On Monday, January 12, Trixie went missing from her parents’ house near Lake Minnetonka. Her parents immediately placed lost dog notices on Lost Dogs MN and Craigslist. That Wednesday, the Retrievers were engaged and I was assigned as case manager to bring Trixie home.
Immediately, we activated our social media network including our Facebook page to alert followers of Trixie’s plight. Trixie’s parents quickly posted Trixie’s lost dog flyers throughout the neighborhood and surrounding area with her picture and contact information.
Those first few days, Trixie traveled from her house across the frozen lake at least a mile and was seen by her Good Samaritan, Amy. Trixie visited Amy’s house twice a day for two days straight. Concerned about Trixie’s well being, Amy was kind enough to leave out food and even left a food trail to attract Trixie to the garage. Amy’s house had become Trixie’s safe area.
Over the next few days, sightings of Trixie were reported to us. On Thursday, I set up our Missy Trap equipped with a magnetic door closure controlled by an electromagnetic light beam and a separate trail camera to alert us if Trixie roamed near the trap. Scent trails were left in four separate directions, all leading to the trap and camera. Inside the trap was a bowl full of enticing food and Trixie’s favorite blanket from home.
Unfortunately, Trixie failed to visit the site that evening but was spotted by others in the neighborhood. Sightings continued on Friday and her parents visited each of the sighting locations but couldn’t find her. We had her pup sister Lucy walk around Trixie’s safe area and trap in hopes that she would recognize her scent.
On Saturday, I received a call saying Trixie was seen on a local walking trail. Trixie’s parents joined me at the trail but found nothing until Trixie’s dad spotted her at the top of a hill near the trail. He left the car, walked slowly toward Trixie, only to see her bolt the other way. As is common with lost dogs, Trixie was clearly in survival mode and cautious of everything and everyone, even her own parents.
Trixie was spotted again the next day on a nearby lake but was chased by concerned searchers into a wooded park reserve. It confirms what we know well: never chase a lost dog. Simply sit down, wait and call the owner with the sighting information. For Trixie, there were no further sightings for several hours and I thought we were back to square one.
Hope returned early on Monday morning when Trixie was seen sitting on her Good Samaritan Amy’s front porch, howling loudly as if to say she was ready to go home. Amy’s husband opened the front door and gently encouraged her to enter the house but without surprise she refused and trotted away. Amy immediately called me and I rushed to the house.
When I arrived, I saw Trixie myself under some pine trees, she stood and looked at me, I sat down, didn’t say a word, I tried without success to lure Trixie with bacon treats. Again, she just trotted away. I let a short bit of time pass so Trixie wouldn’t be scared away from the area, then Amy and I decided to check the food inside the trap, only to find Trixie lying inside the open trap on her favorite blanket. This posed a challenge – the trap is only set to close when under constant surveillance to protect the safety of a trapped dog and was locked open the previous night. Without the trap set, Trixie was safe in the trap but could also leave at any time.
I decided that we had Trixie in her safe area and now was the time to try to get the trap set to close, which required me to drive her out of the trap…As I slowly approached gently shaking a bowl of smelly turkey sausage and quietly saying “It’s breakfast time, time to eat”, Trixie left the cage and hid near a boat house about 40 feet away, allowing me to quickly set the food by her blanket, set the trap, and return to the house to monitor. Not long thereafter, Trixie returned, smelled around the inside of the cage and tripped the electromagnetic beam, closing the trap’s door. At 8:56 a.m. that Monday morning, Trixie was finally captured.
She appeared in good health and seemed frightened, relieved and exhausted all at the same time. I called Trixie’s parents with the good news.
While we were waiting for Trixie’s parents, Amy and I sat with her; Trixie proceeded to give us both kisses as if to say “Thank you”. We wrapped her in warm blankets and talked to her letting her know she was now safe. Trixie’s parents arrived a short time later, she was thrilled to see them, her tail was wagging the minute she saw them.
Trixie’s dad told me later in the day that Trixie was so happy to see her pup sister Lucy that they were both jumping around kissing each other and Trixie also gave her kitty brother kisses. A very happy homecoming!
I had the opportunity to see Trixie few days after her rescue, she was in good spirits and her dad said she was doing very well.
The Retrievers would like to thank Trixie’s parents for all of their hard work searching, the many concerned spotters who called with sightings, the volunteers who distributed many flyers, searched and helped spread the word about Trixie and I would especially like to thank Amy and her husband Joe for the vital role they played in bringing Trixie home safe.