Nobody wants to even think about the range of emotions that one goes through when their beloved pet goes missing, let alone have to actually experience them. I am certainly not shy about saying that I would absolutely freak out if my little feline buddy Tailer disappeared. Ugh. Not a pleasant thought.
Last month everybody here at Dogster HQ was touched by a story that involved one of our own members who unfortunately had to go through that dreaded situation. Rod and Susan Ensley of Anderson, South Carolina, are the humans that belong to Dogster member Star, the amazing-looking Great Dane that you see here. Susan wrote to us about what their family went through last month, and wanted us to share Star’s story with you.
“On April 12th, 2009, we enrolled our Dogs in your TogetherTag pet recovery service. As I was online enrolling, two of our Great Danes went missing from our yard. The security alarms had been activated at 8:00 a.m. Our fence had been cut and our Danes’ collars were found on the back of our property. We contacted the local sheriff’s department to report the incident and our missing Danes. We filled out a lost dog report with the Dogster/Catster Together Tag program. They sent the Lost Dog Alert out to rescues and shelters in our area.”
What happened over the next few days I can only describe as chaotic. In a state of shock and overwhelmed with grief, the Ensleys set out to do everything in their power to get the word out about their missing dogs. They drove all over Anderson County looking for them. Thankfully, one of them returned home a couple hours later, but with chemical burns around her eyes from the use of pepper spray. Star, however, was still nowhere to be found.
“We made phone calls, printed and posted flyers and contacted veterinarians within a two hundred mile radius of our home. We cross-posted our Dane’s information to get out as much information to as many people as possible to locate our dog. We continued to search for our Dane, driving the roads and walking hundreds of private acres, checking barns and chicken coops – anywhere a scared Dane could possibly hide – we checked it.
With no luck.
On Monday afternoon, I received a call from a veterinarian who explained that one of their employees went to a flea market called “the Jockey Lot” (it’s an awful place), where they have a puppy row where they sell animals.”
Apparently, the employee saw a woman who was walking around with a dog that matched the description of Star. She was trying to sell her. Thanks to the posters that the Ensleys had been putting up, the employee recognized the dog. Others at the flea market also saw the dog and thought that something seemed out of place. According to them, the dog “would not raise her head and appeared to be frightened.”
The Ensleys immediately contacted the sheriff’s department. Two deputies were sent to the flea market lot, but by then the lot was empty.
The family had followed the Together Tag missing pet suggestions to a “T” AND the responsive involvement of the community was phenomenal, but the Ensleys were still without their super-Star.
“By this point, there were thousands of people looking for our Great Dane. My husband and I were emotionally and physically exhausted.
My husband went to the other side of town and began searching. He talked to people, handed out flyers and put up posters. One of the people he spoke to told him a young Harlequin Dane was spotted in their neighborhood on Monday evening. They explained where the Dane could possibly be staying. Wednesday morning we received a phone call the Dane was spotted again that morning at 6 a.m.
They continued searching the next day with no luck. They were about to leave when his cell phone rang. One of the neighbors saw Star go into a barn on his property. Rod parked between four barns and started searching. They started calling her name again. My brother walked into one of the barns and there she was!“
Scared and confused, Star at first started barking, not too sure of what was going on. But when Star saw her Daddy, she ran at him, and tackled him! She covered Ron with kisses and then ran over to the family’s SUV. Sniffing the vehicle was the final confirmation… and then she knew for sure: Star was going home!
Other than having four ticks, being dehydrated and sunburned, and having a slight infection on her leg, Star was just fine and went home to recover on the couch with the rest of her family.
I want to personally thank Ron, Susan and Star for sharing their inspirational story with all of us. It’s heartwarming to know that when communities come together, lost pets CAN be reunited with their families. It really is that simple. If you’re prepared, you’ll be many steps ahead when it comes to being reunited with your pet, should he or she unfortunately go missing. As evidenced by Star’s return, the quicker you are at getting your community involved, the better your chances of a safe homecoming.
We are also super pleased that Susan’s quick actions involved her printing up and distributing our Together Tag lost pet posters. We’re very VERY happy that our service played a role in Star’s return. This is exactly why we started Together Tag in the first place.
Before leaving you with some final thoughts from Susan, I’d like to offer a bit of my own advice when it comes to protecting your pets:
Pet thieves prowl during the holidays when families might let their guard down and allow their pets to go outside unattended. All it takes is minutes and your baby is gone. We have alarms on our fences that alerted us immediately that something was wrong. My hubby let the girls out and then turned to get a cup of coffee in the house. That’s how quickly they move to take your pets. Keep them close…
We wanted to personally thank the organizations, rescues, shelters and the thousands of people who assisted with this effort to bring Star home.
Thank you Dogster/Catster and the Together Tag program.
Words could never express our sincerest gratitude to your organization. I hoped I would never have to rely on the use of the tags or microchips that our Danes have. We appreciate the program because we were forced to use the emergency services to locate our Star.
Thanks again, Susan. And congratulations!