Originally published in the Unleash Jacksonville GOOFUS issue
Find your lost pet
It’s a horrible horrible feeling to know your pet is out there somewhere without you. Getting the word out and starting the search quickly can greatly increase the chances of getting your baby back safely. The following are tips and resources that can help you be successful in your reunification:
• Start looking immediately.
• Search your OWN home & property to make sure he’s not just hiding.
• Search your neighborhood. Bring your pet’s favorite things with you, a “squeaky” toy or favorite treats and rattle them loudly while calling your pet’s name. It’s also important to stop regularly, be quiet, and listen to see if your pet is making any noise.
• Use the power of scent. Place a recently worn article of clothing (at least a day… the stinkier the better) belonging to a family member or the lost pet’s unwashed bedding in your yard or outside your front door where the breeze can carry the scent. Familiar scents can bring them home. Cats will respond to an open can of tuna fish or litter box also.
• Post signs at intersections. Include the breed of dog (or cat), sex, age, weight, and color, use bright colored paper for higher visibility. Give copies of your flyer to people that walk their dogs in the area… and even the postman! The Jacksonville Humane Society has a FREE flyer generator.
• GO TO all the local shelters. Calling the animal control department or shelter on the phone is not very effective. You should go to the shelters at least every other day.
• Contact veterinary clinics both in your area and surrounding areas. Leave a picture of your pet with contact information for the staff.
To whomever picked up a tan and white pup on Plainfield Ave in the Town of Orange Park on October 13, 2107:
Please know that she is deeply missed and loved by her family. Please take Doucie in to the nearest vet and scan her for her chip! Doucie is a female, Aussie Shepherd/Beagle/ Lab mix, she is about 18 inches at the shoulder, has white on the legs and belly and last half of her tail. The rest of her is reddish brown with a dusting of black on her nose and ears. Her fur is medium length and seems to be a double coat, hence her love of swimming in all weather. She may have a slight limp from her surgery. She got loose through no fault of ours.
Around 9 o’clock that morning, my mom and I took Doucie to AVS-BluePearl Veterinary Hospital, located at 275 Corporate Way behind Adamec’s Motorcycle Shop, for an after-surgery check-up. Three weeks prior she had ACL surgery on her right knee, hence the shaved fur on that leg and the stitches. We were told to leave Doucie in the care of AVS/BluePearl becuase the doctor that did the surgery wanted to look at her, and the doctor was performing an emergency surgery. We handed Doucie over to a vet-tech after removing her harness. Doucie still had on her yellow and green waterproof collar with an i.d. tag showing her name and phone number, as well as a little red cow bell. We left, believing all was okay. That was the last time we saw Doucie.
The vet-tech that took Doucie didn’t correctly latch her kennel. Doucie was able to open the gate, open and walk through to interior doors, scan the lobby, and then use her head to open the heavier front door. Even though an alert customer called out that an unattended pup had come through a door and was in the lobby, no vet-tech’s seemed alarmed. They didn’t react until Doucie was outside. Doucie scanned the parking lot for us, but we were already gone, so she ran across Corporate Way and went for a swim in Wells Lake. After her swim, Doucie ran back across Corporate Way, almost getting hit, and ran back to the front door. At this point, either a vet-tech outside, or someone inside scared Doucie and she ran off again.
Doucie ran along Corporate Way then darted over the railroad tracks and through the woods and brush. A vet-tech did see her crossing the tracks. We learned that a truck driver had seen Doucie running through the parking lot of the warehouse behind the hotels on Wells Road. Doucie eventually made her way through the woods, possibly resting near a feral cat colony in the area. We found out two weeks later that she was seen being picked up by an unknown person in an unknown vehicle near 704 Plainfield Ave. (verified by Pat Totillo and her K9 search team).
Over the next month and a half, our family and friends made fliers and posters, tacking and taping them to every post, pole and phone box in Orange Park. There is also a Police report on file of the incident. The town of Orange Park was very understanding to our dilemma and allowed us to leave our signs up for a month and a half. They have a town ordinance against unauthorized signs being up more than a day or two. Since October 13, 2017, there have been over 25 possible sightings. None have been verified as Doucie, all have been linked to local pups, even if the caller describes Doucie perfectly. Case in point, we received a call about a dog that could have been Doucie near W.E.Cherry Elementary School in the Blairmore Blvd area, the caller described her perfectly, even down to the shorter hair on her leg that had been shaved for surgery a month before. This call proved to be false. The dog seen was a boxer mix, we saw him. There have been possible sightings all over Clay County, from Plainfield Ave to Oakleaf to the Orange Park Country Club to Ridgecrest to Middleburg and Fleming Island, even up Blanding Blvd to Townsend Road, behind Lexus of Orange Park. We have posted fliers wherever there is a sighting.
Two weeks into our canvassing of the Town of Orange Park, we encountered an employee of a business on the business loop at the end of Loring Ave that said she saw a dog that looked very much like Doucie being picked up on Plainfield Ave, the day Doucie escaped from the vet hospital. This led to us contacting Pat Totillo and her team to narrow down our search. The K9’s were able to track Doucie from the AVS/BluePearl, down Corporate Way, across the tracks and through the parking lot. They lost her scent in the woods, but picked her scent up on Ash Street and followed it to an area near the mailbox of 704 Plainfield Ave. To verify this, Ms Totillo had her other K9 come from Loring Ave. This K9 did not alert to Doucie’s scent until he reached the same patch the first K9 alerted to, this verified that Doucie had been picked up. And the K9’s were able to verify that Doucie had never been at any of the sightings that were called in. The only unverified call belongs to a farmer, possibly in Clay County, who described several of Doucie’s characteristics, as well as her collar and tags, in a deep, gravely voice. He said he had to go but he would call back. He never has returned the call, and his numbers were blocked. We have several contacts in Clay County that have been helping us with spreading Doucie’s story and fliers, among them are the Town of Orange Park Police Department, Melissa from PrimeVet on Kingsley Ave., and Mary from Crackers in South Orange Park.
Doucie has been my moms constant companion ever since we rescued her. Doucie would sleep by her bed, and check up on her throughout the day, no matter where each one was at the house. Doucie would interrupt her front gate guarding, her sunning, her swimming, or her strolling to go and check on mom, to make sure everything was alright. Mom would go out and check on Doucie too.
Doucie is chipped and was wearing a yellow and green waterproof collar with an i.d. tag and a red bell. She is reddish brown on top and sides with white underneath, and white legs and the last half of her tail is white, like a flag. She has a light dusting of black on her nose and ears. She has medium long fur that seems to be a double coat, based on her penchant for swimming in all kinds of weather. She is smart, energetic, playful. Her absence is weighing heavily on us. We miss Doucie and need her to come home.
If you have ANY information, please contact us! Please share her photo and search for her call/text 904-327-3698