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.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Following Old Leads - N. Capitol, Rock Creek Park

Trying to track down the sightings that Sass might have been with a homeless man near Florida and 1st by putting up signs in the area. Also, returning to 2315 Lincoln with a new sign.

Recently received a couple calls and emails that Sass might have been sighted in mid- to late-April in and around Rock Creek Park. We've not had credible sightings of her there since the day she escaped (April 8), but it's a common place for dogs to go... Maybe she's at the Park and those old reports (that just came in) provide cause to go back there.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What we do when we get a call about a sighting.

A number of people have given us advice or asked what we do with sighting, so we thought the information below might be interesting.

First, we ask questions. Beagles are natural wanderers, and there are a lot of them out there, so we ask questions to try and figure out how likely the dog someone spotted is Sassafras. This involves some specifics about whether the dog they had seen had a collar on, what it's size was, coloration, and behavior. It also includes trying to get as many specifics about where the dog was (what side of the street, what direction it was heading, etc, or who it was with). Recent sightings have given specific buildings, so we also try to find a phone number for those buildings (to help weed out the crank calls, unfortunately).

If nothing rules out the sighting as Sassafras, we then decide about whether to put up flyers in the area where the dog was spotted, spend time there with business cards, etc., in order to see if we can find someone else who has seen the dog who might be able to add to our information.

We might also talk to the trackers we've been working with - they make great sounding boards because they have good instincts about whether or not a sighting is a good one.

If the information we have is specific enough, we might try a track. What happens on a track? We give the tracking dog a scent item, and if Sass has been at a spot the tracking dog can follow her scent (we hope to her!).

To steal a description from Laura:

... every dog's (and, for that matter, human's) scent is unique, so [the tracking dog] follows only one that matches sass's. of course, she can pick up tons of other scents - we've tracked in places where tons of people walk dogs - but she only tracks sass's. ... it still feels like magic when we do a track because it's just impossible for us humans. on the other hand, though, it's totally rational for dogs. it's their primary sense and, as i'm trying to learn as much as i can about them, i read something about, if you want to imagine a dog's dreams, you'd have to imagine a series of smells, not of sights or sounds. the way [the tracker] explained it was that it would be like showing a human a color and asking him/her to follow the line that's that color. there would be lots of lines in other colors, but we know what that color looks like and it wouldn't be hard to follow the red line even amid green, blue, yellow, etc. lines.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ABC 7 News picks up Sass story

Thanks again to everyone who has helped spread the word. The media response is rather amazing.

ABC 7 (Suzanne Kennedy) ran a story earlier today... Please see and circulate http://www.wjla.com/articles/2011/05/takoma-park-family-harrased-by-prank-callers-about-lost-dog-61303.html



There may be more media this evening as Fox News was over and may run a story on the 10;00 or 11:00 PM news.

Possible Sighting - Chevy Chase

Emailer wrote Tuesday evening:

I just read your article in the Washington post and thought maybe I could help. I was walking my dog last night around 8pm and saw a small beagle looking dog walking up the street.  I was walking my dog at the time and thought maybe it was a stray so I turned around and walked back to my house because I was not sure if it would be friendly. I couldn't see the dog clearly because it was about 9-10pm but could tell that it was a dog and not a cat and was black and brown with a whiter face.  I know the last possible sighting was in NE but I live in Chevy Chase DC and saw the dog near Chevy Chase Parkway and Jennifer Street, about a block from Connecticut ave (near the chevy chase circle).  I will keep my eyes peeled tonight.  Hope this can be helpful!!

Here is a link to a Google map I created where I spotted the dog and some details.  http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&ll=38.96026,-77.070572&spn=0.004905,0.012853&z=17&msid=210789833389445995145.0004a41887ecc1448e13b

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Washington Post Story

John Kelly of the Washington Post has written a column on the search for Sassafras.  We're very glad he was able to help us get the word out!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/2011/05/23/AFHM879G_story.html

Please repost the link everywhere - we need all the help we can get!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Possible Sighting - near Florida and 1st St - 9:30 PM May 22

Just received a call that some people near Florida Ave and 1st St (Washington DC) saw a homeless man walking a dog that looked like Sass... They said the man was (possibly) African American, large and about 5'9" to 5'11" and wearing a red shirt.

We simply cannot check this one out in person fast enough. Assistance appreciated.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Shout Out of the Day: Susan (bike to work day special!)

Special shout out today to Susan, who is a member of the dog community near our home and has known and loved Sassafras since we brought her to our local dog park more than 3 years ago. Susan has been a great resource, an early follower of our blog, and person who used her expertise with Rock Creek Park to identify and personally hang a number of the key posters that have lead to calls about possible sightings. Today, she wrote in: 
It was bike to work day today. Taking a cue from the wheelchair posting, I hung a poster on my rear rack, pedaled down, and parked prominently at the East entrance of Freedom Plaza. When I was headed back to my bike, I did see one person stop to read it as he entered, so I hope a few more did too.
Susan, we can't thank you enough!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On NBC News- Help Find Sassafras

Video portion aired about 11:12 PM... don't know if there will be a link to that, but do
see (and circulate) their web information http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Help-Find-Sassafras-122202564.html

Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word today!

Please Ask Local Media To Get Involved - Here's How

This week, starting today, we’re asking you to contact the media to ask them to take up the Sassafras story. It’s quick and easy to do so, and hopefully will lead to Sass being found. A message that could be used directly, or adapted, is below. So too are suggestions for media to contact. We believe that if enough people contact different media, someone will take up the story. (Please note: today is our human daughter’s second birthday… bringing her lost canine sister home would be the best possible present.)

[If you have suggestions for additional steps to take, or ways to tell the story, please add a comment to the blog post at http://findlostbeaglesassafras.blogspot.com/2011/05/please-ask-local-media-to-get-involved.html]

THE MESSAGE

Family, friends and perfect strangers go to great lengths to look for lost dog.

After 6 weeks of searching, 2000+ posters hung, 5000+ views of blog, 1000+ views of video, 4500 phone calls, two professional trackers brought in, and dozens of volunteers helping with tweets, facebook entries, listserv postings, we’re asking the media to please take on this story so that it has a happy ending. This is not simply a lost dog story, but one of people connecting, discovery of community resources, as well as finding some bad apples and problems… Key resources at http://findlostbeaglesassafras.blogspot.com/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOyW3zUNZ3Y   Contact Jeff and Beth at findsassafras@gmail.com or (202) 664-2301

On Friday, April 8, in the early afternoon 3 ½ year-old Sassafras, a beagle-jack russell mix (who was rescued at 6 weeks old from a kill shelter in West Virginia and has a medical condition) got away from her walker in the Adams Morgan area. After a chase to and from the zoo, she was lost. Her family, now with the help of many volunteers (providing one-time and ongoing assistance, online and physical help) continues the search and has discovered many things, including:   

#1) The city department charged with disposing of dead animals does not call pet owners even if the dead animal has tags and other easy identification. (The people involved had to really bother the city to get any useful information about whether they picked up Sassafras, who when lost had a collar on with her name and phone number stitched in, as well as her tags, and a microchip.)

#2) While many area shelters put pictures of animals brought to their shelters online, the DC shelter does not, even though they have the capability. (See http://www.petharbor.com/ for area shelters that do use pictures.)


#4) There are trackers across the country that can be brought into help. Sassafras’ owners have had two in, one from Georgia and one from Baltimore, and others have provided advice. (See http://www.petdetectiveusa.com/ and http://www.puregoldpettrackers.com/)  

#5) There are many people willing to help out and complete strangers have done great things, many of whom have helped or are searching for lost animals, others of whom were simply compelled by the story. (See blog “shout outs” including http://findlostbeaglesassafras.blogspot.com/2011/05/super-shout-out-laura.html and http://findlostbeaglesassafras.blogspot.com/2011/05/shout-out-of-day-debra.html)

#6) Social media really is active in DC - in addition to rescues and other dog groups that have posted, tweeted, and facebooked, there are many local neighborhood listservs and blogs that have responded. The video created to help with the search now has more than 1100 views and the blog more than 5200 page views. (Contact Beth and Jeff for a list.)

#7) Unexpectedly, there are many crank callers who make this much worse. (See http://findlostbeaglesassafras.blogspot.com/2011/05/crank-calls-unexpectedly-cruel-part-of.html)

THE MEDIA TO CONTACT

NBC: tips@nbcwashington.com [1:30PM-this link not appear to work right... anyone have a better contact?]
DCist.com  tips@dcist.com
Washington Post metro section - postlocal@washpost.com
Washington Times, metro editor Matt Cella:  202/636-4895
Georgetown Patch - shaun@patch.com
Other area “Patch” sites – see http://www.patch.com/

These media, and others, also have facebook pages where wall posts can be written. Please be creative with these and other ideas!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Idea of the Day: Flyers on Laptops, Backpacks, Wheelchairs

(This suggestion came in from Jen... Thanks for the good ideas.)

I'll be attending an event that attracts hundreds of people from across the region, and I thought it would be good to post one of Sassafras' fliers there, but wasn't sure if the event organizers would approve.  Then I hit on an idea that wouldn't require anyone's permission. I use a wheelchair, and if I get a couple of binder clips, I can simply attach the flier to the back of my chair, where it'll be seen by numerous people.  I wanted to share this idea with you, because a modified version of it may work for other people. 

Obviously, the majority of Sassafras' supporters don't use wheelchairs, but fliers could be attached to laptop cases, large backpacks, or other objects that are more-or-less rigid and at least the size of a flier.  Then, as the people carrying those objects ride the Metro, attend sporting events, or otherwise travel around the region, Sassafras' picture will be seen by people who don't happen to live or work in parts of town that have been covered in fliers.

If you do write on your blog about my idea for attaching "lost dog" fliers to wheelchairs, laptop cases, etc, one thing you might want to mention is that it's easiest to keep a flier in place when there's a piece of cardboard behind the flier, and both the flier and the cardboard are inside a ziploc bag.  At least that's how things worked for me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shout Out of the Day: Debra

Who emails to us as "Debra (foster mom to Daisy and mama to Abigail (beagle))" has been a help since she discovered us somehow... by keeping an eye on Craigslist, indentifying listservs to join, posting flyers in her neighborhood, making suggestions, and more...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Super Shout Out: Laura

There aren't enough superlatives to describe Laura's contributions and support in looking for Sassafras. Literally a complete stranger to us before this all began, Laura has been there from the start. She set up this blog, the findsassafras@gmail.com account, the @FindSassafras twitter account, and that was just in the first few days. A font of wisdom in terms of things to do and moral support, Laura has also been an active member of flyering efforts and this weekend is helping answer the phone. She's a member of the core team and we simply cannot express fully enough our gratitude to her.

Laura is also looking for a lost dog, Olivia, and we know would welcome help in her search. Please see http://findlostmastiffolivia.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 13, 2011

Not at Rock Creek Cemetery

Sam (our tracker) checked out Rock Creek cemetery yesterday evening. No signs of Sass, unfortunately.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shout Out of the Day: Ebony @ NY Ave Shelter (Washington DC)

Going to shelters is an unmitigated heartbreak, but there are a number of good people working at them. At the NY Ave shelter, which is DC's primary shelter for strays, I've encountered many helpful people who now recognize me when I arrive, or don't need me to say Sassafras' name when I call in. I start with "lost a beagle" and they say "Sassafras." Today's shout out goes to Ebony at the shelter, who answers my morning calls with assurances that she is keeping an eye out for Sass every day. I believe her and find comfort it knowing it.

(Side note: many of the area shelters put pictures of animals brought into the shelter online. This is immensely helpful. Unfortunately, Washington DC does not do this, even though they have the capability.... anyone want to take on the cause to change this?)

Another possible sighting - Rock Creek Cemetery

Security guard (see "shout out" in previous post) called at 6:15 PM saying jogger and kids reported seeing a loose beagle that could be Sassafras playing at back of Rock Creek Cemetery. By the time we got there, no dog in sight.

We'd welcome neighborhood help in spreading the word and keeping an eye out. We're considering bringing in a tracker, but could use a more exact location.

Shout Out of the Day: Earlina

While we still receive crank calls, the vast majority of the contacts we received today were positive. I'm aiming to each day highlight one of the great people who helps out in large or small ways and demonstrates the positive side of our species. Today:

Earlina- The security guard at the Rock Creek Cemetery. The other day one of the team dropped off a flyer because there had been a sighting near the cemetery. Today, Earlina called us about 6:15 saying a jogger and some kids reported playing with a lost beagle near the back of the cemetery. We hurried over and although she was supposed to lock-up at 7PM, she personally stayed late to help with the search, offered to tell the groundskeepers, and to ask the jogger to call us tomorrow...

1000+ video views, 4000+ page views, lots of people using social media to help

Please keep the word going out. We do appreciate it.



No new sightings to report or check out the last couple days.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Tracker Checks Two Possible Sightings: Glover Park & Jackson/10th

Yesterday, we asked the tracker to check two of our possible sightings.  Bottom line:  Both ruled out; neither was our Sassy girl.

I'm not sure how to describe the day.  I was something of a nervous wreck before meeting Sam and Salsa, because my mind was playing the "what if?" game with me.  After we were done, and knew that neither sighting was Sass, Jeff asked how I felt and I really didn't know how to respond.  Disappointed, of course.  But also numb to that disappointment.

Please keep watching for Sass!  We're still waiting for the lucky break that will bring her home!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Crank Calls: The Unexpectedly Cruel Part of the Sass Search

Rather early on in the search we received calls that simply said "I've found your dog" and then the call ended. Or, the original call would go on a bit longer and we'd ask where the caller was located or other details and he'd say "I need to call you back" and never do so. Often we would call back, if the incoming number was visible... often the numbers were blocked/unlisted. We've since gotten a bit cynical and have an ear for middle schoolers (?), but each of these calls rips at your heart... The "I've found you dog" is just what we want to hear, and instinctively crank callers know to start with that.

After last weekend's big effort, the calls have started coming back in... We take turns carrying the cell phone and we've both come to dread it, especially on weekdays, when we can expect to receive crank call(s) around 3:30 from kids getting out of school.

We've each separately wondered whether this type of thing was worth blogging about, but everyone I tell about these crank calls is surprised, so maybe it is. Of course, many kids made crank calls in their youth and some adults I talk with are a bit more amenable to forgiving this behavior, but it's hard for us. I've thought about putting the crank callers' phone numbers up on Craigslist and encouraging people to call them and tell them how awful they are, or otherwise make these crank callers more visible, in hopes of getting some change in behavior (or maybe revenge). But, something makes me think such a response is not appropriate from an adult.

So, here, I'm going to share a bit more about these calls, maybe just to get the pain a bit off my chest, and as a writing exercise in preparation of trying to get media interested in picking up Sass' story....Below are the difficult details about a few calls.


I've Eaten Your Dog

Fortunately, we missed receiving this particularly cruel call and it went to voicemail. The audio speaks for itself.



I'm Holding Your Dog Down, Come Get It

There have been a few versions of this type of call, but today one caller was particularly persistent and creative (in the worst of ways). Instead of sounding nervous and cruel (we can tell now, we think) he sounded very sincere about seeing our dog on 14th street (but could not give a cross street... near Target?). Of course, this kid had an unlisted number. He called back a couple minutes later saying that he was afraid of the dog, and as the call went on claimed that the dog had tried to steal his food, then bitten him, and then that "he needed help" after which he got off the phone. He actually did sound very scared. Finally a couple hours later, he called again saying his friend was holding down our dog. We asked where he was (14th and U), his name (Jerrell?), and his phone number (to which he gave too many digits and the call was breaking up)... I asked to speak to an adult who could help out, to which he said that the person holding the dog could not come to the phone. So, I asked him to describe the dog and what it was wearing. He provided a description that sounded like the poster picture of Sass. I asked about a collar, to which he again described the collar in Sass' poster picture, which is a bit different than what she was wearing when lost... But still, he sounded sincere and we stayed on the phone. So, I asked him to hold the phone to the ear of the person holding the dog, after which things got rather crackly and hard to hear, before the call ended.... This call gave us enough pause that we asked one of the team members who lives closer to the area to go check out the location... Nothing, of course...

[Side note on this story: in the sequence of these calls, another boy called with an unlisted number saying that people were in the street beating Sass. Beth asked him to tell us the location so we could call the cops, and suggested that he could help point out the offenders to the cops. Not unexpectedly, he quickly ended the call.... Was this a friend of the other caller? Or, simply unrelated?]

How Big Is The Reward?

One caller rang us twice asking about the size of the reward. Early in the day he said he had seen Sassafras, and then later in the day called back saying he had Sass in his arms but that Sass was likely to get away, and wanted to know the size of the reward. Beth asked patiently what the dog was wearing and when he asked why she was asking, she said she wanted to know if he actually had our dog before talking about the reward. At that point, the caller stopped sounding sweet and said "listen, bitch, I just want to know how much is the reward" and hung up.

A Hopeful Sign...

Sometimes the boys who call (and they are nearly always boys) end up passing the phone around trying to out cruel the other, saying they have our dog, are kicking our dog, are beating our dog. The other day, I asked the kids why they were being so mean and I could actually hear some other kids in the background asking them why they were doing this. Eventually another boy (who tried to say he was one of the teachers, but the voice was not convincing), got on and said he was taking the phone away from them and wouldn't let it happen again...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Possible sighting in Glover Park Area-- searching there today (May 7)

A woman called to say she thought she saw Sass near the Glover Park dog park in the woods at 37th & W around 9:30AM this morning. Since the dog was in the woods she couldn't give a great description as to size, but she did say that her daughter thought the dog was wearing a collar (and color was similar to one she would have been wearing).

We're going to check it out today and maybe have a tracker helping tomorrow. If you are in that area and see anything, please call the cell 202-664-2301.

Of course, it may not be Sass and Sass could be anywhere, so please let us know of any sightings that might be her, wherever they are.    Thank you- Jeff

Friday, May 6, 2011

400+ video views, 3000+ page views, new sights to search

Thanks go out to everyone who posted on facebook, tweeted, sent to listservs, and took other actions. The new video now has more than 400 views and this blog more than 3000 pageviews. Please keep spreading the word.

We have a couple new areas to search based on tips called in, emailed in, or seen out there on the web. A list of these include:

East of Brooklyn/Catholic University
A number of folks are helping out (see comments at http://findlostbeaglesassafras.blogspot.com/2011/05/possible-sighting.html  ) including John, who said:
 I passed this on to friends of mine who live near Catholic and have a dog so fingers crossed that they make see her
And Timothy who said:
I've just posted flyers in Main Hall at Trinity, and one will be posted in our gym as well, which has many members from the Brookland area. I've also emailed several staff members who all will be on the lookout!
Between Zoo and Woodley Park Metro
A woman contacted us today saying she saw Sass on a leash with someone during the week of April 8-15. We talked with her and although she described a heavier dog than Sass, she was pretty sure it was her. We think it unlikely that Sass would have let herself be picked up and happy to be on someone else's leash, but if this is true and someone has her (but not returned her), maybe now they will... especially if she's sited. There's lots of posters in that area. Here's some of what the sighter told us:
I would have seen her somewhere between April 8-15.  I cannot remember who she was with (man or woman) or even if the harness was on her (she was on a leash).  I'm fairly certain it was her as I think she's a funny looking dog - not a typical mix.  When I saw the missing posters, I remember commenting to my husband that we had seen that dog just a few days before.
At her suggestion, we've posted a message on the Cleveland Park listserv.

Rock Creek Cemetery
On the Prince of Petworth blog, Petworthian said:
my roommate saw a dog that looked like this one up near the Rock Creek Cemetery yesterday. I think he called you about it. He tried to catch her, but she was too skittish and kept running away. So folks living up that way should keep an eye out.
We never heard from this person in the end, but if folks could help with this area, that would be great. Other commenters on the blog offered to help out. For instance... CaptApollo said:
The staff at Trinity Washington University has been activated as part of the search team and a flier posted in our gym, which has members from the community. Fingers crossed!
And Saintzilla said:
I look everyday I’m running in Rock Creek Park, and I’ve told friends to do the same. We will find her!
Monrose Park (Georgetown Cemetery) and/or Glover Park
Someone emailed yesterday (May 4) the message below. We've tried to follow up, but have not been able to get in touch to talk with the person who sent it:
I became interested as I saw a begle in monrose park in georgetown by the cementery I'm then in one of my outings I heard two of my walker friends seeing sights of a beagle in glover park. Just a heads up, this was just today. Good luck
We're not quite sure what to do with this one.

Overall
As you might imagine, it's still very hard for us to look beyond the sadness of not having Sassafras with us, but the amount of support we're getting from many folks, most of whom are complete strangers, is simply astounding (in the best possible way). Thank you!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Help New Video Go Viral - Bring Sass Home

Wherever you are, please watch, share, tweet, post, and otherwise circulate this new video of Sassafras. If we can make it go viral, that could hasten her return home.


In addition to action clips, there's a puppy picture in here. Who could resist her?

Thanks again to everyone who has helped thus far. -Jeff

Monday, May 2, 2011

Possible sighting? - Jackson and 10th NE (DC)

Jeff got a call about a beagle with a "bright red" collar at 10th and Jackson NW - basically across the train tracks from Trinity College and Catholic U.  He went down to call for her, posted some flyers and handed out some business cards.  I'll go down in the morning and post some more around the parks there.

Sassy, was that you?

If you're near there, keep your eyes open and ask your friends if they've seen Sassafras!

Thank You

Our thanks to everyone who helped get posters and flyers up yesterday.  Jeff and I really appreciate your efforts to help bring Sassy home.

We got a call yesterday in response to those posters about a beagle running loose in Rock Creek Park.  Unfortunately, it wasn't Sassafras, but a lovely beagle named Daisy.  I got a chance to chat with her foster mother and friend, who also took flyers and business cards to help get the word out about Sassafras.  Daisy's foster mother had already heard about Sassafras, so that was encouraging.

Keep your fingers crossed.

--Beth