LAKEWOOD – The thought of giving up never crossed Lynette Ruder's mind over the last year. Despite the fact her dog ran away, she figures she still has a shot at reuniting with him.
"He's a great dog," Ruder said of her Shetland-Sheepdog 'Wynner'.
Wynner disappeared on April 26, 2013 near Deer Creek Canyon. Ruder only had him for four months, but she fell in love with him immediately.
"I'm still looking for him a year later. I know people think I'm crazy to continue looking for him, but there have been so many sightings," she said.
Ruder turned to Craigslist for help. In the process of doing so, she stumbled upon other posts similar to hers.
"I actually posted on Craigslist that I was desperate for some help," said Michelle Young.
Young lives in Lakewood. She never knew Ruder until a few weeks ago when she received an e-mail from her offering to help.
"Lynette, she contacted me and told me she had a dog trap," Young said.
Not only did she have a humane dog cage used to capture lost pets, but she also had a heat-censored camera to set up outside it. The camera picks up movement, snaps a picture and instantly text messages it to Ruder's cell phone.
"There's many, many stories of people or dogs that have been reunited after being lost for years," Ruder said.
To date, Ruder has helped reunite six dogs with their owners and has also assisted in dozens of other searches. She does it all for free.
"There just aren't enough words to describe people like her," Young said.
Young's dog is still missing, but Ruder set up a cage where the pup was last seen. She's confident she will reunite Young with her dog 'Measure' once again.
"She's just an angel," Young said.
Animal Behavior Experts say getting assistance from people who are educated on relocating lost pets can be helpful, although they also recommend you always call your local animal control officer. Ruder recommends that too.
Dr. Suzanne Hetts, a well-known Animal Behavior Expert based out of Littleton, offered the following advice:
In terms of trapping being safe - First, the trap has to be a humane trap - meaning dog just goes into trap, - it's like a holding pen, there isn't anything that catches or pinches. Second each trap MUST be checked every hour or two. If a dog is trapped in there for very long without food or water, especially if it's in the sun the dog can get into trouble really fast, OR if it panics and tries to escape. Some animal control jurisdictions will rent out traps - people should check with their local agency anyway about the legalities of privately set traps. Another reason to call animal control is to alert them that the dog is lost so the officers can be on the look-out while they are out and about.
As horrific as it is to consider, they should also ask what happens if the dog has been hit by a car and killed - who picks up the body? If dog has no ID what steps are taken to try and track down the owner and by whom? As far as tips for finding lost pets first is to check frequently - at least daily - with every animal shelter even 'remotely' close - And if the dog has tags or microchip even call nearby veterinary clinics - finders may take dogs there to be checked for a chip.
Put up signs all over the neighborhood with a picture and contact info.Put ads in any local, neighborhood newspapers OR online sites.Walk the neighborhood and ask anyone else you see out walking if they've seen the dog AND walk and call your dog repeatedly - I got one of my cats to come back that way. You can even go door to door asking neighbors. There are people who claim to have services that track lost pets, but I'm not sure they do anything different than what I just recommended. Certainly if the owner and dog are accustomed to walking a certain route, cover that repeatedly as well as any parks or open spaces in the area whether they normally go there or not.Should also check with local police department to see if there has been a rash of lost or stolen dogs And last, proactively - make sure dog is micro-chipped.
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