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June 29, 2012

Fireworks and Your Pets (yes, we included the kitties for all you Cross Dog/Cat People!

Did you know more pets go missing on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year?

Recovering a Panicked Pet
By Kat Albrecht and Jim Branson, Missing Pet Partnership
© 2012 Missing Pet Partnership (copy allowed by Kat Albrecht)

Fireworks, thunder, and earthquakes (and aftershocks) will terrify dogs and cats. In general, when panicked and in the “fight or flight” mode dogs will run and cats will look to hide (in silence). Here are some differences between the two species and how you should search for dogs and cats that are missing after a disaster, thunder storm, or episode of fireworks (like 4th of July fireworks here in the USA).

Panicked Cats
Cats are very different from dogs when panicked. They are territorial and when panicked they immediately look to hide. Hiding in silence is their only protective measure from predators. While cats may bolt in fear and end up “displaced” in an unfamiliar area (like a few houses down where they’ve never been before), they will often be hidden within their own territory. We’ve seen cases in disasters like tornados or hurricanes where the house / building was destroyed and yet the cat survived and stayed concealed for days, sometimes weeks! In one case following 4th of July fireworks a cat was found inside a neighbor’s bedroom closet (apparently he bolted into their house through an open door). We’ve also seen cases after fireworks where a cat, panicked due to the sudden booming noises, bolted into a neighbor’s garage or was found hiding under a neighbor’s deck for 4 to 5 days. Panicked cats hide in silence, often within a short distance of their normal territory (within a 5-house radius of their home) so just because you don’t see or hear your cat DOES NOT mean he or she is not right there, hiding in fear from the loud noises that occurred (fireworks, crashing of items in an earthquake, etc.) If you have humane traps, use them to attempt to capture your cat. If not, place small amounts of cat food (and water) and hopefully you’ll eventually be able to determine where the cat is hiding. See our Displaced Cat page for more details.

Panicked Dogs
When experiencing the terror of an earthquake or loud fireworks, some dogs may look for a hiding place so make certain to search in potential hiding places like under a vehicle or inside a garage or open building. Dogs can also become trapped in rubble in an earthquake but usually that is if the building collapse on them. If they were fenced or were able to escape from a building, they will most likely run and may be found a distance from home. Many dogs will be so terrified from the sound of fireworks or an earthquake that they will not even come to their owners! While some dogs will ultimately calm down and then approach people, other dogs will continue to run from everyone. In many cases, people have tried to call the dog as they looked directly at the dog and walked towards it, an action that is dominate and frightening to a dog that is in the “fight or flight” mode.

Do NOT Call a Panicked Dog!

One of the worst things that you can do is CALL a stray dog or panicked dog! That’s because if too many people have already tried to capture the dog, calling him becomes a “trigger” that can cause him to automatically take off in fear when anyone, including his owner, calls him. Instead, make some type of other noise like clearing your throat or fake a sneeze to alert the dog to your presence. Then look away, which is a submissive gesture. You can even fake like you’re eating food on the ground, and we suggest that you have a baggie of smelly treats like pieces of hotdog or liver treats. Sit down on the ground, or even lay flat on your back and pat your chest. Do anything other than staring straight at your dog while walking towards him! One of our volunteers captured a tiny terrier that ran from her when she called him but he came wiggling up to her once she laid flat on her back and patted her chest. Another of our volunteers captured a panicked dog by getting out of the car with a Frisbee and started tossed it back and forth with the dog owner as they both just ignored the dog. WHEN YOU FIXATE ALL OF YOUR ATTENTION ON YOUR DOG AND THAT DOG IS IN A “FIGHT OR FLIGHT” MODE, HE WILL BECOME EVEN MORE TERRIFIED THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO CATCH HIM! So work to get his attention and then do something with food as you sit or lay down flat and work to attract him to come to you.

You should also know that when dogs are in a full fight or flight mode and their adrenaline is flowing, the olfactory section of their brain closes down. That’s why sometimes when you try to feed a hotdog to a panicked dog it won’t eat it. So sometimes the food will work, sometimes it won’t. It depends on the dog and what level of panic he is in. Also, some dogs will immediately recognize their owner by their scent but other dogs won’t. Kat recently blogged about why you should NEVER call a panicked dog.

Posters, Cameras, and Traps
One effective method that Missing Pet Partnership suggests is to use the giant, florescent poster boards to help generate leads. When someone calls you and says they believe they saw your dog, you should respond out there and see if you can find your dog. If your dog is not in the immediate area but you find a wooded area or some place that the dog might return to, you set out a bucket of water and a plate of food (carry these in your car, along with a lead). You can also leave a blanket or towel with your scent (just by rubbing it you will leave your scent on the towel) and/or your dog’s scent. If available, you can then use a digital wildlife camera at the feeding station. That way, when you come back the next day and the food is gone you can determine whether the food was eaten by wildlife or by your dog. From there, you can stake the location out or set a baited humane dog trap. MPP founder Kat Albrecht blogged about a case where a panicked dog named Otto was recovered by using a wildlife camera followed by a humane dog trap. You can read that blog at

Magnet Dogs
Missing Pet Partnership successfully recovered a Bernese Mt. Dog named Sophie in 2008 that evaded capture for 7 weeks. This story is found on our web site at:

Finally, if you have a second dog who your missing dog is familiar and friendly with, take that dog with you but keep him on a long leash. If you come across your panicked lost dog, it is very possible that you can use your friendly happy dog to attract and capture the panicked dog. Missing Pet Partnership has used this technique of a “magnet dog” along with a device called a “Snappy Snare” to capture panicked dogs. You can read about one of these cases where we caught a dog named MoMo with a magnet dog and Snappy Snare at: and another capture of a dog named Mack

We HIGHLY recommend that you read all of these cases to learn more about panicked dogs.

It’s time! It’s time! It’s time! Aunt Carrie, Ginger and Lucy (beagle cousins) are here and that can only mean one thing! BEACH! I have waited all year and I can’t possibly talk about anything else. Oh, except we sell ‘epi-pet’ a sun protector sunscreen spray. (see blogroll in right column.
So, I won’t be thinking of you! Have a great Fourth of July weekend.
Later, Ernestine

June 17, 2012

Here we come Charlestown!

We had a GREAT time in Charlestown at the ‘Open Market’ an annual showcase of local businesses. The Crate Escape table was right on Main St. Charlestown has so! many dogs! The residents are excited about having their own dog daycare! For all who visited us, an email with updates is coming soon!

One Nation Under Dog
“One Nation Under Dog” aired on HBO on Monday, June 18th. The documentary addresses the passionate and complex relationship that Americans have with their dogs. From a Florida couple who spend hundreds of thousands to clone a beloved dog, to rescuers who find homes for abandoned dogs in rural shelters in Tennessee and Alabama; where hundreds of thousands are destroyed each year – many in gas chambers. A look at how far some dog lovers will go for the animals they revere and how far they will go as a nation to treat their companion animals humanely.

This documentary is of particular interest because two of the contributors are local. Paws New England is a rescue group who has been in operation since 2007. They have placed over 3,500 dogs in foster and forever homes! The dogs they save are from varied situations; many are pulled (a shelter/rescue term) from kill shelters in MA. They also partner with a shelter in Memphis, TN. Paws has literally turned the Memphis shelter from ‘high kill’ to a place where homeless dogs have a chance. This week Paws New England posted 4 dogs on facebook who were scheduled to be euthanized that evening. 5 hours later 4 people from their New England network had jumped in and offered to foster.
John Gagnon in Colchester, CT. is also a huge presence in the dog rescue world. John is fostering one of the dogs mentioned above at his business; ‘John Gagnon’s Pet Resort’. (website: John works with Paws to train rescued dogs who need help with some behaviors before going into a home.

(editorial comment I planned to post this blog earlier but I had a moment….. One of the trailers for One Nation Under Dog was hard to watch– I started thinking; I am SO compassionate, why do I have to see this pain? I was reminded that each time we actually SEE the truth it recharges our dedication. This is the truth about dogs in our country today. Please watch and tell your friends!)

Dogs Often Need Space
guest blogging by Jessica Dolce, Tail of the Dog

Space. Some of us like a lot of it and and some of us prefer closeness. Either way it is a personal preference, one that should be respected. Believe it or not, it is the same in the world of dogs, except in their case it is a HUGE deal! Many experts believe that space is the cause of many aggression issues with dogs; taking it, protecting it, you name it!
One of the lessons that we humans have a hard time understanding is that dogs have personal boundaries just like people. Sometimes dogs need space.
They need space for lots of different reasons. Some need space because they have just had surgery and they are in pain. Some dogs are reactive and they are learning how to stay calm in public. Many are adolescent dogs with no manners who need space to learn polite greetings. Some are fine with dogs and terrified of strange people. A bunch are just old and don’t want to be bothered.
There is a problem here, caused by well-meaning people. Many have no control over their dogs. People allow their dogs to drag them across the street, forcing nose-to-nose greetings with strange dogs. Or they ignore leash laws and let their dogs run loose.
In these cases people walking dogs who need space can be confronted by dogs not under their owner’s control. It seems that somewhere along the way, humans have started to think that a “normal” dog is one who can and should meet all dogs at all times and like it. Interacting happily at all times is not a requirement for being a good dog.
There are good dogs who don’t want strong dogs or humans in their faces. They just need a little space. That’s all. They are DINGO’s – Dogs in Need of Space.

Some Words from our Top Dog (dog) Ernestine

Really!! It’s the middle of June and you want me to write something??
I can’t even bark the word b_a_h without jumping up and down (which I am not allowed to do because of an old leg injury- whatever!) I do want to talk to you about ‘One Nation Under Dog’. If you rescued your dog you need to watch it. If you got your dog from a pet store or a breeder, you have to watch it. It is all about being aware of what is happening to millions of dogs every day!
ok, I will check in with you this summer.

Words from our Top Dog, Ernestine

Later, Ernestine

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