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New plan on the search for Trigger

December 19, 2011

Hi everyone,
Unfortunately, our Saturday trip to Hood River and The Dalles did not reveal any information regarding the whereabouts of the homeless man with Trigger. One of the two people who thought they’d seen them in the Port of Hood River determined from the flyer that it was not the same dog. His tiny size still seems to confuse people. We also followed another lead in Cascade Locks that turned out to be a different dog. We did hang a lot more flyers, and we gave away several bags of dog food and some dog jackets. Thank you to Lynda, Jan, Jaye, Sarah, Ande, Sophia, Shelli, Helen and Travis for coming out to The Gorge on a very cold day.
We will NOT give up on Trigger! We need to find him and bring him home. So now we are planning a new approach. Since he seems to have vanished shortly after he was seen in Cascade Locks, the man who was seen with Trigger on November 25th may have been a transient who was passing through Cascade Locks. He may have been hitchhiking in any direction. He may even be in Portland! We have decided to try to get the word out to other cities and states. With his owner’s permission, we have increased the reward amount to $1000. We are trying to contact the big truck stop companies to see if they will help us post our newest flyer for Trigger at their various truck stops all over the country. Hopefully, if a truck driver gave him a ride somewhere, they’ll see the flyer. Of course we will be focusing first on the rest of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, California, Arizona and Nevada. We are also trying to crack the Craigslist nut so it will allow us to post our Lost and Found ad in other cities and states. This may require multiple people posting the ad in other cities from their computers. We’ll need your help with that.
Remember, as daunting as it may seem trying to find this man with Trigger, there are not going to be very many homeless or transient people out there with a tiny, shy 10lb Toy Australian Shepherd with one blue eye, one brown eye, and no tail. If you see someone matching this description it is almost guaranteed to be him!
What you can do to help:
  • If you know anyone who drives long haul trucks or travels for work, please email them the attached flyer and ask them to keep their eyes open.
  • If you pass any Rest Areas during your travels, please post a flyer.
  • Please post this flyer on your Facebook pages and ask your friends and family to spread it around to everyone they know, including out of state. The more eyes we have out there looking, the better.
  • Please drop a copy of the flyer off at your vet’s office.
  • If you drive past or volunteer at a homeless shelter, please bring a flyer in.
  • If you are near an “Occupy” camp, please scan for this man and Trigger.
  • If you volunteer or work at an animal shelter, please post this flyer.
  • If you can get an ad in any publication please contact me for a copy of the text and photos for the ad.
  • If you have any other ideas for getting this flyer distributed as widely as possible, please share them. Anything you can offer is very much appreciated!
  • Note: If you are posting the flyer outdoors, please try to put it in a plastic sleeve so it lasts longer during our wet Oregon winter.
Please keep reminding everyone! Most important; if you see this man and Trigger, please do not let him out of your sight! Contact law enforcement and let them know you know who this dog is. Tell them he is missing from Hood River County, Oregon and he is microchipped to Indigo Rescue to prove it.
I won’t be sending any further updates on Trigger unless we have something noteworthy to report.
THANK YOU for your continued help and support, and a warm and Happy Holiday to all of you!

Heather Hines
Indigo Rescue
Indigo Ranch
Dig My Dog

never never never give up

Missing Dog Trigger 12_18_11

What Animal Rescue means to me…

December 11, 2011

I want to tell you all a little Indigo Rescue holiday story, and I hope that it has the same impact on you as it has had on me…
As the search for little Trigger continued yesterday with our fantastic motorcycle club friends from the Sons of Armageddon searching Cascade Locks unsuccessfully for any homeless camps or homeless people, another drama was unfolding in Beaverton. In an ironic twist of fate, one of my foster dogs, Franzi, a shy little eight month old Jack Russell mix, escaped a volunteer in the parking lot at Petsmart and ended up bolting into the park next door. It was 12:30pm. The volunteer followed him as best she could on foot, and another volunteer called me inside the store where I was working on Santa pics. Before I finished that call I was sprinting for the park. Apparently shortly after he ran into the park, Franzi had run across Cedar Hills Blvd from the park (and didn’t get hit by a car – which is already a miracle in itself), and then disappeared into the neighborhood. The really traumatic part of this story is that Franzi is another dog who will not allow strangers to approach him and he was running as fast as his little legs would carry him. If someone tried to grab him, he’d probably try to bite them. My heart sank. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. There was tons of holiday traffic, in every direction. Within 15 minutes we had made a bunch of calls while driving around and recruited fourteen volunteers in eight cars to circle around the neighborhood trying to find him. We drove around for a few hours without a single sighting until finally I decided I needed to hurry home and make a flyer so we could hang as many as possible before it got dark.
An hour later, at around 3:30pm, we started hanging flyers. By sundown, we had hung nearly 300 bright orange flyers with a photo of Franzi, most in protective sleeves, on every pole or tree within a mile radius of where Franzi was last seen. A few volunteers went home, and others joined the search. Still, no sight of Franzi. I went home quickly and fed everyone, added a few more layers of clothing, and headed back. A few more volunteers from NW Animal Companions joined the search and we all coasted slowly around the neighborhoods and the park and parking lot of Petsmart with flashlights, but still not one sighting of Franzi! It was 30 degrees outside. Finally, at around 10pm, one of the volunteers spotted Franzi in the parking lot at Petsmart. he was trying to find his way back! As soon as she pulled up, he bolted into the park again. They called me but when I arrived there five minutes later, Franzi was already long gone. We decided trapping was going to be the best way to catch a really scared dog, and between us we came up with four traps. I ran home to get two of them. Kelley and Bob had a bolt of material in their car that we could use to cover the traps. We set the traps in four places in the park and Petsmart parking lot, and waited. It was almost midnight. By 2am, we had checked the traps and driven around the neighborhoods without any sightings and the last of the volunteers, Sophia and Shelli, headed home. I stayed until 3:30am and made arrangements for another volunteer, Pat, to come back at 7am, before sun-up to check the traps. I slept restlessly from 4:30am to 7am and then scrambled to take care of everyone at home so I could get back to search.
I received the first call from the flyer at 7:45am. Someone had seen Franzi at the Coffee Rush next to Petsmart and he was just standing there watching the cars (I’m sure he was looking for mine). I called Pat immediately, and four minutes later, I received another call, saying that Franzi had gone back across Cedar Hills Blvd into the neighborhood. This terrified us because every time he crossed four lanes of Cedar Hills Blvd we knew he was at great risk of being hit. I called Charlene and asked her if she could help Pat try to keep Franzi from crossing again until I could get there. Traffic was only going to get worse as the holiday shoppers churned out.
When I got there half an hour later, Pat and Charlene had already followed Franzi back across Cedar Hills Blvd again, and kept him in the park for a few minutes, but he had eventually bolted across the road again. Panic! They had an idea where he had disappeared though, so we decided to stand a few hundred feet apart on Cedar Hills Blvd and form a row of people to hopefully prevent him trying to cross the road again. Charlene had called Franzi by name the last time he had run across the road and he had been startled for a second but then bolted the other way when he realized she wasn’t me. I knew the best chance we had of getting him was for him to hear my voice (which was falling apart from all the yelling for him the day before), but we had to find him first. I had already called Kelley and Claudia, who both drove over and joined us, and Kelley called her friend Kelly and her husband to come over. We stood there in the cold, three to five of us in a row on Cedar Hills, and a few others searching the neighborhood where he had disappeared.
More than an hour later, Pat and Kelley spotted Franzi behind a business running along the fence. He saw them and ran faster. They yelled for me and I ran straight down to the area they had seen him and he was already gone. It had been less than 10 seconds. I was so frustrated! I searched and there was no place he could have gone – except a giant patch of blackberry bramble, stretching about 30’ feet across. NO! Not blackberry bramble! We could not see him, and as I feared, he was so scared he was not even coming out when I called for him. I watched the bramble and listened, and there wasn’t even a rustling of movement. Claudia was on the other side of the patch of bramble completely out of view and suddenly we heard her yell. She saw him running back into the bramble on the other side. It was 30′ from where I was. So, we knew that’s where he was, but we  still could not see him. I called Jaye and asked her to grab some flattened boxes from Petsmart so I could try to climb across the bramble. I worried if he was afraid, he would bolt again so I asked Pat to stay up by the road so he could see him if he did. Claudia stayed on the other side and some neighbors were trying to help her see into the bramble. Kelley and Jaye eventually went over to that side, too, leaving me alone on the one side. That turned out to be the ticket. Once he couldn’t hear any other voices, Franzi finally peered out at me from deep inside the bramble. As soon as I saw him I started talking to him and offering him treats. He tried to come to me, but he couldn’t get through the bramble. He would try to climb over and he would get stuck. He tried to crawl under, and he would get stuck, so he just stood there looking at me. I yelled to Pat and asked him to keep everyone away because I knew this was going to be my best chance to get him. I started laying the flattened boxes across the bramble but they only reached to about 6-8’ away from him. So, I started crawling across the rest of the bramble and finally, I got one arm close enough to reach in and scruff Franzi and pull him up and over the thorny branches. I had him! I yelled to Pat and told him I had him and I could hear a chorus of people yelling to each other that I had caught Franzi and he was finally safe! I backed my way back out of the bramble clutching Franzi and a few people ran over to help me out of the rest. I’ve attached a few pics from the moments that followed Franzi’s rescue.
That was a tearful but happy few minutes. Everyone called as many people as they could and told them the good news. A stranger, who none of us knew, but we all thought someone else must have known, had been driving around for half an hour trying to help us find Franzi. He heard us yelling that he was found and ran to get him a hamburger. Other people had chicken and everyone wanted to reward him for surviving, so Franzi ate like a King – and he was REALLY hungry! I had him clutched to me so he couldn’t get away but he seemed pretty content to have everyone feeding him. One of his feet was bloodied and there was a little blood around one side of his mouth, but other than that, I could not find any injuries. I swear he drank about a quart of water. It was now 11:30am and he had been running scared for 23 hours! We went back across to Petsmart where our Santa had been abandoned the day before, and Franzi had his photo taken with Santa. To show us he was none–the-worse-for-wear, he even played with a Santa hat.
It really was a miracle. To catch a scared little dog like that took a pile of people being in the right place at the right time, but if all of those people hadn’t been there it simply would not have happened. If we hadn’t had enough people to hang flyers everywhere, we may not have gotten those first calls the next morning so we knew where he was. if we hadn’t had enough people to line up on Cedar HIlls Blvd so early that  morning, Franzi would have just continued to try running back across the road, and one of those times he might not have made it. If Pat and Kelley hadn’t seen him running along the fence, we would not have known where he was. If I hadn’t eventually been alone by that patch of bramble, he would not have been brave enough to peer out at me and let me crawl into the bramble to get him. Everyone pulled together to help find and save this little dog! Remember, each one of these people could have been at home, enjoying their weekend off work in their warm houses, getting a good night’s sleep. But they weren’t. Instead, they all made a sacrifice in order to help find this dog. We stayed on top of him from the second he took off, and we never, never, never gave up. That is what Animal Rescue means to me. Yes, part of rescue is definitely saving animals who are not going to make it in the shelters, but the other part of living the animal rescue life is knowing there are people who will drop everything and make a lot of personal sacrifice in order to save ONE dog or cat. I hope everyone feels proud of their part in this rescue and of the continuing search for Trigger. Without each of your participation, Indigo Rescue would not be able to make the difference it does and save these little guys, even one at a time.
So, to each of these people, I want to offer another heartfelt thank you. You are my hero’s and you make me proud to be part of Animal Rescue:
Franzi’s Rescue
Burger Guy (who ever he was)
Saturday search for Trigger
Travis and his boys…
The Sons of Armageddon

Update on Lost Dog Trigger: Let us know if we can send you a flyer!

December 9, 2011

Thank you for all of your concern for Trigger. His mom, Jennifer and I, continue to follow-up on every lead we get and it’s been a frustrating and difficult ride. On Tuesday we heard from someone who thought he may have seen Trigger get hit by a truck in Cascade Locks and then run on to I84 westbound and disappear off the highway two exits down. We were devastated at the possibility and Jennifer was searching that stretch of highway trying to determine whether it really was him when on Wednesday we got an even more solid lead from someone we now believe DEFINITELY saw Trigger on Black Friday (November 25th). This would have been four days after he went missing from the pet sitters home. He was with a homeless man who said he needed money for food for his “new” dog. The woman and her husband gave him dog food she had in her car instead. Her sister has two Toy Aussies so she knows the breed and size well. She confirmed the dog had one blue eye and one brown eye and was very afraid and hiding behind the man. She said the man had him on a rope leash which may have been fashioned into a harness. He was no longer wearing his collar or id tags. The woman was able to give us a very good description of the man, and I spent much of yesterday and today speaking with law enforcement officers in Hood River County, The Dalles, Skamania County and Klickitat County just in case he was traveling North or East. It’s not as likely but he may also have traveled West into Portland. He was on foot moving East through Cascade Locks when he left the woman and her husband.
The description we have is that the man is in his early to mid forties. He has blondish brown hair and is clean cut. He was wearing a green military style coat over jeans and a sweatshirt and wore a stocking cap under a baseball cap that may have been a SeaHawks cap. He is carrying a day pack (an old school style).
I have produced a new flyer with a photo of Trigger that shows his size much better. We will start emailing and distributing that tomorrow. Please keep your eye out for a homeless man with Trigger wherever you go. It’s a long shot, but worth the minute it will take to notice. You can be extra eyes for us and if you know anyone along the way East on I84, in Hood River, The Dalles, or across the river in Skamania County, Goldendale, etc. Please send them the flyer and ask them to share it with everyone they know.
On Saturday, our friends from the Sons of Armageddon are going to go up to Cascade Locks and the surrounding area to try to find any homeless camps. The one homeless man who hang out in town has a Boxer and told us he would keep his eye out for someone with Trigger.
This homeless man is somewhere and he very possibly still has Trigger! We have hope again, and we need to find him.
Thank you all so much!!!
NOTE: Trigger has one blue eye and one brown eye. He is very small and weighs between 10lbs and 12lbs.