From: Philadelphia/Phoenixville/Allentown PA
Lost: May 12, 2013
Trapped: October 27, 2015
This is the story about SHILOH, the Chow Mix “stray” we trapped last night, October 27, 2015. It’s a long story, because it’s been a long time. We have just learned SHILOH has been missing for 2.5 years. We have been feeding her and setting up this day since late January. Yes. 9 months.
Let’s back up. Many of you will recognize SHILOH because people have been posting her wandering for 2+ years near the old Mack Trucks plant off of Lehigh St. in Allentown. At the time we were assured that SHILOH had a home, and was let to wander, but went home every night. After all, SHILOH had a collar and tags. We were told repeatedly, that the police know about her and several attempts to catch her failed by police, the humane society, and more. Fast forward to January, when we made some changes to our organization, SHILOH was spotted again and a plea was put out on FB for help and to our new page. We could not sit by and not look into this dog further. After interviewing dozens of neighbors, the police, the ACO, we learned that this dog was indeed a “stray”. No one knew who or where she belonged to. That’s when we decided we had to do something. WE turn our back on NO DOG!
We met many business owners and families who knew about and saw SHILOH regularly. They were all awesome in allowing us to camp out on their properties, set traps, feeding stations, cameras. And we did. SHILOH wanted nothing to do with traps. She’s a big girl. But she loved her meals. Julie and Beth along with one of our volunteers, Kelly, were on SHILOH’s case from the start. They faithfully cooked steak and bacon, not once, but twice a day, and checked and downloaded the cameras daily. Through, snow, rain, winds, night, day, they were always there. At one point early on, we were able to lure SHILOH into a fenced in back yard, but the second the gate closed she jumped the fence. We knew this would take time, patience, and perseverance. Not knowing SHILOH’s story (one person even said they thought she had been roaming for 6 years). So we stuck with feeding, and hopefully building trust.
In April, we constructed a large fenced in area to feed her in. It was eventually destroyed by vandals but we rebuilt it. We captured over 2000 photos of SHILOH eating, sleeping, and roaming. She “knew” Kelly, Julie and Beth, but would not come close. SHILOH even crawled under the destructed fencing to look for her meal that day. It was heartbreaking. It became obvious that SHILOH would NOT go in the traps we had, so we had an extra extra-large trap custom built. We finally picked this trap up last week. The trap was put inside the enclosure for a few days, not set, to see if SHILOH would go in. And she did.
We set the trap Sunday night. Julie and Beth staked it out every night from 11pm until dawn. Overnight, SHILOH went in. Julie and Beth slept outside with SHILOH until she could be taken in and to the vet this morning. Besides some matted hair, SHILOH was healthy (all that bacon and steaks) …. Then it was time for the big SCAN. SHILOH was chipped! After phone calls back and forth, here is the letter we received from SHILOH’s former foster mom, who is now adopting her forever:
Hello! I just heard that your wonderful rescue group has been working with Shiloh and successfully trapped her last night, and I wanted to reach out to you right away. I am Shiloh's foster mom. I located her in the shelter in South Carolina in March 2013 via Facebook (see attached shelter picture), and couldn't stop thinking about her so I worked with New Life Animal Rescue to pull her from the shelter immediately. She was a feral dog and very scared, but something about her caught my heart. During her quarantine for transport, she turned up as heartworm positive but that didn't dissuade us. She also gave birth to a litter, all of which were small and passed away. We didn't give up on her, and she made the trip to me in Philadelphia. My husband and I have loved her since the moment she arrived. We fostered her for over 2 months, slowly socializing her and adapting her to life in a home. In May, though it broke our hearts, we found a wonderful home for her and approved them for adoption. My husband and I have 2 chow mixes of our own and knew that keeping her would mean we would have to stop fostering, so adoption was the right choice. I brought her for the home visit and adoption on May 11. Julie and Winston loved her immediately and were ready to take it slow with her, knowing she was a scared dog. Unfortunately on May 12, they hadn't seen Shiloh urinate in a long time and decided to take her on a walk in their neighborhood, since they knew she had urinated while on a walk before. When they turned on a flashlight, Shiloh panicked and managed to get out of her harness. The next morning was my worst nightmare. I got the call from Julie that Shiloh was lost and immediately grabbed slip leashes and all her favorite treats and my dog (Shiloh's friend) and made the 45 minute drive to look for her. We made signs and put them up everywhere. The police in all local towns were contacted. We went door to door. We searched through the woods. Even a gaze in her direction was enough to send Shiloh running. We set multiple traps in places she was sighted and manned them night after night after night. We tracked her moments from town to town. For months. My life was on hold. Eventually as the summer drew to a close, the sightings slowed down and the locals were less excited to help in the search. I wasn't able to make the drive every day anymore and had to get back to my studies. We kept signs posted and current. We continued to network her and respond to any tip we got. We were constantly in touch with people in the area. By late fall, the sightings of her had stopped all together. We knew she was a successful hunter and clearly very good at keeping herself safe and hidden, so we prayed that she remained well and would return to us. I have always held out hope that my beautiful little foxy girl would be found one day. I have had multiple conversations with Kim Mangione (director of New Life Animal Rescue) that my home is ALWAYS open to Shiloh should she ever be found. And that she would have a home forever if that were the case. So, that is Shiloh and my story. I am shaking and crying and truly in a state of shock knowing she is safe today and with you. Please let me know what we need to do for her to come home to me. I am still living in Philadelphia with the two dogs that she was fostered with, so though it make take her time to remember we are all here for her. She may take as much time as she needs. I have also now graduated from veterinary school and will do everything to get her back to the best of health and comfort. I have attached many photos from her days with us - from the first day in the crate "nursing" stuffed squirrels while she still had maternal instincts to working alongside my own dogs for treats. Thank you so much for everything you have done for her. I cannot begin to express my gratitude. Please know that her story with all of you would not end here - you all would be welcome in her life forever. Sincerely, Noelle F