On March 5th, 2021, a Barrington, Rhode Island family reached out for help. “Snowball,” their newly adopted dog slipped her harness and attempts to catch her have failed. I sold my home in 2016 and left my business card with some papers for the buyers. The homebuyer kept the card, is colleagues with Snowball’s mom, and upon hearing the news, urged Laurie to call me.

Snowball’s meet and greet adoption process went well. A happy dog, she liked her new family: Mom, Dad, two young children, and “Caspar”, their other dog. Even so, like people put in unfamiliar situations, dogs can be intimidated by sights, sounds, and scents. If trying to escape, they often abruptly pull away and can slip a collar or harness rather easily. It’s a common event with newly adopted dogs.

Laurie and Derek were doing much right, but their methods needed a fast tweak. The ACO (Animal Control Officer) lent them a 4’ long humane cage trap, but it wasn’t set in a fashion to catch a savvy dog. Snowball would lean in to take toys and tidbits out and didn’t step on the trip plate. Also, well-meaning neighbors left food out. A dog with a full belly can’t be as easily lured to you and can be harder to tempt to go into a cage trap. Laurie spent many long cold hours outside on a blanket with food, waiting for a chance to lure Snowball to her.

I gave them advice about adjusting the trap and recounted old case stories about different methods to catch dogs. One was to run a rope from a gate through a window or hidden spot. Once a dog enters the yard, you yank the rope to slam the gate shut, thus trapping it safely inside the enclosure.

At 1:30 AM Sunday, I got a text that Derek used the rope trick to trap Snowball in their yard. We talk and text for two hours as Laurie tries luring Snowball out of pitch-black spaces. Derek is discreetly guarding the shorter front yard fence of the enclosed yard. They then decide they must work as a team to “herd” Snowball out of the dark space and towards the house. As they move in close, Snowball wanders into dense shrubs and luckily gets stuck. Laurie reaches down and picks her up. Success! Yay! We are so cold!!

As she wandered lost through the neighborhood, Snowball happily wagged her tail a lot. She also often visited her family’s backyard – it had chickens! Hearing this, I felt sure they could catch her with some experienced advice and emotional support. Bravo, job well done!

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