Friday, April 24, 2009

Manifesting change

When Darlin’ lived on her own, there were many times that it rained or stormed and I wondered where she was hiding out. She would show up to eat if it was drizzling, I knew because I left food covered and when I went back later it was gone. I fed her out of Styrofoam bowls and would put a bowl on top like a lid, then I placed a small stick there to hold it down, but a dog could easily move it with its nose. One time my daughter took a video of her on her camera phone at 1:30 am. I didn’t see her that night so she went by to check the food on her way home and Darlin’ was out there at the tree eating. Now that I had her home and recognized how fearful she was of thunder, it explained why I didn’t see her those times. It must have caused her a great deal of anxiety to be alone out there in the woods somewhere hiding. It felt so bad for her that while I thought she was just hiding out, she was actually hiding and panicked.

I wasn’t sure when I should try a collar and a leash on Darlin’. Many of the experts and dog trainers do it right away, but Darlin’ was no ordinary dog; she was fearful and shut down. In my opinion there isn’t a text book that can help you to know when to move forward with a fearful dog. I think it takes good instincts and allowing the dog to come out of their shell at their own pace. Additionally, if you make any progress and you push for more when the dog isn’t ready, you could set the dog back. The best advice I received and that I can give today, is to earn the dogs trust and give it all the time it needs to reciprocate. If you’re not careful you could add to its stress and the dog will become more fearful of you.

You may wonder how to earn a dogs trust. I thought a lot about the subject myself. You spend time with him/her, allowing the dog to get use to your presence. Darlin’ knew me, she already knew my scent after months feeding her, but that didn’t change the fact that she was afraid of me. I sat on the ground and tossed her hot dogs out there by that feeding tree. She didn’t eat them until I got back in my car. I called to her “come eat” many times, but I had to get in my car or give her lot’s of room for her to move forward. What I had done wasn’t enough for her to feel comfortable with me. In addition, I had no clue as to how Darlin’ came to be a stray dog. If she suffered any abuse at the hands of a human (as many strays have) it was going to take a lot of time and patience from me for her to get comfortable with me.

I spent a lot of time just sitting near her. She would shake like a leaf, whether I spoke or not. It didn’t matter if I was carrying a bowl of fresh cooked meat, I was the boogey man and she was scared to death of me. I was advised to put a shirt of mine near her so that she would get used to me. Instead I bought a stuffed bunny and had it inside of my shirt all day and then slept with it before giving it to her. I’m not sure it helped. A week later I did put a dirty shirt at the entrance of her house, just inside the door. I placed her dinner on the ground just outside and when I checked on her the next morning she hadn’t touch it. That made me wonder if the shirt became a barrier for her. Like I had suggested that beyond this shirt belongs to me, that’s my food, don’t touch it. I’m quick to analyze every situation! Needless to say, I removed the shirt!

That afternoon that Darlin’ was in the garage during the thunderstorm seemed like a good time to try the collar. I thought that if I put the leash on her then perhaps she would walk back outside. I was also curious how she would react, thinking she may have had a leash on her in the past. We had a break in the rain and the sun came out so I put a collar on her. She didn’t mind, but when I clipped the leash on she trembled in fear. Not that she was comfortable when I put her collar on, she was not, but the leash intensified her anxiety.

She never acted out aggressively, but I do know that some dogs show fear aggression so I was cautious. That collar seemed to finalize that she was my dog now, I even told her as I put it on, “You’re mine now.” Given that she was so afraid of the leash, I decided to pick her up and carry her back to her dog house. She cowered in the corner at the fence when I put her down, so fearful, trembling like she was coming to a boil and would explode. It’s hard to watch a dog in such a state of anxiety!

I took the top off of her house for her and snapped a few quick pictures before she jumped back inside. All of my pictures of her were with her behind the fence, mostly taken from my office window. This time I was inside with her and the fence was in the background. One of my favorite pictures of her was taken that day and is at the side bar on this blog.

Over the next week I would take her top off of the dog house every morning. She would lay out there all day watching the birds fly by and observing dogs out in the yard. I was actually concerned that she wasn’t getting enough exercise. She would lie as low as she could when I came down the stairs and I could see her anxiety before I ever reached the kennel gate. I did put Frontline flea control on her as well. I just moved her hair, put it on, and walked away. Later that afternoon she jumped back in her lid to get away from me. I think she was still upset that I touched her earlier putting on the flea control.

I started talking to her more and reaching in her house and scratching her behind the ears. I had read not to touch, no eye contact, and that I shouldn’t speak, but it seemed time to let her know that the hands that feed her would not harm her. She began giving me more eye contact and I could see her watching me from our back deck. I knew then she was starting to trust me.

We built an indoor kennel for her because Alabama has its share of tornadoes in the Spring, anytime for that matter. Besides the weather, I am not comfortable with my dog living outdoors. It’s also inconvenient for me as a caregiver, having to go down to feed and spend time with her, I do have four other dogs. Once I had her indoors, she would never spend another night in the rain, nor would she ever have to suffer outside alone through another storm. Since I had carried her inside during that first storm, and I had picked her up to put her back in her dog house when she cowered inside the lid, the pattern would continue until she was ready to walk on her own.

When my dogs were in the house I would leave the gate open to the dog pen hoping she would want to explore the yard. She just laid there comfortable in her house and showed no interest in leaving. I would pick her up and carry her to the yard, most times she was too scared and ran back to her house, but one afternoon she did venture out and quickly found a safe corner by the fence.

I did this a few more times that week; most times she cowered and trembled in the corner at the fence as I approached her. I picked her up and carried her back to the dog pen when it was time to allow my own dogs out again. There was a time or two that she ran from me as I went to get her. Her behavior concerned me because she looked like a wild dog running wild in the yard. The last thing I needed was to be trying to catch her in my own yard. Additionally, I have a Jack Russell that has a mind of her own and doesn’t come when I call her if she's out hunting or checking her holes in the yard. I did not need another stubborn dog!

So I decided to try the leash again, but she wouldn’t budge. I ordered a 30ft. leash hoping the distance would encourage her to walk because she could get further away from me. Each time I clipped the leash she froze, trembled, but became more submissive. That was when the tummy rubs started! I couldn’t get her to walk, but I was touching and giving tummy rubs, so she was telling me that I’m in control and she was trying to trust me!

We had more rain and storms on the way. I decided to bring her indoors to the garage the night they were supposed to start. This way I wouldn’t have to rush out in the night to get her. She was scared, but made herself comfortable in her bed. I would go down to the garage and sit quietly with her, offering her treats, and I even brought toys that my stir her curiosity. I rolled a red ball down the length of the kennel and it hit the wall and rolled back. She showed no interest whatsoever.

I carried her outside to go potty; she did her business quickly and always ran to the corner of the fence. She actually began to find comfort in my arms. There were several times that I carried her outside when she raised her paws up for me as I reached for the door handle! I would rub her behind the ears on our way out and kiss the top of her head. Outdoors, I would walk over and get her and carry her back inside.

After a few days the weather cleared and it was time to move her back outside. I watched her from my office window and noticed she kept staring at the back door! I went outside and opened her gate, but she didn’t do anything. I went back upstairs and stood on the deck and she ran to the back door. I was amazed that she wanted inside so I ran down to open the door and she wasn’t there, she was behind the hot tub! It took a few minutes of coaxing to get her to move forward. Actually I persuaded her with the broom to her bottom, just enough that I was touching her. Once she was within reach I pulled her out and took her to the garage. She quickly made herself comfortable and that was the end of her attachment to her dog house. It was actually just a few days shy of one month here when she moved indoors to the garage kennel permanently. Once I realized she was happy inside, I felt a renewed sense of hope about her making great progress.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Learning to Trust

We were now into the second week and I was spending a lot of time sitting in a chair looking out my office window with my camera ready. Darlin’ would only come out of her house during the day if she thought no one was around, and it was for one purpose only, to relieve herself. She didn’t waste any time, if she went potty, she checked out the grounds and was back in her house within a minute or two. In the pictures she looks like she was smiling, but she was panting because she was so nervous about her new surroundings.

She would tremble in fear when I approached her dog house. She wouldn’t look at me at all, she kept her head turned and her cheek pressed against the inside wall of her dog house. When the weather was good I would go outside and take the top off of her house so she would have to see and hear what was happening around her. I have four other dogs and she was frightened by them too. It didn’t help that they would get overly excited (barking and scratching at the fence) because there was a dog that they couldn’t get to and that wouldn’t come out to greet them.

I did more research on feral dogs, fearful dogs, stray dogs, and canine behavior. I discovered and ordered the ebook. This is a great site for dog owners that have dogs with any type of behavioral issues due to fear or trust. It helped me to understand more about the length of time that it could take for Darlin’ to come out of her shell and to see what’s possible for a dog that hides and cowers. The site was created because of Sunny, a fearful border collie that was saved from a hoarding situation.

I also bought the book, The Cautious Canine by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. (29 pages). It turned out to be another training book using food or clicker training. I read about Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. These signals help dog owners understand the communication between dogs. I think a lot of people would benefit from understanding what a dog is communicating through its body language.

I knew what Darlin’ was saying when I sat next to her and she trembled in fear. I already understood that the smacking of her lips when I reached into her dog house to give her a treat. She was uncomfortable by my presence and I was too close. It wasn’t hard to figure out that she was scared to death of people. Now that she was home with me I knew why she kept her distance when I put food out for her all those months; she didn’t trust people, either because she had a bad experience, or she had no contact with people for a very long time.

Everything that I found on fearful, nervous, or unsocialized dogs consisted of food motivation and clicker training. Training isn’t what I needed, food and treats do not motivate Darlin’, and we are so far from clicker training or any training for that matter.

In my research I stumbled upon Randy Grim of Stray Rescue of St. Louis. Randy Grim is the author of three books; this man has saved over 5000 homeless street dogs in East St. Louis. I’ve driven through that area many times, in fact we pulled over in an alley when my JRT got car sick during our last relocation. When I watched his videos (recommended viewing) I knew I had to reach out to him and ask for advice or help with Darlin’. She was as scared as some of the dogs he trapped, the difference was Randy was trapping starving dogs in daylight, while Darlin’ had been fed by me for six months. I wrote Randy and he was kind and generous in his response to my plea for help with her.

Hi- I am working with a feral now at my house- it is so important that you get your well adjusted dogs involved. Use them as your way to show her that life with people can be great.

Do not force attention on her; let her come around at her on speed. When you show affection to your dogs, make sure she sees it.

It is a long road but my little guy now is letting me pet and loves being around the other dogs. I purposely do nothing to force myself on him. Here is a link to some info and here is a chapter from my upcoming book that could help. Hang in there, her spirit will back.

He said the same thing my dad told me and what several Petfinder members suggested. It was going to take time and to allow her to go at her own speed. For her to except and trust me I was going to have to move slowly and watch for small signs that she was in fact making progress.

In the meantime everything I did for her was going to help her associate me with good things in her life. There were people that suggested I withhold her food until she would allow me to hand feed her. I couldn’t do it; I don’t care what the experts say. There was no way I could allow her to stop eating because she would stop until she was starving. I didn’t withhold food from my children that didn’t like something and I wasn’t going to do it with Darlin’, my new friend. Darlin’ never ate in front of me, she went her first three days at home without eating and I left food inside of her house. Her treats laid there for hours until no one was around before she ate them and she wouldn’t even eat with a dog in the yard. I was going to show her that I was a great hunter, by offering a hard to resist food and then sitting it down next to her until she was ready to lean over for it. Right or wrong, it was my choice. If she learned to love my hunting skills, she could learn to love and trust me.

She was in her dog pen nine days when I thought I saw her head looking out at the dogs one morning. The next day I let them out and ran to my window with the camera. What a glorious sight it was for me to see her watching the dogs early in the morning!

That same morning I went out to take her top off and she didn’t jump back in the lid! I didn’t speak to her; I just refilled her water bowl and sat down on the ground sideways next to her. Now she could make herself comfortable and watch what was going on in the yard. That morning filled me with hope!

Now that she was just lying in her house, I began spending more time in the yard with my own dogs, throwing the Frisbee for my Jacks, giving tummy rubs to my cattle dog, and sitting with my Eskie in my lap. I looked over my shoulder and could see her looking in our direction, but if she caught a glimpse of me looking at her she turned her head away. For her to show signs of curiosity, this was a big step in the right direction.

She would still tremble in fear as I approached her in the evenings to put the top back on her house, but she seemed very comfortable lying there all day in the sun. If I went out she cowered down, but when I caught a glimpse of her alone she appeared to be happy there. She also started looking at me as I approached her, making momentary eye contact with me, another good sign.

One afternoon I heard my dogs barking at my window. We had rain that day so I had the top on Darlin’s house and the plastic flap which was the door. My dogs were making such a commotion so I looked out of my office and she was outside! She looked so beautiful! I was talking to her from my window and her face was so lit up, but when I saw her panting I became more aware that she was nervous. She started running in circles around the house looking confused in her excited state - when I realized she didn't know how to get back inside!

I went down to show her the way back inside and she shook like a leaf in the corner of the dog pen. I took the top off and showed her by patting the bed that she could jump in. She hesitated unsure so I picked her up, stroked her head, and put the top back on. That was the first time I had picked her up!

The next morning I woke to the sound of thunder cracking at 5 am. The first thing I did was run look out the window and Darlin’ was outside! She had no trouble finding that doggy door! I watched and could see her looking out panting. I let two of my dogs out and my JRT went straight to the dog kennel. Darlin’ comes out and met her face to face, then I saw her circling around the yard inside her kennel, she was very nervous. I finally got my JRT to come up because the wind was blowing like crazy and the rain was getting heavy, then I watched Darlin with my binoculars. She would come out, run to each corner of the pen as though she was looking for a way out, she'd go back inside of her house, and then come out again. She was so scared!

I couldn’t handle seeing her like that so I got dressed and went to get her while my husband carried the dog house inside. I wrapped her in a blanket and carried her into the garage...gosh she was heavy! I didn’t want to cause her any more anxiety, but she was already such a wreck from the storms. I just couldn't leave her out in a thunderstorm as she ran around the kennel looking for a way out. I wouldn't do that to my Eskie who’s afraid of storms or even leave my dogs out in the rain. As soon as I put her down in the garage she crawled under some duct work behind the air conditioner and wedged herself in tight. She had defecated which worried me further. We put her house nearby in case she came out.

I waited a couple of hours and each time I went to check on her I tried to pull and coax her out. I ended up having to take the pump off of the AC, I grabbed a hold of her hips and started pulling her gently. I said to myself, "I'm expecting a miracle" and she relaxed! She relaxed enough which allowed me to pull her out! She was even looking back in my direction as I pulled her back and brought her straight into my lap. I held her, pet her head, and told her it was okay...famous last words from me everyday, "It's okay Darlin, it's okay." She was in just the right position in my lap that I moved her tail and looked at her tummy and was sure for the first time that she was in fact a girl! My ACD/heeler is submissive and never lifts his leg so I had no way of knowing for sure!!

So it was 15 days before I actually handled her. Thank goodness for thunderstorms! This was also a big breakthrough for each of us learning to trust the other. I helped her to safety during the storm and she responded well to my handling of her.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Darlin's story and rescue

I met Darlin’ the first time last August 2008. She was half starved running around a grocery store parking lot looking for food. My daughter and I were dropping off video rentals so I got out of my car as to not lose sight of her and had my daughter drive around to buy her a meal. Everything in the area was closed so I had to leave her there fending for herself. She was so skinny I thought she was a hound dog so it was really hard to go home without feeding her.

Then one night in September I returned some movies around 9:30 and she was there again. That night everything was still open so I had my daughter keep an eye on her while I ran through the store grabbing food, water, and bowls. She was still there when I came out so I took food to a tree in the nearby landscaping and tried to call her over to me. I could see that she was wary of strangers so I got back in my car and drove far enough away so that I could watch her. As soon as I did she ran to the food.

The following evening I went back curious if she would be there again and she was, so again I ran in the store and bought food. I needed to check out quickly so I ran up the customer service counter. I told the cashier that I was feeding a dog outside and he replied, “Yeah, she’s out there every night. I thought, “She’s out there every night and looks like that!” That dog had been hungry for a long time!!

From that day on I drove to the grocery store to feed her and it didn’t take long to discover she was crossing a major highway an hour after dark to eat. She would show up, but she would not come closer than 20 ft. of me.

Initially I thought she belonged to someone, thinking perhaps she was underfed and neglected. I even thought she was getting out of a yard to go eat. There are so many dogs tied, chained, or living in backyards that are neglected and forgotten. I had lived in the area for 9 months and never saw her before August so I tried to think of several possible scenarios. The only strays I had seen were dogs that go out in my own neighborhood and they had homes.

The feedings became a routine so I knew what time she would be there and I started keeping food in all of our vehicles in case I needed it. Her crossing the highway scared me, but at the time there wasn’t too much traffic. However, when the time changed she changed with it and continued to cross the highway an hour after dark – at 6:30 at night during rush hour traffic!

There were more times than I can count when I was sitting there waiting for her to show and I looked across the highway and could see her pacing on the side of the highway waiting for a break in traffic. There were a lot of times I saw her run right in front of cars and they were beeping their horns at her too! On more than one occasion I could see her tail wagging in excitement because she could see my car across the road and I was so scared that she would get hit. On those nights I quickly ducked behind my car! And I was so afraid she would get hit by a car that I couldn’t drive the speed limit through there after dark because I was afraid I might be the one to do it! Imagine turning off a highway into a parking lot and your headlights hitting the back feet of the dog you are going to feed! It happened!

By December the nightly feedings were starting to interfere with my home life. I have a family, a small business, three dogs and three cats, and I began working in animal rescue. There were times I had to leave dinner and ask my husband to finish or nights when my daughter was leaving the house so I asked her to feed Darlin for me. If we went out of town I had to be home by 6:30 or I was calling someone at home to go feed her. They already knew that call was coming in and would assure me they were leaving the house or had already placed her food out.

I couldn't eat dinner if I knew she was there waiting for me. One night in December we went to a Christmas concert, afterwards we went to dinner. I could not have a good time because I knew she was there waiting. We were in my husbands SUV and didn't have dog food so I scraped our scraps together and planned on leaving it for her on our way home. We arrived about 3 1/2 hours late and to my surprise she was sleeping by the tree!

On Christmas Eve my husband and I drove to her feeding spot and left her a special bone with her food, but it was raining and windy so she hadn’t come. I was worried about her because I hadn’t seen her for at least two nights. I started thinking of the possibility of her owners being home, perhaps their schedule changed during the holidays and is why I didn’t see her. The food was eaten, but we are in a more rural area so it could have been a wild animal. On the nights that I didn’t see her I would find a reason to leave the house, even if it just meant checking her bowls to make sure she had been there.

My family asked me sometime around Christmas what my intentions were with Darlin. I told them that I had intended to keep her alive with food through winter, after that it was in Gods hands. She was fearful, she spooked easily, and she wouldn’t come near me so I couldn’t bring her home even if I could catch her.

In January 2009 I realized it was time for change. One day while I was out looking for where she might live I stumbled upon a gravel road with some small run down houses. There at the end of the road were two Pit Bulls chained to a tree. One seemed excited to see me, but the other didn’t move. I could count every rib on that dogs body while she laid there curled up in a ball. I stayed in my car and watched for signs of life; she was breathing so I went straight home and called Animal Control. Long story short: I have since gone back, untied, untwisted, and fed the dogs and Animal Control did leave them an animal cruelty notice. I need to follow up for the third time on those dogs. Darlin is the reason I found them and was able to feed them and contact authorities.

During my conversation with Animal Control I mentioned that I had been looking for a stray dog that I had been feeding. I assured the AC officer that she was not a problem and that I was trying to figure out where she was living. He mentioned that if I decided that I wanted to catch her that he would help me.

By February I realized I was going to have to trap her, but my husband spoke up right away and said I couldn’t bring her home. He’s a good man and helps out a lot with our other animals, but I knew where he was coming from. There are times we are overwhelmed with our own, not to mention what we could be getting in to bringing a stray fearful dog home. I also decided to keep a foster dog in February which meant we had four other dogs to consider.

I sent out an email to local rescues asking for help, telling them her story, and hoping someone would take her. Heck, I know nothing about fearful stray dogs and I didn’t know how she would react in captivity. Two rescues did respond to my email; they were touched by our story, but already overwhelmed with dogs and “didn’t hold out much hope for a feral dog like Darlin’. They also informed me that our local shelter would euthanize within 7 days, but a stray feral dog probably wouldn’t last 24 hrs. So I contacted Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. My dad and his wife have volunteered there and told me that the large dogs like Darlin usually stay there for life because they are so hard to rehabilitate. Best Friends did write back, they couldn’t take her for the same reasons…she was feral and they were over capacity on feral dogs.

I forwarded the emails to my husband at which time he said we could try and trap her and rehabilitate her before placing her up for adoption. As soon as I knew I had a place to take her, I began researching how to trap a stray dog and also started a thread on Pet Finder forums asking for help or advice. Most of what you’ll read here is a summary of my original posts there.

It took me a month to pull everything together. AC took a week to get back in touch with me when I called, then when we finally met he brought a trap that was too small. Once the bigger trap was delivered it was an antique rusty thing that I feared wouldn’t work. If it failed or if she got her tail caught, she may never go near a trap again.

The first trap was set by the tree where I fed her at a shopping center. I put a large sign on the tree, Property of Animal Control, This Dog Will be Rescued, and my phone number. I also chained the trap to the tree. It sat two nights and both nights I had to stop people from throwing food away from the trap while she was trying to approach the food! Long story, but they obviously thought they were saving her. I wanted to ask them if they wanted to feed her the rest of their lives! And where were they all those months that I had been feeding her?!!

At that point I decided to move the trap across the street, but I needed a bigger one as I was certain she would not crouch down to go into a trap. This dog is so cautious she looks over her shoulder with every bite of food and spooks easily. During feedings, if she heard a loud noise she would run back to wherever she lived and come back during the night to finish so I had to be sure that she would go inside.

Another week goes by looking for a large dog trap. Just when I was going to order one, County AC called and was willing it to deliver a large trap right away. That was Tuesday March 10, 2009. We set the trap behind a chain link fenced area where I have seen her come and go from feedings. The property belonged to a rock and gravel company. When I called to ask if she was their dog they said she was not but they saw her frequently so they agreed to let me come and go through the property and set traps for her.

That Tuesday morning when I met animal control with the 6 ft trap, he remarked that we had a nice breeze and if she was anywhere in the vicinity that she smelled my scent and knew I was there. Not a minute later I tapped him on the shoulder and whispered, “Look, there’s my dog!” I was emotional and almost started crying!

That was only the second time in six months of feeding her that I saw her in the day light. The other time was months before when I drove by that rock yard on a Saturday morning. I saw her out walking around some tall grass. That was one of those days I thought she belonged to the owner of the rock yard. Another time I thought she belonged to them was when I saw her run past a warehouse garage door in the dark. She also came across that highway by crawling under fence that separated the rock yard from the highway.

I prepared home cooked meats: chicken legs, pork spare ribs, meatballs, and chunks of smoked ham. I browned it off, added chicken stock, and reduced it until the meat started falling off the bones. Once it cooled I took all the meat off the bones, used a nice brown gravy, and mixed it all together. Since I had fed her every night for 6 months, I had to make the food hard to resist.

That Tuesday night when the trap was set was really hard on me emotionally. It's the first night in 6 months that I didn't feed her. It just so happened that I went to buy her a dog house and she was crossing the highway on my way home. I tried not to think about her sitting there waiting, but I knew that once she was hungry enough she would go near that trap.

The next morning I had a catch so I knew that trap was working. It wasn't my dog, but a possum. I gave him 2 1/2 hours to leave and he went right back to sleep. We tipped the trap up and he decided to climb, then we prodded him gently with a stick until he finally crawled out. Once I had him out, I cleaned up his mess and moved the trap about 10 ft away and hoped his smell wouldn't keep her away.

I put dinner in the oven at 6 pm and decided to go see if she was anywhere around. My husband drove me so it would be easier to see without traffic distracting me. As we drove by I saw her near the trap! I decided not to cover the trap so it being wire it was hard to tell if she was inside. We pulled into a business nearby and discovered she was inside the trap eating, but the trap door was open! I called my daughter and told her the good news, but since the door wasn't closed we would go eat and come back. If she was inside, then we would have her.

I just pulled dinner from the oven when my daughter walked in. I asked her why she was home because I didn't expect her unless we called for help. She said her and her boyfriend just had to go see for themselves and "for me to mark my calendar because we had her!"

We hugged and we cried! I couldn't believe it; I had her on the 2nd day! We were all overcome with emotion! I had so many emails, phone calls, and a lot of emotional energy tied up in trapping her, not to mention worrying about her getting hit by a car the last 6 months. We found a clear path to the trap and were able to carry her out of there and put her in our SUV. We had her home within 30 minutes!

click on images to enlarge.

She was scared to death. As we approached the trap she barked at us. That was the first time I ever heard her voice in all these months.

Once home, we put the trap against the open gate to the dog pen we bought for her. She didn't come out right way, but did as soon as we gave her space. She went and crouched down behind her dog house and that’s where she stayed all night.