Retriever who escaped foster care captured safely after 17 days

After 17 days on his own, running and hiding in the wooded areas of Collins Bay and Amherstview, Twin the retriever is safely back at the Kingston Humane Society (KHS).

Twin escaped the care of a very experienced volunteer who fosters animals for the humane society on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. According to Gord Hunter, Executive Director of KHS, Twin and his siblings arrived at the humane society on October 17, 2023, as a result of a Provincial Animal Welfare investigation.

“Twin (along with the other four dogs he arrived with) is a high flight risk,” Hunter told Kingstonist. “He’s fearful and under-socialized, likely as a result of significant abuse/neglect before he was saved by Provincial Animal Welfare officers.”

Since his escape, KHS staff, volunteers, and hundreds of concerned members of the public have anxiously awaited his safe return, with many community members reaching out to offer help, according to a release from the KHS.

The KHS has shared that at approximately 3 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, Twin entered a camera-monitored live trap near the Edith Rankin Memorial Church and was then taken to the home of his KHS foster volunteer before being transported to the shelter for an examination and any required treatment.

“We were getting regular updates from the team overseeing the attempts to recapture Twin,” Hunter said, “but when we would see social media posts by members of the public indicating he might have been bleeding or hit by a car, our concerns were obviously intensified.”

The safe return of Twin would not have been possible without the expert skills of Rhonda Guthrie-Taft and her team at Quinte West Lost Paws, KHS stated. For most of the 17 days, Guthrie-Taft and a large, committed group of volunteers were tracking Twin’s travels. In most lost dog situations, once the dog’s location has been triangulated, capture becomes a matter of time and patience. Not so with Twin, said Guthrie-Taft.

“He would show up and then he would disappear; show up, then disappear again,” she recalled. “In my experience, once you locate a lost dog, you can pretty much set your watch by the way they approach free food, but Twin didn’t do that. It’s probably one of the most difficult cases my team has ever encountered.”

In the release, the Kingston Humane Society said it would like to thank Ms. Guthrie-Taft and her patient, dedicated team of volunteers, as well as the Edith Rankin Memorial United Church for allowing Quinte West Lost Paws to use their property to set a live trap and to use their building as a base of operations. Twin will spend some time at the shelter before returning to care in his foster home. Assuming his health is sound and his socialization is progressing, he’ll be available for adoption in the near future, the Humane Society noted.

The KHS encourages members of the public to show their appreciation to Quinte West Lost Paws with donations. KHS said that the organization does not charge for their invaluable assistance and operates solely based on the generosity of the public. Connect with them via email at [email protected].

“I can’t thank Rhonda and her team enough, they are some of the most dedicated and educated volunteers we’ve ever worked with,” said Hunter. “Without their help, I’m not convinced this story would have had such a happy ending. Instead, we’re all crying happy tears for Twin’s return.”

Kingstonist asked Hunter if he had tips to help pet owners avoid this situation.

“For dogs, like Twin, who are a flight risk, we recommend a martingale collar and harness with a nylon leash attached to both the collar and the harness whenever the dog is being walked,” he said.

“We also recommend a GPS attachment to the collar in case, despite all precautions, the dog gets away. With Twin and his siblings, we had four GPS collars but five flight-risk dogs. Unfortunately, Twin was the one that didn’t get a GPS collar and it made his recapture much more difficult. Also, if the worst happens and the dog gets away, it is likely in flight mode and virtually impossible to catch by hand. We recommend against approaching the dog, because that just reinforces their fear and anxiety. Instead, the likelihood of success is higher using a live trap/camera set up if at all possible.”

Learn more about the Kingsotn Humane Society and the work they do here: https://kingstonhumanesociety.ca/.

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