Posted by Nicole Asher on

Mater has been safely captured after nine days on the run through Ringwood, NJ.

Mater's family had brought him to the pet sitter, entrusting her to keep him safe. Later that evening they received a call that Mater had jumped a fence and was gone. His mom and dad, George and Emily, had just arrived in Florida only to immediately turn around and head back home to find their boy.

Sightings were coming in but Mater was terrified and and running from everyone including his dad. Survival/ flight mode is one of the most difficult concepts for people to understand. We hear this question so often: Why wouldn’t your dog come to you? This is often said with disbelief, and the owners of the lost dog will feel/hear a sense of disdain in the question. 

A dog that has entered Survival Mode prioritizes things in the following order: Survival, Food, Water, Shelter. When a dog has entered survival mode, very often EVERY human is viewed as a predator – even the one that has fed, loved, walked, bathed and pampered them. People yelling (calling a pets name), shaking a food container (loud noises), cars, other dogs barking and pursuing, squeaking toys, a door slamming – these will all potentially invite a flight response causing the dog to leave the area. 

We nailed down Mater's travel pattern and we set up strategically placed feeding stations monitored with cameras along his extensive path of travel. Finally, early yesterday morning Mater made his way to one of our stations. Finding a food source was critical to get him to settle in an area and return to a spot where a trap could be set for capture. 

With no cell service, I sat in my car and monitored the trap from a distance. At around 11pm a fast moving shadowy figure turned the corner from Stonetown Road making a bee-line right for the trap... it was our boy, Mater! He circled the trap for quite some time but eventually his hunger got the best of him and he walked in to safety. 

There is no greater feeling than making that call to a family and saying those words... "We got him!"

Survival mode is a regression to a dogs primal instincts. It can be severe or partial, but is almost always temporary; once a dog in survival mode is captured, they will generally return to their earlier personalities with very little noticeable change. The moment that Mater saw his family and it finally clicked, his body language shifted from fear to joy and he started crying, barking and wiggling with excitement. 

Thank you to the amazing community of Stonetown for your  outpouring of love and support for Mater and his family. Thank you for allowing us to use your properties to set up cameras, feeding stations and the trap that brought Mater to safety. We are so grateful!!

Welcome HOME Mater!!!

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