MEET THE TEAM
I first got involved in helping and searching for lost dogs in July of 2014, when our beloved Harley went missing. The overwhelming feeling of helplessness while we searched, posted flyers and followed up on leads was eased by a whole world of people that we never knew existed, whose passion in life was to help lost dogs. A large part of that was given by members the Retrievers team.
My first experience of helping a lost dog happened one evening while we were out hanging flyers, and we came across two loose dogs in Robbinsdale. According to some people nearby, they had been running alone in a park all day, so we stopped looking for our boy and tried getting a hold of them. It took a while, but the feeling of helping them to safety somewhat eased the pain of not being able to find Harley. This has continued to the point where we go out to help any lost/loose dog that is posted in our area. I think the biggest reason I do it is to try and help prevent anyone else from going through what we have gone through.
I have had the privilege of working with many people in the Retrievers in one fashion or another over the last 15 months. It got to the point I told them I would volunteer to help on any case in our area that they just needed to ask. On August 10, 2015, Greg asked if I was willing help out on a case involving Tilly, a pup that had slipped her collar and had been out on her own for a couple months, but was recently seen within 3 miles of our home. I told him absolutely, and the rest is history.
I’ve loved animals since I can remember. (I still cry watching Lassie.) I started fostering in the late 90’s when I worked as a dispatcher for a local police dept. A stray Golden Retriever had been picked up and was brought to the police station. I got a hold of the owner through his microchip and was told that the owner didn’t want him anymore. Duke came home with me that night and lived out the rest of his days, spoiled and loved. That was the start of it all.
A couple of years later, Duke welcomed his baby brother, Divot, a Siberian Husky. When he was about 3 months old, Divot disappeared from our yard. I drove around and put out flyers, but he was nowhere to be found. I was bringing my foster dog to the vet, which was quite a distance from my house. I grabbed a flyer, just in case. I arrived at the vet’s office and asked if they would put the flyer up for me. The tech looked at the picture and said, “We have this dog in back!!” To my surprise, there was Divot!! He was recovering from a gunshot that grazed his head, but was otherwise fine.
Years later, when Facebook became popular, I would follow the lost and found dogs, and I came across the Retrievers. Having gone through the heartache of having a pet go missing, I knew what people were going through and how helpless you feel. I knew that I wanted to help.
The Retrievers is the most dedicated group of people that I’ve ever met, and I’m incredibly honored to be a part of this team!
I was a fan of the Retrievers for about a year, and I was blown away by their work. I become Facebook friends with a member of the team, and when a dog from the Duluth area was lost, she asked if I could join the search. I said yes.
We never found that dog, but during the search, we were able to reunite two other dogs with their families.
I learned so much from working on that dog and met some amazing people. When The Retrievers started looking for volunteers to join the team, I was excited to give it a shot. I’m so happy I did.
I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful this group of people is and how much I have learned from each of them. It’s hard work but the rewards are worth it. Nothing beats seeing a family reunited with their dog.
Before joining the Retrievers as a case manager, I had been helping people with their lost dogs on a random basis for years. I had an acquaintance who had asked me for assistance in her efforts to pull a dog from a high kill shelter in Tennessee. We secured a rescue (not one in Minnesota) for this particular dog, and within minutes, the rescue lost the dog in transport.
I posted the lost dog on the Tennessee and Nashville Lost and Found Dog pages. Nashville’s Hip ( Help Inspire People) Donelson Lost and Found Pets under the direction of Marylee Locey, stepped right up and took action before I was even in contact with them, as one from their group happened to see the dog bolt from a hotel parking lot. They did basically everything the Retrievers do and within 48 nonstop hours of work they had this lost dog in their trap at 2 a.m.
I was so impressed and thankful for the skill and dedication from Marylee and her lost dog team that I looked to see if we had a team like this in Minnesota and found the Retrievers. I assisted the Retrievers on a few of their cases while still helping random lost dogs too. The rest, as they say, is history.
The one thing that stands out for me is lost dog prevention education. Having a lost dog is a heavy burden for the family or rescue. It’s emotionally draining, physically demanding, expensive, and scary. One thing that surprises people is that the Retrievers do not charge for their services other than an equipment deposit should the trail camera and trap be needed. It is much easier to prevent a dog from getting lost than it is to find a lost dog. The Retrievers are working on a lost dog prevention/safety education program that will be arriving soon.
I have loved dogs since I can first remember. I would walk the neighborhood asking if the dogs could come out and play. Back then, people didn’t vaccinate, nor did most people treat their dogs like family members. I would find sick puppies in backyards and garages and try to nurse them back to health and keep them warm. As time went on, I remained steadfast in my love for dogs and began to learn more about dog training and health as well as getting my degree in Behavior Analysis in Psychology.
I lost my eight-year-old Vizsla from my rural yard. It’s possible he followed a railroad crew away from home. I searched and put ads everywhere — sick at heart and haunted at the thought of where he was, and if he was hurt or scared, calling everywhere. Then a week later, a woman five miles away called to say he was running very fast down the median of Interstate 90. By the time I got off the phone, he was running up the driveway back to me. He lived to be almost 17.
After Hurricane Katrina, I started trying to match lost and found dogs posted online. After my first match (Buddy, a blond Cocker Spaniel), I found Stealth Volunteers and worked cases for that well-organized group for a year and a half. I had my last reunite of a Boxer who had been in foster for all that time. He was ready to be adopted, but the foster knew he was sad and depressed, so she held out hope for him. I had hooked up with the owners who had just gotten a computer but didn’t know how to use it. So I would email them the pictures of “Found Boxers” and they would call me back, because they didn’t know how to send an email yet. One was a match for Bruiser and they called screaming and crying. A reunion was arranged with a local TV station. Bruiser was ecstatic and leaped directly into his dad’s arms.
I’m now a member of the Retrievers and hope to find my niche, but I sure sleep better at night knowing a dog is safe at home.
I first became involved with The Retrievers when my pit bull mix, Letti, ran away one night. I put her story on Facebook when a good Samaritan told me to contact The Retrievers for help. Even though I’ve had dogs my entire life, I had no idea what to do until Natalie Wicker called me one night to help. From that moment on, I knew I had a group of people who would do whatever they could to help me find her. While I still have not found Letti, I refuse to give up.
I learned so much in searching for Letti that is was only a natural transition for me to start helping others. I just want to pay it forward to those in need.
I’m excited to be part of a team with such a great purpose. I get excited when we see dogs on the trailcam and I can’t wait to be apart of a successful trapping. I’m also interested in having my husband train my Black Mouth Cur mix to be a trailing dog, as something more to offer those in need.
I’ve been an animal lover my whole life and have owned by many wonderful cats. For years I followed the “Lost Dogs MN” Facebook page and prayed, crossed paws, and kept my eyes open. That was the extent of my involvement with lost dogs.
When Lilyanna Paddle, a sweet Australian Labradoodle, went missing in St. Paul’s West Seventh neighborhood in February 2015, I happened to overhear the dog owner’s distraught announcement to his friend. I felt devastated for him and started grilling him. Where was he when she went missing? What direction was she headed? Was she wearing a collar? Was she chipped? It was so cold that time of year. The poor dog! When I checked Lost Dogs MN, I saw that Dena Thorson was heading up an effort to find the dog and had created a Facebook for her. I didn’t know anything about searching for a lost dog.
My inclination was to drive through the nearby neighborhoods to see if I could see her trotting down the street. Dena explained that, while it might be tempting to do just that, it is much more productive to create awareness by putting up signs, alerting businesses, etc. The next day I started putting up signs and posters. When Lily was found two weeks later, I was over the moon.
Devon Thomas Treadwell, one of the Retrievers founders, noticed all of my sign-making activity and asked me if I wanted to be a ground support coordinator. Sure! Helping to create awareness for lost dogs is very rewarding. As a ground support coordinator, I perform other boots-on/the-ground activities such as organizing volunteers, posting flyers, and stocking feeding stations. Lately I’ve also been acting as case manager. With both positions there is a strong bond that we have with the clients. We provide our expertise and emotional support. I feel honored to be a member of this amazing team of this dedicated, selfless group of people.
I’ve been an animal lover my whole life, starting with my Grandma’s bird “Petey” when I was about 3. Aside from college dorm life and my year overseas doing medical missionary type work, I’ve had a dog, cat, guinea pig, gecko, fish, turtle, goat or duck ever since!
I am sort of a late bloomer when it comes to rescue and all the wonderful (and heartbreaking) things that happen. I’ve always had rescue dogs but didn’t know anything that went on behind the scenes. I found my little Violet online in 2014 and became obsessed with learning how this little 4-lb, starving, sick, mostly blind/deaf dog ended up on the road in a snowstorm and no one claimed her. I started searching for her owners, scanning lost dog pages and local sites in Ohio to no avail. I learned she was brought to Minnesota via transport so I began doing transports for various rescues. I fell in love every weekend with one of my passengers and eventually started to foster. I’ve had 25 fosters in the last year and cry every time they leave — sometimes I even make it back to my car before the crying begins! I recently became a State Humane Agent to assist law enforcement on calls of animal abuse and neglect and to help educate the owners.
When Toby (a dog I transported and loved) got away from his new owners, I immediately joined the search and learned about the Retrievers. I was so impressed with their ability to organize, create a plan and keep everyone hopeful and engaged. After 30 days, we brought Toby home and I was hooked. I assisted on several cases over the next year but in June, we had a case that sealed the deal for me! We had a report of a dog that had been running around an apartment complex for almost 3 months. We were able to trap her one night only to find out the owner put her back in the trap and asked us to come get her — which I did! I fostered her for a local rescue until we found her forever home. I named her J.J. in honor of the team members on her case and her forever mom kept the name.
I continue to learn from every case we take and am impressed by this wonderful community of animal loving people — and now I’m proud to be a part of it!
When my fiancé and I bought our home, we knew we needed to fill it with fur babies. We met Joy, a rescue dog, in 2014 at an adoption event, and knew she was meant for us. We have been a happy family ever since.
I found the Retrievers when I was unable to catch a stray dog in my neighborhood. Animals have always been drawn to me, and when I was unsuccessful at capturing her, I knew I needed help from some professionals, and the Retrievers were highly recommended. They were so attentive and helpful that after the case was over, I knew I needed to join the team.
My fiancé Nick and I were lucky enough to be a part of a recent rescue of a bait dog named Warrior, and we have been “hooked” ever since. We are excited to be a part of more happy rescues with this team!