HAPPY ENDING: Safe n’ Sound: The Story of the Hubbards Boxer May 2017

THE STORY OF THE ROAMING BOXER IN HUBBARD’S, NOVA SCOTIA

The Hubbards Boxer was first spotted and reported to us by Nicole on Friday, May 5, 2017. Little did we know that was going to be the beginning of a very busy week of sightings. We had to map out all the sightings. He was seen multiple times crossing the 103 Highway (phew!), then the old number 3 highway, and along the rails-to-trails paths, near cottages and rec centres, by local businesses… he was spotted a lot, but we never heard of an owner looking for a lost boxer. Sigh! We advised all to immediately report sightings to the respective Animal Control Services for either Halifax or Lunenburg Counties, as he was roaming between both municipalities. People didn’t just see him and leave him, they all tried to help him but he would have none of that… if approached or called to he may stop for a second to look, but then he was off into the safety of the woods.

So Many Sightings

Having sightings reported to us, the Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network, enabled us to create a map which we hoped would establish a pattern of his behaviour and area travelled. This is the actual map of sightings, each colour pawprint represent a different day:

Let’s see who reported sightings and hopefully we haven’t forgotten anyone… there was Nicole, Annette, Kris, Kandace, Rebecca’s Parents, Old School Pizza had a sighting on their Facebook page, Marcie, Allyson’s neighbour, Mike’s wife, Carol, Allyson’s friends, and finally Allyson got a photo of him on her security camera on May 9th, 2017:

This was the first visual the rest of us had… very blurry, but you can definitely see the boxer traits of a black muzzle, deep chest, short tail. Nothing further for another full day. Not until Karen had a sighting in her yard. Then Brittny had a sighting down by the beach again. And then the Boxer had a chance encounter with Tanya’s daughter:

“My daughter first spotted him last night at 7:15 pm in my neighbour’s driveway. He had been back to our yard at least three times last evening before dark. My daughter put out dog food on our front deck and she watched from inside while he finished the bowl and walked away.”

 

Tanya’s House

It was such a relief to know he had a good feed. Well done! Another sighting at the same location late that night and again the next morning.

“When I looked the other day it seemed like the last sighting was in front of the rec center on Wednesday night. I think from then on he may have been living in the woods behind our house because he didn’t ever seem long coming once I put food out.”

Tanya wasn’t going to let this dog suffer:

“There is food and water and a warm bed/crate/den for him on our front deck if he so pleases to have some warm rest.”

We suggest they move it closer to the wooded area behind her house, as that was his place of choice to escape if he felt insecure or frightened. This is what she photographed the next morning:

Such a handsome boy. He was very aware of every movement and sound. It must have been exhausting for him, but he was in survival mode. All he wanted was food, water, and shelter at this point.

Earning His Trust

From Tanya Friday afternoon:

“I just came home from work and walked up the hill to take the blankets off the crate like you had suggested (some dogs like a ‘cave’ and some like it open…we were trying both). I look up and there comes this handsome fella out of the woods and looks at me and walks on by. I turned my back to him so I didn’t spook him and he walked on by along the treeline to the path and back into the woods.” Bravo Tanya… He was checking in to see if you were bringing more food and you did exactly what you should have done… turned away so he didn’t feel intimidated or pressured.  “He walked on by as if nothing. He didn’t creep. He didn’t run or sprint. Just walked.”

Fantastic.

VIDEO: Please click this link to see the video: LURING IN THE BOXER

He had everything he needed… a comfortable bed and blankets, regular feedings, and fresh water. He was looking a little thin from his week on the run, but he was still in excellent health. Boxers are very athletic dogs with a deep chest, tight waist and long legs. He would come back to the house looking for more food. We didn’t want to over feed him as we needed him coming back to the same location looking for food in order to work out getting him to safety.

“Then he came back looking for food again. (By the house.) He would eat some and then if he heard a noise he would go back up to the crate and wait a minute then come back again.”

This is great – he feels his safety zone is near the crate. At this point, we could have replaced the crate with a humane live trap. That was the plan at least…

“He came back and finished his food on the deck. Then back to the crate and laid on the blanket.”

Things were moving along quickly…faster than we could get a live trap to the location.

“He’s quite comfy in the crate now.”

He’s Inside. What Do We Do Now?

That evening, things changed considerably. He was feeling very confident and so were Tanya and her family. With the door ajar, their dogs and cats away, a gate up… he almost came inside looking for more hot dogs. Now, I can’t say I recommend doing this with a dog you don’t know. There was definitely a point missed where you lure a dog into you, gaining its trust enough to touch them and put a leash on them… and then decide if you are going to bring them into your home. It was pretty exciting seeing the progress they were getting. Being the kind animal loving people they were, Tanya and her family just couldn’t let him stay outside in the cold. He certainly found the right family to ask for help.

“I didn’t really plan on getting him into the house bit once my daughter started I just went with it and thought at least if we for him inside we could all hide in my bedroom until Brian (Animal Control Officer for Lunenburg County) came to get him.”

VIDEO: Please click this link to see a video: Hubbards Boxer Inside

You see his confusion in this video. He want’s the hotdog and he may even want to be inside, but he’s been in survival mode for a week and he’s nervous. And we don’t know what his life experience has been up to this point either. His ears keep listening behind him, his exit route, to make sure he can escape if he needs to run. He creeps forward, but only for the hot dog. Then he backs out again. There is a lot of body language going on and basically, it all says he’s unsure of being inside and being near people.

 

Wait…what? He’s inside again? This is what I hear next:

“He knocked over the gate and came from the back hallway to the house and went right upstairs.”

What a transformation from early that morning being sighted by the kennel at the back of the yard until now…

“It just all happened so quickly Friday day and evening. He stuck around right from the time he ate at 3pm Friday and was up and down the hill. We went out to dinner and when we came home and let our dogs out they were excited to see us and we made such a big deal of them talking to them and patting them and talking to them with so much excitement. Mr Boxer stood up at the top of the hill watching the entire time. I can’t help but think that it was these actions that helped him decide to come to us.”

I guess he made the decision it was going to be inside for him. I’m proud of Tanya’s next statement about this strange dog being in her upstairs:

“ I don’t want to go up and (make) him feel trapped.”

She was giving this dog the space he needed to feel safe, even if it meant he got the upstairs and she got the downstairs. The great thing is, he was in, the doors shut and Mr. Boxer was safe. Again, we don’t recommend using your entire home as a humane live trap with a strange dog…but since it worked out this way for Tanya we were all going to go with the flow. This next statement will tell you a lot about how nice this family is:

“I’m happy he’s safe but feel sad because he trusted us and we are giving him up. Wow. I could never foster dogs.”

Awe, you did the right thing (not necessarily in the right or safe way but you trusted your gut) Tanya and we all can’t thank you enough for getting this beautiful dog to safety. You and your entire family are this dog’s heroes, and ours too.

 

HAPPY ENDING: Safe n’ Sound! Yeah!!

 

Tanya let us know that he has settled and she has called Brian, the Animal Control Officer for Lunenburg County who worked hard that week trying to keep up with the sightings, to come and get this tired fella. 
“I wouldn’t approach him. (Again, not putting any pressure on him to have to decide fight or flight.) He found a mat in my 12 year olds messy room.”
What a story… This beautiful Boxer arrives in this community seemingly out of nowhere (being investigated now), spends a week on the run and crossing very busy highways, and everyone is trying to help him get to safety. Ultimately, he picks himself a family and ends up sleeping in the youngest kids bedroom like this is where he needed to be all along.
He’s safe, in the care of Lunenburg Animal Control where he is learning to relax and not worry about where his next meal is coming from or if he will be cold tonight. It seems unlikely his owners will be found and if that is so, he will go into rescue and be re-homed to his FUR-Ever Home. We want to thank everyone that was involved in helping this handsome boy… everyone that stopped and tried to get him to safety, who reported sightings to us, Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network, and to Animal Control in both Lunenburg and Halifax Counties, and to all the folks that cared and shared his info in hopes of finding his family. And once again, a huge thank you to Tanya and her family for doing everything in their power to get this dog to safety and to ACO Brian. You did it! Yeah! Yippee!! It’s another Happy Ending.

Updates

  1. Allyson submitted this update:

    While i did make two reports of sightings (not including our first sighting Saturday night, when we didn’t realize he was roaming)…I can’t take credit for the security camera picture. That would be Allison King. Yes….two of us “Ally’s” were calling around the same time! So glad this has a happy ending and yes Mr.Boxer landed in the right yard. How could he not trust Tanya and her kindness and nurturing. Great job!

  2. Kathy submitted this update:

    Great job everyone. Glad this guy is safe!

  3. Marg submitted this update:

    Just a great ending to this story. He looks like a wonderful dog and I hope he will be happy in his furever home.

  4. Ruth submitted this update:

    How wonderfully patient and caring this person was, with such a great outcome, thank you!! It does make me sad to think someone has abandoned him, but hopefully now he will find a new family who will want him and love him.
    Ruth

  5. Ramona submitted this update:

    When will this sweet boy be up for adoption?

    • Ann submitted this update:

      Hi Ramona,

      Thanks for your interest. You would have to contact Brian with the Lunenburg Animal Control Service to know more about this dog.

      Best of luck,

      Ann Morrison

  6. Mitzi osborne submitted this update:

    Way to go kind loving crittter folks! I can’t fathom how people just abandon their pets. I would rather die than leave my two.

  7. Darlene Burns submitted this update:

    Thank you all for your loving hearts.

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