I can’t really come up with something more horrifying than losing a loved one, be it pet or family member. But that’s what happened to a gentleman who lived close to my parents, earlier in December 2017.
This man adopted a beautiful Boxer, only to have the Boxer escape and run out of the house at the first opportunity. Not a part of the family for more than 3 hours, he ran and ran and ran.
Cut away to a quarter-mile away, my mom is out feeding the local strays and foxes (don’t ask me how they get along, but they do), and this beautiful Boxer peeks his blocky-head from around the fence. No doubt smelling the yummy food, he must have been hungry. Obviously hesitant in approaching him, Mom goes back inside slowly and fixes him a fresh plate of food, leaving it outside.
This trend continued for close to three weeks, through some brutal weather conditions. During the span of those three weeks, Mom tried to do everything she could to find the owner, but no luck. Knowing that a call to Animal Control would potentially result in the Boxer being shuffled around (as he had no identification), she continued to feed him twice a day and make sure that at least food and water were available.
Fast forward to Christmas day – Jenn and I are at my parents’ house when like clock-work, the Boxer comes in sight. Heartbreaking as it is, going near the dog, even if he would let us, would be a bad move. That’s when my Mom told me his story, how long he has been around, and the efforts in trying to find his family. She’s been in contact with some people, but nothing really came from it.
Knowing that we are fairly handy with computers and social media, Mom asked us if we could see if there were any postings for lost brindle Boxers, dating back to at least the beginning of December. Eager to see what we could find, Jenn and I hopped on the boards and found a Craigslist Lost & Found post for this pup! (If it wasn’t him, it was an equally adorable doppelganger). I cross-checked the information in the Craigslist ad, with a reverse look-up on the cell phone number provided. The post was not fraudulent, and he lived in the area he said he did.
I immediately called my Mom and gave her the information of the post, though it lacked the dog’s or owner’s name. After several failed attempts at reaching him, I replied to the Craigslist post, communicating that we believe the dog is living in the woods behind the house, and is not in a warm environment. The gentleman called Mom back and arranged to come see if it was indeed his missing pup.
Sure enough, it was!
The first order of business was attempting to confine him in a non-threatening manner, to either him or anyone else. A trap was used to lure him out of the wooded area, and it worked in that regard. He quietly made his way into the trap to grab some food, but the door wouldn’t close! After he was finished eating, he just walked away. Animal Control came by to assess the trap, and fix the trigger. Easy enough, right? Nope!!
Not to be outdone by some canine, one of the stray cats came around, smelled some good food, and went to town. At least the trigger worked, but wrong animal! This would go on for a couple of days, where Animal Control would come back out, re-set the trap, etc.
Finally, Mom decided that this wasn’t going to work. The only way to make sure this pup was going to get back to his family was by earning his trust. Every day, she would make sure no other animals were around, and move the dish closer and closer to the backdoor. Eventually, the dish was moved to just inside the door, then finally inside the house.
Even though this beautiful Boxer would come inside for food, there was no way Mom would approach him. Especially to put a leash on him! Mom called his dad and devised a plan – As soon as she saw the pup, she would call his dad, who would come over with one of those restraining hoops (the ones attached to the poll), in case he needed to be retained. Once his dad approached the house, she would close the backdoor and move in front of the pup, everyone keeping an eye on each other.
After a couple of minutes, the Boxer approached Mom and positioned his head next to her leg, for some good head scratches. Happy to oblige, she scratched behind his ears with one hand, and called the dad in with another. When the dad came in the house, the Boxer remained mellow and content. A short hour later, he went home to his fur-ever family!
Despite weeks in the cold environment, and understandable apprehension towards people, this gentle Boxer felt he could trust Mom. And Mom knew that the only way she could save him, and reunite him with his family, was to earn that trust slowly.
Nothing makes us happier than seeing (or hearing) a pet reunited with his or her family. It’s one of those types of stories that immediately tug on the heart strings. To be able to use the internet and social media to find this Boxer’s home and bring a family back together is exactly what La Pawtite is all about. And we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a tiny part of this success story.
-Brian and Jenn