One idea that’s come up a couple of times in the comments is surveillance. When coordinating with our dog rescue experts about what we should be doing and whether we should track, I asked about this. All three independently said that we shouldn’t do surveillance. There were a couple of reasons why they discouraged it in Mari’s case:
- We don’t know where Marisol is at the moment. Our hope is that she’s sticking to the areas where she’s been seen in the past, but that spans about a 3 mile diameter from one end to the other — this is not unusual for a roaming dog, which will usually travel a 1-2 mile radius — but it’s a huge area to cover in a stakeout!
- We don’t want to bump Marisol from her routine by adding cars and humans changing shifts at times when she’s used to traveling safely on her own. More than anything, we want her to stay put and try to reach people who are already in the area who have the highest chance of encountering her.
It’s really not a surprise that we aren’t getting sightings now with all of the snow and cold and darkness. When we go to the Fells, there are far fewer people around. The gates are down in some of the lots and others are covered in snow. The good news is that with fewer people, Mari’s less likely to move all over the place. The bad news is of course we need sightings to know where to focus.
The main thing really is continued outreach — letting people know to peek our their windows on trash night, to call us right away if they see her, and not to startle or try to capture her. If they see her, they should ignore her and call us. We also want to let people know that this isn’t hopeless. Many animals, including dogs, survive the winter. Mari in particular has street smarts — and pantaloons to keep her warm!
Andrew and I really appreciate all of your willingness to help and to stay up to all hours to try to catch a glimpse of Marisolita, and if this sort of situation comes up later on or if we have an area where we need to do door to door flyering, we’ll absolutely let you know. We couldn’t have gotten this far or gone for so long without your help. We were burning ourselves out trying to do everything on our own with a handful of friends, and we couldn’t have kept this up the way we were going in those first weeks, so please know what a difference your calling shelters & vets, putting up posters, checking websites, posting to Facebook and Twitter, and emailing community lists has made.
Right now it’s almost an educational mission of letting people know dogs can make it through the snow and cold and to call right away if they see Mari. We’re still trying to cast a big net and let people know this is ongoing, and that’s where our pro dog rescuers are telling us to focus for now.