Most Recent Possible Sightings

Confirmed Sighting: May 9 2012, north Chevy Chase. [2011]December 11, neighborhood outside Colombia Country Club. October 20, Colombia Country Club. September 14, Candy Cane City and into Rock Creek Park. September 7 or 8, Brookville and Shepherd in Chevy Chase, and then back south on Connecticut to Chevy Chase circle (where she is getting water, we believe). August 28th, on Thornapple in Chevy Chase, and then headed south on Connecticut!

(For other sightings, see archive at the bottom of the page.)

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Professional's Opinion on Trapping in Winter

I had a long talk with the tracker tonight and she has a strict rule about trapping in Winter: Don't. That is, unless you are sure you can check the trap every two hours, otherwise you are putting the animals in danger of hypothermia.

That was actually the short part of my talk with her - the rest of it consisted of her reminding me of all the ways Sassafras has proved herself smart and resourceful, and urging me to keep the faith.

We would love to be able to feel like we are doing something more. We will still need to figure out what that is.

debbie9703 said... Is the trap now set?

A trap is not yet set.  A couple of the neighbors over near the trail have offered to host a trap, and we are going over today to check out those situations, and take a closer look at the spot where Ed has been setting up his trap on the weekends.

There are a lot of ducks to get in a row before we can actually get the trap out.  I know that it might seem like we could just put it out somewhere and try, but I can't emphasize enough that we cannot do this without a crew of dedicated volunteers to help us check the trap and keep it set up correctly - we do not live in the neighborhood, we cannot get there every day because of our jobs and other commitments, and if it is out 24/7 it has to be checked at least twice a day.  That's a lot of organizing of people and materials!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

John Kelly of the Washington Post Features Sass, Again!

John Kelly updated his readers about Sassafras in today's Washington Post.  In the past, his columns have been a boon to us because the audience for them is so great.  As it stands, we are still working on getting a trap out more permanently, and we need to talk to the tracker about how to maximize our very small chance of catching her.

Over the weekend, volunteer Ed put up a trap on the trail and caught a cat one night, and a raccoon another, but no Sassafras.  We cannot thank him enough for his efforts.

For us, 2011 is an annis horribilis because of her loss.  We'd really like to call 2012 a annus mirabilis.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

31st and Aberfoyle - NOT Sassafras

Many great folk forwarded us a posting from the Chevy Chase listserv from Linda, who saw a lost beagle at 31st and Aberfoyle. We contacted her and she wrote:

Thanks for writing as I immediately thought of Sassafras.  I'm sorry but I'm quite sure this is not Sassafras.  This dog did not have that fluffy, turned back tail and it looked like it was new to being without an owner; it bay'd (if that's the word) and had a fresh clean collar and tag.  
We hope that beagle has now found its way home and we wish everyone a happy holidays. We are very fortunate to have so many people thinking about our lost Sassafras.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Animals Talk at Midnight

Our volunteer, Jean, tells me that on Christmas Eve at midnight, the animals can talk.  If you happen to be chatting with your furry companions, please ask them if they've seen our Sassy girl.

A trap will be out this weekend, and for that we have Ed to thank.  It's amazing to us how people volunteer their time (and traps!) to help Sassafras.  We'll look at setting something up on a longer-term basis (unless Sass happens to wander in this weekend) after the holdiay.

We wish you all a very happy holiday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Getting Closer

We have made a lot of phone calls, sent a lot of emails, and generally appealed to a lot of people and gov't entities in pursuit of permission to place a trap, and we are getting closer.  After we have permission from . . . someone . . . we can then pick a place for it, set a schedule for checking it, give people instructions regarding what to do if Sassafras is found there or if another animal is found there, etc. 

It takes a lot of planning and a lot of dedicated volunteers to make something like this happen - especially when we're looking at it as a long-term project.  So we thank all of you who have spoken up to say you'd be willing to help us - it's incredible.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Sighting? (Just east of Mormon temple)

A caller, Alan, just told us he thought he saw Sassafras running into the woods off of Campbell Drive / Hill St. near the LDS Temple.

This is farther north than we've had a sighting before, but still in the easy reach of the park system that joins to Rock Creek Park.

Unfortunately, not a specific enough sighting for us to call the tracker, but we ask that if you live near there, you post to neighborhood listservs and help us get the word out!

Of Traps & Raccoons

The other night when I was putting our garbage out, I flipped the lid of our can and found two raccoons asleep inside.  They'd found a spot that they must have felt was quite a slice of heaven - food source, out of the wind and rain, quite cozy.  We hope that Sass is as smart, and as comfortable.

We are trying to find a spot to put a trap along the Georgetown Branch Trail between Conneticut and E-W Highway (see the map) where Sass has been walking.  If you are a property owner who can help please get in touch with us!  Or, if you know someone who might help, please let us know.  We're also talking to the Parks Dept, and wondering if the Country Club can help.  Not any spot will do, of course, because it has to be close enough to the path that she can smell our scent (it would be baited with our sheets), but also a bit out of the way so it's doesn't attract unwanted attention.

Additionally, if we put a trap out we will need a lot of volunteer help to make sure it is checked regularly.  Jeff and I do not live in the neighborhood, and we can't possibly get over there twice a day for a month or more (and we do have to plan on it being a long-term commitment - sightings of Sass are a month or two apart!).  So, if you are ready, willing and able to help, please let us know.  If we get a spot for the trap, we'll put out a more formal call, but we'd like to put the idea out there.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Story in the Northwest Current

Update:  The story is up online, but in .pdf format:

Thanks to our great volunteer Jen, who sent around this notice to the DC Dog listserv yesterday:

Today's edition of the Northwest Current has an excellent article on Sassafras, the beagle who became lost in April and has since roamed around NW DC and Chevy Chase MD. It isn't yet online, but presumably will soon be added to the archive at Meanwhile, it can of course be read in the print edition.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Check Your Microchip!

SASSAFRAS’s annual membership in the HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service is coming up for renewal.

A friendly reminder to everyone out there to check on your pet's microchip!  I got an email today reminding me that Sassafras' subscription needed to be renewed, and while I was on the site I double checked to make sure all our contact information was correct.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sam's map of the track from yesterday is below - it is the yellow line towards the top.  The purple line under it is the track from the October 20th sighting, and you can see how similar they are.  If you click on the map, you'll get a larger version, and you can see the details.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Map and other details - Dec 11 track

Here's the rough map of today's track, in brown.  (The yellow track is from October 20.):

View Tracks - Dec 11, Oct 22, Sept 18, 17, 10 and Aug 3 in a larger map

Essentially, we tramped through the woods behind Glendale and Dunlop in some rough terrain and then exited behind apartments that face Connecticut. We crossed Connecticut and heading north, turning west onto Georgetown Branch Trail. From here, we were on some of the same ground as the October 20 track, following Georgetown Branch Trail to East West Highway. Then we turned back to the East on East West Highway, crossed Connecticut again. We stopped the track at Curtis and East West Highway. (It would have continued going, but it was getting dark and we didn't think that there would be much new to learn - as to why, see below).

Picture Tells Us A Lot - Thank You Zachary

Zachary (Michael's son) called us today with the first sighting. He's been following the blog and thought he might have seen Sassafras a week ago. Today, when he and his dad saw a beagle running loose, they followed. They knew about Sassafras and called Sass's name -- the dog looked but did not stop. And, more importantly, Zachary knew to try to get a picture using his dad's cell phone. Here's the pictures and what we learned... and although it wasn't Sass, we are so thankful that the message to try to get a picture is circulating.

Here's the "full size picture":

Here's the blown up portion:

That's pretty good quality (remember, this was a cell phone). Although blurry, to our eyes that isn't Sassafras. There's too much black and the tail is not quite right. Also, because we could see exactly where the dog was, we could have Salsa the tracking dog sniff in the exact spot. That is very helpful, and helped us confirm what our eyes saw... That it wasn't Sass :-(

We really hope the dogs spotted today are back with their humans!

Today's Track

Jeff will post the map of the track later tonight or tomorrow.  It went down paths and streets we've been down before, and we are unsure of whether this is a track of Sass' path today, or if Salsa just picked up a scent that Sass laid down within the last couple of weeks.

It's frustrating not to be able to catch up with her, and once we've looked at the map and had a chance to talk about what we can do next we'll let everyone know what comes next. Because this track closely mirrored the last one, it may be worth it to try and find a sympathetic homeowner who would allow us to put up a humane trap as a long-term prospect - we could perhaps bait it with our scent instead of food so that other - much less desirable -- critters are lured into the yard.  It's a lot to ask of someone, since we'd also be asking them to monitor it.   Otherwise, we are glad to know she's still out there, and sticking to the neighborhoods she knows.  Both of those facts make it more likely that we'll be able to bring her home someday.


Sam and Salsa have picked up a track at one of the spots where we had a possible sighting today!

Update: Today's Possible Sightings

First, Sam and Salsa are on their way, and will check today's sightings.  If it is negative, we will know that it wasn't Sassafras.

Jeff has been able to talk to the people who saw the dogs (there are two beagles running around), and show them some additional pictures of Sassafras.  The people who have seen the additional pictures seem to think this was *not* Sass, however, Sam and Salsa will be checking, to help give us some peace of mind, and we will post the outcome of that in a couple of hours.

Thank you, everyone, for your good thoughts.  We would like nothing more than to bring Sassafras home, and we have found this holiday season to be a difficult time for us emotionally.  When I talked to Sam today she told me that a beagle named Madison, in Oakton, VA who was lost in May is now home with her family, after being picked up by animal control.  We still hope we will get our happy ending, too!

Possible sighting! Happening now!

Update:  We just got a second call from someone in Chevy Chase in the same neighborhood who thinks they saw Sass!

We got a call about 11:30 a.m. of a possible sighting near East-West Highway and Connecticut Ave. in Chevy Chase, where she has been seen before. Jeff is out now following up by calling for her, flyering and talking to folks. If anyone can help by getting the word out to Chevy Chase via list servs or helping him put out flyers, send an email to and I will put you in touch!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

8 Months Ago Today

Sassafras got away from the dog walker.

See some of our early efforts in the blog archive,  We owe much thanks to Laura, who set up the blog (and wrote the first post one week into the search), and who we hope someday has the joy of a reunion with her lost mastiff Olivia ... sighted recently after more than a year.

(We still hope for that joy for ourselves, too....)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

4 Years Ago Today

4 years ago today, I sent this email to my sister . . .

dateThu, Dec 6, 2007 at 12:22 PM


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Unlikely (and old) possible sighting - Mount Pleasant

A couple days a nice man called saying he thought he saw Sassafras 2-4 weeks ago (now) in the Mount Pleasant  district. Specific locations included 19th (near Lamont) and on Kenyon between 17th and 18th, mostly in the alleys (I think). He saw the dog multiple times (meaning, he saw it on a number of different days).

The dog he described was rather skittish (which describes Sass) and looked like the dog he saw on a Sassafras flyer (although he had not been to the website to check other pictures). Unfortunately, he could not remember much else. He did say the dog had tags, but could not remember the color of the collar or things about the dog's tail.

We really appreciate people continuing to be on the lookout for us and contacting us. We judge this sighting to be unlikely, in part because he described the dog as having tags. According to the person who chased Sassafras at Colombia Country Club on October 20 (which was later scent confirmed), Sass no longer has her tags. (Unfortunately, the person who called that sighting in would not later return our calls, so it's hard to be 100% sure of the details.)

Most likely, this is a local dog that has already been picked up (or ended up at a shelter). Perhaps somebody in Mount Pleasant may know what happened to a beagle last sighted a week or two ago?  (We've checked the online photos of dogs at DC shelters and Montgomery County shelter -- No Sassafras there....)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Not Easy

Last year during the after Christmas sale I bought all sorts of lights and decorations for the house. This year I don't really know if we will bother putting them up. It's hard right now for us: it's getting cold out there, it's been many weeks since we've had any kind of sighting, we have no new reason to hope our Sassy girl will be home with us so that we can celebrate the holidays with her sleeping at our feet.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Sassafras, where are you?"

That quotation is from our 2 year old daughter, who surprised us with it over the Thanksgiving holiday.  We were at her Grandparents' house, and they often took care of Sass for us when we went away.  The first time we went to their house after Sass' loss, our daughter wondered where she was (because she expected us to be picking Sass up), and K is apparently still looking for her there.  We keep K away from the search as much as we possibly can, because there is no real way to explain it to her.  We make flyers while she is sleeping, only one of us works to hang those flyers at a time, etc.  But she still knows something is wrong, and when she see's a picture of Sassafras, she will also tell you that, "Sassafras is a good puppy dog."

We have a picture, taken at a previous Thanksgiving, of Sass and the other family dogs all with their heads down licking the same gravy pan.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today we are thankful for all the volunteers, well-wishers and supportive people who have helped us in the search for Sassafras.

We truly wish you and your families a very happy Thanksgiving, and we are comforted to know that so many people are wishing for our family to be able to bring Sassafras home.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thankful for a responsible parent

Sadly, we still frequently receive persistent crank calls from kids claiming to have found Sassafras. Today, a parent called back apologizing for their child's behavior. It's a small thing, but much appreciated.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Check of Chevy Chase Circle with Sam and Salsa

We asked Sam and Salsa to come check Chevy Chase Circle for us today, hoping that it was still an active enough site for Sassafras that Salsa could pick up a scent there.  Unfortunately, in three loops around the circle, Salsa didn't find any trace of Sassafras.

Sam was quick to point out that we've been having the coldest weather Sass has faced, and that the Circle is open and paved, making it a cold spot -- and thus sort of unattractive to a dog trying to stay warm.  It's possible that the cold will limit Sass' roaming a bit, if she's found a warm place to den for a bit (although it is unlikely to change her overwhelming pattern of movin' on all the time).

Sam, after finishing at the Circle with us, was on her way to check on a sighting of Olivia - so we really hope Salsa was able to confirm that sighting.

A bunch of volunteers took flyers today, and we're re-flyering and updating in the Chevy Chase neighborhoods where Sassafras gets spotted the most in addition to the eastern side of Rock Creek Park.  Thank-you!

Please keep thinking good thoughts - this would definitely be a week we'd be thankful to have our Sassy girl back home with us.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bayla is home!

Bayla, a beagle mix who was lost for 45 days is now back home!  We're so happy for Bayla and her humans!

Hearing about happy endings is always a good thing, and keeps us hoping that Sassafras' story will have a happy ending, too.

Sassafras has been on her own for 221 days.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beagles Howling in the Distance and other Rock Creek Activity Today

Received a call today at 3:30 PM that a person heard a beagle howling and running loose in the distance near Oregon and Washington (NW DC). Not a ton we could do with that lead because it didn't include an actual sighting, but the caller said that she had talked with us months ago... Always nice to hear folks are keeping an eye out for us after all these months.

Speaking of which, the DCBeagles club ( has been helping to keep awareness of Sassafras going. Super leader Alexis has volunteered for us in a number of times to do online activity and on-the-ground flyering. Although she couldn't go on today's hike in Rock Creek Park, she helped us get in touch with today's leader - Liz - and we were able to meet up with them and pass out Sassafras business cards... Extra thanks!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Possible (but unlikely) sighting - Rock Creek Park / Quebec Street NW

Our amazing volunteer Jen emailed about someone who approached her with a possible sighting earlier this week on Quebec Street NW coming out of Rock Creek Park. Certain details make us think it's not Sassafras, but Jen's efforts to find out are super appreciated. (See below the break.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fox 5 News - Last Night

Today marks 7 months since Sassafras went missing. Last night, Fox 5 did a follow up story on our search, featuring members of the "general public" who understand that we cannot give up on bringing our missing family member home.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Olivia, Bayla, Bogey and the other lost dogs.

This past week marked the one year anniversary of Olivia's being lost in DC.  Olivia is sort of special for us because the first weekend Sass was lost, one of our volunteers met Olivia's human (Laura) while hanging flyers.  Laura set up this blog, and our email account before we ever knew we'd need them.  She gave us invaluable help and support those first few weeks.

Bogey and Bayla are still waiting to be found, too.  Whenever Jeff and I have been lucky enough to get some press coverage we try to mention other lost dogs and owners who need help just as much as we do, but those stories often don't make it to the page or the TV.

I know Laura needs help this weekend.  If you're in the DC metro area, and have some time to donate I know she'd appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Local Gazette Picks Up the Sassafras Story

The weekly paper has a story of Sass this week.  We hope, as always, that this will mean the right person will have her picture and our phone number at the right time.

Thank you to Lisa and Debra, who also spoke to the reporter and thus helped get this story from idea to actual print!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Technical Expertise Needed - Webcams to look for Sassafras?

Back in July, we received the good suggestion below to set up webcams to aid in the search for Sassafras. We're now looking for someone to email us if they have advanced expertise to tell us whether it's possible to (and how to):

1) set up a battery-powered webcam
2) get it hooked up to a network when it's operating remotely
3) have it monitored (live, or capturing the images so they can be reviewed later)

Why are we asking this? We're trying to figure out if we can set up a monitoring station at Chevy Chase Circle, where we think Sass might be going for water. This involves us getting permission from multiple authorities and we are making progress (and are happy to report that the chief of police in Chevy Chase Village is willing to help). What we don't know is whether a webcam might be a good solution, instead of our current cameras (which require someone to come out and manually check them). Some of the problems we anticipate with a webcam at the Circle are keeping it powered, hooking it up to the internet, and making sure that if Sass appears that someone sees it (a particular concern if she comes by at 3AM and nobody is online watching).

Here's that note from July:
Have a suggestion for setting up a live webcam for finding Sassafras.   Is there any way you could find a few homeowners or sympathetic business owners who would not mind having a streaming internet webcam setup on their windows?  It would only cost them some (small amount of) bandwidth on their internet connection, which you could compensate them for, if they asked for it.

You can get inexpensive webcams with a built-in webserver (no computer required) from anywhere from $40 and up.  You can have the cam running a live feed 24x7.  People on the internet can log into these cams and watch for your dog 24x7.  Since it's real time, you can act on any sighting much faster.

I have setup these myself.  They're not hard to do.   All you need is someone willing to put these security cams on their windows/doors and allow you to use their internet connections.
Many thanks!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stormy Weather

The weather has turned cold, and rain begins tonight.  Tomorrow, the forecast has the word I've been dreading to see, i.e. snow:

Rain with some snow mixing in in the afternoon. Cold. High 41F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
Send good thoughts to Sassy, and imagine her finding a friendly person who can help get her home to us!

We are working on some new strategies, such as setting up a trap in a new spot.  Since this involves discussion with the property owners, and could be a long term placement, it won't happen right away, but we hope by next week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Possible sighting? Near Chevy Chase Club golf course

Received this email this morning. Not really enough to say this was a high likelihood sighting of Sassafras, but we do appreciate people keeping their eyes open. We are strongly encouraging folks to try to catch a picture on their cell phones, but sounds like this happened too fast:
Walking my dogs at about 11:30pm, it might have been a fox, but just in case it wasn't... something about the right size and with what appeared to be a white tail (something the foxes don't have, but it might have been the effect of the strange color of the street lights) ran across West Lenox Street at the intersection of Cedar Parkway where it goes through a right of way to the Chevy Chase Club golf course. The foxes go through there, so there must be appropriate sized openings.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Today's Track [updated with map]

Today's track was a short one, by choice.  It eventually lead us to streets we know Sassafras frequents, so Sam didn't really think we'd learn anything new.  Basically, we followed the perimeter fence of the Columbia Country Club for a while, then headed north on Connecticut Ave to Newdale Rd, where the track crossed over to the Georgetown Branch Trail, which we followed through the Country Club and then eventually up a little path, back onto East West Highway, where she turned on Meadow Lane, up Aspen and back to Connecticut. (See yellow portion of map.)

The dog walker who called in this sighting said she was with another dog, about her size.  We guess that it might have been a male from the way Salsa was following the track.  That's because Salsa will put her nose down where Sassafras put her nose down (a little wet nose leaves a good strong bit of scent) and there were a lot of those spots - as if Sass was sniffing where a male dog was marking.  But, by the time we came out to the Georgetown Branch trail, it seemed like that behavior was gone, and Sassafras' confident walk down the middle of sidewalks was back.  So we think that other dog has gone back home now.

If we could, we'd keep following her trail all night, all day until we caught up to her, but it doesn't work that way.

View Tracks - Oct 22, Sept 18, 17, 10 and Aug 3 in a larger map

Thursday sighting confirmed! Track now underway

Beth, Sam and Salsa are now on an active track based on a Thursday sighting at Colombia Country Club. This means that Salsa (the tracking dog) has confirmed that it was Sassafras at the club on Thursday.

The track has just started (and it sounds like they are currently headed toward downtown Bethesda on the Georgetown Branch Trail)... more details about where it went when it's over.

We're highly likely to be asking volunteers to help with flyering and other efforts tomorrow.... Fingers crossed, toes crossed that we might be bringing Sass home soon!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Possible Sighting at Columbia Country Club?

A dog walker thinks he saw Sassafras on the grounds of the Columbia Country Club (see map).  The dog he thought was Sass was with another dog, and he chased them for 30 minutes, before losing them when they left the grounds of the club, exiting onto Connecticut Ave, headed north towards Kensington (and the parks that connect to Rock Creek Park).

If it was Sassafras, he was pretty sure that she was no longer wearing a collar, which would be too bad, as it has all of her identification.  (She is microchipped, so she can be identified without the collar by a vet or shelter with a scanner.)  He did say the dog looked happy, and healthy.

It's so frustrating to get a call like this when we can't get over there - jobs, traffic, and daycare pick-ups all have to be figured into what we do.  I wish he'd been able to call when he first saw them, and just kept them in his sights so I could have gotten there before he lost sight of them, or that he remembered to take a picture so I could maybe see if it was Sassy or not.

Sam and Salsa will check this one out, so we will know on Saturday morning whether or not it was her.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

After the Show

Jeff and I have done a number of interviews with the local TV stations, newspapers, online blogs, and Anderson Cooper.  Every time we do one, we hope that the right person will see it and help us bring Sassafras home.  Simply put, we have high hopes.  When the miracle phone call doesn't happen, those high hopes have to go somewhere, and there's no where to go but down - and we have some days where we are very sad because we haven't been reunited with Sassy, and that despite all our hard work and working outside our comfort zones (we are not TV people!), we still feel like we've failed her.  It's always hard to think about what to do next, and work up the energy to actually do it.

We have, by no means, given up our search, even though we're kind of quiet right now.  We're just conserving our energy, and getting ready to start again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Possible Sighting - 14th and Colorado

We just received a call that a person waiting at a bus stop thought he saw Sassafras crossing the street near 14th and Colorado (Washington DC) at around 10:30PM.

The combination of language difficulties and poor reception made it difficult for us to tell exactly where or why he thought it was Sassafras (we typically ask some very specific appearance questions that really weren't possible). He tried to approach the dog, but the dog ran away... Possibly in the direction of Georgia Ave.

This area is just outside Rock Creek Park and a bit south of Military Ave (east of the park), so not far from tracks a few weeks ago.... meaning it's possible.

Given the rain and dark, we feel that there's little we can do immediately with this, but do ask people in the neighborhood to please keep an eye out.... and if sighted, try to get a picture on cell phone (and then call us).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How big is Rock Creek Park?

We've speculated from the first night of searching that Sassafras would be drawn to Rock Creek Park - it has food (picnic areas, small animals), water and vegetation and other natural formations that would offer shelter.

It makes our search much more difficult, though.  Not only is Rock Creek Park about 1700 acres (2000 acres if you include all the local contiguous parks), it is part of the national park system, and we cannot post any flyers in the park.  We've asked as many people as we can to hand out business cards with our information and Sassy's picture, and we post flyers on the streets along side the park.  We hike along the trails we used to hike with Sassafras to put our scent down, in the hope that this will make her stick to the area where we've tracked her.

Also part of the challenge?  Much of Rock Creek is down a ravine, so cell phone coverage is weak.  People may not be able to call us as soon as they see her, and even if they can, they cannot always pinpoint exactly where they are on a trail.

And yet, despite how much more difficult it makes it to find her, I am glad that we know she uses the park since I see cars as the #1 threat to her survival, and there are fewer of them there than anywhere else she could be.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Possible Sighting - Last Monday - Rock Creek Park

On Friday, we received an email about a possible sighting in Rock Creek Park on Monday, October 3.

More details below:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Is It Really Her? And Other FAQs Regarding the Search for Sassafras

Follow the link below to read our answers to the following questions:

Q: Is it really Sassafras people are seeing?
Q: How is she staying alive?
Q: Why hasn't she been captured or come to a human for help?
Q: Will she be happy to come home? (Is she too wild, or better off now on her own?)
Q: How did you lose her? (Are you bad owners?)
Q: How often does Sassafras have seizures when not on medication, and what type of seizures are they?
Q: How will you get her back? What's the plan?
Q: Is she chipped? (What's a chip?)
Q: Have you checked the shelters? Have you checked with animal hospitals?
Q: Why so many flyers?
Q: Which methods of publicity have proven most effective at bringing about
confirmed sightings?

Q: How can I help?
Q: What neighborhoods or parks does Sassafras know the way home from?
Q: What should I do if I see her?
Q: How many volunteers do you have?

Q: How much money have you spent?
Q: Help! I’ve lost my dog! What should I do? 

If you have other questions we haven't answered, comment below and we'll do our best to answer in a future post.

The Most Frequently Asked FAQs

We will post the whole updated and revised FAQ tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are a few of the most frequently asked of the frequently asked questions, with answers behind the cut.

Q: Is it really Sassafras people are seeing?
Q: How is she staying alive?
Q: Why hasn't she been captured or come to a human for help?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Documentary

Jon Hussey's documentary from early August about our search now has more than 3,500 views. Still hard for us to watch, and really well done.

The Search for Sassafras from Jon Hussey on Vimeo.

Also available in youtube.

(Our homemade video from May has more than 2,200 views.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Flyers Posted in New Neighborhoods

We were finally able to follow up on the last track and post flyers in the DC neighborhoods of Brightwood and Shepherd Park.

Huge thanks to Kerstin, Debra, Debbie, Dee, and Shelia who came out on a cold and rainy day to help!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Definite Air Date for our Appearance on Anderson Cooper's Daytime Show is Friday

The producers have emailed us to say the definite air date is Friday.  It hasn't shown up on the website, yet, but we'll link when the announcement is there.

Unfortunately, Not Sassafras

This morning's track with Sam and Salsa was negative for Sassafras, sadly.

I met up with the woman who saw the beagle this morning, she showed me the area where she saw the dog, and then I later met with Sam and Salsa.  All the tracks start the same way:  I hand our scent article to Sam, she presents it to Salsa who sniffs it three times.  (At this point, after the first time, Salsa is usually eager to get started - if she could talk, she'd be telling us, "I know this one! Let's go!")  I get the scent article back, seal it up and pack it away.  Then I stay in one spot and let Sam and Salsa do their work.  They will criss-cross the area, searching for scent.  Salsa will look for and find the strongest Sassafras scent - on a negative search, that means she ends up coming back to me, because I am holding the scent article.  (That's why at the beginning of a track I stand still, and while during a track I stay behind Salsa.)

We're disappointed, of course.  We'd really like to bring Sassafras home.  It's hard to think of her not being there for all the family-centered holidays coming up because she's definitely part of ours.


Friday, September 30, 2011

We Will Have a Track at 11AM (Saturday morning)

We received a call at 6PM that a woman had seen a dog that could be Sassafras at about 5PM.

The sighting was in Rock Creek Park, just over the bridge from the small parking lot near Jones Mill Road and Levelle Drive in Chevy Chase.

This is a little bit north of where Sass was last tracked, but certainly within the realm of possibility. The woman who saw the dog has looked at the blog and thought the dog was proper weight and similar in appearance to Sass. She described the dog as a healthy beagle who was tracking something and not overly interested in the sighter (or her dog). The sighter saw no other people walking dogs (the area is known for people sometimes allowing their dogs to walk off leash, but the sighter waited awhile and no one came by). She did not notice whether there was a harness or collar. She did think the dog looked like a full beagle, (Sass is not a full beagle which is most noticeable in her ears), so we are hopeful but not certain about this sighting.  We do want to check it out with Sam and Salsa.

Looking for Volunteers for Sunday

We're going to do some flyering this Sunday in the neighborhoods on the east and west sides of Rock Creek Park.  Some of this will be new, and some of this will be checking on flyers that may have come down in all the rain we've been having.  If you can help, please send us a note at!

We're also wondering if anyone is going to the Blessing of the Animals at the National Cathedral on Sunday - it might be a good chance to let people who love animals know about Sassafras, and we'd love to have some business cards passed around there.  (Thanks to volunteer Jen for this suggestion!)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quiet Now, But Hoping for New Sightings with New Efforts

The phone has been frustratingly quiet, but because of all the rain we've been getting we probably should not be surprised.  It has been nearly six months since Sassafras was lost, and our hearts are still aching from her loss, but we still hope we can bring her back home.  We are incredibly grateful for all the support we've received from people - I can't express that enough.

We will be trying to do some maintenance work this weekend on flyers in neighborhoods she is known to frequent, and putting up more in new areas on the east side of Rock Creek Park.  In addition to these ongoing flyering efforts that reach out to the community for their help, Jeff and I have been sleeping on a cheap set of sheets - if we get a good sighting that we can get to quickly, we can leave strips of cloth with our scent behind to try and encourage our girl to stick around.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let's Talk Live - Video Now Available

The folks at Let's Talk Live were very nice to us this morning and have posted our portion on their blog. We really appreciate their help (and, if asked, would be oh so happy to come back on the show with Sassafras someday).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Let's Talk Live (Tuesday morning)- More Local Media Coverage of Sassafras' Story:

Tomorrow (Tues, 9/27) we'll be on Let's Talk Live sometime in the first half hour (11:00-11:30AM). We really hope it helps lead us to Sassafras.

According to the show:
Let's Talk Live is the only live and local talk show in Washington, DC, hosted by award winning journalists Natasha Barrett and Melanie Hastings. It keeps the pulse on what's happening, what's in and what makes the Capital City really tick. The show thrives on welcoming live guests who live in and visit DC.  Let's Talk Live broadcasts live at 11am- noon from the NewsChannel 8/TBD Studios in Arlington, VA. NewsChannel 8/TBD is the sister station of WJLA-TV, the ABC affiliate in Washington, DC.

Possible Sighting - 3AM last Thursday

Crossing East West Highway a little east of Grubb... Sighter is our new volunteer Hugh who is trying to go out during the wee hours of the morning. He didn't get a great look at the animal, but this is certainly near recent tracks.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Our Appearance on Anderson Cooper's Daytime Show (10/5 we're told)

We are still waiting for confirmation of an airdate, and we will post as soon as we have some information!

Update:  We are being told the segment will air on 10/5/2011.

Rain, Rain Go Away . . .

It is another rainy day in the DC area.  Generally, this means that people are not out and about making it less likely someone will spot her, but it also means Sassy may not be out.  If Sassy isn't out then when the rain stops she's more likely to be moving around looking for food, so please keep your eyes open when the rain goes away!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Do you have questions?

We're working on updating/revising the FAQ.  If you have questions you'd like answered or clarified let us know.

Possible Sighting - Sunday morning - Connecticut and Leland (Chevy Chase)

Yesterday afternoon we received a call that Sassafras may have been sighted at 3:45 AM that morning crossing Connecticut Ave traveling east to west on Leland Ave (2 blocks south of East West Highway).

Yesterday's Track - Familiar Territory in Rock Creek Park

Yesterday's track took us for the first time into territory we used to walk with Sass before she was lost, namely portions of (the east side of) Rock Creek Park between Sherrill Dr. and Candy Cane City.

Track is in purple. (The night before is in green)

View Tracks - Sept 17, 10 and Aug 31 in a larger map

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Track Will Continue Tomorrow! We Will Need Volunteers to Help Flyer!

Jeff is home from the track and pulling his notes together to put up a map - he'll update this post with that later tonight.

Since this is new territory, we will continue the track tomorrow with Sam and Salsa at 10 a.m.  Our long-time volunteer Debra will be out there tomorrow to help us.  (On a track, it is ideal to have someone walking with Sam, and someone following in a car.)

Again, since this is new territory, it will mean a new flyering effort tomorrow and into the week.  If you can help tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon [meet up time will probably be about 2 p.m.] or if you have time during the week, please send us an email at

UPDATE - Here's the map, with the track in green. Starts at Candy Cane City (mid upper left) and ended on 16th Ave and Sheridan (lower mid/right)

View Tracks - Sept 17, 10 and Aug 31 in a larger map

Confirmed! Track from Candy Cane City Has Begun!

The Wednesday night sighting of Sassafras at Candy Cane City has been confirmed by the tracking dog, Salsa!

This is the first time we've actually had a confirmed track in Rock Creek Park, so it's new territory!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Anderson Cooper Will Help Us Find Sassafras!

Jeff and I were invited to be on Anderson Cooper's new daytime talk show, and our segment was taped this week.  The documentary that Jon did will also be featured (he was there, too!).  We are unsure of the air date, but will post it as soon as we know.

Everyone involved in the show was incredibly supportive and they are excited to help get the word out!  We cannot thank them enough for the opportunity they gave us, or the experience.

We're unable to talk about the details of the show before it airs, but Anderson's dog is named Molly, and she was there, too! (Pictured below with Beth.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Possible Sighting - Candy Cane City

We received a call this evening that a nine year old playing in the woods near the tennis courts in Candy Cane City* saw a loose dog zoom by around 6PM, running on the path. I talked with his mother and then directly with him. He couldn't tell whether the dog had a collar or harness on... it was all pretty fast but he thought it was Sass.

We've always suspected that Sass would be in Rock Creek Park, but never been able to confirm a sighting there... It's possible... If folks could get the word out to the regulars in that area to be on the lookout, and have their cell phone cameras ready, that would be great. If it was Sass and active in daytime, with enough eyes looking out, we may start getting even closer to bringing her home.

TODAY show web site - "Is their lost dog a lost cause? Internet cries no!"

Hard to fathom that our Sassafras is garnering national attention, as in the new (and very well done) TODAY show web post.

Author Laura T. Coffey asks a great question that hints at how we've been able to go on:
But even though they’re exhausted, how can they stop searching for Sassafras when so many big-hearted strangers haven’t?
We just want Sass back and everyone's support has been so appreciated. Please do read and circulate the article. It does a great job of highlighting the efforts of those involved in the search!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

UPDATE: Anyone able to check 4900 block 1st NW (DC)?

We received a call this evening that a dog has been tied up during the daytime in the 4900 block of 1st st NW since Sunday. If anyone is in that area and would be able to check it out, please send us an email and we can give exact address. Unfortunately we are unable to check it ourselves during the day.

We're asking that if there is a dog there, to please compare with Sass' picture and take a picture yourself (and email to us). If no dog there, to please leave a note or flyer.

This is one of those leads that appears to come from someone well-meaning, but really hard to determine. We've had a number of these and almost always there has not been a dog there. The caller said that s/he did not feel comfortable going back and taking a picture because s/he did not want to disturb the neighbor... which raises a number of flags for us. Still, we'd appreciate help in following it to it's conclusion.

Once determined, we will certainly update the blog. As always, we are very appreciative of help.

UPDATE - Dave reports that he went by twice earlier today (Sept 14)- no dog- will try later

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sammy - Local, but not Sassafras

Pictured below is Sammy, who lives in the neighborhood where we've recently tracked Sassafras. He is always walked on a leash and Sammy's owner has been asked if she's walking Sass. That means the word is definitely getting out:

Note that Sammy has full beagle ears, is much whiter than Sass, and tail is not as fluffy. He's also male. Sass is a 4 year old brown/white/black beagle mix with a distinctive white tipped tail that curls back towards her head and ears more erect and smaller than a typical beagle. 

Of course, some folks are asking if the tracking dog could be mistaking Sammy for Sass. When we have a positive track, the tracking dog is able to distinguish between dogs based on smell, not appearance, so the tracks in the neighborhood should be of Sassafras. (We had another sighting of a beagle in Glenwood cemetery where we used the tracking dog to confirm that it wasn't Sass.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today's flyering - Many supportive folk!

Today we sat out at Brookville Market to spread the word and 8 great volunteers hung new posters and placed flyers on car windshield the area... There were many supportive and interesting people checking in at the table at the market, and a couple new enthusiastic T-shirt wearers... See pictures below and thank you to everyone! Please keep spreading the word!

Sass Central - Sept 11

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Volunteers wanted - Sept 11

We'd welcome volunteers to help Sunday (Sept. 11) to hang posters, put flyers on car windshields, and pass out business cards in the area of the last tracks in Chevy Chase (but not Chevy Chase Village).

(If you've been eyeing one of the t-shirts, they will be free -- first come, first served)
Meetup location: Brookville Market, 7027 Brookville Rd in Chevy Chase from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. 

Sept. 10 and Aug. 31 tracks - Looks like a pattern!

Below is an approximate version of latest two tracks on Sept 10 - in red (based on sighting on Sept 7 or 8) and Aug 31 - in blue (based on sighting Aug 29):

View Tracks - Sept 10 and Aug 31 in a larger map

New Track Happening Right Now in Chevy Chase

Salsa is tracking Sass' scent on Connecticut Ave. right now!
UPDATE - Here's an approximate route of track (official one coming tomorrow)

View Sept 10 Track in a larger map

Not Sass in Glenwood Cemetery, Unfortunately

Sam and Salsa came out tonight and checked the Glenwood Cemetery sighting - it was not Sass.  As always, our thanks to them for all their good work.  Thanks also to the couple who called with this sighting, because they came out tonight to show us exactly where the dog walked so Salsa's could sniff the right spot, and we would know if it was our girl.

Jeff just called to say that they are on their way over to check out the other sighting that was called in recently, on Brookville in Chevy Chase.  We're pretty sure that Sass has walked Brookville, so if Salsa picks up a trail we hope she pulls on the leash - she will often pull more if the trail is fresh.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back to Glenwood Cemetery?

Got a call this evening that a couple out walking their two dogs saw a dog at Glenwood cemetery that they believe could be Sassafras (at about 8:45PM). The dog they saw was headed toward the Lincoln Ave entrance (from inside) and when the dog saw them it stopped. It went to the fence and got on its hind legs and looked at them. They approached, and it went on top of the fence (to the east of the main entrance), and then eventually back inside. It appeared to be a beagle with a straigher tail than Sass, and no collar or harness. (We can't remember if her tail was straighter when she was feeling threatened, etc). It matched Sass' size and appeared to be in good shape (and very smart, according to them)

We used to get lots of calls about possible sightings of Sassafras at Glenwood cemetery, but have never had a positive id there (and I don't think ever a track)...  

We're asking Sam (our tracker) whether she thinks it's worth checking out...

Another Sighting in Chevy Chase

A group of kids just called to say they'd seen Sass very close to our last confirmed sighting.  According to them, they saw her yesterday (or maybe the day before) on Brookville in Chevy Chase, between Taylor and Shepherd.

Kids are great spotters, but they also make a lot of crank calls to our phone, so it's hard to know if this is for real, or not.

It would certainly be unusual for Sass to still be in the same neighborhood - she's a traveler and doesn't stick around.

But just in case, leave your gates open and cook things that smell good, Chevy Chase!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


We hope that as the rain wanes, our Sassy girl comes out where someone can see her!

(Here in the DC area we usually get about 4" of rain in September - we've had that much and more just in the past couple of days.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An email that makes you feel good

The search is really tough, but every now and then we get an email that simply makes us smile. Here's one, subject "i WANT TO HELP"

hi my name is -----. i'm a 10 year-old girl, AND I LOVE DOGS.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Please Remove all Flyers and Handouts from Chevy Chase Village

A couple of months ago, we posted flyers in Chevy Chase Village (CCV) and the police called and asked us to take them down.  We did.  Since then we've asked all of our volunteers to look at the map, note the boundaries and refrain from posting flyers there.  Our most recent track of Sassafras went through CCV, and we believe it could have been daylight when she walked there, so we tried a different tactic to reach the members of the community - a small hand out that read, "Lost Dog / Please help us bring her home" with a telephone number to call, the blog's address, and photographs of Sassafras.  The police have informed us that they have received complaints about these handouts from members of the community, so we are asking those near or in CCV who spot a handout to please remove it.

The individuals in CCV that we've met over the length of the search have uniformly expressed sympathy and concern for Sass' loss, and we'd really like them all to know how much that is appreciated.  For those who were angered by our handouts, please accept our sincere apologies.

Anyone who lives in the area or who is on a listserv that serves it, please help us get the word out by posting details and talking with your neighbors.

ABC 7 News Story

Thanks to ABC 7 News for picking up our story. (There are a couple misidentifications, but we're ok with that... Jeff is the balding one)

Desperately seeking Sassafras: Owners go all out to find lost dog

Check Out ABC 7 at 5:24 PM tonight

Mark Segraves and camera man, whose name we missed, from ABC 7/WTOP were out interviewing us today and expect a segment at 5:24PM this evening on ABC 7, and then running throughout the evening and early morning on WTOP 8 (cable). They were great and we appreciate their interest. We'll post links when up (...assuming we don't get bumped).

New Calls- Multiple Leads

Given the media attention, the phone is starting to ring with possible sightings, one of which has already been disproven. We'll keep updating this page today, so please come back frequently, and if you have ways to help us determine whether these are likely (in other words, you live in the area or could contact listservs), we'd appreciate the help.

SUNDAY - 11AM - HAMPSHIRE GREEN golf course (Silver Spring)

A group of golfers saw a beagle mix at the 10th hole chasing and howling around 11AM, wearing a reddish harness. They were about 50 yards away, so didn't get a very close look. Likelihood: We think that Sass has probably lost her harness by now, so probably not her...


A nice gentleman called that he's seen a beagle for a few months in the Brookwood estates area of White Plains, MD. About 10 days ago the dog was in his back yard playing with his Yorkies, had a collar on, but would not allow itself to be caught. Last seen 3-4 days ago. Likelihood: We think unlikely. Would mean other local sightings were wrong, but hard to rule out. He was looking directly at website and video and still thought it could be Sass. We hope to stay in touch.

TODAY - 1PM - Kensington near Connecticut Ave -- NOT SASS

Nice folks captured a beagle in their car, called us, and we requested they text us a picture... They did and it wasn't Sass. They promised to contact their local listserv to try to find owner. If it's your dog, contact us and we can pass along information. (We assume this is the same dog that we received a call about a couple days ago Kensington Pkwy and Iverness Dr in North Chevy Chase.)

SATURDAY - 5:30 PM - NE DC - Fort Myer construction depot entrance at the end of Adams St. NE (just off of South Dakota Ave at 32 St.).

Updated: This is not Sassafras, but Anne was kind enough to send a picture, so maybe we can help get this pup home:

From Anne: "Saturday around 5:30 p.m. when we saw a beagle mix that very closely resembles the photos on your web site.  She also seems to be the right age at about 3.5.  At the time, we did not know the whole saga of your search but we are dog people and we tried to get her to come to us with the turkey jerky we had.  She had no collar on and was alone so we thought she was lost and that's why we pulled over.  She was at the entrance to the Fort Myer construction depot entrance at the end of Adams St. NE (just off of South Dakota Ave at 32 St.).  When we approached her she retreated behind the locked gates of the Ft Myer construction.  But she did come out to get the turkey jerky!  We didn't think to snap a photo but I suspect she is staying there because she knew just how to get behind the fence there and seem to know her way around.  Also, she seemed well fed and healthy so maybe someone at Ft. Myer picked her up at a construction site and brought her there where they feed her.  (Just a theory).  I will take a walk up the street with the camera to see if she is still there." Likelihood: Low because Sass has not been confirmed on that side of town, but certainly could get there.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Front Page News! New Washington Post Story and Photo Gallery

The Washington Post was out Friday interviewing us, and then followed along for flyering efforts. Story is now online, with a 5 photo gallery.  Today's paper version of the WP has a teaser on the front page, below the fold.

The closing line really sums things up:
If you have seen this video, then you know how precious the things are that we love, and the lengths to which we would go to have them back again.
[Thank you to Monica Hesse for the compassionate story and Linda Davidson for the photos.]

Another Possible Sighting - North Chevy Chase

A caller thinks he might have seen Sassafras yesterday near Kensington Pkwy and Iverness Dr in North Chevy Chase.  The dog was barking at a mailman about 2-3 p.m. in the afternoon.  We'll be trying to find other people who saw the dog to try and get a better description.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

T-Shirts: Free for Volunteers to Get the Word Out

Willing to take the shirt off your back to help us find Sassafras? Well, no need to do that, but if you'd put a shirt on your back and wear around, we'd greatly appreciate it... especially if you live or work within the Chevy Chase to American University corridor (where we think Sass may now be roaming).

See samples below:

Thanks to super volunteer Mark, who has made about 18 of these, primarily size Large male (but there are a couple M and XL).

If willing to help out, please send us an email with your name and address (and T-shirt size) and we'll get one in the mail, or find a way to deliver!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Another weekend of getting the word out!

We're hoping for a good number of volunteers this weekend to help us put small flyers on cars in the neighborhoods where we think Sass was headed.  While we always wake up and hope that today will be the day we bring her home, we have more hope when we've got a good sighting to work from.

Speaking of the day we bring Sass home, here's a puppy picture, taken before we got to bring her home.  She's the prisoner on the left.

If you think you can help, email us at, and let me know when you're available!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Most recent track

Here's the track from Tuesday night, based on a sighting Sunday afternoon.

It starts at the house (upper right) and went to Chevy Chase elementary school, back toward the house, and then to Connecticut Ave....

After that, headed south on Connecticut (toward bottom left), with a detour into the neighborhood near the golf course, with a drop down to the stream (see water icon), then back to Connecticut and we stopped when it reached Chevy Chase Circle. (Click on track to see it bigger.)

The yellow and light blue colors are from earlier tracks, so you can see this is a visited area more or less.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


We are still waiting for the map of the track from Sam, but I had a long conversation with her today about what we could do next.  Sam doesn't feel we'll learn much of anything from continuing the track - we're days behind her, and won't catch up to her, and we know some of the broad outlines of her territory, so we can reasonably assume she's going to end up (or already is) in the neighborhood of American U.

She did suggest that we try new ways to get the word out - the flyers are good, solid ways to let people know, but she thinks that maybe the search could benefit from people having the information closer to home.  In other words, we're going to be asking for volunteers to put small flyers or business cards on car windshields in the targeted neighborhoods, and/or put them between the doors of houses.  If we're lucky, the next house Sass wanders into will then know where the phone number is to call, and won't have to go looking for it.

Sassafras is walking down the sidewalks, into yards, and people must be seeing her, but they aren't calling - we just haven't connected with them, yet.  We need someone to call and say, "she's in my yard right now!"

Want to help?  Shoot us an email at

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sassafras Tracked to Chevy Chase Elementary School [update] and then down Connecticut!

The sighting that was called in yesterday was Sassafras!  Sam and Salsa are on the job right now, and we'll have a map up tomorrow.  She is back in Chevy Chase, and walked right by Chevy Chase elementary.  Jeff has put up lots of flyers there and spoke to the principal tonight.  Please keep your eyes open, call us if you see her and take a look at our post, What to do if you see Sassafras.

UPDATE- The track then went back to Connecticut and headed south. We stopped when the track reached the circle at Chevy Chase Circle (at Western Ave)... was getting late

We would love to bring her home!

Track tonight - volunteer welcome

We'll be doing a track this evening from the 4000 block of Thornapple (Chevy Chase) and would welcome a volunteer or two. (See previous post.)

While initially it strikes us as unlikely that Sass would casually wonder in and out of someone's home, we're going to check it out and Sam will be coming down with Salsa (the tracking dog) later this evening. Because Sam is right now doing a separate track in Millersville, MD, we don't know the exact time our track will occur (likely start sometime between 6:00 and 9:00PM). We also don't know how long it will last-- if there's no scent, it's over in 5 minutes.... if a scent, could last 2-3 hours. Volunteers would either drive the "chase" car or walk along with the tracker.

With all the unknowns and uncertainly, it's a tough thing to ask you to volunteer for, but if this would fit in your schedule and you're interested, please email us at findsassafras at

[If we receive enough volunteer(s), I'll update this post saying so.] Wish us luck!

Monday, August 29, 2011

4000 block Thornapple (Chevy Chase)- Another Possible Sighting?

A woman just called and said that a dog that could be Sassafras went in her front door and out her side door yesterday between 4:00 and 5:00PM. She lives in the 4000 block of Thornapple Street in Chevy Chase. This is very close to where our positive tracks started in June!)

Folks in the neighborhood, please keep an eye out. (Or, if you know of a local dog owner who had a similar-looking dog off leash there yesterday, please let us know... The caller said she figured the dog was just being walked by someone and didn't make the connection until today... The dog was very calm and clean.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Possible sighting - Capital Crescent Trail near mile marker 6

(Everything big in the Sass search happens around rain time...)

At about 3:45 PM today, a woman reported sighting a dog that could be Sassafras on the trail that goes under the bridge near mile marker six on the Capital Crescent Trail. (

She did not see the dog's face, but only from behind and above, and felt it looked like Sass' picture. The dog she saw had on a harness (she did not notice color) and she waited for what she felt was long enough to determine that no human was nearby.

 The dog was headed west (she thinks).

Folks in that area, please keep a look out. We can't get there very quickly and this sighting is not quite of clear enough quality to rate as highly likely....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Possible sighting?? near 315 Upshur NW

This is in the category of one of the very hard calls to react to.

At about 11:15 a hard to understand person (couldn't tell whether male or female) said they saw a dog that could be Sassafras in a neighbor's yard. They gave the address as 315 Upshur NW... but it wasn't clear if that was their house or a neighbor's. Also unclear was whether the dog was inside the yard and contained, or just passing through. We asked about collar and tail and the match was not quite perfect...

We don't live in the neighborhood and when we called the person back, there was no answer. If anyone lives nearby and has more details, please let us know.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Still Waiting, Still Hoping

It's been many weeks since we've had a sighting, and, as you can imagine, it's difficult for us with the heat wave, earthquake and now a hurricane on the way.  We have had some telephone calls from people, and we appreciate every single one of them, even if the dog isn't Sass.  It means our flyers are up, people are seeing them, and there's still a chance that the next call with be her.

The good news in our email today is that Peanut, who went missing nearly a month ago, has turned up at a shelter and is being reunited with his people.

Still waiting, still hoping.

(photo: Sass as a puppy, late 2007)

Saturday, August 20, 2011


This blog is now much easier to tell people about... it's

(all the old links should still work...)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A quick reunion story (but not about Sass)

Because we have so many great posters up, we received a call this morning that a beagle wearing worn tags with the name "Dixie" was spotted around 8AM in the Bannockburn section of Bethesda.

The dog was described as an older beagle with worn tags (the caller could make out "Dixie" and the beginning part of a 301 number) and a harness on. The dog was friendly, and came up to the caller and rolled over and allowed her tag to be read. She also appeared exhausted and ran off after the caller's dog barked at her...

We were just about to approve a craigslist ad about Dixie to try to get the unknown owner in touch with the caller, when the caller phoned me to say that she had gone back again to look for Dixie. The caller captured Dixie and returned her home safely.

We sure hope someone as great finds Sassafras....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ideas! We love to hear them!

One of our volunteers has brainstormed an number of ideas - we love hearing them, and will be thinking about what is feasible with the resources available to us.  Please, jump in with your own ideas, or build on what's below!  

Just saw your documentary and was moved to try to brainstorm some ideas for raising awareness about Sass's plight.  Some of these may seem far-fetched, but please bear with me.  You can never have too many people looking for Sass, no matter where they come from or what their reasons are for finding her: genuine animal lovers, hero worship (more later), or folks who just want to be part of a good story, etc.
1) Have you ever considered putting your Sass flyer on promotional items: t-shirts, hats or buttons?  This could probably be done inexpensively online, or maybe one of your volunteers could do this.  You could give these items to American U students, joggers/bikers in targeted parks/areas, residents, commuters and the poor homeless folks living along Sass's path of travel, raising the community's awareness.
2)  Is it possible/feasible to get a mural or billboard with Sass posted somewhere in the city?
3)  Volunteer Barbecue-Picnic:  Since Sass is likely hiding out in parks during the day, hold a pot-luck picnic for your community of volunteers at one or more of the places/parks that Sass has been tracked or spotted: AU Park/Campus, Bayard or Rock Creek Park?   Create a large poster of Sass for the event, and offer Sass promotional items, and maybe even a burger/hotdog to park visitors, turning them into Sass spotters.  Some potential benefits:
*   raise the awareness among folks who live near and frequent those parks/locations.  
*   promotional items - like traveling flyers, will spread the word around the park area
*   these events would familiarize searchers with targeted areas, making them more likely to return to search for Sass or post flyers
*   strengthen the bond, communication, cooperation of your volunteers and even maybe add to the volunteer ranks a bit
*   capitalize on the event to raise more publicity, possibly get some more local news coverage.
*   add to the documentary by inviting the author of your documentary to film this part of the story.  It's is a compelling, moving story and he might want to continue following it all the way to it's resolution.  If he's unavailable, ask for volunteer filmmakers to capture the event for Sass's documentary.
You can control how large or small you want to make this.  If you are uncomfortable with the idea of a Sass picnic, then team up with a local animal rescue group or charity like the ASPCA and make it a homeless animal awareness and/or fund raising event, as well as a "Help Find Sass" event.  This could all be promoted via social media (or not), depending on the desired size of the gathering.

4) Viral PSA video:  This is more of a long shot, but publicity is Sass's best friend.  To create a viral video about Sass, an effort should be made to try enlist the help of local celebrities to do a short public service video in support of finding her.  This could be current/former sports figures from the Caps, Wiz, Nats and Redskins, sympathetic on-air personalities, etc.
Although she's not local, animal advocates like Betty White instantly come to mind. Some local athletes might be reasonably accessible.  An Ovechkin PSA, for instance, would instantly become a viral video in DC.  Michael Vick has been working with the Humane Society and would probably do this, given the chance.  As more and more of these PSAs get created, it becomes a phenomenon.  You might get more new coverage, possibly a mention on sports talk websites, tv, radio, etc.
The increased publicity would likely attract more volunteers, and hopefully, catch the attention of additional search/tracking experts who might help, even just for the glory (possibly for free, knowing how much you're already spent).  With all the publicity and an ongoing documentary/search mystery, the person that finds Sass would become an instant hero in a heart-warming story and documentary.
There's a huge community of animal lovers out there, willing to help. The more Sass's story grows and gets out there, the more good people will get involved.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Documentary - Search for Sassafras

We can't thank Jon Hussey enough for the very well done video he has done about the search for Sassfras. It's hard for us to watch, of course, but still amazing!

Also, we extend our thanks to Sam, Laura,  Jenn, and Dave who agreed to be interviewed for the video, and the extended community of volunteers who have been more help to us than they might know.

Direct link to video at

The Search for Sassafras from Jon Hussey on Vimeo.

Also available on YouTube at

Thursday, August 11, 2011

About to Hit 30,000 Page Views

Hard to believe, we're at 29,969 page views of this blog, about to hit 30,000. We've been amazed, uplifted, and able to hang on due to the support of the community that has been interested and helped.

Sure hope the next big spike in views is because we're found Sassafras.... Wouldn't that be spectacular?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And from the world of Twitter

Not exactly what we hope to see on the social networking sites, but I suppose an indication that our efforts are being noticed.  I feel sorry for these people.

Shani_minajjAug 09, 10:35pm via Twitter for iPad
RT @BigDaddyDemps: Dear Sassafras, Your owners have been looking 4 u forever so please go home or at least tell em to f**k off & stop putting up signs. -Thanks
NicoDoddAug 09, 9:18pm via Twitter for iPhone
@BigDaddyDemps sassafras has also likely changed his name by now.

NicoDoddAug 09, 9:05pm via Twitter for iPhone
@BigDaddyDemps sassafras blew the joint and left for Mexico. He aint comin back.
BigDaddyDempsAug 09, 8:29pm via Twitter for iPad
Dear Sassafras, Your owners have been looking 4 u forever so please go home or at least tell em to f**k off & stop putting up signs. -Thanks