Just before Christmas, a lost dog poster was posted on our Facebook page. This is not abnormal for our page, as families who are missing a pet often see our Facebook page as a potential way for their pet to be found.
Seeing these posts of missing pets always tugs on my heartstrings. Things can happen in an instant, leaving a family desperately searching for a missing member. What was a bit unusual about this posting was that two dogs were lost from the same home. Still, that alone wasn’t something that would necessarily grab our attention.
A couple of days later, I was watching the evening news and saw the teaser come up before a commercial break. A quick 5 second flash about a family taking unusual steps to locate their missing pets. As you could expect, any time an animal story is covered, it has my interest. I wondered why in the world a lost pet story would make the news though, after all many pets go missing every day.
The story, aired on January 9th went on to say that the Baird family had been looking for two of their dogs since December 29th. Buddy, a two year old male Yellow Lab and Maddy, an eight month old female bulldog, were two of the family’s five dogs. These two are the only purebreds of the pack and they both did not generally hang out with each other as they really did not like each other.
They were, however, the two that were extremely friendly with people. Leading Carmel Baird and her family to believe that someone potentially took them as it would have been easy to get them to jump into their vehicle. Carmel said that their five dogs never left the family property on their own.
Unfortunately, only one of the dogs had been microchipped; the other had an appointment for the following week.
The family did all the recommended steps we suggest when pets go missing.
• Make lost posters with the missing pet’s picture
• Place the posters around your neighborhood
• Contact EHS and put posters up at the shelter
• Contact and visit Animal Care and Control daily and register the lost pet
• Put a lost ad on Kijiji, again with a picture
• Get in touch with local veterinarians and the emergency clinic
• Notify the microchip company of the lost or stolen pet
• Notify local businesses
• Search on your own
After the story aired, many people stepped up to aid in the Baird’s quest to find Buddy and Maddy, searching the riverbank near their home. They brought in a local tracker to narrow the search and had scads of folks with boots on the ground day and night.
In early January, Carmel reached out to me to see if I might have suggestions for any more options that they could try. I suggested we network through our rescue coalition just in case any of the rescue groups might take in or see the dogs.
While I was on the phone with her, Carmel told me that she was the one to adopt Panda, a dog I had fostered a short time ago. Our family misses Panda very much; sometimes a special foster animal stays with your heart. Panda was one of the very few that we continue to think about and miss.
What a small world! We chatted just a bit about how Panda, now Millie, had settled into their home. Carmel sent me some photos and told me that even though her husband had not been sure about Millie at the time of adoption, they are now a team that are bonded for life. Millie has been part of the search each and every day. I was so happy to have an update on her new life and it was clear to me that she has the best family in the world for the rest of her life, given the lengths they were going to, to find Buddy and Maddy.
Nothing came of networking through the coalition, but Buddy and Maddy’s story continues.
The search increased and more people joined in, and eventually sightings of the dogs were reported. As more people gained awareness of the Baird’s increasing desperation to find their beloved pets, the Baird’s You Tube video and Facebook page provided a forum for more people to help. The Facebook page has connected the search community and reads like a diary of events.
The Baird’s have left very little undone in their quest. They have set up trail cameras near the reported sightings. They have emptied their son’s wardrobe to leave his clothing along the trail to attract the dogs to a familiar scent. They have even taped their son’s voice and distributed the recording to the volunteer searchers, so that if the searchers spot the dogs they can play the recording of a familiar voice calling Buddy and Maddy’s names.
A volunteer has created a google map to mark the reported sightings, and help establish a pattern. The Baird’s have shared their story with all of the businesses in the area, the postal workers, police, EMS, and ETS, all with the idea that the more eyes that are watching, the more eyes there are to see the pups.
I talked with Carmel today and the search continues, the awareness grows and her spirit remains hopeful that Buddy and Maddy will find their way home.
We don’t know how this story will end, we can only hope and continue the search and increase awareness. I know that you should never give up on a lost pet; we have seen that first hand here in the shelter, with lost pets reunited with their families after many years due to the microchip trace.
In the end, I am so inspired by the passion and the day after day drive of this family, never giving up, keeping positive and thinking outside the box to find their dogs.
The Baird’s extreme measures to find their lost family members may not be within the reach of many families who have had a pet go missing. But, I can’t help but think that if more people did simply the bare minimum, then our shelter would have so many less forgotten and lost animals in it.
Here’s hoping that Buddy and Maddy find their way home.