Karen’s Summary & Volunteer of the Month Award
My name is Karen Boyce. I joined DogLost in 2004 when my Siberian Husky was stolen from my home in Surrey. At that time the police refused to accept that dogs were stolen. DogLost was reasonably new at the time and there were very few helpers locally. I felt very alone in my search for my dog. Sadly, Misha was never located but I vowed then that I never wanted an owner of a missing dog to feel as alone and helpless as I did. I became an active member.
I already ran a dog walking and boarding business, but in the years that followed I studied canine behaviour and the behaviour of wolves to build my understanding of what a dog feels and what a lost dog may go through. I am still operating over 20 years on but dedicate my spare time to help people recover their missing dogs. Much of my experience I have learned along the way. When I moved to Wiltshire in 2007, I met some amazing people and we now work well together as a group to bring missing dogs home. We all bring different skills and I am honoured to work with such a dedicated local team. The most frustrating and challenging dog recently was a dog called Mitzi. We worked tirelessly for 3 months to catch her with amazing support from her foster carer, now her forever mum.
I recently had a call one Friday evening to say Kiss, a Romanian rescue dog, had just bolted from her new owner’s car but very close to the foster home. The first few hours are really important to try and keep a dog in the area, so I devised a plan and set out to help. The fosterers had a sighting on Salisbury Plain not far from their home, so we set out to quietly search. I advised the fosterers to keep walking a route from the last sighting to home to lay a scent trail, with their own dog who had formed a bond with Kiss. I also got them to do a circular route around the area he was likely to be in so that he would hit the scent trail whichever direction he took. The fosterers were amazing. They listened to the advice given and went straight into action. We set a trap in their garden and trailed oily food juices out to the footpath to entice him in if he returned. We use oily food so it lingers even if it rains.
The fosterers and I walked the route on Saturday morning, and they walked it again in the afternoon. They spotted what they believe was Kiss but he disappeared into a clump of trees. I sat quietly at dusk overlooking the area and watched for any signs until the light faded. We decided to regroup in the morning, but I still felt confident he would make his way back to their home. I got a call at about half-past midnight to say he was in the trap and safe! I am overjoyed that this little man got home safely, but not as much, I’m sure, as his foster mum.
For me, this is the kind of help I would have loved when I lost my Misha. It is so important to have reassurance that these dogs can survive on their own and will, most of the time, be caught and be reunited. I can provide the knowledge, through years of experience, of how a dog is likely to behave when in survival mode. It is support like this that keeps owners going and keeps their hope alive. Because of this, I will continue to help until I no longer can.
For Karen’s continued dedication to DogLost we will also be awarding her with the volunteer of the month award, here’s Gina’s write up:
Karen from County Pet Services has been a volunteer DogLost with from the start and over the years has reunited many dogs for us including some very difficult to capture ones due to her experience, patience and determination. She’s a great asset to our South West team and thoroughly deserves this award.Gina Benson (Poochpal), South West Co-ordinator
Kiss’ DogLost timeline can be viewed here.