February 18, 2016
Categories: Animal Behavior, Pet Retention

A stranger stops you in the street and tells you his dog is missing. Would you know what to tell him? Thanks to her time volunteering for Lost Dogs Minnesota, Linda Conrad did.

Conrad was packing up her van for a trip one morning when a car stopped in her driveway. He’d noticed the dog crates in her vehicle, and hoped she had seen his missing dog, Lucy.

“He’d only had her for six weeks after adopting her from a shelter that had brought her up from Missouri,” Conrad said. “She was skittish and had probably not had much experience living in a home. He was walking her on a long line when she wound around a tree and backed out of her harness. He said he’d followed her, but she was running. When she stopped and looked back, she was wild-eyed.”

The man told Conrad his dog had a bright blue collar, ID tags, and a microchip, so he hoped someone would find her and contact him. “The problem was that it’s rural northern Wisconsin with very few people around, and it’s snowy and cold,” said Conrad. Then, drawing on what she’d learned with Lost Dogs Minnesota, she gave him some tips on finding his lost girl.

“I told him Lucy had probably already flipped into flight mode, so the best thing for him to do would be to put some of his clothing out near his cabin, and put a bowl of food inside of her crate outside on his deck. I also told him he should take some really good, stinky food with him. If he saw her, he should stop, be quiet, get down on his knees with his back to her, toss some food over his shoulder and continue tossing, decreasing the distance with each toss.

“Once she got close enough to him, he should keep his back turned and talk quietly, telling her she’s a good girl and continuing to toss food. If she would come close enough to take the food from his hand, he shouldn’t grab for her, but just continue to feed her and talk quietly until he could slowly and gently put his hands on her. I then gave him a package of salami and off he went.”

How did it work out? “About 45 minutes later, he was back with Lucy in his car,” Conrad said. “He said he just wanted to thank me for all the information, because he did exactly as I told him and Lucy did exactly as I said she would! Nice, nice guy who truly cared about his rescue dog – and a feel-good happy ending!”

Also of interest:

What you don’t know about lost pets can hurt them

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