FOUND Professional Pet Trackers
A pet parent’s worst nightmare is knowing that their pet is missing. We experienced this on March 7th. Athena was outside during Willie’s birthday party and literally was here one minute and gone the next. I know many will ask if our yard was fenced in and the simple answer to that is yes, but there was an area that suffered some tree damage and had not been fixed. Athena had never tried to leave home before and we are still unsure of the circumstances as to why or how she left.
What I do know is this; I went into an immediate panic. I notified the Sheriff’s Office who controls our Animal Control division as well as started a social media campaign that went pretty far in a very short amount of time. The first night was pure chaos here. We were out walking until dark and then took to our vehicles to drive. We called her name until our voices diminished.
The next morning when she was still not home I knew I had to do more. I started to look online for pet trackers. I knew they existed because a friend had called one in the past, but I knew that this was something I would have to pray over because of costs. I was in touch with Carmen Brothers of FOUND Professional Pet Trackers and the plan was to have here here the next day (Monday). In the meantime I continued to pound the pavement and keep my social media efforts up. We rallied together as a community and we searched together while praying together and even crying together. I knew I was going to have to figure out a way to pay for this, but I knew that this would be totally worth it. The notion hit me to crowd fund this. Facebook had a great option for a fundraiser and it had less fees than other services similar, so I set it up. $400 needed to be raised before I went to bed that night. Y’all I want to say that my community is amazing. I met and exceeded the goal by a bit. I paid Carmen and we were all set up for around lunch time the next day.
I put Athena’s blanket in an unscented bag to preserve her scent and we had clothing and blankets outside as well as her food throughout the whole situation.
When Carmen arrived with K9 Magic it was hot. One of the first really hot days we had to that point. I loved them both upon first sight. K9 Magic was ready to work and after getting a drink of water we were off. The track was quite simple and covered about 1/2 mile. We were sweaty but had the answer I needed at that point. Athena was not in the area and we knew she had been picked up and put into a vehicle. The thing is in our area the animal shelter was still closed and we prayed that upon reopening on Tuesday that someone would bring Athena there. She was microchipped and the chip was associated with my name, telephone number, home address and even my email.
Social media efforts continued and with the gracious help of Carmen we had LOTS of flyers which were placed in numerous mailboxes the following day and also in just about every store front that would allow us. I wanted people to know this dog and to know how special she was to us and how much we needed her to be home. I am also thankful to the local printing shop Faye’s Office Supply for the efforts that were put forth in the mass printing.
I made a Facebook group so that I could make my own personal page private again just because I don’t prefer to have that wide open for the world to see. This group picked up speed and the shares multiplied with every single one I posted. I made a map to located stores where the flyers were placed so that the community could continue where I couldn’t.
I became so tired. I was emotional and cried until literally no tears would come out, but I knew I had to keep going. I met strangers who became friends and the outpouring of love was beyond anything I had ever seen in my life. I knew I loved where we live, but this left me with an even bigger love.
On the eve of the 2 week mark of Athena being missing I made a plea. I asked that whoever had her no matter the circumstances to please bring her back. I needed closure and I needed to know that she was back at home.
***TRIGGER WARNING*** Graphic Details Beyond This Point!
While many search stories end with happy tearful reunions ours did not end that way. At nearly the same time on the clock that we discovered Athena to be missing we were burying her in our back yard with our other pets. Someone did bring her back and she was placed at our property line deceased. She had been gone for several days at that point and I can tell you this was something that my heart could barely handle, but I felt a sense of relief at the same time. We cried together as a family and again as a community. I don’t know the details and perhaps I do not want to know them. I don’t know who brought her back, but some part of me is thankful that they did. I needed to move on either with Athena (which I desperately wanted) or to have the closure knowing that we were not moving on with her.
We have her collar and a beautiful painted picture that was sent to us by Carmen and K9 Magic happily displayed in our home and while I know these were not the average results I am so thankful to have met Carmen and her special K9. I am thankful for a lasting friendship and the knowledge that I gained to help others through this situation.
The Facebook group has now turned into a memorial page for Athena– It is called Remembering Athena if anyone would like to join. The efforts of our community will live on through donations to the shelter that we got her from and a goal to help other families that need.