My first sight of Harry was when I started leaving the area that he had been sighted in after driving around with no sightings.
Suddenly there he was, sniffing around on the side of the road. When I slowly approached in my SUV, he turned and walked into the woods. I parked, grabbed some food and headed in his direction but instead of following him into the woods, I sat down on the side of the road and threw pieces of treats into the woods. He was not far from me – maybe 20 feet or so. With each throw I got him to come closer to me until he was eating from my hand. We continued for a while and each time he took a bite, I touched his neck, then his ear and then gave him short scratches.
Harry’s collar was much too big for him and I knew that if I grabbed it, he could easily slip out of it. I moved cautiously as I only had one chance. I was also consciously aware that Harry may not be friendly and could easily take a chunk out of my hand or arm and although I was equipped with a slip lead, he was aware of my every move and would run off the moment I pulled it out. I put as much food into my right hand as I could and offered it to him. Once he started eating, I grabbed his collar and tried to twist it with my hand entwined to tighten it…no luck. There I was, sitting on the side of the road with no more food to offer and a dirty green collar. Harry had retreated back to the woods.
I quickly got in my SUV and made a mad dash to the nearest grocery store. There were 9 very large breaded chicken tenders left at the deli so I bought them all. I also bought some highly aromatic bacon treats.
Back on site, I found Harry sitting in one of the out buildings on the property – cooling off in the shade and I started to feed him again. I made a trail from the end of the driveway to my SUV that was parked closer to the house and Harry followed. I tried to lure him into the back of my SUV but it didn’t work.
By then, the family had returned home and I briefed them on what I was trying to do. They were happy I was there and were more than happy to help on any way they could. The mom went inside and the 3 kids (ages 7-10), played outside. I started to move the food and water from one area of the yard to another where it would be better suited for a trap placement. As I walked from one area of the yard to the other, Harry followed me but kept about 5 feet of distance. I returned to my SUV to gather more food and when I turned around, Harry was gone.
I looked all around and then I saw him up by the house. He was receiving “pets” from the little girl, Olivia. The boys, Brandon & Johnny came over and all 3 started petting him. I watched from a short distance and then asked the kids to see if they could get him over to the grass. They started walking and Harry followed. I gave the kids a container of treats and asked them to keep petting him and keep his attention. I then slowly crawled up to Harry’s backside and gently placed the slip lead around his neck.
Harry was not even startled as he was soaking up all the love and attention the “young retrievers” were giving him.
While I was busy gaining Harry’s trust, a diligent Retrievers FB follower searched through the Lost Dogs-MN site to see if they could find a match with the picture I had posted when I first saw Harry. Come to find out, Harry had been missing from his family for almost 2 months. There were no words to describe the heartfelt reunion between Harry and his family when they arrived at the shelter to take him home.