The past couple days have been a blur….
Sunday morning, I received the dreaded call that no trapper ever wants to get….a dog I had recently captured, escaped.
This wasn’t just any dog, this dog was a runner, previously running 10-15 miles a day, for weeks, hence why he was named Miles with the monniker “Gump”.
My heart sank and I immediately shifted into auto pilot. I headed up to Middletown, NY and began setting up cameras and feeding stations with the hopes that he was still nearby, but knowing in my heart that he was long gone.
Gump had only been in rescue for almost two months, extremely frightened and shut down. They were just beginning to make progress with him, he had started wagging his tail and booping one of his caregivers with his nose. I was hopeful that the trust he was developing would be helpful with his second capture.
Ryan, who is not only my good friend but also one of Gumps trusted people at Pets Alive, was working side by side with me. Yesterday, we spent all day laminating and hanging posters in the torrential rain storm. We were soaked and had headed home. I live an hour and a half away and had just gotten home when Ryan called and said he’s three miles away on the side of route 302, a woman had been tossing him treats.
Ryan was only 10 minutes away and raced over with food, the goal was to keep Gump there until I could get there with a trap. We weren’t even sure if he would go in the trap again because so many times once they have been trapped they won’t go back in… but never say never.
Ryan kept me on the phone as I made the hour and a half trip back, he was laying down, tossing him tiny pieces of food so he wouldn’t be full by the time I got there. The one thing we had going for him is how food motivated he is, for lack of a better term, he was a total food whore!!!
I arrived and slowly walked over and dropped to the ground. He stood there staring at me for a minute, I could tell he recognized me and walked towards me. I tossed him food, baby talked him and showed him I wasn’t a threat. I eventually got up and had Ryan distract him with bacon as I carried the trap over to the side and set it up. For over an hour we sat on the ground with him, tossing food towards the trap. He would go over, look at it and back away… he knew what it was and wasn’t falling for it a second time.
If you made any motion with a leash or your hand he would quickly back off and we did not want to lose his trust. When he started to feel threatened in any way, he would go towards the road or over to the corner of the brush and go behind the gate and start to walk walk away. I decided to move the trap to the corner that he kept retreating to.
It was getting dark and he couldn’t really see the trap where I placed it. I positioned small cups of food in a row leading in. Just as we were starting to feel discouraged, I looked over and he was headed to the trap. I grabbed Ryan and said don’t move!!! Gump walked over, grabbed the first cup and walked away, walked back, stepped in further grabbing the second cup and walked away, then the third and then for the fourth cup he went all the way in… I can’t even begin to describe the relief and emotion we felt as we heard the trap door shut.
Ryan and I worked in unison to get him to safety. We both knew this boy and with his propensity for traveling far and traveling via highways, we knew that we had this one shot and we could not fail.
You can never let your guard down with flight risk dogs, if they see slightest the opportunity to run, they will take it. You have to be so vigilant.
Gump is now back at Pets Alive where they will continue to work their magic on him, gaining his trust.
Welcome back Gump, thanks for the gray hairs!!!