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Family searches for lost dog

• Flaps slipped away June 1

Posted: June 12, 2008 1:44 a.m.
Updated: August 13, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Lori Wesley's family's dog, Flaps, has been missing since June 1. Anyone with information about Flaps can call Wesley at (661) 478-4481.

The bright yellow fliers papering telephone poles and tucked into store windows all over Saugus look deceptively cheerful, sporting a picture of a cute Dachshund.

But their gigantic letters reading "Lost Dog" tell the story of a family's anguish.

"The more days go by, the more I just keep thinking he's never going to come back," Lori Wesley said amid tears on Wednesday. Asked what the dog means to the family, she replied, "everything."

Flaps - so named because his ears appeared gigantic when he was a pup - left the family's backyard through a gate Wesley didn't realize was open on June 1 in a series of disastrous coincidences. He had just had a bath, and his collar was off.

"He's not a runner," Wesley said tearfully. Her husband heard a bark and ran outside that Sunday, chasing Flaps for nearly three-quarters of a mile through Saugus neighborhood streets until the dog "just disappeared."

The Wesleys rounded up about 15 people to help them hunt for the missing pooch. They've made daily trips to the Castaic Animal Shelter, ran an ad in The Signal and questioned neighbors.

A tip from one caller sent Lori Wesley to Bakersfield to check a shelter there. "I couldn't sleep without ruling him out," she said of a dog in that shelter.

During her anxious search, Wesley says she's learned all kinds of things about how to recover a lost dog - things she wishes she knew before Flaps took off through the backyard gate.

"People don't know that if you find an animal, don't take it out of the area," she said. Many animals picked up by well-intentioned Good Samaritans wind up in shelters far from their homes, where the owners might never think to look.

The Internet provides amazingly diverse resources for those who have lost their pets, she said.

Other tips: If you know at least part of the route your animal took, go back and walk it as many times as you can. The animal may pick up your scent and follow it home.

There's even a bloodhound service available for those who think to jump on the situation quickly, Wesley said - though its price tag is not cheap.

Among other things, she and her family placed their hope in the bright yellow flyers posted around Saugus. Wesley says strangers who see them call her occasionally to see if she's had any success.

As she placed those fliers she had to promise to take them down when Flaps reappeared. "It'll take two days to take them down, but I'll be so happy to take them down. We don't know what else to do."

Wesley can be reached at (661) 478-4481.


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