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My Dog Went Missing A Week Ago


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I'm just so heartbroken right, and I feel so much guilt. I've had plenty of dogs over the years but I never felt such a connection until I got Tucker a year and a half ago. We were inseparable, and he just adored me. That look in his eyes said all he wanted was to be next to me.

I'm no stranger to grief. My dad was incarcerated when I was 18, and my mom died when I was 22. She was sick for six months, and it was in that time period that I got Tucker. I needed him as much as he needed me. I feel bad saying it, but losing Tucker feels worse than losing my parents. I think a lot of it is just not knowing. Is he safe living with someone else? Is he roaming still? Was he shot? Was he killed by coyotes?

We live out in the country so coyotes are around. I know sometimes they're on the farmland behind our house. I know some will call me irresponsible, but Tucker and Zip (one of our other dogs) are outside loose during the day, as are most of the dogs in our neighborhood. Zip stays by the house but Tucker liked to visit the neighbors and explore the farmlands, especially the one behind our house. So I know coyote attacks are rare but Tucker certainly upped his odds.

Tucker hated being cooped up. He destroys window blinds and chews up other things inside if left alone. I physically couldn't get him in a crate because he's so wiggly and fast. He can get out of any collar, harness, or dog run, but he was always by the house when I came home. It just naturally made sense to let him stay outside and loose because that's what he was most comfortable with. And it worked for over a year since we stopped attempting to contain him. As soon as I pulled into the driveway he ran off the porch to greet me. Until last Tuesday. He just wasn't there.

I'll never forget that day. The night before he disappeared for half an hour and terrified me. Half an hour is normal for Tucker but he usually didn't wander at night. I was up half the night researching underground fences, and decided his roaming days were over. I thought about keeping him inside until we got it, but I figured maybe him being inside all day on Monday from the cold was why he wanted to stretch his legs that night, so I put him and Zip out. He surprised me by standing in the driveway when I was scraping frost off my windshield that morning. He normally goes straight to his dog house but that morning he looked like he was planning on going somewhere but just wanted to see me off. I scratched him behind the ear before getting in my car. When I was halfway down our road I thought about turning back to check the blankets in his dog house to make sure they were dry, but I wouldn't have been able to dry them quickly so I put it out of my mind. I had even left early that day when it was still dark out so I could come home early to walk Tucker.

Everything I did that day was for Tucker and he wasn't there when I got home. He didn't come when we called him, he wasn't around the neighborhood, and he didn't come home that night. I took two days off work to search for him and put up flyers with no results yet. There's just nothing. The neighbors know nothing, we couldn't find signs of a coyote struggle, we couldn't even find a body on the side of the road.

I try to stay optimistic. I keep searching every online lost dog resource and calling shelters and searching around the one area we got a tip that hasn't turned up a similar dog. But I'm losing hope. I know since it's been over a week now the odds are against us. I'm so sorry. I feel like I did everything right with that dog except that he was loose that day. He's even microchipped. I love him so much so why was he the one who had to leave? I can't even begin to accept his loss because it feels like giving up on him.

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My friend, I am so sorry to read about your beloved Tucker, and I do have some understanding of the pain you're experiencing now. This sort of ambiguous loss is one of the most difficult to bear, because you don't know whether the loss is real and / or permanent, much less if and when to begin mourning for your dog. As I wrote in one of my articles,

. . . because of the uncertainty involved, this experience can be a most devastating kind of loss, in some ways even worse than a death. That's because you have no idea what happened to your dog, whether he is living or dead, suffering or at peace, homeless and wandering as a stray or living with somebody else.

The feelings associated with this sort of pet loss are the same as if your dog had died, such as sorrow, longing, denial, anger and guilt. But this grief is also complicated by your own need to keep hope alive, which constantly interrupts or delays the process and makes it far more difficult to resolve. It is like harboring a wound that cannot heal.

Please know that we are thinking of you, and praying for a positive outcome to your story.

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Thank you Marty. You are so right about this being a wound that cannot heal, and I am the one keeping it open. I have to, it's way too soon to give up on my baby. A lot of people tell me stories about their lost dogs, how one came back after two weeks and another was found after a month, etc. but what if he's not found? I find myself getting angry that these people have their dog back and I don't even though mine hasn't been missing as long yet.

I went to search the woods yesterday near where someone said they saw him last week, begging Tucker to send me a sign but again nothing. I don't cry as much now, only when I'm by myself. I go back and forth between frantic searching and accepting that if he is to come back, it may take time.

I have a hard time believing he's a stray right now. He's just so sweet that I can't believe he wouldn't go up to people, and I can't believe no one would've seen him. I just hope someone has him right now and that he'll be returned.

I can't stand the thought of him dying alone with coyotes yip yipping around him. It would've been so terrifying.

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My heart hurts for you regarding your dog. Based on his behavior the last day you saw him, I think he was likely planning a trip. I know the look. I once had a Doxie named Heidi Hilda who knew she wasn't allowed in the pig barn to be with the piglets, so she would watch me until I turned away before she would head straight for it. If indeed his trip was planned, perhaps there is hope still that he will return.

I understand your concern about the coyotes, for we have them also.

Your kind of pet loss is the very worst, for you don't know what is happening, or what has happened. I am so very sorry this is happening to you. I'm sending you a hug, and will pray that your dog will return.


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You are a good doggie mommy. You did right by giving your baby his freedom. Some dogs, like people, must have their freedom in order to thrive. You did well. Try to not dwell on the guilt. When we lose our fur babies, it seems we will wish we had done something differently. There is always at least one thing that we wish we could change, it seems. I lost my Doxie Ashely on October 10 to kidney disease, and I still feel pain and guilt. I'm telling myself to try to set aside my guilt, for it helps neither her nor me. I don't always succeed, but I'm trying. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


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Thanks Carrie. I hope this was a planned trip because there's more hope in that. And you're right, he definitely needed more freedom to be happy. He didn't like any toys or playing with other dogs so if he was inside all day there would be nothing to keep him occupied except his anxiety about getting loose. It gives me some comfort to think that way. It's like if someone were passionate about skydiving and died in a skydiving accident. Should they have lived to 75 being bored and restless or lived to 35 doing what they loved? I may not have kept Tucker as safe as possible, but I did everything to make him as happy as possible.

I'll attach a couple pictures of Tucker and Zip. Tucker is the beagle mix. We also have a dachshund named Jake but he stays inside all day.




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Sleather, I'm so very sorry this has happened to you and your darling Tucker. You've been doing some of the right things, though, in your search for him. If I may, I'd also suggest putting posters up wherever you can (but without his name attached, as is often advised if an animal has been stolen) - grocery stores, vet offices, drugstores, wherever there's people traffic. And keep checking all surrounding shelters daily, making sure they have a written description of him as well as a picture, plus his I.D. info. As well, a few other useful links to aid you in your search (I'm assuming you're in the US) :




You may also want to check out animal communicators who specialized in lost animals (if so, the sooner the better). Here's one such page:


And one of several ACers who does this work herself:


Plus a wealth of information on what else you can do, from this other ACer, here:


You can also check online "lists" such as Craigslist or other places where animals are posted for adoption. That's how one man recently found his own missing dog, after months, I believe it was, of him going lost. Unlike what the literature might advise, those of us in animal advocacy work always say, NEVER completely give up hope, or looking...despite that being so incredibly hard for anyone to manage in their path of bereavement.

This is one of every animal parent's nightmares, and I actually can rather imagine how you're feeling, as not only am I a partial Empath, but I'm suffering from a similar situation myself. This concerns 2 much-adored cats, one of whom everyone always thought was actually mine, as she virtually lived at our house (and in our hearts, we knew belonged to each other for sure!), but who were not legally mine, yet whom I'd looked after and out for for 5 straight years, and for whom we sat exclusively in our home for their last month here. But they were then ripped away from me to live in their terribly-neglectful people's newly-built home. I've not been allowed to visit them more than once (right at the beginning), nor sit for them again so far (and it's not looking hopeful for the future, though that had been promised to me). Their people allowed them to roam at will, but weren't looked out for to get back indoors, either, no matter the temp. or weather. In short, they would have died if not for me being here for them.

There hasn't been one single day since where I haven't been in anguish and gut-wrenching worry over their safety, well-being, and care. And through a trusted animal communicator I hired (since I was too upset to do that work myself in this case), I learned they are missing me every bit as much as I'm missing them, which shatters my heart to bits even more. Yet every day that's passed since still leaves me wondering if they're each even still alive or not, suffering from neglect, have become lost, and on and on and on.... I do what I can for them via distance work as I'm able (and just trusting they're still on this plane to receive it, but if not, that their spirit/s will get it anyway), but it's still a hellish way to exist.

So I can truly resonate with the day-to-day, inner struggles that this kind of limbo elicits, and the other complications from the unresolved-ness of it all, as Marty had already mentioned. The longer I live, it seems the more kinds of grief and loss I'm having to experience, and none of them are at all easy. I weep for every one of us ever stuck in such situations, and have actually lost most hope for my own already, since this grief, too, has been further complicated by other ridiculously "UNlucky" life events....but I can still hold hope for yours. And so that is what I'll do on yours and Tucker's behalf...

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I am so sorry that you are going through this painful time. I only want to reach out and let you know that I care and send you {{{hugs}}}.

The pictures are priceless and I so hope that Tucker is found safe and either returns to you or is brought back to you very soon.

As an animal lover, my heart is broken for you. Please let us know about Tucker when you hear.


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Thank you Marty, Maylissa, and enna for your kind words and great suggestions. We've got flyers up on stop signs all over the area, and on other community boards. I also put up large neon posters with three pictures of Tucker at a few major intersections in the area. Animal control in our area knows, and I check in the neighboring county too. I check a lot of the shelters in the area and made sure they have posters. Tucker is chipped so if he ends up at the shelter, most likely we'll get him back. I have flyers at the vets too in case someone takes him in. The sheriff and local police know too. We're still getting tips from people, most of which end up being about some other dog, but a couple are still possible.

And Maylissa, I'm really sorry to hear about your cat. In my search for Tucker I got a few calls about a lookalike dog who we found the owner for, and he definitely didn't care much about the dog. It was hard to give him back and I still think about him and hope that he has a decent life.

I still talk to Tucker. That seems to help a bit. Usually I talk to him in the car driving to and from work, and then sometimes in the evening while sitting on Tucker's cushion on the front porch. I promise him he'll have all the walks and food and cuddles he wants if he came home, but if he can't I would understand. I'm not mad at him. I don't know if he can hear me but it makes me feel better.

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I am so sorry for what you are going through, I pray you learn his whereabouts. What Marty suggested is really a good idea, I would be open to it if I were going through it, it wouldn't hurt to try. If law enforcement can turn to psychics, why not someone looking for their dog? My heart just goes out to you, I can imagine how you must be feeling! Such a beautiful boy!

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Thanks kayc. What is everyone's experience with these animal communicators? I have to admit I'm skeptical.

Today's been a rough day so far. We got another tip in last night after it was already dark that someone had seen our dog in a neighborhood a few miles from our house. My boyfriend takes all the calls for these tips, and he said he thinks he's spoken to her before and texted her a few pictures of Tucker, so she would have a better idea than most of what he looked like. I circled around the neighborhood five times calling his name but didn't see anything. I put up some more flyers in the area, hoping that some people just haven't seen them yet.

I had several dreams about Tucker last night. The first was that I was posting to the various Facebook lost and found groups that Tucker had been found deceased. Then I had a bunch of dreams that someone found him or a very similar dog and was posting it on Facebook. The last one was that I opened the door of our house to see Tucker laying in the grass in the yard. It was warm outside. I was so excited to see him and brought him in and gave him his breakfast. Then my alarm went off and I even had to think hard when I woke up on whether Tucker was still lost or not. He's still lost. Such disappointment.

I checked that neighborhood again on my way to work and still didn't see him. Not just him but there weren't any dogs running around outside. Not that I'm complaining, it's way too cold for most dogs to be out today around here. My boyfriend thinks someone has him and just doesn't want to give him up. If that's the case I can only hope we'll catch a glimpse of him someday, or this person's cousin or friend or something figures it out and calls us.

I'm a little more optimistic today that Tucker wasn't killed by coyotes. Still definitely possible though. It does feel like the grieving process has reset though. I feel like there's still a chance, and then realize Tucker's still not home and there's no guarantee he ever will be and the fear and sadness washes over me all over again.

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I am still hoping also that he'll be found. It's happened, even after quite a while. It must be very disconcerting to have all those dreams.

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What is everyone's experience with these animal communicators? I have to admit I'm skeptical.

This roller coaster must be ever so terribly hard on you, I'm sure, sleather. But you'd asked this question, and I'll answer as best I can.

Nothing wrong with having a "healthy" skepticism. That can actually help you weed out any ACers who aren't authentic. That said, there are many who are authentic (hence the specific list I'd provided), and the ones who've chosen to take on missing animal cases are usually among the most ethical and strong in spirit, as it's not easy work due to all the emotions they must deal with involving each case. That alone should imply how dedicated they are to helping. And as a result of the emotional difficulty of doing missing animals work, they tend to be quite helpful in also psychologically supporting the animal's person during the process. Several also use a variety of methods by which to try and locate missing animals, so don't rely only on their telepathic skills. And you're still required to take whatever measures are still needed to locate your companion. It's a necessary teamwork approach.

If you didn't read through those websites, perhaps you missed also seeing the "Pet Detectives" resources also available per some States or Provinces. They employ dogs and related methods to try and find missing animals:


Many folks are truly caring about missing animals these days, but it's still up to each animal parent to avail themselves of the resources out there, in order to maintain both hope and chances of recovery of their animal. I've known people who've utilized every means they could find, and thereby got their furchild back. I've thankfully not had to hire anyone myself as yet to locate a missing animal of my own, but I've heard some wonderful and successful stories from people who have - hiring ACers &/or other professionals in tandem. I've also heard of people who have door-knocked and discovered their missing animal in someone else's house, and in cases where the thief wouldn't relinquish them, were able to then go to the police and thereby retrieve them. Others have employed food-baited dog traps, then regularly monitored them (even more frequently in bad weather), as another woman I knew did, whose dog was spotted several times in some woods but still wouldn't come to her, he was so spooked by then. She DID eventually capture him and get him back home, although it took a few weeks of unwavering, daily effort. (she even slept IN those woods by herself on a few occasions) Animal rescue groups can sometimes also be accessed for information and aids, but if they sense the person isn't willing to do the hard work, they may refuse, as burn-out for them is a real issue.

As for more personal experience, I also do animal communing work myself (just not normally, specifically with missing animals), so know first-hand that it's a reality, and can attest to receiving information from animals that was validated by their people as true and often highly specific. I can also affirm that once one has communed with an animal in these ways, their gratitude and appreciation is normally immediately apparent, and the relationship between each is forever changed and hugely enriched. (there were also a few energetic techniques in some of those links that you can do yourself, that could benefit both you and Tucker)

Regarding missing animals in particular, I did take on trying to locate a missing cat in our area who I hadn't even met as yet, but whom I came to later meet, then adore, once he returned home. (another sad case of negligent, uncaring "owners" who refused to look for him themselves...partly why I did this of my own accord) Although I could clearly see he was trapped inside a shed, I wasn't able to specifically tell where this shed was in the neighbourhood, although I could tell what direction and relative distance it was from his house. On the other hand, I didn't immediately go out on foot myself to try and locate it, but as a first step, employed other energetic & spiritual means to help him get untrapped. I learned he then turned up back at home (dehydrated and starving) by 3am the next morning. After that episode, for the first time ever, he followed his brother (who I'd already known for quite awhile) down to our house that week to say "thank you!" to me, and we became very close from there on. Later on when he went missing AGAIN for a few hours in bad winter weather, I followed my intuition in door-knocking in my bid to find him, starting on the side of the street where I sensed he was. And we did find him within the hour, stuck in a tree in another neighbour's back yard, on that side of the street. (several people were willing to help me check their yards, and were appreciative of my efforts, even though he wasn't mine) Later still, I heard of at least one cat, if not two, being attacked overnight by what was most likely a coyote. I automatically knew one was him (and cognitively figured out who the other was), and telepathically saw how he'd been slammed against our fenceboards when this coyote attacked his other feline friend (they were outside together but both survived). Upon speaking with his humans the next day, what they told me jibed with what I'd seen, as it WAS him who'd gotten hurt when his head had hit our fence, resulting in a broken jaw, also then explaining the blood I'd found on our sidewalk. I also searched and door-knocked for 2 weeks to try and find another much-loved feline gf of mine gone missing, when her people wouldn't lift a finger, then also asked an intuitively practised friend of mine to connect with her, as well as later connecting myself; our respective connectings filled in the blanks. (won't go into the details of this one, as it wasn't a happy ending, and I grieved heavily for her thereafter)

So I've come to discover (mainly due to my own furkids having taught and opened my mind up) that the world of ACing is very real, and I've been involved in it in one way or another for decades now, and I think one need only experience it in one way or another to come to know (not simply "believe in") that, as long as you're utilizing credible sources, or experiencing it first-hand. If the other sites aren't enough for you, maybe you could try a search on "animal communicators who've found lost animals" or something similar, just to see how much more commonly known and accepted this all is nowadays. I've heard good things, first-hand, about Annette Betcher http://www.annettebetcher.com/petfound.shtml, who is also listed on Bob Olson's Best Psychic Directory under Animal Communicators. http://www.bestpsychicdirectory.com/animal-communicator You can read pages of testimonials on her site about her work with missing animals.

For myself, I can say that if any furchild of mine went missing I would employ any and all resources I possibly could, especially within the first hours and days. I couldn't really rest until either I'd gotten them back, or I had enough evidence of some kind of their passing. (it's much the same to me as for parents whose humans children go missing) In fact, I've always got that plan in mind if I EVER hear of those 2 cats I'd come to love going missing from their new house (and they don't simply show up at mine!), whether or not their own people search for them...which they won't, I've already been told several times in the past. My conscience just wouldn't allow me to rest if I didn't, despite all the tough, gut-wrenching and exhaustive work it might take.

I wish you strength and perseverance, and (if it's in the cards for you) even some dream-time help that will point you in the best direction.

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Thank you Maylissa for your extremely detailed post. I looked into the pet detective idea but just could not find anyone in our area. There was one listed for our state on the resource you provided, but she's actually in the next state over, 5 hours away, and specializes in finding cats. I shot her an email anyway in case she had any suggestions on who I could talk to in my area. The thing that discouraged me about the detectives is that it seems like a lot of their work is doing the things I have already done, putting up countless posters, talking to people in the area, etc. Even in the testimonials, most of the people seemed to find their pet through these services that the detective provided, not from a dog actually coming out to search. I am kicking myself that I didn't consider this earlier, since it's been almost two weeks already so it'd be iffy that the scent trail even still exists at this point. But even if I had considered it, the costs are just so high. I love my dog to death but the fortune I would have to spend on a detective is just so much. I'm not one of those people offering a $1000 reward. I've got about $225 to give to someone who helps find my dog, but could put together a little more if need be.

It's a similar thing with the ACers, and I just can't justify spending so much on something I am not convinced works. I mean no offense to anyone involved in AC, but I guess I'm just not very spiritual. I know I'm not doing a very good job of showing I would do anything for my lost dog, but I'm trying to do everything within my means. I still search for him for hours everyday on top of a full time job and two online classes. We take quite a few calls everyday from people possibly seeing him. I check out every one, and keep going back to the ones that are more credible. At this time we only have one tip that we're still checking up on, but we're still hoping for more. Still hoping for our miracle.

I go back and forth still between the optimist and pessimist. I mean, there is definitely a coyote presence in the area Tucker liked to play in, and I thought that we would've gotten a call about our sweet, sweet Tucker sooner, something more substantial. It's hard to understand why Tucker, who was never afraid of people and always looking for a bite of food, would not approach someone if he were lost.

On the other hand, I know getting lost can change a dog's personality. He may be afraid to walk right up to someone, may be more skittish. I also know that while coyotes are relatively common in my area, it would still be out of the ordinary for them to attack and successfully take down a 45 lb dog (especially a scent hound who might smell them coming). And my dog isn't a helpless lap dog (not that there's anything wrong with them! I love my dachshund). If any dog could figure out how to survive out there, it would be Tucker. He knows how to find food, and he definitely knows how to find shelter. He has a dog house at home but I used to find him hanging out in all sorts of areas on our property in the winter. He really liked the shed where we kept hay bales for the horses. He also is wary of roads, the one good habit I taught him.

Maybe he's still hanging out outside somewhere, or in a shed/barn near someone else's house. We have signs up and have been knocking on doors so we're hoping someone realizes he's missing. We're also still considering the possibility that someone saw him and thinks he's as pretty as we do and decided to keep him. I know they say people keeping "strays" is uncommon, but he really has a distinct look. It's possible, especially since I can't exactly vouch for Tucker's loyalty. It wouldn't surprise me if he found some other people who take care of him and thought, "good enough, this will be my family now". Of course I would still want him back, but I can't say that would be the worst outcome for Tucker of the possibilities.

Thank you everyone again for the kind thoughts and prayers, and the very detailed suggestions. This website has been so helpful because there just aren't enough resources out there for handling the complex grief of a missing pet. Everyone has tips for how to find the animal, but no one else acknowledges the pain of knowing your pet may not come home, and there might not be any answers for what happened. I find myself in a sort of limbo: I have taken pretty much all the steps I can to find him (many tips are more appropriate for urban areas) and playing a lot of the waiting game now, but it's still too early to grieve as though he were dead. I simultaneously told to stay optimistic, and told that it's "just a dog" and that it's weird that I'm still upset about it 12 days later.

The search is not over, and I will let everyone know if we discover anything. Thank you, everyone!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I wanted to update you all about my missing dog Tucker. Before anyone gets too excited, he was not found or seen as far as we know. Obviously it's still very difficult to cope with such a sudden and ambiguous loss. I've cried almost every day since losing him, and some days are much worse than others. We still get some calls from people who think they've seen him, but so far it's always still been some other dog (or in one case, a large skunk). I'm still grateful that people are trying, though. It's really amazing how many other dog lovers live in my area.

I started seeing a therapist for my grief. Since I got Tucker at such a difficult time in my life and he helped me cope with losing my mom, the pain of losing him has been much more complicated than all the other pets I've lost. My therapist agrees that a lot of my grief from losing Tucker might be tied to the grief from losing my mom (that was less than a year and a half ago). I get five free sessions paid for by my job, but I will continue seeing this doctor until I feel I can handle both of my losses properly.

I looked into an animal detective, but there weren't any in my area. The closest one was someone a state away who specializes in cats, but as I was considering an farther away option, the big snowstorm that hit the South came, and covered up any trails that may have been left. It's only just started melting this weekend, so I'm sure this possibility is out. After I thought about it more, it probably wouldn't have helped much in Tucker's case anyway, since he wandered around a pretty large radius already. I think finding his final trail would've been very difficult if possible at all.

Finally, I actually gave in and contacted an animal communicator. As I mentioned, I was skeptical of the idea, but a friend of my boyfriend's cousin vouched for the particular ACer that I called (apparently they found the dog on her advice quite far from home), and somehow having someone more close to home recommend it pushed me to do it. It probably also helped that my boyfriend, who is generally very no-nonsense and would've laughed at the idea normally, was the one told me about it and said if it would help me to feel better, we should do it. So I called her and we talked on the phone for half an hour. I can give more details on what she said if anyone's interested, but the short answer is that she believes Tucker is alive and being well taken care of, and she gave a general direction and distance of where she thinks he is. I guess that's what I've been thinking too, that if he's still alive, someone's got him and is treating him right.

As far as coping with the grief, like I said some days are worse than others. Friday was pretty terrible. I couldn't concentrate on anything and was in tears almost the whole day, which is weird because Thursday I felt pretty good. Yesterday (Monday) was probably the best day I've had so far. I think it's the first time I felt happiness, and even thinking about not having Tucker didn't immediately drain that happiness away. It felt like I had somehow accepted that my chapter in Tucker's book may be over, at least for now, and that's ok. Even if he's dead, I heard someone say that a short life is still a complete life, and if that's so, I got to make the last 17 months of it great. It doesn't help to think of all the things he didn't get to do, but of all the things he did, and he did a lot for a country dog.

Thank you again for all your support everyone!

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I'm sorry you haven't gotten Tucker back but it must bring great consolation to know he is being well cared for. I can't help but feel if he could, he would find his way back to you. You gave him a great home.

42 years ago I was married and my husband had a child with another woman. I raised Bo (my stepson) until he was three...at that time we were divorced and Bo went to live with his biological mom. It felt worse than a death in a way because I didn't know how he was faring. We were reunited on his 7th birthday and I knew he remembered me and it was as emotional for him as it was for me. I didn't see him again until he was grown, but we've stayed in touch ever since. I know I had a huge place in his life as the first three years of a child's life are the most shaping years and I got to be there for that. He's grown up to be an amazing man and is a wonderful husband and father. I like to think I had a role in that.

Just as I had a role in Bo's life, so you had a role in Tucker's life. I wish you could have him the rest of his life and enjoy more memories with him...just as I wish I could have had Bo for all of his growing up years. I guess sometimes we have to be grateful for what we've had, even if it didn't last longer than it did. Your friend was right...a life is complete no matter how short or long. I guess so is our role, albeit short or long.

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I, too, am sorry you haven't recovered Tucker. I'd wanted to post this earlier, but things got in the way. There was an article I'd come across, written by the founder of the "Missing Pet Partnership," where she also talks about "How Humans Looking For Lost Pets Behave" and other additional tidbits. Since even the ACer you used thought Tucker was with someone else, under her "Lost Pet Coaching" section, Kat describes the focus for looking for dogs in particular, this way:

"The search for a lost dog, on the other hand, usually involves searching for the person who has self-adopted/rescued the "homeless stray" (lost) dog that they found."

Might be worth a read-through:


I've also seen it advised to put a neon poster in a window of one's car, so as it's driven about, your range of 'advertizing' is taken farther afield.

I would actually be interested to hear about what details ACer provided you...and who s/he was too, if you're comfortable sharing their name. (btw, some even use dowsing/pendulum methods on a map, to more closely pinpoint where an animal actually is)

As for the therapist, good idea as another support and aid, but as a precaution, I'd ask what their personal views are on grief over 'pet' loss, i.e. do they really view it as "less than" human loss, or just as important and potentially as intense, or possibly even more so? And does their perspective actually jibe with your own? I feel it's always important to have a therapist whose values match your own, for best mental health service, and so as to not induce more emotional harm than good.

I'm not in a great way, either, regarding these cat loves of mine. It still truly feels inside as if they were stolen away, and they've been sending me a steadily increasing number of signs over the last few weeks and months, as well. Plus, people keep asking me if I've heard anything (from their "owner"; everyone's surprised and dismayed at her lack of caring) about how they're doing. But I have not heard a word. So now I've just attempted to contact this person, asking after the cats, as I have a terrible feeling they may have already have "gotten rid of" them and are about to "replace" them with a dog instead. If so (and if the owner is even honest with me), there will be plenty of guilt for me to deal with, for not having acted much sooner...especially since I should have known better to not delay. This "not knowing" is killing me, since my own "role" in their lives was in many ways much larger, and certainly more personally in-depth than that of their legal "owners," yet I'm not in control of their lives and welfare now.

Oh, how it HURTS, but worse, I hurt FOR those dear cats and what they may be going through since being taken away from here, and are now missing everything they got from me that so enriched their lives. I feel like I'm betraying them, even though this was all out of my direct control.

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kayc, it does give me some comfort that so many feel he is with someone and safe. If I stop and consider the two most likely possibilities, neither seems as bad as not knowing which of the two it is, if that makes sense. If he was killed by coyotes, it's obviously heartbreaking, but it was probably pretty quick and he is at peace. If he is with someone who's caring for him, then he's a happy dog. Not knowing which is harder than knowing he's dead, and I think you've experienced something similar to that with your stepson. I'm glad that story had a happy ending.

Maylissa, thank you for the article, it had some perspectives I hadn't considered before. I agree that if Tucker's alive, based on his personality he's probably found himself a home and I'll need to look for his finder. I've done the neon signs at three major intersections (not holding them, I taped them just below the stop signs), but the weather eventually brought them down. I still have smaller flyers taped to other stop signs around the area. They're in sheet protectors so they've held up alright. I also have a flyer in the back window of my car.

The ACer I spoke to was Sally Hinkle from Nashville. We only talked on the phone, which was actually a little relieving because I was still scared of being scammed or something and figured a person like that would want to do a home visit to charge more money. But Sally didn't and she was very kind. She asked some very basic questions about Tucker like his breed and how old he is, and how he got lost. She tried to contact him and said she couldn't at first, but then she could. She felt he was safe and comfortable, and that he misses me very much and would like to come home but is fine where he is. That was nice to hear because I told my boyfriend before that I could see Tucker not being too upset about having to live with a new family if he couldn't get home. He's loyal but not that loyal.

She said that she felt he was "to the right" and she realized that didn't make sense, and suggested it could be to the right of where I was sitting or to the right of our house. I was facing our backyard so to the right would be the same in both cases: north. She said maybe about five miles away. I could see how this could be true since north of our house was the direction I looked the least. It's very rural and mostly farmland, and five miles away is right at the border with another state. Not that I didn't consider him crossing the state line, but that state has fewer resources for finding pets. This weekend I'll go up to the city just over the border and make sure the vet and shelter up there know about Tucker. I'm also going to try to find a community board like at a grocery store and post his flyer. Then I'll drive around and see if I see anything.

Sally thinks that Tucker is with a man. She doesn't think he has children, and also didn't think there was a woman, but she wasn't as sure on that. She also thinks there's another animal, a dog she thinks but possibly a cat.

She had me try to communicate with Tucker and try to act as a homing beacon. She also had me communicate with our other dogs and ask them to try to help guide Tucker home as well. She repeated that she definitely feels that Tucker is alive and safe, and she wished me luck in my search.

Now I know that alive does not mean he'll get home, and I also know there's no guarantee that this information is true, but it does give me some hope. It also has helped with the thought of Tucker never coming home, since there's a good chance he's happy. If he's alive, getting him back will come down to some good luck and persistence.

I know what you feel about just feeling something is wrong (or right). Tucker being dead has never sat right with me. I do feel like he's alive, and that he's sending positive thoughts my way. It doesn't make sense and a lot of people would laugh at the idea, but the morning Tucker went missing I felt something was off and that I should put him inside. I didn't because the reasons seemed irrational at the time, and now I'm regretting not trusting my gut. I won't make that mistake again, as long as it's in my control (which it may not always be like in your situation). I hope you hear good news, Maylissa.

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I wish you could at least have some closure, but sometimes, even if it comes, it's a long time waiting for it. I've heard of people being reunited with their dog years after giving them up for dead or at least knowing them missing and thinking they'll never know...I wish somehow that could be your happy ending. I know we can't control the outcome always, but I do wish peace for you.

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Yes, unfortunately, there are a lot of perspectives to consider when an animal goes missing, and that's what makes it such a hugely trying ordeal. I guess that's one of the reasons why, if I had animals again, I'd be looking to outfit their collars (when outside, even with me, since anything can happen) with the new GPS tracking devices for animals, plus neon or those flashing light-emitters for collars, etc. Of course, the GPSs only track for a certain distance, so aren't a guarantee on their own, either. Still, an aid is an aid.

I also can't help but keep wondering if any of your other dogs are grieving Tucker's absence, since animals grieve losses, too, including some kinds of losses most humans don't even consider (from a human perspective). It's just heartbreaking all-round for many families, whether of skin, fur, feather, or scale, etc..

Thanks for sharing what you heard from the ACer you tried, though. A few thoughts on that:

- No, most don't want to do "lost" sessions in-house. Too distracting with the usually-distraught animal's person in the same space!

- From my own perspective, I think she gave (only) too general a description of where she felt he went, i.e. simply a direction, and not even combined with any other vision (from looking through his eyes, or seeing anything about/around his present location) to go with it...not that these are necessarily helpful enough, either, depending. And I assume she doesn't use map dowsing either, which can help pinpoint an animal's location much more closely. (especially nowadays, utilizing the boon of online map availability!)

- I think it would have also been more helpful if she had at least been able to see some descriptors about this man she thinks Tucker's with.

- It doesn't sound as if she counseled you much, either. (??)

So while this ACer may be quite good in other, more usual aspects of ACing, I'm honestly wondering if she does "lost" cases that often, as compared to more experienced ones who specialize in them, and hence may have been able to be of a lot more use to you. I know that's probably not what you want to hear, but I say this because even I've gotten more info/visions/clues about lost animals than what she gave you, and I don't even specialize in this. So perhaps I can offer you this other article instead?


(they also have a link for low-cost and other free resources, including how to and where to post lost info on various networking sites)

Map dowsing is mentioned here, too, as well as 3 other ACers who've specialized in lost animals for years. I've listened to both Carol Gurney (who other fellow ACers I know also find excellent) and Tim Link, and I have found both to be exceptional in several ways and areas of ACing. In fact, Tim (who does use dowsing as well) was offering a very comprehensive workshop on lost animal communication a couple of years ago, but sadly I was too busy at the time to avail myself...and didn't think I'd ever want to specialize in that anyway, so it wasn't a huge priority for me. Little did I know how it would have come in so personally useful later on.... :( However, I do recall he uses a combination of specific and different techniques to narrow a location down. Also, most ACers who specialize in this can and will offer to keep in contact at regular intervals in trying to locate an animal, in case the animal is moving around.

I also noticed on that same site that there's a new type of service, "Find Toto" (bottom of the page), that apparently sends "lost alerts" messages to other homes in your own area, for $40 I think. I don't know how in the world this works, but that, too, may be worth looking into?

Unfortunately, what the writer says in #7 is actually correct, but again, the more experienced professional ACers who specialize in lost animals should be informing you of this upfront. Yet with their lengthier expertise, most of them can usually tell the difference. (I'm sorry, as I'd expected you would be informed of this point if you inquired into hiring someone from those lists, so didn't think I needed to mention it myself) That said, I think it's even MORE important that you still sense he's alive, as you're already connected to each other. After all, you did already get an intuitive "hit" on the day he went missing, which should be proof enough that we can all be intuitive/connected if we just listen to our "gut feelings." (btw, science has now found both the heart and the "gut" have their own brains) Intuition is seldom what we'd deem "rational," since it goes beyond the 5 senses, and rationality is of course only tied to our brain's capabilities. Sadly, most of us do end up learning the "hard way" to start to trust our other senses, at least in the beginning.

I was also thinking, if Tucker is that far away, could his scent possibly still be around if that area didn't get snow? (I'm not sure how long scents from paw pads or other body parts last in drier conditions) So could a dog tracking team maybe search that area instead? If he's at someone's house there, and is let outside, maybe there's a chance of picking up his scent? Might be too much of a long shot, though, w/o a closer, more pinpointed location.

And assuming this ACer got the direction right, if there aren't too many homes in that rural area, would it be possible to go door-knocking there? Perhaps someone's either seen Tucker, or has noticed someone suddenly having acquired a new dog? Or maybe you'd even get lucky and come across the exact house he may be in! (if there are dogs in any house, you could be "interested" in meeting them, to do some sleuthing on your own, if he's being hidden)

And speaking of "homing beacons," a similar technique you can try (unless this is the one you were shown already?) is getting quiet(er) for a few moments, then envisioning a MASSIVE beam of bright light pouring skyward from all around your house and land, and that never dims, even in daylight, which Tucker could then use to "inner visually" find his way back if opportunity presents. Maybe even add 'fireworks,' or a picture of you, or a tight cluster of Northern Lights at the top of it, that could be 'seen' from miles away. You don't have to believe in it, just try it, 'cause it's free and it won't hurt to give it a go.

There is also this self-empowering advice (similar or the same as to what you were already told), from another ACer:

"I’ve found that if the owner sends messages to the pet, the pet will calm down and many times find its way home. Because your pet already knows your thoughts and energy, he is getting familiar messages that will help him to think more clearly. This means the owner is telepathically calling the pet’s name and showing them the house and other familiar things. You can send them pictures of loving them or their favorite toy. You can ask the other animals in the house to send them messages too. Get everyone in the house involved. And when you do this, you may even get a message back from your pet telling you where they are."

I, too, still wish for a happy outcome that has yours and Tucker's best and highest interests at heart, and that brings peace to all concerned. At the very least, perhaps your increase in hope will energetically affect the whole situation for the good. Crossing my fingers...


For myself, I did briefly hear back (via text, only) from the cats' person, who claims they're "fine," but that's all she said. She's almost always this perfunctory in text, yet she never answers her phone, so I'm stuck with using text alone. Not much to go on, and for all I know, she could actually be lying, just to put me off. Despite the obvious care and concern, yet the wish to not be prying, that I'd expressed, there was still no invitation to come visit the cats at any point. And although pretty much everyone else has thought this woman's responses (or lack thereof) are all "weird," cold-hearted and ungrateful, it's apparent she still doesn't even care to acknowledge that a 5-year, close relationship has been abruptly and unceremoniously severed (at least in the physical) by her actions, or that her cats might actually benefit from a "play date" from me at least every now and then. I don't know if it's safe or wise to be so bold as to come right out and ask for a visit, either, in light of her continued indifference. But this limbo and uncertainty is a living hell. So now I'm considering calling up the founder (whom I know) of the shelter they came from, to ask if they may have actually been returned, in which case of course we'd adopt them straight away, and further warn the founder to never adopt out to these people again. (are also other many-fold reasons for such a warning which we had learned about over the years) I don't want to hijack your thread, but if anyone has any thoughts or ideas, I'd be open to hearing them.

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Wow, Maylissa! Your post is amazingly thorough and helpful. Thank you so much for taking so much time to help me!

First, about my other dogs, they haven't shown any clear signs of grieving, but I think they are at least confused. The one (Zip) we've had since before I got Tucker seems a little sadder. During the first week he went missing we put a camera out on the porch where Tucker used to hang out all day. The first day we put the camera out, we saw that Zip had actually spent the day on the porch, just laying on the chairs out there, occasionally looking up over the bushes towards the road. She has also walked past Tucker's dog bed inside the house and spent quite a while smelling it (we haven't washed it or moved it) and she even licked it. She may be missing her buddy a little.

That makes sense about the ACer not wanting to do a home session. And you're right, I don't think she does too many lost dog cases because that type of case isn't specifically listed on her website. It seems she mostly communicates with animals still living in the home. But she was very comforting, and it did feel like she genuinely cared about Tucker and me.

Thank you for the article you linked. I'm in the process of looking through all the resources and the ACers that are recommended to decide what I want to do. I think I may try one of them to see if I can get more specific information on Tucker and his location. I'll definitely also try some of the other recommendations on that site.

From what I read about scent tracking, the scent can actually last for weeks if the conditions are right (cool, damp, not windy). Unfortunately it's snowed, melted, and snowed again since Tucker went missing. While we were able to get out to the area Tucker liked to explore before the weather came to look for signs of a struggle with coyotes or any sign of him (we found nothing), I'm pretty sure it's going to be too late to track him at this point. Which is ok, since he explored so much of that land back there that it might have been difficult anyway to distinguish between his normal trails and his final trail.

I've thought about door knocking in that direction around the distance she thought he might be, but I think there are too many houses, even though it is pretty rural. As you said, it is a very general description she gave. I will drive around the roads in that area tomorrow, and I'll be going up to the nearest city up in that direction and talking to the vet and shelter up there, and try to find a community bulletin board. I'm also worried about knocking on doors in this area is that, while many people are very friendly, there's also a large percentage who are very adamant about people staying off their property. It was a little intimidating even going up to some of the houses on our own road.

Thank you for your other tips, I will try them. And don't worry about hijacking the thread or anything. One thing that's helped me is doing anything I can to help other pet owners. I don't really know what to do in your situation besides call the shelter, but maybe someone else does?

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Maybe putting up fliers in that area with his picture?

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kayc, I was waiting on some news that came this morning before replying to your post. On Friday evening I decided to contact one of the ACers recommended in the link that Maylissa shared. I tried the general status check from Tom Link just to make sure that he agreed that Tucker is still around before paying for the full consultation. He replied back on Saturday morning that he does think Tucker is still alive! I was a little disappointed to hear that he believed Tucker was not living with someone (though this may actually be a blessing because I was worried about the finder becoming too attached to Tucker and not wanting to give him back). He said Tucker is taking shelter in out buildings, and that he's tired, stressed, and a little hungry. He also said that Tucker's been exploring the area, and while it's challenging, Tucker is strong. He also is not injured.

I was really glad to hear that yet another person believes Tucker is alive. I was surprised that he did not find another family to live with because he's so friendly and has never avoided people, but I know dogs can go into "survival mode" and have some personality changes. At the same time, it would not surprise me that Tucker is capable of taking care of himself. He was always very clever and resourceful, and since he spent all day outside and has spent a few nights outside too, I know he can take care of himself. I wasn't sure at first how this fits with the first reading I got earlier this week, that he's living with a man. I guess one may be wrong, or maybe it's something like, some guy is aware he's living out in the shed/garage/barn and puts food out for him or something, but hasn't fully adopted him as his own. A lot of people in our area assume wandering dogs are just strays.

Also on Saturday I went up to the city just over the state line and made sure the vet and shelter up there had flyers. They hadn't heard or seen anything though. I went around the area north of our house to look around a bit but didn't see anything. That evening I decided to go ahead with the full consultation, and scheduled for Sunday morning (today).

So this morning I got the results of the consultation. The main detail that got my attention was that he thought Tucker was north of our house too, but not quite as far, more in the 3 mile range rather than 5. The other big thing was that Tucker showed him that he was with another dog (and gave me a description), which matches what the other ACer thought. He gave me some other details that Tucker had shown him, and he also did the map dowsing and gave me a copy of that, which he marked where he thought some of the things Tucker showed him were. He said Tucker seems to be visiting homes with the other dog, and that Tucker seemed especially interested in a car salvage yard in that area. Tim also gave me some advice on what I should do with that information.

Now, I'm a little skeptical because it would've been easy enough to pull up Google Maps, pick a spot near my house, and then describe some areas near there, but there's enough details that match up to the first ACer that I'm willing to give it a shot. I drove through that area a few times today looking for Tucker or the other dog but didn't see anything. I'll probably keep following up on that area for a while since it's the only thing I have to go on right now. I have flyers already posted on stop signs in that area, but I'll hit a few more and change out the ones that are already up since they're faded from the rain. I might try calling that salvage yard too and see if they have dogs hanging around. Maybe that's the single guy? And he just lets strays hang out or something. I don't know, I'm trying to just treat this as a tip someone called in to avoid disappointment.

I still feel strongly that Tucker is alive somewhere. Even though I haven't found any signs of him being alive, I haven't found any that indicate he's dead either, so there's no way I can give up on him. I'm still open to any new tips, but until then I can only search this new area and accept that a lot of this is out of my hands. I'm just so thankful he's chipped so that if he does turn up at a shelter, I'll almost certainly get him back. Tim has asked Tucker to show himself and allow people to help him, so we'll see. It's still hard knowing I may never see him again, but I'm trying to stay positive and keep thinking of our reunion. Still, the sadness and fear still hit me at least a few times a day, but it's getting better.

One last thing that happened today: a lady came down our driveway this afternoon. I believe she was just going around the neighborhood trying to find new members for their church, but the first thing she said to us was "Are you the people missing the dog?" Apparently they've told their church members to keep an eye out for the dog since a lot of them live in the area. And it turns out the church is right across the street from the salvage yard, so that's a crazy coincidence, one that I'm hoping works out for us. She also told us one of their members owns the farm behind our house, and apparently they had driven around all their land looking for Tucker (obviously didn't find anything). It's really touching that so many people are looking out for us and Tucker.

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