Search for Missing Vivi Continues (Updated 03-23-06)

The search for Vivi reaches its 5-week mark.

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The other alternative is traps, which Vivi has so far avoided, either because she is wary of crates (possibly after a traumatic experience at JFK) or because she can find sufficient food elsewhere. I found a surprising number of sources of food for hungry dogs and cats in NY: kind-hearted people regularly put out large bowls of food in the parks, outside buildings, etc. Three traps have been set up in areas which Vivi is known to have visited, are baited with appealing, smelly food and checked regularly.

According to some experts, Whippets are among the hardest dogs to catch. Of those I've heard mentioned, only Salukis and Italian Greyhounds are more difficult, the former because they remain feral longer than others, the latter because of their size and speed. Mary Hudson, President of the Italian Greyhound Rescue Foundation, sent some interesting information: "We have had dozens of IGs in the same situation as Vivi right now. It is important to remember that these dogs when scared will run, run, run until they are too tired and hungry. It sometimes takes them a LONG time to tire and become hungry enough that they will be daring enough to get close to someone, let themselves be seen, or allow themselves to be caught, but THEY WILL. Sounds like that may be where Vivi is at the moment. We have had IGs that have been lost 6-8 weeks, sometimes for months in warmer climates with no one able to catch them. There are always plenty of sightings, but these dogs (and Whippets as well) when lost and scared become terrified of EVERYONE very quickly. They DO NOT EVEN RECOGNIZE their owners/breeders when they call them as they search, because they are so traumatized. Their brains are on survival. Even after they are caught, it often takes a while for them to remember their owners, etc. and what their life was like before. If someone comes up on them if they are near the crate, they tend to run into the crate for safety instinctively and one can just close the door behind them. Again, they need to be tired and hungry enough. My heart breaks for this little whippet and I pray she is found soon. These sighthounds are amazingly resilient when lost and scared, though."

Although Jil, Rick, Paul and I have gone back to NY hoping that Vivi would come up to us, this is not likely to happen. (Jil and Rick have the best chances, since Vivi has lived with Jil for more than three years. Although she was bred by me she only spent her first few months here and has visited about once every couple of months since then.) The most important reason for us to go, following the pet detectives recommendation, was to imprint the trails and places where Vivi is with our scent, encouraging her to stay in this neighborhood. I would not have thought a sighthound could be able to scent us in such a large area, but those with experience in tracking lost dogs are confident that she can. It is vital that Vivi should stay in this area if she is going to be comfortable enough to let herself be caught.

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