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.