Last Saturday we had a call from “bid to save A Stray” https://www.facebook.com/bidtosaveastray/
rescue centre in Yorkshire asking if we could help with one of their Romanian Street dogs that had gone missing in Devon.
It seemed that despite being adopted for a while in the UK her owners had returned her to the rescue, and they had then sent her to a foster care in Devon. On arriving at the Foster home, she escaped them and ran off. The dog “Angel” was deaf and partially blind.
The nearest hound was unavailable so Rob and Carter travelled the 160 mile round trip that night, to the Devon foster care, where he met up with coordinator Sam, and they started to track “Angel” from the lane where she was last seen, in miserable wet conditions.
Despite tracking her for 2 hours, the trail seemed to end repeatedly in a woodyard about half a mile from the foster care. However there were no further sightings so her bed was left nearby and the search halted due to lateness and weather.
This was a potentially very difficult situation. Having been told she was fond of other dogs we had hoped that using a very friendly K9 dog belonging to handler Rob, she would be approachable. However it soon became apparent that she was in flight mode and was very scared of all other dogs and people. Tracking her was no longer an option as there was a big likelihood of pushing her away from the relative safety of the area she was familiarising herself with.
The next morning there had been a couple of new sightings in fields nearby. A study of the map showed her making numerous trips between the woodyard and the farm where lost. The ex owners and a volunteer from “Bid to save a stray” drove down to Devon, and the plan was for the ex owners to walk their other dogs, which Angel would be very familiar with, and leave a scent trail to help her confidence. Sam went back to the site with a drone and searched all the fields shed been seen in previously, so once spotted, we could get the ex owner and her dogs to the area ASAP Ideally so that Angel would recognise her ex owners and allow them to coax her in, but that didn’t happen.
Firstly there was no sign of her, and secondly the owners themselves now appeared to be lost.
As there were several fields where she was being regularly spotted, it was decided to set up a feed station and cage trap for her. With all her health issues and her flight and fright mode now set in, there was no possibility of even her previous owners being able to approach her.
As the foster care lady was incapacitated due to health problems she was unable to assist in the search in any way, but luckily she had Steph, a very kind caring neighbour, who she didn’t even know until all this had happened, who was a dog lover and thanks to Steph, we were able to set up the feed station and cage trap in the area she was frequenting. The next three days involved Steph checking the trap without any luck, and getting sightings in other areas, leading to us suggesting she moved the trap to the woodyard where Carter the K9SD had originally indicated .
On Wednesday morning we had the all important text saying she had been caught in our trap.
Our trap is purpose made for us and a very expensive piece of kit. Its now caught two dogs in the last few weeks and is proving its worth, and is far better than the off-the-peg fox traps used previously.
This was a really tricky search where all the normal remedies were impossible to implement due to a combination of the dogs temperament and impairments and the lack of an owner, and one that cost K9SD quite a lot in fuel and multiple site visits and time. We will hope to do some fundraising to cover costs.