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Dogs Finding Dogs Assists In Successful Search

Alyson Kay
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February 23, 2017

A walk in the park on January 16 turned into a nightmare for Pasadena resident Kevin Wiegmann after his family’s dog, Zoom, got spooked by the air horn of a passing trash truck. The small brindle basenji broke off of her leash and ran. Kevin called her name and ran after her, but Zoom didn’t stop, quickly disappearing into the woods.

“It was panic mode,” Kevin said.

But the family quickly discovered that they weren’t alone in looking for their little dog. Soon after Kevin went home to get help from the rest of the family, they discovered that two people who had seen Zoom break free were still out looking for her after they returned. When the family put up several posts on Facebook, the people in their area started to share it, offering support and advice. The post on Laura Wiegmann’s page gained more than 300 shares by people throughout Anne Arundel County.

One of Laura’s friends suggested that they try a nonprofit pet rescue organization called Dogs Finding Dogs, which uses trained tracking dogs to find lost pets.

They gave the Wiegmanns a long to-do list, which Kevin and his son, Gabe, completed. The duo put up posters and set up feeding stations around Elizabeth’s Landing and put flour around them to make paw prints more visible.

They also suggested that they use the neighborhood social network Nextdoor, and the people of Elizabeth’s Landing started posting about sightings. With their help, a map of Zoom’s location started to take shape.

The feeding stations weren’t touched the first night, so the organization came up with a solution. Since Zoom liked Laura the best, they cut up one of her running shorts and put the pieces around the feeding stations to fill the area with her scent.

Dogs Finding Dogs also instructed the family to entice Zoom with sardine water around the feeding stations. That day, all three feeding stations had been visited and the little paw prints in the flour suggested that Zoom had been there. But they still couldn’t be sure that it was her, so they arranged to have her tracked on the morning of January 18.

Two dog teams came to Pasadena that morning to help track down Zoom. Six-year tracking veteran Christine Rojas and her dog Keelah went out with Clementine Fujimura and her dog Scipio, who were on their first track. Even though they didn’t find Zoom, the trail that they followed confirmed that she was staying in the area.

According to Rojas, the track was made easier because the Wiegmanns had done all of the tasks that were asked of them, which helped the handlers find a more recent place to begin the track.

“We had a really good starting point,” Rojas said.

After the track, Dogs Finding Dogs kept in contact with the Wiegmanns, staying informed and advising them on what do next.

On Friday, Laura went out to the woods to look for Zoom. As she walked around calling for her, Zoom sprang from the woods and trotted around to Laura, who sat down to avoid spooking her. When Zoom got close, Laura picked her up and went home.

Now that their dog is home safe, the Wiegmanns think that it was a cool experience because of all of the support that they got from the community.

“Now that she’s back, I’m glad that we had that experience because now I feel more of a sense of community here,” Laura said.

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