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Missing Dog 'Pilot' Eludes Rescuers, Three Days after Fleeing Doggie Day Care

Her owner and a pet rescue organization advise people to stop actively seeking out the dog, or searching, as she's running scared.

The Missing Dog posters have been put up all over South Milford. This is on Route 140, at Green Street. Credit: Mary MacDonald
The Missing Dog posters have been put up all over South Milford. This is on Route 140, at Green Street. Credit: Mary MacDonald
Pilot, the Shepherd mix who has been running through Milford for three days, was seen again on Thursday morning in a neighborhood near Route 140.

She seems to be staying in the same general area, and that's something that rescuers say is hopeful, because her best chance of being captured is if people keep her in sight, and call her owner, who she should respond to.

The medium-sized dog has eluded capture since escaping from Lucky Dogs Dog Daycare Monday afternoon. Since then, she's been seen several times by people who tried to get her to come to them, only to see her bolt in fear.

The dog is friendly, but extremely shy around people. As a result, she runs from people trying to help her. If a person steps or reaches toward her, she darts off, said her owner, Kelly. If she is chased, she will not come back to that area.

For that reason, Kelly and her volunteer adviser at Granite State Dog Recovery, Lisa Vaillancourt, say the best thing people can do right now is to stop actively searching for her. While that may seem counter-intuitive, it may encourage her to remain in a specific area, because she won't run off when she senses someone is trying to get her.

"Don't chase," Vaillancourt said. "Don't call for her. Don't whistle. Just call Kelly."

The cell phone is on all the posters: 978-549-5047.

Although Pilot has been outside for three days, including in bitterly cold temperatures, the greatest threat to the dog is not the elements, but being hit by a car, Vaillancourt said. This is in part a concern because she seems to be staying in an area near Route 140. 

The dog is surviving by scavenging food, Vaillancourt said. Dogs can survive for years by doing this, so she is not in danger of starvation. "They'll find things," she said.

Pilot is about a year old and was adopted by Kelly about a month ago. She is a mixed breed dog, including pointer, German Shepherd and hound. Kelly, who asked to be identified only by her first name, said she's exhausted but is committed to finding Pilot.

She said she's been overwhelmed by the generosity of Milford residents, who have offered her a temporary place to stay near the neighborhood where the dog has been seen, and helped with posting fliers and walking streets.

Initially, she thought that people with friendly dogs might attract Pilot, who loves other dogs, but that doesn't seem to be working. People wanting to help find the dog have offered to walk their dogs in the area, or have driven the streets looking for her.

Kelly said her dog was spotted three times on Thursday, in people's driveways and yards, all on the south side of town. "Try to keep her in sight, without her knowing," she said.

If someone comes across the dog, Vaillancourt said to get low to the ground and do not make eye contact. Dogs will feel threatened by height, by eye contact. Let the dog approach you, not vice-versa.

The large signs that appeared Thursday across most streets in south Milford are the gift of Signs Plus, a Milford business on South Main Street that donated the materials and labor. They are large enough to be visible, clearly, to passing cars. 

Lucky Dogs Dog Daycare, where Pilot slipped out a door on Monday, is coordinating the distribution of signs, if anyone wants to post some. The employees also have helped in looking for Pilot. Its Facebook site helped spread the word on the missing dog.

Kelly said the community support has been overwhelming. "They're doing all of these things for a dog they don't know, and a person they've never met."
Anne Steshoo January 10, 2014 at 07:53 AM
Thanks for the advice. I really hope they are able to get her and that she doesn't get hit by a car.
Amanda coleman January 10, 2014 at 08:24 AM
Hopefully she'll go into someones yard with a fence
Deb January 10, 2014 at 09:14 AM
I am hoping that she is safely caught so that she may be with her owner. It is interesting how kind some can be when it comes to animals - very refreshing! Truly hoping for a positive outcome for this gal!!

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