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.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Another Sighting (Update)

Sam (the tracker) spoke with the person who possibly saw Sass, and while it may be her we decided against a track at this point.  I want to stress that this isn't a decision based on costs - it's based on the fact that a track probably wouldn't tell us anything new.  This sighting was in Sass' known territory, and we just had a confirmation of that she was still there.  Salsa needs some rest, too, as they had a successful Olivia track this morning!  Hurrah!

One of our dedicated volunteers will be out in that neighborhood tonight to check to make sure there are flyers in the area, and try to catch the neighbors walking their dogs to let them know our Sass is out and about.

Another Sighting! (We hope!)

A woman believes she saw Sass near Broadbranch & Rittenhouse last night about 5:30 p.m.  She called, "Sassafras!" and the dog turned to look at her.

Sam will be in town to do an Olivia track this morning, so we hope she'll have time to check this one, too.  We need a little more information, so she knows where to put Salsa's nose down.

This is very close to Chevy Chase Village boundaries, where we can not put up flyers, but if anyone has time to get out to the neighborhood today either with flyers or business cards to talk to people, we'd really appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Making Improvements to the Feeding Station

L. and I have a plan to go out tonight and make some improvements to the feeding station that is set up for Sassafras - we're adding a little protection for it, and some scent from Jeff and I (torn strips of our sheets - Message to Jeff:  Honey, we need new sheets!)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Map of Thursday's Track - May 10 (details of May 9 sightings)

Thursday's track is below in orange. (Click on it for fuller view.)  Other colors indicate earlier tracks (the one in yellow being a portion of the most recent prior track, which was in December). As you can see, this area is prime territory for nearly all the previous tracks.

Again, we remind people in this neighborhood to try to get a picture on their cell phone before calling us.  Not only will it give us the first look we've had of our Sassy girl in over a year, but it will record the exact place and time she was spotted. ( L., who is also hoping someone will get a picture of her lost Olivia, calls our girls the Unicorns - we hear and talk about them a lot but we never see them.)

As a bit of an update on the sightings that led to this track, there were two separate calls on May 9. One is described below from an email by the spotter (roughly Jones Bridge and Connecticut). The second was at roughly Delaware and Taylor (you'll see it marked on the map). Both calls describe two beagles being together.
 I was in the North Chevy Chase, Maryland area this afternoon [May 9] at about 2:45 pm or so.  I saw 2 Beagles running around and chasing a deer in the wooded area of housing off Brierly Court. 
I didn't get too close to the dogs to see a collar or identifying marks.  The one that I think was Sassafras was very "mangy" dirty and tired.  It also seemed to steer very clear of people running in the opposite direction, when I did try to get a picture with my iPhone, which I understand from the web site is typical of Sassafras.
There were several people that had stopped and were trying to approach the dogs, fearful that the would get hit, since the local elementary school (NCC right on the corner) was due to let out soon.  I do know that one gentleman called Animal Control and they were on their way to the area where the dogs were spotted.
I know this isn't much information, and the sighting of 2 Beagles is out of character for Sassafras sightings, but you never know what may come of it.
Of note, we've checked the online database at Montgomery County shelter and there do not appear to be any dogs that match the description (via photo or description) there, so we assume that Animal Control was unsuccessful.

Sam's Explanation

I asked Sam to write up an answer about why it is so hard to bring Sass and Olivia home.  This weekend L is coordinating flyering for both dogs, so if you have the time, send an email to!

Here's the expert answer - this is Sam's full time job, and she's closed the case on hundreds (thousands) of animals:

The reason dogs like Sassafras and Olivia (see her blog here), termed in the industry as "wandering dogs", are so difficult to catch is that they do not have a single central location that they use as a den, but instead just rest wherever they are when they get tired.  They develop large circuitous territories that they move around in and are fearful of people so they avoid contact with strangers.  They are similar in description to other types of dogs so the owners are frustrated by many false sightings.  Sassafras, being a social girl with other dogs, apparently also "packs up" with other dogs, beagles in particular and is not recognized as the missing dog because they are being seen together.  Wandering dogs are frequently out for months and sometimes even years because they are extremely resourceful at finding food sources and water sources throughout their territory and move from one to another along their way.  It may be days or even weeks between visits to one particular feeding site so getting ahead of them with food is nearly impossible unless you can find a location where you can leave the food and camera for weeks or months.  This takes patience, dedication, and a lot of community cooperation which is hard to achieve as most people don't want food left near their home for long periods of time because it attracts vermin as well as stray animals.

These dogs are frequently caught by accident when they get into a yard or building that they cannot get out of before an observant human closes a gate or door to trap them inside.  Recently, a lab/bloodhound mix that was out for many months, found himself trapped by a quick thinking person who saw him inside the man's newly constructed home.  He was hiding in the upstairs bedroom when the homeowner came in to show friends the new house.  Because of the posters in the area he recognized the dog immediately and managed to corner him and keep him there until the volunteers were able to get over there and pick him up.

Other dogs continue to exist on their own until they are lured with food to one single location and then trapped with a humane trap of some kind.  The challenge with these dogs is to catch them before they get hit by a car which is always their greatest threat.  The key is to keep the dog's picture/posters in front of the community so that they are aware that the dog is in their neighborhood and will report if they see it.  This is the only way volunteers can monitor their movements in hope of getting ahead of them with a feeding station.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Way to Help Us: Bike to Work Day is May 18th!

Our wonderful volunteer Jen reminded us that last year, one of our neighbors posted a flyer on her bicycle for Bike to Work Day, and it got a lot of attention, and suggested we should encourage people to do that again.

This year bike to work day is May 18th, which has special meaning for us because it also happens to be our daughter's birthday. So, if you bike to work, please consider helping us to get the word about Sassafras out to new places, put a flyer on your bicycle, and help us bring my daughter's dog home to her!

The poster-sized flyer.

The 8.5 x 11 flyer.

Our girls spent a lot of time together, and we'd like to bring them back together again.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Quick Update

We don't have the map of the track, yet, but when we do we will put it up.  For various reasons, neither Jeff nor I were able to go on this track.  Our friend Laura lead the other volunteers on this one, and we are so incredibly grateful to her, Pam, Lisa, Martha, and Deb who also pitched in to get the word out to people in the neighborhood that Sass was spotted nearby.  Also, our thanks to all the volunteers who wanted to help, but couldn't because the timing didn't work out - it's really heartening to know that so many people still care about our little dog.

The short summary is that Sass walked all around what we think of as her favorite neighborhood.  A little extra good news is that a homeowner on the route allowed Sam to set up a feeding station and will check it twice a day for food/pictures.  So grateful, grateful, grateful.

Confirmed Sightings!

There were two sightings yesterday, and Sam and Salsa have confirmed Sassafras' scent!  She's still alive and returning to her favorite parts of Chevy Chase!  More later, the track is happening right now!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Volunteer Update from Rockville

One of our fantastic volunteers spent time in Rockville last night to post flyers and let people know about Sassafras:

just got home from rockville. people were soooooooooo nice. And unlike in DC & Chevy Chase where everyone has heard of Sass, no one knew the story, except for one guy that works at City Paws - he knew of course.a girl's softball game was just ending so i gave business cards to lots of people, both softball coaches took a card and said they'd tell all school coaches and post a flyer on the coaches bulletin board, i flyered cars in the parking lot and then went into the school. handed cards to guys playing basketball, teens playing badminton, ...i then went back outside and found the side of the school where the cafeteria and kitchen was, and easy access to the janitor's area. i put flyers up in the janitor's room, and on their carts, and eventually i did meet one of them, and asked him to spread the word.
Back outside i began driving in concentric circles around the school and flyered wooden utility poles when i found them. talked to a lot of people - a traffic guy writing parking tickets, 2 cops, 3 pizza delivery guys,  people walking their dogs, anyone who said they lived in the neighborhood.  i asked every teenager that i talked to to put the info on their facebook pages. i posted a flyer in Ben & Jerrys, and on several dumpsters. eventually i ran out of daylight, but i kept going until i ran out of flyers.
We cannot say "Thank-you" enough to everyone that puts in so much time and effort to help us bring Sassafras home.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Possible Sighting, But Not Quite Enough for Us to Follow (Yet!)

A woman just called to say she believes she's seen Sassafras twice in the past three weeks or so in Rockville in the neighborhood around Richard Montgomery High School. She wasn't able to give enough information, yet, for us to follow up with trying a track, but I was able to encourage her to take a cell phone picture if she saw the dog and explain how much this would help us - not only would we get a chance to ID her ourselves, but also we'd have an exact spot to put the tracking dog's nose down.

I shudder to think of Sassafras crossing Rockville Pike (assuming this is her, she'd probably be traveling from Rock Creek Park).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Olivia Sighting After Six Months!

Sam and Salsa were able to confirm a sighting of Olivia, the mastiff that has been lost for 18 months! Olivia's person, L., has been helping us in our search since the first week Sass was lost - L. Was the one who originally set up this blog! So, you can understand why this news makes us happy. Livvie come home! See L.'s blog for the update!