CDR Fosters Carmen and Katya posted on every light post, went into stores and talked to everyone they saw on the street. Katya even saved a stray cat that she brought to a local cat rescue. CDR Foster Rebecca put up flyers on the main road on her way home from work. Toby Emerson joined the search party multiple times as well.
However, upon canvassing the area, we quickly learned that most people believed that our Coonhound mix puppy, Maddie, was actually a pit bull, based on her flyer picture. We updated the flyer to make sure it was prominently noted she is a hound! Sadly, it appeared from talking to neighbors that dog fighting is prevalent in this community and many said that she was likely sold into a fighting ring. However, we could not be certain. We could only hope that this wasn’t the case as it was unbearable to imagine.
We are also grateful to Eat Shop Live blogger Nikki Peele for helping spread the word on Facebook and Twitter about Maddie. We could not have done it without the amazing people in the neighborhood willing to help us every step of the way!
In structuring the search, CDR also worked with Animal Control through the Washington Humane Society. Officer DiGiandomenico was extremely helpful and accessible to us and she coordinated our search efforts with the other animal control officers. They were extremely helpful in responding to any concerns the volunteers had along the way.
Volunteers continued canvassing the area, speaking to residents, and posting flyers tirelessly each day for the remainder of the week. Patricia and the Pulaski Plotts went every morning at dawn to try to draw her out. We felt encouraged by the outpouring of support for our efforts within this community. By Saturday, we found that many people we encountered knew about Maddie and most people were carrying her flyer in their coat pockets in case they came across information on her whereabouts. At this point, we all tried to remain optimistic, but were increasingly concerned about her safety and the likelihood of recovery.
On Saturday night, we brought the search and rescue dog back into the new area of focus. CDR Fosters and Adopters Megan back with Toby again, came into the city right after getting home (an hour away!) so that they could show the tracker where people had said that Maddie had been. The tracking dog’s findings corroborated the reports of sightings of Maddie and tracked her scent around two city blocks. In this path, we came across several well-fed and scrappy cats, but still no Maddie. The tracking dog then specifically zeroed in on the crawl space under two residences off one alley. The tracking dog’s handler believed that Maddie had been hiding under these buildings recently. The search dog’s findings brought invigorated hope to this very tired team of volunteers, but we all also continued to wrestle with the horrible possibility that Maddie could be out there, frightened, cold, and alone.
It is important to note that vast majority of the residents of this neighborhood were on our team fighting to find Maddie. Neighborhood children rode their bikes alongside our search groups calling for her and peeking in potential hiding places. People walking around promised to be on the lookout and saved our flyers.
Shortly after arriving home, a call came in from a woman in Anacostia named Peaches. She said repeatedly that she was certain that her daughter had our dog.
Peaches relayed to us a recent trip to the store with her daughter. Her daughter mentioned to another person in the store that she wanted a dog and a man who overheard mentioned that his friend was trying to sell a dog because he couldn’t take care of it anymore. When they asked what kind of dog he was selling, the man said it was a mix, and he wasn’t sure what kind but it could be a pit. Peaches and her daughter went to V Street and bought the dog from the man’s friend. A couple days later, a friend of Peaches asked about her daughter’s new dog because she said there were flyers of a lost dog in the neighborhood and groups of people were looking for her everyday.
Peaches called the number on the poster knowing the dog was Maddie. Director Darren called her on the phone and stayed on her speakerphone as Peaches went to her daughter’s home to retrieve Maddie. Her daughter was not home, but her daughter’s boyfriend was there and told Peaches that he wanted to keep this puppy because she was a pit. Peaches said she knew from the posters that Maddie was a HOUND dog and that she belonged to someone who cared enough to hang posters everywhere. On speakerphone, Darren told Peaches that the police could pick up the dog if we had the address. Peaches went outside to the steps to get the address and the boyfriend, overhearing the conversation about the police, handed Maddie over to Peaches.
(We also named our newest rescue who looks like Maddie in honor of Peaches.)
The first order of business was a collar with a CDR tag and a harness! Maddie appeared to be in good condition and was eager to play with the other dogs. That night she went home to a wonderful, safe foster home with Carlyn and Pat in Fairfax, Virginia with two of her brothers (Cosmo and Brayden) and slept in a warm bed with a full tummy.