Lola’s two week adventure came to an end today in Warwick, NY.
As a puppy mill survivor, she has not had much human contact and is terrified of everything. It took two months before Lola would even come out of her fosters kitchen. Within two hours of arriving at her new home she bolted with a long leash attached.
Lola quickly crossed dangerous route 17 and was running scared, fueled by people in hot pursuit. Lost dog behavior is so hard for people to understand or wrap their heads around. You can explain till you’re blue in the face but some refuse to trust the process. This resulted in Lola continuously running a span of over 6 miles on the Appalachian trail between New York and New Jersey. She would show up in communities off the AT only to have search parties show up and people flooding the area and searching and chasing her.
There were many wonderful residents who were very open and receptive to allowing us access to their properties and ensuring that Lola felt safe and not pursued.
She was finding many food sources, not only food being left for her but also for other pets and wildlife. We had the arduous task of finding these food sources and curtailing them until we had Lola safe. If she was not hungry she would not be food motivated to progress into the enclosure.
Once we had the entire community on board and understanding the process, her area of travel became smaller and smaller, so much so that we were able to determine exactly where she was bedding down. I watched like clockwork as she would end her daily routine and go curl up in her nesting area, where we put comfy blankets and some toy babies that she loved and played with during the day.
Lola was beginning to know me as the person who was putting food down and I was able to gain her trust for her to approach me close enough to where I was able to grab her leash. Unfortunately, that leash was attached to a harness that she was able to quickly get out of. The good news was she was no longer dragging the leash and in danger of getting stuck in the woods, the bad news, she was still on the run.
Lola was quite trap savvy and leery of any type of enclosure or trap and it was a process of conditioning her to step over the threshold and slowly but surely make baby steps and stretches into the enclosure. Last night she was hungry enough and finally made her way all the way in for the food. This morning the enclosure was set for capture and we were ready for her once she went in.
I can not stress enough the importance of allowing newly adopted dogs time to decompress in their new homes and environment before taking for walks. A properly fitted martingale collar and harness are vital and listening to the instructions of the rescue are essential to set the dog up for a successful transition. Contrary to popular belief dogs get out of harnesses all the time.
Endless gratitude to the community of Continental Road and Briller Road for their cooperation, patience and support through this harrowing two weeks. Amanda and Jessica in West Milford for monitoring feeding stations in case she travelled back. A huge thank you to Marie Kosen for your kindness in allowing us to do what was needed on your property to bring Lola to safety.
My pit crew, Cindy Rinehart from the Lost West Milford Pets page and Rosa Castillo for fielding the calls and monitoring the pages for sightings and passing the info onto me.
Lola is now safe and will be returning to the rescue. Thank you everyone.