At Dane County Humane Society (DCHS), we know how important pets are to the families who love them. It’s why our Lost and Found team works so hard to reunite pets brought to the shelter as strays with their loved ones. We check the animals for microchips, search our lost pet reports, scour social media sites dedicated to lost animals, and more.
Thor’s family was on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean – headed from Florida to Mexico -- when they received the call that their beloved 4-year-old pup, who was being cared for by a neighbor, had slipped out of his collar during a walk and run off just days before Christmas. What should have been a fun-filled trip was interrupted by worries and repeated calls back home asking for help from community members.
“We were all devastated,” says Vihaan Venkatesh, the family’s son. “We were trying to call everyone and ask around to see if anyone could help us. I’m thankful that the community and everyone did help us. A lot of people in our neighborhood were looking around. I was concerned about him the whole time (during the family’s trip).”
Neighbors of the Venkateshes were on the lookout for Thor and lost pet reports were filed with various agencies, including DCHS. Then, on the morning of Thursday, December 28th, drivers and Wisconsin Department of Transportation traffic cameras spotted Thor running along the Beltline. Authorities were notified, and Madison Police and drivers kept Thor safe. Eventually an Animal Services Officer (ASO) with Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) caught Thor near Gammon Road and brought him to DCHS. DCHS is an independent, non-profit shelter, and PHMDC contracts with DCHS to hold strays in the shelter.
Upon arrival at DCHS, the ASO informed staff that the pup’s paws were bleeding. DCHS veterinarians were paged for an urgent exam, and found all four of his paws had ulcers and erosions on his paw pads, likely caused by running in the snow, ice, and salt. We gave the pup pain medication and treated his paws. Afterwards, Thor was so exhausted from his ordeal, he curled up on several comfortable blankets in his kennel and fell asleep.
DCHS’s Lost and Found staff checked the pup’s microchip, but it wasn’t registered. It was linked to Fetch Wisconsin Rescue, where Thor had been adopted from when he was just 6 months old. Staff reached out to Fetch to help track down the pup’s family and also found the lost report circulating via social media. Eventually, staff was able to reach the Venkateshes, who were going to be heading home to Madison after their flight arrived at a Chicago airport later on Thursday.
When they arrived at the shelter, they were ecstatic that Thor was safe and threw their arms around him. The family says Thor is a sweet snuggle bug who loves to sleep in their beds at night.
“We are so happy that he is home and he is safe,” says Vihaan. “I just want to thank everyone,” including the police, ASOs, neighbors, the community, and DCHS.
Although Thor’s time as a stray was more public that most, he’s one of over 500 animals DCHS was able to reunite with their worried families this year. Your support of DCHS means we’re at the ready for unexpected arrivals like Thor’s, and we’re able to provide immediate veterinary care when needed.