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, 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.

--B.