I’m a sucker for a happy ending! This week I’m blogging about Spike, a dog who, thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers, was lost but ultimately found.
Spike’s history is unclear. But for over five months this pit bull mix lived at the Willamette Humane Society (WHS) located in Salem, Oregon. Many of the WHS volunteers fell in love with Spike. They pampered him with treats, groomed him, and gave him special attention. Finally in early September a rescue organization came to the shelter and rescued Spike.
However, on Saturday September 25th, as sometimes happens even with the most careful of rescuers, Spike managed to escape! The shelter staff and the rescue group volunteers all searched in the area but they could not find Spike. One of the WHS volunteers, Martha Russell, sprang into action and organized search parties who continued the search for Spike. The group, known as “Spike’s Circle,” worked nonstop as they went door-to-door, handed out flyers, visited local businesses, and posted lost dog posters. In spite of their efforts, they did not find Spike.
On October 2nd, Kate Hager joined the Spike’s Circle group and spent hours searching for the lost dog. That night, Kate opened an e-mail that led her to Missing Pet Partnership’s web site. She read MPP’s information on lost dog behavior and realized something: since Spike was a pit mix, it was possible that people might be unnecessarily afraid of him. Unlike a wiggly Labrador that people might perceive as being friendly, pit bulls and pit mixes are often allowed to travel farther when lost because would-be rescuers simply will not intervene out of fear. In addition, Kate read that older dogs (Spike was 7 years old) don’t have the stamina of younger dogs and therefore he might not travel very far.
The next morning (October 3rd) Kate resumed her search efforts but this time she searched with the mindset that Spike could still be on the loose and nearby. She focused her search in the immediate area close to where Spike had escaped. Kate turned down an unfamiliar fork in the road and about ¼ mile down that road, she spotted Spike! He was walking slowly down the side of the road. Spike was spooked and wouldn’t come to Kate, so she called Martha. It took several hours but ultimately the volunteers were able to coax and capture Spike who literally collapsed in Martha’s arms. Spike had lost approximately 15 pounds in the eight days that he was missing and looked like a walking skeleton!
Elizabeth, Spike’s new Mommy, had a sister named Cathy who made “food balls” for Spike. These were small balls of prescription dog food that could be popped into Spike’s mouth. This made it easier to regulate Spike’s food intake. You can see in the picture above just how painfully skinny Spike became! Please keep this picture of Spike in mind the next time you see a skinny “stray” dog! Do NOT assume that dog was abused or neglected! This is a message that Missing Pet Partnership wants to spread–when you see a loose dog, THINK LOST, NOT STRAY! The skinny stray you find might just be a loved dog like Spike, needing to find his way back home.
After spending a few days at the vet, Spike recovered and eventually went to his new home where he was able to run into the open arms of his new Mommy! I just had to include these pictures because they are the icing on the cake of this love story!
The volunteers who formed “Spike’s Circle” should be commended for their efforts to recover Spike. So many people who lose a dog give up too soon. This group stuck with their efforts, refusing to give up. Kate Hager not only helped to find Spike, she also made a donation to Missing Pet Partnership and asked MPP to share this story on their Testimonials page.
We need more Spike Circle-types and Kate Hager’s in this world to help the Spike-dogs of the world!