had to find him as soon as possible. What if he was hurt? What if he was stuck inside or under something and cannot move? I had to find him before the bad weather came. The nor'easter came and went. So did two more. Still no Tony. I did everything you are supposed to do when you lose a pet. Social media posts, approximately 500 flyers and posters, every neighborhood app you could think of. I wrote a letter to my local town paper which the editor was kind enough to print for me. I even reached out to a couple police officers I knew in hopes of getting a K9 to track him down. Police dogs are not imprinted on animal scent, they are imprinted on bomb, drug, etc scent so this wasn't an option.
I was beginning to lose hope. We were approaching the three week mark and expecting yet another nor'easter. This is when life as I knew it would change. I was contacted by someone on one of the neighborhood apps that had become extremely helpful in my search. Someone I now consider a friend. She suggested something to me and all hope was regained. A lost pet tracking dog. A dog that has been imprinted on animal scent. It actually exists and she knew the person. I called immediately. The tracker, who I also now consider a friend and a colleague, wasn't available for another week, which would have put us at four weeks. I felt completely defeated. If Tony was still alive, I could not imagine he would survive another storm and another week possibly hurt and starving. The tracker heard the discouragement in my voice. She suggested I try a dirty cat litter trail. I reminded her that Tony has been missing for a while and his dirty litter is long gone. She reminded me that I had Tony's very lonely and heartbroken brother Frankie at home. With her guidance, I did this very unpleasant dirty litter trail. She told me if Tony was still alive, the familiar smell of Frankie would get Tony out of this defensive or displaced state of mind, that he is no doubt in at this point. The familiar smell would basically make something click and hopefully give him some encouragement and guidance to find his way home. I did this at approximately 3 am. I had plans of going to work that day and to stay for my full work day, which is something I barely during the time Tony was missing. I'm thankful every day that I did not lose my job. It seems the litter trail worked! At approximately 2 pm my cell phone started ringing and alerting uncontrollably. Stranger after stranger calling or texting to tell me they just saw Tony running past or across their property. The only disturbing information I received was that every person that reached out said that a man was chasing my cat. (Later that night, after all the excitement settled, the man who was chasing Tony confirmed that he was locked in his basement, unknown to him, until that afternoon. The litter smell made Tony very feisty and when the man returned home from work he heard crashing and banging in his basement. When he opened the exterior access door to his basement, Tony ran out. He knew that Tony was missing but didn't know where I lived which is why he tried chasing Tony.) I couldn't grab my things quick enough. As I started my car my next door neighbor called me. "He's home! He's home! I just scooped him up, stuffed him through your cat door and barricaded it shut". She said she heard him yelling and then saw him sitting at the edge of my driveway and she couldn't believe her eyes. This neighbor, my friend, is my most favorite neighbor in the whole wide world. I will never ever in a million years have a better neighbor than her. If she wasn't home, he may have kept running. I got home, opened my door and there he was. Looking at me like he never has before. I sat down on the floor and he was in my lap in less than a second. His brother Frankie was upstairs yelling louder than I have ever heard. I will never cry the amount of happy tears that I cried when I saw Frankie and Tony interact the day Tony returned home.
Frankie and Tony were together again.....
And then came Enzo.....