I've taken part in quite a few lost-dog searches over the years and most have been successful. I'm particularly compelled to step in when I know the owner, know the area, or have no real reason not to help. I receieved the call yesterday at 5:30, that Miracle, a 3-legged, 3-month old German Shepherd was missing in Liberty Village. It was believed she had been clipped by a car and was last spotted running west on Liberty Street, about a block away from Dufferin. She had just arrived from Turkey on Monday and woudln't know the area, or which way to run. I headed down there with a pouch full of treats and a leash. As I turned the corner onto Jefferson, I muttered to myself  "Aaaand here it is, the haystack." Knowing she was running scared, I started where she was last seen. You can only go with your gut, and often it's wrong, but just I felt like she was hiding, waiting. So I looked under the cars in parking lots, behind every dumpster, under every construction trailer, and so on. I walked up and down Fraser, between all the buildings and looked in all the stairwells. "If we don't find this dog, I'm gonna die. I'll do this until it's dark, then tonight we can organize something better for tomorrow. I guess this is what I'll be doing with the long weekend. Thankfully this it's the weekend. OMG where is this fucking dog?"  That's the commentary in my head. Not sure how I turned into a complete lunatic! Walking up Mowat halfway between the dead end and East Liberty, I peek down a couple of alleys and find nothing. In the third alley, I see a guy locking up his business and as I approach to ask him if he's seen her, I catch of glimpse of these giant, pointy ears in the sun. Double take, yep, that's a scared puppy curled into a ball, wedged between two concrete walls (photo below). THIS THE MOST UNREAL MOMENT YOU CAN HAVE ON A SEARCH.  It's the moment you visualize before rounding every corner and before looking under under every "rock." So what's the point, other than I feel awesome 'cause for once I found the needle in the haystack? There is a lot you can do if your dog goes missing (or a friend's dog, or even a stranger's dog) : 1. Try not to "lose it." There's plenty of time for that after you find the dog. And we all know that when   you're hysterical, you're pretty much useless. 2. Mobilize immediately. We found Miracle 1.5 hours after she went missing partly because we acted right away. 3. Place an ad immediately on your local Humane Society website, Animal Services site, and on the Helping Lost Pets site. 4. Download this document from Cause 4 Paws. The information can be overwhelming, but the more you do, the greater the odds. The information contained here was complied by many different searchers and animal rescuers, then written by C4P in clear and understandable format. 5. Personal tip from me: Before you leave your house add the following to your checklist: your phone charger (if your phone dies, someone will let you juice it up for a few minutes), and some toilet paper (if you're a laaaaaady). 6. Don't give up and don't wait. Miracle was found in under two hours, but that's not usually the way. Larger, 4-legged, street savvy dogs, can remain on the run for much longer. When you hear through your grapevine of a missing dog, please consider assisting with the search. Even if you can only spare one hour, every bit helps. And dawg forbid, if you should ever find yourself in the same position, hopefully the people you helped with be there for you.

Below is a photo of the "gutter" she was hiding in. Right there on that trash bag. You can see how easy it would have been for everyone working in the area not to notice her.

Miracle resting at home after returning from the vet. No bruises or scrapes.

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