The Lonely Pup


Lost: Unknown

Retrieved: August 15, 2014

Outcome: Transferred to 4 Luv of Dogs Rescue

Case Manager: Bobbi Jo Hemphill

Retriever Bobbi Jo was contacted by a resident of her hometown in northern Minnesota about a black dog that had been hanging out near his business on the outskirts of town.  The dog appeared to be young and limping.  He was black and very skittish and would not let the man get near him.  Bobbi Jo had recent experience in the same town in capturing two goldendoodles (see that story here), and she jumped into action.

Bobbi Jo (BJ) immediately got awareness to the various outlets and authorities in hopes someone would come forward claiming to have lost the dog.  That never happened so we assume the dog had been dumped to fend for itself.

At the same time, BJ set up a feeding station in a secluded area of the property near where the dog had been seen.  She also set up a trail camera to get pics of the dog using the food/water station and she set up a wire kennel as shelter for the dog and to get it comfortable with entering an enclosure and to prepare him for capture in the trap.

For two weeks, each day BJ would stop by a few times a day to restock the food and water and check the camera.  The dog was staying in the area, eating from the feeding station and better yet, was feeding from inside the wire kennel.  The time was right to set up the trap for capture.

I drove up the four hours on a Friday and BJ and I quickly set up a new trap we have.  A Retriever fan had graciously donated a Great Dane sized wire kennel that I converted to use as a trap with our sensor/magnet set up.  We felt a Missy Trap was not needed (but I did bring one with just in case).  We set the trap near where the feeding station was and then ran the 200 feet of wire to my jeep which was parked a distance away behind some tall grass.  We decided to forego the sensor because we planned to manually kill power to the magnet from my jeep when the dog entered.  We sat and we waited.

We waited a short 45 minutes before the dog emerged from the tall grass and approached the feeding station area.  He first knew something was different and watched my jeep from the area.  He did a lap around the wire kennel.  He then walked over to the trap and his hunger overcame his caution and he walked right into the trap for the food.20140815_131358 (1024x768)  We pulled the plug and the gate closed.  He was safely captured.

We did not confirm he was a boy until we calmly approached the trap.  He was a bit frightened/overwhelmed and peed, but we also confirmed him to be young.  Our guess was 6-7 months old.  After a couple minutes he was gently taking treats from BJ by hand and was already a sweet boy.

It was a hot and sunny day so we covered the top of the trap with a blanket to shade him.  We decided to name him Cash because his coat was all black and he was a surviving rebel like Johnny Cash.

We checked Cash for a microchip and there was none.

We loaded up the trap equipment and Cash into my jeep and then the trap itself onto the cargo carrier.  It was time to hit the road back home with Cash who would spend a couple nights with me until he went to rescue.   He slept all the way home in the cool AC of the jeep.

In the 48 hours I spent with Cash, I learned that he was a very, very sweet boy and just wanted to be a happy puppy and play with my two goldens.  On Sunday he was transferred to Fargo, ND to be fostered by 4 Luv of Dog Rescue.   At the time of this posting he is currently up for adoption.

We’re told he did well at his initial vet visit and is estimated to be 10-12 months old and his limp was from anaplasmosis, a tick borne disease.  Antibiotics will rid him of that.

A special thank you goes out to 4 Luv of Dogs Rescue for taking Cash into foster.  They already had a Cash in foster so we decided to change the name of our Cash to Lucky.  They will find Lucky a wonderful family and that family will be very lucky to have Lucky.

The plan from the start, to capture Lucky, was executed perfectly by Retriever Bobbi Jo.  Once again, she did a fantastic job in helping this dog and saving him.

Good luck and best wishes on a great life, Lucky.

Here’s a video of the capture shot from 200 feet away.

Catching Armie

Last week, we were thrilled to hear from a group in New York who had used our Missy Trap design to capture a hard-to-catch dog. They generously shared hundreds of photos from their trailcam so we could make this video to post on our Facebook page and website.

We’re so happy to have been a part of their success in bringing Armie safely home.


Jumpin’ Jasper


Lost: July 17, 2014

Retrieved: July 19, 2014

Outcome: Returned to clinic

Case Managers: Devon Thomas Treadwell and Jessica Peterson



At 9:30 on a Friday night, a vet clinic in northeast Minneapolis contacted the Retrievers via our Facebook page, saying they needed help catching a dog. Jasper, a shepherd mix, was being boarded at the clinic while his family was in South Carolina. Jasper had managed to escape his leash and scale a 6-foot fence while on a potty break. The staff ran after him as he bolted into the adjoining yards, watching him clear four- and five-foot fences with ease.

I met teammate Jessica Peterson and Gina, a staffer at the clinic, at the site and we set up a Missy trap and cellular trailcam in the area of the sightings. The trap location was close enough to a residential street that we were able to plug a long extension cord into a neighbor’s outdoor socket to run the electromagnet/sensor mechanism. Knowing Jasper was a jumper, we secured the top of the trap with netting.

We wrapped up around midnight. When I got home, I configured my phone to play an alert on incoming emails, and went to bed.

We got the first alert around 5 a.m., but it was just a raccoon, attracted by the bait. (The sensor was placed high enough that the coon didn’t trip the gate.) Then at 6:59, we got our first look at Jasper, sniffing around the outside of the trap. Jessica immediately called the clinic staff, who lived a mile away.

At 7:06, the camera sent us a photo showing Jasper inside the trap. In the next few photos, we saw Jasper trying to dig under the trap. The ground was soft from recent rains, and for a few scary minutes, we were afraid he would find a way out of the trap.

Safe at the Clinic

Then at 7:13, the camera sent a shot of Gina on site. Within a few minutes Jasper was safely inside the car and at the vet clinic.

At 9 hours, 54 minutes from initial call to safe recovery, this was the team’s quickest trapping yet. Jasper knew exactly what to do!

I’m very happy for Jasper and especially his family, who were able enjoy their vacation again. The clinic staff made sure that Jumpin’ Jasper remained earthbound for the rest of his stay.

A Community Came Together…


Lost: Unknown

Retrieved: July 9, 2014

Outcome: Adopted by good samaritan that assisted

Case Manager: Mary Davis

One of the first photos of Rosebud in the garden with Jenny

One of the first photos of Rosebud in
the garden with Jenny

The Retrievers first became aware of Rosebud when she was posted multiple times as a sighting on the Lost Dogs MN Facebook Page.  She had been seen in Minneapolis over a period of time of at least 6-8 weeks running scared and growing thin.  The Retriever’s were contacted and consulted to help bring this very deserving dog to safely.

Through the powers of social media and networking we met one gal, Jenny, who had been trying to develop a relationship with Rosebud in a community garden. The Retrievers offered consultation, advice and direct assistance for for the safe capture of Rosebud.

It was in the community garden that Rosebud was first sleeping and eating food Jenny was leaving out for her.  Through time Jenny was able to hand feed bites of hot dog to Rosebud, but Rosebud would never get close enough to let Jenny touch her.   Rosebud got her name because of the Roses that were blooming in the garden and this dog had become Jenny’s buddy.  Thus “Rosebud”

Then Rosebud started spending less time in the garden  with Jenny.  Jenny and other good samaritans trying to help her noted her using the Greenway bikepath in Minneapolis as a route for her travels.  They often saw people trying to chase her and were trying to get the word out to please stop chasing this dog.  They would see her put a foot into the street and wait for cars to honk or stop for her and then she would cross the street.  Other times she was observed in the street in the middle of traffic. She was frequently crossing very busy roads. At one point there had been a live trap left out by a local animal control which was unsuccessful in trapping Rosebud.

Rosebud on the streets days before capture

Rosebud on the streets days before

Jenny and her neighbor Jeff were trying desperately to rescue Rosebud.  Jenny and Jeff  searched for a possible family that was missing Rosebud.  For weeks they scoured online ads for a lost dog in the area.  They searched for posters or flyers about a missing dog in the community and found nothing.  If no family was found Jeff was prepared to offer Rosebud a forever home.

It was next determined that Rosebud was traveling 2.5 miles or more between 2 neighborhoods.  Rosebud was seen in one neighborhood daily at dinnertime over a period of several days.  One of the good samaritans living in that neighborhood, Stephanie, started a feeding station.  Because Rosebud had been seen near this location for 3 days straight, The Retriever’s put out their Missy trap at Stephanie’s feeding station for two nights.…. yet Rosebud continued to remain elusive.

By this time there were several good samaritans wanting to help and the community really started to join together in force.  Flyers were made and distributed, neighbor’s contacted neighbors through word of mouth and neighborhood websites and facebook.  People were trying to get the word out in the community about Rosebud and were asking people not to chase her but rather to call instead if she was sighted.

Then one morning a man on his way to work; 5.6 miles away from the neighborhood Rosebud was seen the evening before noticed a dog in the middle of a busy road.   He was able to lure her into his fenced in yard with bits of hot dog.  Rosebud was still very skittish…this kind man stayed home from work and sat in his yard with bits of hot dog trying to gain Rosebud’s trust.  Meanwhile his wife posted Rosebud on the Lost Dogs MN Facebook page asking, “is this your dog?”

At this time a diligent person who follows The Retrievers on facebook saw the posting on social media for a found dog and wondered if it could be Rosebud.  She notified The Retrievers immediately.

A view of Rosebud in the fenced in backyard of the good samaritan where she was captured.

A view of Rosebud in the fenced in
backyard of the good samaritan where she
was captured.

Soon the people closet to the search for Rosebud (Jenny, Jeff and Stephanie) arrived at this home.  It was Rosebud!   With patience and time, they were able to touch Rosebud gently and eventually have her walk into a crate.  Her time of roaming and scavenging to survive was finally over.

Rosebud just before capture. You can see the crate she eventually was corralled into

Rosebud just before capture. You can see the
crate she eventually was corralled into

There is no way to describe the relief the good samaritans felt when Rosebud was finally safe after a minimum of 6-8 weeks on her own. Rosebud was taken directly to a vet for an examination with Jenny and Jeff by her side.  As the pictures showed, the vet said she was emaciated, but for the most part in good health.   After the vet visit, she was taken to Jeff’s home.

The Retrievers really like the story of Rosebud.  Through the powers of social media, networking, consultation, and flyers, a small community was formed for the love of Rosebud and her safety.  She finally has good food to eat, a soft bed to lie in and people that love her.

At last report she is doing well and Jenny and Jeff say she has started wagging her tail and loving tummy rubs…

Rosebud relaxing at Jeff's house, several days after capture

Rosebud relaxing at Jeff’s house, several days after

Shepherd on a Walkabout


Lost: May 12, 2014

Retrieved: June 6, 2014

Outcome: Returned to owner

Case Manager: Jen Eidbo and Greg James

Princess in the Missy Trap just moments after being safely captured

Princess in the Missy Trap just moments after being safely captured

Princess, a young German Shepherd, took flight from her home during the commotion of a medical emergency for her owner.  During the loud noise and open doors of the emergency responders, Princess bolted through one of the open doors.  She was seen numerous times over the course of the next three weeks and each time she seemed to settle into an area, another event would drive her away.

A friend of the owner reached out to The Retrievers to ask for help.  Angie had done many things right with flyering and awareness to the public, and it appeared that after a few days, Princess had settled into another area.  The area was rural with groves of trees, some newly planted cornfields and an interstate freeway within a 1/4-mile that had us all concerned.

With the assistance of Angie, a feeding station was set up near Princess’ safe area.  The landowners nearby had all seen Princess here and there and wanted to help however they could.  Once the feeding station was set up, Princess was seen returning to it frequently and Angie did a great job of keeping it stocked and safe.  We often try to keep feeding stations and the trap in conspicuous areas.  It was about a 200 yard walk to get food and water to the feeding station.  But the location was quiet and Princess grew to be comfortable with it.

After waiting for approximately 90 minutes with no sign of Princess, and with a severe thunderstorm moving in, Greg decided to pitch his tent behind his jeep and get ready for the night.  It was during this moment that Greg heard the gate of the trap close.  Upon looking through binoculars, it was determined that either Princess or a black bear was in the trap eating food.  After approaching the trap, it was quickly determined that it was in fact Princess, who was now trying to ram her way out of the trap gate that was locked.

Princess quickly calmed down after getting some pieces of hot dog from Greg.   Angie was called and showed up on-site minutes later.   Princess was covered in ticks and had mosquitoes landing all over her face for a meal.  Greg and Angie were able to coax Princess directly into a crate from the trap.  Once inside, Princess and the crate were slid on the ground to Angie’s car where she was loaded and immediately taken to the vet for care.  She had lost significant weight and the ticks and mosquitoes were of concern.

Princess was, for the most part, given a clean bill of health.  She had some sores and was given some Heartworm tablets, but no other long term effects.  She was happily returned to her owner and we’re told was very excited to see her.   Princess could hardly wait to get out of the crate to be next to her owner.

Thanks to Angie for reaching out to us and doing everything you did to get Princess home.  It was another successful ending and Princess is safe again.

Greg in the trap with Princess and feeding her by hand

Greg in the trap with Princess and feeding her by hand



Child’s Play


Lost: April 12, 2014

Retrieved: June 2, 2014

Outcome: Returned to owner

Case Manager: Jen Eidbo

My first sight of Harry was when I started leaving the area that he had been sighted in after driving around with no sightings.

Suddenly there he was, sniffing around on the side of the road. When I slowly approached in my SUV, he turned and walked into the woods. I parked, grabbed some food and headed in his direction but instead of following him into the woods, I sat down on the side of the road and threw pieces of treats into the woods. He was not far from me – maybe 20 feet or so. With each throw I got him to come closer to me until he was eating from my hand. We continued for a while and each time he took a bite, I touched his neck, then his ear and then gave him short scratches.

Harry’s collar was much too big for him and I knew that if I grabbed it, he could easily slip out of it. I moved cautiously as I only had one chance. I was also consciously aware that Harry may not be friendly and could easily take a chunk out of my hand or arm and although I was equipped with a slip lead, he was aware of my every move and would run off the moment I pulled it out. I put as much food into my right hand as I could and offered it to him. Once he started eating, I grabbed his collar and tried to twist it with my hand entwined to tighten it…no luck. There I was, sitting on the side of the road with no more food to offer and a dirty green collar. Harry had retreated back to the woods.

I quickly got in my SUV and made a mad dash to the nearest grocery store. There were 9 very large breaded chicken tenders left at the deli so I bought them all. I also bought some highly aromatic bacon treats.

Back on site, I found Harry sitting in one of the out buildings on the property – cooling off in the shade and I started to feed him again. I made a trail from the end of the driveway to my SUV that was parked closer to the house and Harry followed. I tried to lure him into the back of my SUV but it didn’t work.

By then, the family had returned home and I briefed them on what I was trying to do. They were happy I was there and were more than happy to help on any way they could. The mom went inside and the 3 kids (ages 7-10), played outside. I started to move the food and water from one area of the yard to another where it would be better suited for a trap placement. As I walked from one area of the yard to the other, Harry followed me but kept about 5 feet of distance. I returned to my SUV to gather more food and when I turned around, Harry was gone.

I looked all around and then I saw him up by the house. He was receiving “pets” from the little girl, Olivia. The boys, Brandon & Johnny came over and all 3 started petting him. I watched from a short distance and then asked the kids to see if they could get him over to the grass. They started walking and Harry followed. I gave the kids a container of treats and asked them to keep petting him and keep his attention. I then slowly crawled up to Harry’s backside and gently placed the slip lead around his neck.

Harry was not even startled as he was soaking up all the love and attention the “young retrievers” were giving him.

While I was busy gaining Harry’s trust, a diligent Retrievers FB follower searched through the Lost Dogs-MN site to see if they could find a match with the picture I had posted when I first saw Harry. Come to find out, Harry had been missing from his family for almost 2 months. There were no words to describe the heartfelt reunion between Harry and his family when they arrived at the shelter to take him home.

A joyous reunion!

The Deer River Doodles

Kiro and Bear

Lost: Unknown

Retrieved: May 15, 2014

Outcome: Transferred to, fostered and adopted out as a pair by 4 Luv of Dog Rescue

Case Manager: Greg James

Two very skittish, black, shaggy, matted dogs had been seen roaming the town of Deer River, MN and the immediate surrounding area for at least three months.  The dogs looked identical and could have been litter-mates.  Many in town had seen them, fed them scraps and even tried to capture them over the course of the time they were being seen.  Most often they were spending time near the railroad tracks through town and were also seen on many occasions eating roadkill to survive.

One angelic resident of Deer River, Bobbi Jo, took a special interest in these two dogs and in helping them find their owners or at minimum, safety.  All typical methods of contacting authorities, taking out ads in the local paper and reaching out to the area shelters were done to see if anyone had been missing these two dogs.  Unfortunately all attempts ended with dead ends and seemingly no one was missing these two dogs.  This did not stop Bobbi Jo from wanting to help them so she reached out to our team to see if we could help capture them.  At the time she contacted us, she informed us the local police department had given permission to the game warden to shoot the dogs if he saw them.  Apparently the two dogs had started chasing deer in the area – presumably to gain food to survive…

Upon hearing the news of the potential of them being shot, a plan was immediately put into place.  Two Missy Traps were brought to Deer River.  The thought being that we needed to make sure the trap was big enough to be inviting for both dogs to enter at the same time.  We did not want to catch one at a time and risk scaring the 2nd off and losing them.  Two days and nights were spent with the trap in two different locations, but because we did not yet have them in a predictable pattern or returning to a consistent feeding station yet, we did not catch them that first weekend.  However we did see them a couple times and in fact Bobbi Jo had the daring one of the two eating from her hand at one point.  The daring one would approach Bobbi Jo, but the shy one would not get any closer than 50 feet.

We decided to have Bobbi Jo try to establish a single feeding station and she also spread word to those in town to stop feeding them scraps.  Of course we wanted the two dogs to return to Bobbi Jo’s food supply every time and get into that routine.  The plan worked great and even more importantly, Bobbi Jo did a fantastic job of even starting to gain the trust of both dogs.  Over the course of the next 6 days Bobbi Jo was feeding them 3 times a day and each time, they were excited to see her and there waiting for her to get more food.

So one week after the initial trip to Deer River, I went back up and set up the trap right near their feeding station.  I laughed as both dogs sat and watched me set up the trap from a slight distance.  After set up, Bobbi Jo started feeding them and actually entered the trap and sat down near the back, while I sat in my jeep at a distance waiting to close the gate by killing power to the electro-magnet.  The daring of the two dogs went in almost immediately, but it took about 5 minutes before the shy one finally entered far enough to close the gate.  We had them both.

We named the two dogs Kiro (the daring one) and Bear (the shy one).  They are very gentle black golden doodles and appear to be young siblings.  I brought them back to the twin cities with me and they went to a rescue the next day after spending the night at Jen’s house from The Retrievers.  Bear was diagnosed with Anaplasmosis which would explain why he would limp on occasion when seen in Deer River.  At last account, they are both doing wonderfully in rescue and got a much needed spa day to get rid of all the ticks and mats in their fur.  They will be adopted out as a pair as they are very bonded.

A very special applause has to go out to Bobbi Jo, in the safe capture of Kiro and Bear.  Her stepping up and making an extraordinary effort to help these two dogs when many would have preferred they be shot, says so much about how she cared for these two.  Bobbi Jo was determined and did all the right things in contacting locals and authorities initially, then tracking sightings, then setting up a feeding station which ultimately made the capture rather easy.  Bless you Bobbi Jo.

Help & Hope on National Lost Dog Awareness Day

On National Lost Dog Awareness Day, the Retrievers would like to give you two very important messages.

1. Always consider a loose dog a LOST dog, not simply a stray. That dog you see wandering in a field, or hanging around a dumpster, or begging at your back door for scraps probably belongs to someone—someone who may be desperately looking for it.

  • Be sure to really look the dog and notice whether it’s wearing a collar with or without tags. Try to determine its gender and likely breed. Notice which direction it’s heading and what kind of mental state it’s in. If possible, take a photo.
  • Leave food, water and shelter for the dog to try to keep it from wandering further.
  • Post a “Found” ad on your local Craigslist and on every lost dog Facebook page pertinent to your area. If the dog appears to be a particular breed, see if there’s a breed-specific Facebook page you can post on (such as our own Facebook page here specializing in lost and found Golden Retrievers).

Get involved with the “stray” dogs you see. Because you could be the turning point in a lost dog’s story—the person who stepped up when everyone else looked away.

2. Never give up. You’ve heard the stories of dogs being reunited with their owners after weeks, months and even years apart. In many cases, it was a microchip that made the difference, but not always. Thousands of found dogs have been matched with their owners thanks to the efforts of countless volunteers on Facebook, who are diligently trying to help behind the scenes.

If your dog has been missing for a long while, take heart from some of these stories, including that of a dog reunited with his family after seven long years. It can happen for you, too.

Rowan in Owen


Lost: Unknown

Retrieved: April 12, 2014

Outcome: Fostered in private home

Case Manager: Devon Thomas Treadwell

On our Facebook page we learned of a Good Samaritan who was trying to help a stray dog in Owen, Wisconsin. For two months she had appealed to local authorities, to no avail. In desperation, she turned to the Retrievers.

As her job required driving between local communities, Tammy had frequently seen the dog in a field next to Hwy 29. Neighbors estimated that the dog, which she called “Owen,” had been in the area for up to two years. There was no photo—he would not allow anyone close enough to get decent shot. Neighbors described him as a setter or retriever mix.

Although that part of Wisconsin is outside of our normal operations area, I offered to take the case because I have personal connections to the town. I arrived early afternoon on a Saturday, set up the Missy Trap to trigger manually by cutting power to an electromagnet, then waited in my car a short distance away.

But Owen never showed. At 10:30 p.m., I reluctantly locked the trap gate open, turned on the cellular trail cam, instructed Tammy to stock the trap nightly with high-value food, then made the two-and-a-half-hour drive back to the Twin Cities.

For two days, we received no photos from the camera and assumed that it had malfunctioned. But then we discovered that our hosting service’s spam filter had intercepted the shots, and suddenly 80 timestamped images poured into our email boxes.

We learned that Owen had visited the trap only a few minutes after we had packed up and left. And he came again every night that week—multiple times a night, and usually around the same hours. In one shot, he was close enough to the camera for us to see that “he” was really a “she.” From that point, we began to call her “Rowan.”

Monitoring her activities by trail cam for a week enabled us to predict when she would visit the trap. The following Friday, I returned to Owen, this time with a colleague—M.J. Brookes—our newly developed photoelectric sensor system, and a catchpole specially designed and constructed by teammate Jen Eidbo.

The trail cam images had shown that a neighbor’s cat often visited the trap, so we set the sensor at a height too high for it to inadvertently break the beam and cause the gate to drop. And because we suspected Rowan had avoided the trap when we were present the previous weekend, we waited in a car parked 100 yards away as we monitored the trap via a video surveillance system comprised of Skype and two smartphones.

Rowan came by right on time at 9:45 p.m., but shocked us by skittering beneath the sensor beam. In less than 30 seconds, she ate much of her food and exited the trap without triggering the gate. Thankfully, because we’d observed her patterns, we knew she would be back. We lowered the sensor and waited again.

Rowan returned at 11:20 p.m., and this time walked through the beam and triggered the gate. As we approached the trap, she started climbing up the meshed panels and was halfway out when I was able to get the catchpole on her. She jumped down to the ground and went into a full-scale panic, writhing and growling and snarling and gnawing on the lead on the catchpole.

Luckily, we were able to get her into a crate before she could chew completely through and escape. Once she was in the crate and the tension was off the lead, she quickly calmed down.

Rowan turned out to be a much smaller dog than we had expected—likely a beagle/shepherd mix. Her later vet visit revealed her weight at only 33 pounds. No wonder she was able to duck under the beam! The vet estimated her age at 1 1/2 years. Though she was not spayed, she shows no evidence of having had a litter. She is heartworm-free, basically healthy, and not microchipped.

Rowan’s return to a home environment has been more successful than anyone could have predicted. Tammy reports that within the first few days, she was playing with the family’s other dogs and even enjoyed being brushed and petted by Tammy and her husband.

You can follow Rowan’s story on her Facebook page, Hope for Owen.

See also:

Woman Committed to Helping Stray Dog — Marshfield News Herald, April 21, 2014

Stray dog captured and given a home — Leader Telegram, May 5, 2014