After 39 grueling days, Ashley an extremely trap savvy dog who escaped from a Dog Days Adoption event is safely captured and in our arms!!
Tears of joy, exhaustion and overwhelming relief flowed last night. Three simple words "we got her" is all we could say as Jenn and I hugged each other.
Ashley's rescue was one of the more difficult rescues I have worked on due to the fact that she was extremely trap savvy from multiple, failed trapping attempts prior to our involvement. To say we had our work cut out for us when we were called in is an understatement. We began by setting up proper traps and an enclosure monitored with a streaming wireless feed in several locations so we could monitor her movement. There were packs of coyotes that were ever present in that immediate area and we had to be so careful not to lure them to where we knew she was hunkering down. To our terror, one night we had to jump out of our car and scare three coyotes away as they were approaching her "safe zone". Due to the pack of coyotes, the skunk who frequented and the general public attempting to chase and catch her, the enclosure was immediately relocated, we simply could not risk it. We found the perfect spot to set up on the outskirts of her safe zone and the shopping plaza. A lovely animal loving couple, Dan and Allison and their therapy poodle, Willow gave us free reign of their property to use as we needed to bring the elusive Ashley to safety.
Ashley had a routine, like clockwork she would pop out of her safe zone at 8pm and begin her nightly jaunt through the streets of Old Saybrook. She would cross Main Street and the Post Road every night and loop back around through the streets and cutting through our new yard, always stopping by for a play date with her doggie friends Jasmine and Jax who lived a few houses over before crossing back over to her field to lay down at the shopping plaza. She did this loop numerous times, every night before the sun would come up and it was time for her to tuck back away in to her safe zone again. Aside from being trap savvy, she was not overly food motivated, so we set out to find where she was eating, we found two separate neighbors who had been leaving food out for her and also attempting to trap her using a crate.
She would always come to our enclosure but only cautiously stepping and stretching in a few steps but never going in. After several weeks of little progress with the enclosures, we shifted gears and began luring her in to the fenced in yard on the property and after several days we had her going part way in and being rewarded with a nice juicy marrow bone. Once we had her going all the way in to the yard, it was time to get that gate closed, which was no easy task as she was so stinkin' smart!! We spent countless nights sleeping on the floor in the barn on the property waiting to pull that fishing line, but the invisible line was clearly not invisible to the amazing Ashley, a sensor light that would go off next door we found created the slightest glare so she could see a hint of something there, enough to prevent her from going in. With all else failing we had no choice but to park close to the barn and rely on the cameras to let us know when she was all the way in.
Last night we sat in the stifling hot car, motionless with the windows up and at 11:23PM the picture we had been waiting for came through... it was now or never! I snuck out of the car and ran over to gate and closed it, she immediately ran to escape the almost 6 foot fence, nearly clearing it, she was screaming and frightened but we were able to grab her mid jump (nice catch Jenn) and get the martingale collar and leash we had waiting for her around her neck... Ashley was finally safe!! Once we had her leashed up, she calmed right down you could see the sense of relief come over her, she was so loving and grateful and her stinky kisses were so welcome to us. We sat on the porch at the house with her and gave her water and allowed her to decompress before Kate Cryder, the Old Saybrook ACO came to bring her to the vet. Thank you to the shopping plaza property owner, the ever awesome Matthew Rubin who was our biggest supporter through this entire rescue, he truly believed in us and Ashley. Many thanks to Chief Michael Spera and the entire Old Saybrook police department who kept a watchful eye on us and Ashley and allowed us to lurk at all hours of the night. Kate Cryder who came out at midnight to bring Ashley to the vet last night and also many thanks to Dog Days, George, Irene, Debbie and Lorin for their support.
Ashley's rescue illustrates the importance of using proper traps and trapping methods, a coyote trap should not be used, if you don't have a proper sized trap please do not attempt to trap you will set back the recovery efforts and are putting the dogs safety in jeopardy, thankfully this was a happy ending! Welcome back Ashley, you are loved by so many!!