The Henry family lives on 18 acres in Sheridan, and their dog Dakota loved to roam that land. He never left the property until March 1, and he has not been seen since.
For most people, a dog or any pet that goes missing is like losing a member of the family. Many times the owner does not even know where to start looking.
The day Dakota went missing, his owner, Debbie Henry, was sick with the flu. Her husband, Ed, had left their property to move hay, which he does on a regular basis. Debbie Henry suspects that Dakota followed her husband Ed off the property, but they don’t know what happened after that.
Dakota is a 120-pound Great Pyrenese. He was not wearing a collar because Debbie Henry said he would often get the collar caught on the brush on their property and she was concerned he would be injured. He was scheduled to be microchipped at the end of May.
Like Debbie Henry, Leah Bergeson’s dog, Toby, was not wearing any identification when he went missing.
Bergeson said Toby was at the groomer, managed to maneuver himself out of the harness and ran out of the front door. Toby is a 1-year-old Yorkshire terrier that weighs about 8 pounds. Both owners are offering no-questions-asked rewards.
Where to start
Liz Bagley, owner of Making a Difference Rescue, said the best place to start is on the phone.
“I would suggest that (owners) call the animal controls and the rescues,” she said.
And, they cannot do it just once. Many times, when someone finds a lost pet they will keep them for a couple of days before turning them in to a rescue or similar facility.
But, she said, if you leave your information with the shelters and rescues, sometimes the beloved pet will end up at the rescue later. Such was the case for a dog named D.O.G., who was reunited with his owner, Michelle Linder, of Crest Hill, in January.
Linder had taken all the right steps, calling not only area rescues, humane societies and animal control facilities, but also calling the local newspaper and hanging fliers around town.
Both the Henry family and Bergeson have done the same in hopes of finding Dakota and Toby.
Lost and found
Many times, dogs that go missing do so from a fenced-in yard. Since it is spring, dog owners should check for loose boards in fences or holes under the fences dogs might have dug, Bagley said. When dogs are outside, be sure to check on them.
“It’s terrible that you can’t trust having your dog in your own yard,” Bagley said. “Keep an eye on them, don’t leave them out while at work.”
And if you happen to find a pet wandering around your neighborhood, do not assume it is a stray.
Sometimes people will find a dog and think that the owners didn’t want it anymore and keep it, Bagley said.
Instead, those who find an animal should take the same steps as one who has lost one. They should call area rescues, animal control and humane societies. If possible, they should go to a local vet to see if the pet has a microchip. And they should advertise that they have found a pet.
When people call to claim a pet, the finder should be careful, Bagley cautions.
She suggests asking the person if they have a photo of their pet before giving too detailed a description of the found animal.
Anyone who has seen a large, white dog is urged to call Debbie or Ed Henry at (815) 695-5288 or (630) 514-4051.
If you’ve seen a stray Yorkie, contact Bergeson at (630) 340-7263.