Let me start by saying I am beyond grateful for the outpouring of support I received when JD went missing this week. I cannot express how thankful I am for the volunteers that helped look for him, the people that made phone calls to the local vet offices, the folks that shared his photo around town and online, and everyone that prayed for his safe return.
A lot of people have asked what happened, so I figured I’d share the story from start to finish here for everyone to read.
On Tuesday morning, JD was standing by the backdoor like he wanted to go out. I let him out for a quick potty break while Levi and I were getting ready to head out for the day. Levi was cranky and started throwing a tantrum, about what I can’t remember. Probably about which shoes to wear and something about wearing white after labor day, I don’t know.
I got Levi calmed down and dressed and out the door to head to daycare. Drop off went fine, and I headed into work.
Around 4:30pm, I got a text from Jason asking me to call him right away. He had just figured out what was missing in the scenario above. I had been distracted with getting Levi calmed down and ready for daycare, and hadn’t let JD back in the house. And now he was gone.
I immediately started making phone calls while Jason and Levi headed out to look for him. My first call was to the Robbinsdale Police Department to ask if any lost dogs had been spotted. The lady I spoke with said no calls had come in, and they hadn’t brought in any strays. I filed a lost pet report with her, and she said they would let me know if they heard anything.
Next I made the rounds at the animal shelters and animal control. Most of the local places won’t give information over the phone, so I drove to each of them to look and see if they had JD. No luck.
When I got home, I did the computer searching while Jason went back out to look for him. I posted to as many discussion boards, ad services, and lost pet bulletins as I could find. Naturally, I also put the word out on Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist. Several friends recommended filing a report with Lost Dogs MN, an AMAZING all-volunteer organization that helps locate missing pets.
Friends came out to help search. Lost Dogs MN volunteers came out to help search. Jason and I searched. No JD – not even a lead.
Wednesday morning I printed off full-color flyers (that a Lost Dogs MN volunteer had so generously taken the time to create) and plastered 60 light poles with them around the neighborhood. More people went out searching for JD. Still nothing.
Wednesday night I received a call from FindToto.com. I had heard about their service from one of the gals at Lost Dogs MN and had sent an email to them earlier enquiring about their services. Find Toto is basically an Amber Alert for pets. They take your pet’s last known location and CALL all of the neighbors in the surrounding area. It’s a paid service, but to me, it was totally worth it. They offer alert packages that range from contacting 250 neighbors all the way up to 10,000 neighbors.
We live in a fairly densely populated suburb on the border of Minneapolis. I made Jason count the number of houses on our block. There are 25. Even their smallest package of 250 would cover the equivalent of 10 blocks. And they make all the calls within about an hour. That’s way more people than I could reach in an hour.
Find Toto started making the calls for me almost as soon as I got off the phone with them. It really works, too. Within 30 minutes, I had a call from one of my neighbors from two blocks over. She hadn’t found JD, but she wanted to let me know that her 9 year old son had told her about my flyer and that they were going to help look for him.
Unfortunately, even with all the efforts, there were still no leads on JD. Today is Thursday, and I wasn’t sure what else I could do to find him. Hearing Levi ask “Where D go?” was breaking my heart. I planned to make another round after work at all of the shelters to check in case someone had brought him in since the last time I was there, but I wasn’t very hopeful. JD is microchipped, and if any of the shelters, vets, or animal control locations had him, they would have checked for that right away.
Then the call came. The best call I had all day. A vet office just a few miles from my house had JD!!
Here’s where the story gets crazy – they had him almost the whole time.
It turns out JD had gotten out of the yard late Tuesday morning. It’s unclear if he jumped the fence to go look for food/water, or if part of my front fence moved enough to let him out (it’s not cemented into the ground in front, just propped up with paving stones). Either way, he wandered over to the next block, where someone spotted him in her yard and called the police to report a stray dog. They sent a patrol to pick him up and have him impounded. (Robbinsdale uses the vet’s office for impounded dogs instead of an actual pound or humane society.)
That means that when I called the Robbinsdale Police Department on Tuesday afternoon, they already had him, but the person I spoke with didn’t know that. I don’t know why they didn’t eventually realize that the dog they had matched the lost dog report I had filed, but they didn’t.
The gal from the vet’s office figured it out because she saw one of my Missing Dog fliers online and recognized JD in the photo. The only thing that didn’t make sense to her was that MY dog was listed as microchipped, and the dog they had was listed as NOT microchipped.
Thankfully, the vet put two and two together and re-scanned JD. Apparently when he was brought in, either the person doing the intake scanned him incorrectly or the scanner didn’t pick up the chip. This time it did, and she was able to get my phone number from the microchip information.
I still had to go down to the police department to get a release form and pay an impound fee before I could reclaim JD. Once we had the release, Jason, Levi, and I headed out to pick JD up. The vet office (Camden Pet Hospital) has a super sweet staff. Not only did they initiate looking for JD on their own through online lost dog reports, they also stayed open late tonight so I could come get him. The techs said JD was obviously not a stray, since he knows commands and loves people so much, so they wanted to do what they could to help find his owners. How awesome is that?
It’s been a long journey these last few days, but now my baby boy is back home, hogging the bed, right where he belongs.