Sometimes things go wrong by no fault of a dog, and humans are, well human, and they make mistakes. 90% of life is not about what happens to you, but how you react to it.
Logan, our darling black lab boy, about 4-years old and loves every human he meets – escaped on transport around 9:45 pm on Saturday night. Accidents happen. Logan was able to back out of his crate as he was being loaded onto a transport van at a busy Pilot truck stop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Still attached to his bright green Lu’s Labs slip lead, he actually stayed out of reach but stayed around the truck stop for a couple of hours.
Amid Christmas parties, evening activities, and weekend wind downs, the Lu’s Lab community of volunteers, and rescuers beyond, mobilized. Flyers were made, there were eyes on the ground with our local rescuers in Alabama searching, sighting him a couple of times under trucks parked for the night, along pathways, and also dangerously close to a busy highway.
The hardest part when a rescue dog escapes, in a stressful situation and an unfamiliar place, is that you just don’t know how they will react. A usual happy go lucky dog like Logan at first tried to approach a few people. But, through a comedy of errors, and misreading his intentions reactions spurred him off to a more stressed out state. Once this happens with a scared dog, approaching the dog can be perceived as chasing. Chasing means to Logan, “I have to get away.” And I have to get away means being driven further off course. At one point Logan ducked for cover into a drainage pipe in a culvert under the highway.
In the meantime, the executive team of Lu’s Labs began putting together a game plan and got together lost dog flyers to get down to Alabama for printing. By Sunday morning with boots on the ground a coordinated effort of volunteers were blanketing the area with flyers, receiving information and sporadic spottings, that couldn’t always be sure were Logan.
After 36 hours of no sightings, the founder and president of Lu’s Labs, Luisa, put everything on hold in Northern Virginia to jump on a plane and head down to the Tuscaloosa, AL. Tuesday evening she secured her rental car, a place to stay, and met up with Jennifer McKinley, our Southern Foster Director, along with a dedicated team of volunteers and rescuers who had been tirelessly working to find Logan since his escape on Saturday evening. Animal Control was involved and helping with rescue efforts. They were ready with traps and when sightings occurred around Woodland Forrest, traps were set to try to catch him.
One volunteer contacted local radio stations who pulled together and posted on their websites and twitter feeds. Social media was instrumental in bringing in people. The lost flyers were shared over and over, and rescuers that were not even connected to Lu’s Labs joined in the search. More and more sightings let us know that he was still attached to his bright green slip lead. Sometimes it was apparent, but sometimes it wasn’t seen.
It was actually a blessing and a curse that he was still attached. This helped mark him as our black lab boy, but at the same time there was a fear that he was caught on something that could become a dangerous situation for him.
Luisa brought with her squeaky toys, field cameras and other equipment to help her catch Logan. With no recent sightings, she helped rescue another lost dog that had alluded animal control for a few days. And of course, no trip to Alabama would be complete without visits to the shelters, and falling in love with a couple of dogs that just had to become Lu’s Labs.
Jennifer, a native to the area, and also the first point of contact on the flyer and thus was getting all the sighting reports – began to see a pattern of where Logan was roaming and saw he was making a tighter and tighter triangle. On Wednesday night they staked out two ends of the path he was traveling. Lu and her crew were grilling out in a field on one side of the perimeter trying to draw Logan in with the smell of stinky foods, while Jennifer was by an area where other spottings had occurred. Her singing actually attracted Logan, but again, in his heightened state of alert, he alluded her.
The key really was to ignore their natural instincts and not look behind them whenever they heard sounds. That’s right, a bunch of women in the woods ignoring their conditioning to look at rustling in the hills behind them. The goal was that he would either come to them, or hopefully go in a trap. On Thursday morning, they heard the trap had a dog! Could it be Logan? No it was another dog. Thursday night they repeated the process and swapped sides of his traveled path.
By this point so many people had spotted a friendly black lab attached to a green leash, hanging out by fences, following home some girls who were singing, roaming around, but no one could really get close enough to earn his trust.
On Friday morning Luisa was preparing to head home to Virginia, while the plan for other volunteers was to keep up the search. This is when the news came. Logan had been caught in the trap! And Billy from Animal control, who was born for this job, with his total dedication, was able to harness Logan and along with Jennifer getting another slip lead on Logan, they were able to get him into Jennifer’s car and let Lu know the great news.
Lu immediately canceled her flight and made arrangements to drive all the way back to Northern Virginia with Logan. With a bursting heart, happy to know Logan is safely back in the nest, Logan’s Journey isn’t over yet.
His big adventure is only just beginning as he heads for his Northern Foster. This dedicated team of rescuers, volunteers, and good Samaritans went above and beyond to make sure Logan had the chance to find his forever home.
While at time’s Logan’s Journey was scary, at the end of the day, his escape led to the capture of two other stray dogs, and 3 other lucky labs making it into Lu’s Labs where they will also find their forever homes! Remember always live in that 90% of how you react to the world and good things will come!
End Note and Many thanks Abbreviated From a Post by Luisa Paucci: Luisa Paucci would like to personally thank many of the people who were involved in the search. Of course Jen McKinley – The Southern Foster Director and her tireless dedication from the moment we got the news of his escape. Lisa PIzzato – Lisa was out handing out flyers, camping out with Lu, and was instrumental in the search for Logan. Amy Eades Anderson – Also camping, distributing flyers, and involved intensely with the search. Arianna Curreri Bastian – involved in a lot of our transports, was immediate feet on the ground and brought her dog Duke to help in the search. Tracey Walker Dies – who brought the grill, fed us, camped out with us, and was dedicated to Logan’s recovery. Maddie Towers – Logan’s foster mom, spent countless hours looking for her boy, showered him with love, and made him the incredible dog he is. Steve Lamon – made giant signs for us and helped in the search. Myra Alexander – Feet on the ground the very first night. Kathleen Johnson – Who contacted the media and got the word spread far and wide. Linda Wilson – who brought us hot chocolate, blankets and chairs during our camp out. The amazing efforts and involvement of Tuscaloosa Animal Control – Billy, Miguel, and Trent. Thank you for being so incredibly supportive, helpful and responsive. And on a very personal note, Luisa knows she has her husband in heaven supporting her through difficult times like this past week. Loving memory to Rick Harrelson.
And of course, the countless number of people who shared and liked posts on social media, reported spottings, and were caring in the face of a lost dog.