We made it home!
Chocolate's Story - 69 Days
Date Missing: 6/09/18 Date Reunited: 8/17/18 Days Missing: 69
When it comes to searching for a lost dog it takes time, hard work, a lot of prayers and a little bit of luck. Especially when that dog, Miss Chocolate, ran away 40 miles from her home while visiting relatives. Her family and friends were doing everything they could to help find her. The distance made it even more difficult for them.
Miss Chocolate started her run on June 9th, 2018. She stayed for awhile in the Hobart, WI community area. We didn’t know in the beginning the distance factor the family was trying to overcome in response to a sighting. It was after about a week and several sightings, the owners could still not catch her, that Get Toby Home and some wonderful community members started helping. We had her posted to our Get Toby Home Facebook page and other social media sites, made signs, and printed and distributed flyers.
With the start of the LPGA tournament in the area Miss Chocolate went missing, she was scared out of the area and vanished. The next sighting came about 7-10 days later in Howard, WI near Velp Ave about 7.5 miles away from last sighting. We once again made more signs and printed and distributed more flyers, but once again Miss Chocolate vanished again. However, we would not give up on her.
The next sighting came about another 7-10 days later about 4 miles from the last sighting. Once again we made more signs and flyers. It was a few days later in that area after Miss Chocolate had been running for over 30 days, that somebody shared a video of her on their security camera running through their backyard. The family was relieved to know she was surviving, but still so saddened that she never stayed in one area long enough for us to set up bait and trapping. But this did renew our faith that we would get her. But then Miss Chocolate vanished yet again.
A week later, another sighting on the West side of Green Bay, 5 miles away and then another week passed and she was seen back in Howard, 3 miles away. Yet another week after that, sightings of her came in near Lambeau Field. The owner worked very close to this area and was able to get there quickly and saw her, however being in survival mode, she even ran from him. We continued with the signs and flyers which would lead us to the break we needed.
Miss Chocolate was seen on the West side of Green Bay by Perkins Park in the morning and evening. The family and our group did a stake out to see if we could determine her travels. She was seen again the following evening in the same area. We determined she was sheltering in the park and finding food from the scraps left from the children from the parks summer lunch program. The following evening we set a bait pile of cheeseburgers with a camera on it and when checking it the next morning she was on it! We then set a trap the following evening using a cheeseburger trail and a bonus bacon & egg croissanwich in the trap. Family and members of our group were in their vehicles in set spots on the travel route she was taking. She was seen in the playground area looking for food scraps. We waited anxiously for the cell camera to go off. Within minutes, but what seemed like hours, she was on the cell camera and then IN THE TRAP! WE GOT HER!
After 69 days, Miss Chocolate’s adventure was complete at 9:50 pm on August 17, 2018. She was back with the family that loved her dearly and NEVER gave up on her.
Rozie's Story - 39 Days
Date Missing: 12/18/18 Date Reunited: 1/26/19 Days Missing: 39
Rozie never even made it in the front door when she arrived at her new home in Peshtigo, WI on 12/18/18. She leaped out of the car and took off running, wearing her little purple vest and dragging a 6 ft. leash.
She was staying in the neighborhood for the first couple days, but no one was able to catch her, so the owners reached out to Get Toby Home for assistance. Within just a couple hours of setting up a live trap, she was already standing in front of it, ready to go in. Unfortunately, some neighbor dogs came along and scared her away. For the next 3 weeks, Rozie ran far and wide, sometimes
traveling 5 miles in one day, and then 10 miles in the other direction the next day. Her tracks in the snow were followed on railroad tracks, snowmobile trails, power lines, through cemeteries, lumber
yards, parks, parking lots and sometimes right up driveways and on porches and decks, she just never stopped running.
Because she was a new addition to the family, we did not even have a picture of her to use for our “Lost Dog” signs, so we had to use a picture of a look-a-like dog and the one from our camera of her
standing in front of the trap. We were constantly moving the signs and traps to the areas where she was last seen.
The people of Peshtigo and surrounding areas were wonderful about calling in sightings of her, and allowing traps to be set up on their properties, even cooking bacon on their grills to try to draw her in. Finally, she circled back around to the area she had run from, and was sighted almost every day traveling the frozen river into town, and then disappearing every night. At that point, we had 6 traps and several cameras strategically placed along the river and in town. On day 33, Rozie entered a trap at Tom’s mother’s house on the river, but for some reason the trap door did not close and she was on the run again! Desperately hoping that she would return to that trap, we put her only possession, her bed, in the trap, and prayed.
The nights were getting colder, and we were nervous about the time it might take us to get to her if she was trapped, since we were watching the cameras from a distance away. A local man, named
Joel, who had also been following Rozie’s tracks and watching her movements, offered to be “on call” for us, to help check cameras, and could get to a trap quickly if needed. He was just what we needed to safely continue to keep traps set. Finally on 1/26/19 after 39 days and on the coldest night yet in January 2019 (25 degrees below zero) our little Rozie dove into her bed in that same trap and ended her long, cold journey. Ramblin’ Rozie, as she had become known by the people around Peshtigo, was FINALLY home!
Bo's Story- 38 Days
Date Missing: 2/9/20 Date Reunited: 3/17/20 Days Missing: 38
Bo’s family was sending him from North Dakota to Alabama for bird training and on 2/9/20 the transport company stopped at a rest stop on Hwy 43 in Denmark, WI in the middle of a snowstorm and Bo got loose. The transport company tried to get Bo safely, however was not able to and they ultimately had to make a decision to keep moving forward with their trip south.
Get Toby Home learned of Bo missing on 2/24/20 after seeing him posted on another Facebook site. We immediately reached out to the family and offered our assistance in trying to get him back home safe. We immediately started making signs and flyers to be distributed in the area. We used Google Maps and plotted out zones to be flyered and where to place road signs. We reached out to our Get Toby Home followers to get assistance with flyering each of the zones as it was critical to get the word out immediately. Over the next couple weeks over 8,000 flyers and nearly 50 signs were placed.
Once signs, flyers and Facebook post were done, calls started coming in. We plotted the map patterns started to emerge. One day on my gut instinct, I stopped at a farm that butted up to where he went missing and it would turn out to be the best decision made in helping to get Bo home!
Talking to the wonderful farmer Pat, he had seen what he thought was a coyote recently. He said he would keep an eye out for him and call us with any further information. Later that night he called and said his wife saw a dog running in their back yard, but stated it could have been a coyote as it was too far. We put out a camera but nothing but cats showed up. Then we got a sighting on his son’s farm from a couple that was passing through. Based on their description of the dog and collar, we were confident it was Bo.
We set a bait pile, trap and camera, however again nothing showed on the camera. Then at the new home Pat lives at down the road he called to let us know he was missing some chickens. We immediately set cameras at the chicken coops and BOOM! We got him on camera for the first time on 3/15, but at the time the picture was not the best to even confirm it was a dog. On 3/16 we set more cameras up at that location and there he was on our cameras!!!! We were so happy, but still a bit hesitant that it may not be him because we could not see the collars or his black spot on his backend. We immediately set traps and cameras in that location on 3/16. That night we got a message from the owner of Pats old home down the road and across from the farm and she had Bo on her Ring camera. On 3/17 we set 2 additional traps and cameras at that location and at 9:09 pm he showed up and 9:11 pm he went in the trap! We had 5 (6 foot) traps and 10 cellular trail cameras out for Bo along with the 50 signs and 8,000 flyers we handed out.
This capture was possible because of the tremendous support of this community and volunteers that helped to get him home. Farmer Pat and his family were superior to work with and we could not have asked for anyone better to work with. Without all of this support, it is very likely that Bo would still not be home today.
Dot's Story - 16 Days
Date Missing: 5/9/20 Date Reunited: 5/24/20 Days Missing: 16
Polka Dot or Dot as she is sometimes called, a little pocket bully, began her scary adventure May 9th. She saw some turkeys and ran after them. Her humans looked for her for days. They live about 90 miles away from there and needed to go home for work. It wasn’t until May 15th that there was a sighting about 2.5 miles from where she started that they realized she hadn’t succumbed to the wilderness of the northern woods of Wisconsin. They went up to the sighting area and looked for a few days again. Dot was nowhere to be found.
On May 17th realizing they were going to need help finding Dot they posted her missing on Facebook. Get Toby Home responded to the post, guiding them from the distance on making posts, getting flyers and signs up and letting folks know in the area know she was missing. Folks that lived in the area saw the post and shared it so everyone around knew to keep an eye out for Dot.
One of our group members has a place about 20 miles from where she ran away and made arrangements with the owners to help with the larger street signs and flyers when she would return up there the following weekend if the owners and others looking in the area were not able to get her by then. As luck would have it on Thursday evening May 21st a gentleman with a place up there made a separate post on Facebook of a dog that was hiding in his woodshed that was scared and ran out. It was Dot!
On Friday we went up there with signs, flyers and trapping supplies. Permission was given from the woodshed owner to set a trap in hopes that she would circle back after it quieted down again. Once the trap was set the larger street signs were placed and flyers handed out, the owner immediately started to get calls of new sightings a few miles from the woodshed location she was seen at on May 21st. The owners came up to also help distribute flyers and were there when the sighting calls came in; so drove to the area but had no luck trying to find Dot. She had vanished. They needed to return home for work with a very heavy heart.
Dot was traveling back and forth on a country highway covering about a 3.5 mile stretch. More traps were set at 2 additional sighting areas along with additional street signs placed. On Saturday we received another sighting call from a property owner that had seen Dot Friday night at his place and Saturday afternoon. We knew she was still in that area then and had not continued traveling north.
What was so special and so important here was the willingness of the property owners to not only grant permission to place the traps on their property but ability to check the traps a couple times throughout the day because cell coverage for the cameras wasn’t good in that area. We would drive over early morning and evening to check the traps and re-bait them and the property owner would check them in between.
On Sunday we received a call from Dot’s owner that she was seen laying down in a ditch just a few feet off the highway. A young boy with very keen eyes saw her while he was out four wheeling with his family. They got the number off the sign down the road and called the owner. While our team was driving over to the sighting area, the family stayed by Dot and continued to just watch her to make sure she stayed in eyesight of them.
Our team, along with the caller, was eventually able to get Dot out of the creek and up the ditch using a quilt like a hammock. Dot was now secured in the vehicle and safe! The owners were called, and to save time to get Dot the emergency vet care she needed, we immediately started driving to meet the owners half way as it was clear she needed immediate Vet care. Dot was safely transferred to her owner’s car Sunday afternoon May 24th and was taken to the vet right away.
The next day we received word that Dot was doing OK and had slept later that evening at home. She seemed very quiet and confused but she was HOME! After a week of being home we were given good news, Dot is back to her own playful self and is gaining the weight back that she lost while being on her adventure.
Railway's Story - 32 Days
Date Missing: 4/25/20 Date Reunited: 5/26/20 Days Missing: 32+
NOTE: Not known how long she was missing before we stepped in.
On May 7th, 2020 we saw a post on another missing pets page about a dog seen on a home security camera that was not known to the area. We immediately added it to our page to try to find out if it was someone’s missing dog.
We started getting comments that the dog was seen in the area on another camera and we privately reached out to that homeowner. On May 9th, we visited the area and talked to the homeowner and other neighbors and we were confident that the dog we were now calling “Railway” (because she was often seen by the RR Museum), was sticking around and that it would be best to get a trap out immediately. We set 2 traps up in the yard along with cellular trail cameras and later that night, we saw! Little did we know how SMART this girl was and how hard she would be to trap.
Railway would go to each of the traps and go in just far enough to grab what food she could reach without setting the trap. She was a master at using the “stretch” to get as much food as she could. We tried so many different things from covering the trap, keeping it uncovered, trying different textures on the base of the trap, adding food only to the back of the trap, trying all different types of food and even moving the traps to different spots within the yard. Night after night, she would come back and was like clockwork. We could nearly predict the exact times she would come in, however we had no luck trapping her in our 6 foot traps.
Initially we did not do any signs or flyers because we knew where she was, but as time went on and we determined she would very likely never go in a trap, we knew we had to find other locations she was seen so we could get the Missy Trap deployed. The current property would not work because is the grading of the yard. We put a handful of signs out and flyered some streets along the path we knew she was taking. Calls came in and lead us to two homes where we could move the traps, one of them happened to be the mother-in-law of one of our Team Toby members. We moved our 6 foot traps and cameras to these 2 locations and sure enough she showed up that night, but yet again, she would not go into the standard traps.
At the mother-in-law’s house, we then started a 3 day process of setting the Missy trap up, sections at a time. We knew she was scared of our other traps so did not want to do anything to scare her away from this one. She immediately started going into the trap sections and even started laying down for short rests which just blew our minds away! It’s like she knew this was home and her safe place. This happened each night/day until we had the trap fully assembled. On May 26th, we set and baited the Missy trap for the last time at 3:00 pm and by 5:24 pm she came for her visit and by 5:26 pm she was in!