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

The search for Vivi reaches its 5-week mark.

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The media, the public and the volunteers
It is amazing to me that so many people still care so deeply about Vivis disappearance. I don't know why she has become the poster child for lost dogs, but apparently the media keeps running updates because of strong pressure from viewers and readers. (We expected the media interest to die off after a few days, but today she has been on Channel 7 and 12 on TV, in the NY Times, Daily News and Newsday; tomorrow on an NBC affiliate, etc.) Obviously Vivis family will never stop looking for her, but if all the attention that her experience has received will benefit how dogs are handled by the airlines, then at least some good will come out of this. I know that the generous donations to "Bobbie and the Strays," the shelter at JFK, will benefit a lot of lost dogs who are not as lucky as Vivi in having people looking for them. Without that knowledge it would be difficult to accept all the attention that Vivi is getting.

Thanks to the media, practically everyone I talked to while walking the streets and parks in Flushing had heard of "the dog that was lost at JFK," but nobody knew she is now in their neighborhood. This points to the importance of putting up flyers, or preferably posters large enough to be visible from passing cars that slow down or stop at major intersections. Apparently local media is starting to cover the search more extensively, and we are hoping that all coverage will emphasize the fact that Vivi has stayed in this area for more than a week. Obviously that, plus a mention of the $5000 reward for returning her to us, increases the chances that whoever finds her in their back yard will be able to act quickly and helpfully.

Another resource I hope can be utilized would be the local school children. Vivi is not afraid of children, has reportedly played with a 12-year old girl and didn't run away until an older person disturbed them. If it were possible to educate children how to act around a stray dog it would help: never chase it, give it some of your lunch if it seems friendly or hungry, and try to get it into a yard or room where the door can be closed. Obviously the childs safety is paramount; a dog like Vivi would not pose a risk to any child, but I can see that security may be a problem in other cases.

It is impossible to thank all the volunteers who have spent hours, days and now weeks helping in the search for Vivi. Without them there would not have been any substantial search. It is important to confirm all reported sightings to be sure that she is still in the neighborhood. However, the most important help that can be provided now is producing and putting up more posters in the areas where Vivi has been sighted. It may seem more mundance than driving, walking or searching for Vivi but (again) according to those experienced in finding lost dogs, putting up as many posters as possible in the areas where the dog has been seen is the most important key in eventually getting the dog back. In fact, too many people actively searching for Vivi may be counterproductive, as the last thing we want is her getting scared enough to leave he area.

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