We left him in the care of my son Matt, who took him out mid day and left him unattended for a moment- when he returned
Angelo had vanished. I was at work and couldn't leave. My husband Steve left work early and came home to search. Sarah joined
the hunt as soon as she got home from school. When I pulled into the driveway 5 hours after he had last been seen and no one
ran out to greet me shouting he had been found my heart sank because I knew how serious this situation would be. Angelo is
not allowed to roam, but the times he has escaped he was always found within 20 minutes either by us or a neighbor - five
hours was unimaginable and being as sick as I had left him in the morning filled me with dread. We are surrounded by swamps
and deep woods covered with thick undergrowth this time of year. Angelo could have been lying anywhere in need of medical
We searched into the dark and turned up nothing. Sarah and I went out with a flashlight
trying see the reflections of his eyes and gave up after about an hour. Reluctantly we went home, leaving Angelo outside and
by himself for the first time in his life.
Needless to say, we didn't sleep well that night -
Friday dawned with a need to make up lost dog fliers and distribute them to vets, local shelters, and neighbors. We began
our search again finding nothing.
It was if he had never existed at all.
I have to admit
it was not my idea to contact Karin. A good friend, who owns Dachshunds suggested the tracking idea and made a connection
to Jordina somehow. Jordina provided my friend with Karin's information and she in turn passed Karin's number on to me.
Several things struck me when I first called Karin -she was a calming influence in a situation that for me had gotten
out of control. She was able to analyze what facts I could give her and combine them with topographical maps she pulled up
on the internet and was able to offer predictions on what might have happened - the wild card was Angelo being ill and having
just gone through that first hand with her lead dog Cade, she was very sensitive to how that can totally change a scenario.
She agreed to meet with me and Sarah the next day to try and find Angelo. It poured that night and the winds were high - very
distressing - but we went to sleep that night believing that we might at least find some closure the next day.
Karin and Jordina showed up at 11AM on Saturday - Angelo had been now missing for 48 hours. She first brought Cade out
- a lab/coonhound mix. This would be Cade's first case since his illness and we weren't sure how good his stamina would be.
Karin presented him with Angelo's scent article - a fabric clown collar he had worn in Sarah's high school production of 12th
Night he had been featured in last fall - and Cade immediately started pulling Karin in the direction Angelo had reportedly
last been seen in. He led her deep into the woods, over a stone wall, and into an unmown farmer's field. We were now past
the point any of us had searched because we were so convinced that Angelo was sick or dying. When Cade scaled the side of
a granite face and scrambled onto the rise above it I was hard pressed to believe Angelo was capable of ascending such a vertical
climb but Karin mentioned that since Cade tracks the air the routes he takes are not always the ones the dog he's tracking
would have taken. We paused by a shed where we saw dried muddy footprints which might have been Angelo's - it heartened me
to think he had spent a night under shelter and down a driveway where Cade seemed to start losing Angelo's scent a bit.
At this point, to give Cade a break, and to confirm the trail he had shown us, Karin had us go back
to my house and begin the journey all over again, this time using Brodie, a German wirehaired pointer who tracks by ground
scent. Brodie led Karin out in the same direction and his path was exactly what Cade's had been. I can't tell you the feeling
I got seeing two completely different dogs using two completely different methods of tracking determine where this beloved
dog I thought was dead had traveled. I was exhilarated - for the first time in two days I thought there was a good chance
Angelo was still alive.
Cade got switched back in and led us to the next town....and unfortunately straight
onto a trail which put Angelo on the Metro North Train tracks - one of the busiest train corridors on the East Coast. Brodie
confirmed Angelo's scent to the tracks. So did Nash, a beagle cross, as did Trump, a Jack Russell Terrier. All the optimism
I had been feeling left me and I was certain Angelo had met his fate on those tracks. The same friend who found Karin for
me had lost her Lab on that exact same stretch of tracks the year before. Karin allowed Jordina to track with Brodie alongside
of the tracks for a short period of time but soon the sides of the tracks closed in and it wasn't safe to track any more.
At this point I was all set to just walk the tracks by myself because if Angelo had died there I needed to know
that and wanted retrieve his remains. Karin suggested we try to get a better idea how far down the tracks his scent went first
so that I did not have to look in areas he had not been to. We drove alongside the tracks and as soon as Karin saw a trestle
over the marsh her gut feeling was that Angelo would not have crossed such a structure. That assumption proved correct - Cade
was not able to detect Angelo's scent past that point and we back tracked until he picked up his scent again, now knowing
exactly how far Angelo had been on the tracks without putting handlers and dogs in danger. I am still in awe that Cade is
able to detect a scent in the air 1/4 mile away - it's just mind boggling!
We parted ways with a clear
plan -I would first check the tracks to see if Angelo was there. In the meantime when Karin got back home to Massachusetts,
she would design a better sign for us and tell us exactly where these signs needed to be posted in detail with instructions
on everything we'd need to do to move forward.
Sarah and I went back home and brought Steve and Matt with us to search
the tracks. We walked on one side of the tracks, Matt and Steve the other and it was a pretty grim moment for us. It seemed
surreal that a dog that had been so carefully attended to his whole life would have it end on railroad tracks a mile away
from his home.....fortunately we didn't find him which gave me hope again our boy was alive.
started arriving as soon as she got back home. How she had the stamina to do more work after the physical workout we had endured
all day plus the 6 hours it took her to drive to Connecticut and back, I'll never know but the first one contained the redesigned
signage and it was fantastic. So professional! The next email showed the routes each of the dogs had taken that day and subsequent
emails showed where signs needed to be placed and it would effectively circle the area that our boy had been tracked to. Probably
for the first time in more than 2 days I finally felt that things were under control and once we got these signs up in the
right areas people would start calling us with Angelo sightings. I went to sleep that third night hopeful for the first time.
The call from a neighboring farmer came Sunday at 9 AM. Angelo had been spotted by his daughter who clipped
a horse lead to his collar and effectively ended our nightmare. We drove to him immediately and picked him up, a little dirty,
a bit dazed from 3 days on his own, but really no worse for the wear. I woke Sarah up that morning with her chum at her bedside,
gently prodded her and when she turned over I said, "Someone's here to see you". I'll never forget the look on her
face - initially disbelief and then pure joy! He will never be let off leash again and a microchip is in his hear future.
As I write this he is resting comfortably at my feet.
Karin was able to take an unpredictable,
emotional situation and steady it using techniques she has honed over time. She understands not only her dogs but I was amazed
how much better she knew Angelo in some ways than I did. She obviously loves what she does and is passionate about it as well
as compassionate about what we was going through too. She was someone to lean on when I desperately needed someone to lead
the way and it's hard to put into words what that meant at the time. There are never any guarantees in anything like this
but even if we had had the misfortune of finding Angelo dead it would have given us the closure we wouldn't have had otherwise.
Happily, we were extremely lucky; our treasured boy is home with us where he belongs!
Thank you Karin, Jordina, Cade, Brodie, Nash, Trump and Paco from the bottom of our hearts. We will never forget what
you did for us- Never!
Diane, Sarah, Steve, Matt and Angelo Mierz