💙 Welcome Home Finn 💙
Finn, a very nervous rescue Shar Pei cross Galgo dog originally from Tenerife, managed to escape when his owner fell over in Helmshore, Haslingden BB4 on the 7th March 2024.
All lost dogs that we work with are very special to us and all of them have a place in our hearts, but Finn we have known since December 2020 when, after only being here in the UK for 4 days after arriving with his owner from Tenerife whom he lived with for a while there, he escaped. We worked with Finn for nearly two weeks eventually humanely trapping him and reuniting him (see link at the bottom of the post for our post in Dec 2020). Our first ‘Supertrap’ was used for the first time trapping Finn, and is named after him. Since then, Finn and his owner were filmed along with myself with ITV telling his story and what we do here at Greater Manchester Lost Dogs SAR Capture Team as volunteers rescuing lost dogs.
When Kath, his owner, contacted us for help she was very distraught as Finn had been seen nearly 5 miles away from home near to where they lived back in December 2020. Although they hadn’t lived there since 2021, as they had moved, Finn had made his way back to that area.
At first there weren’t many sightings so we printed and laminated 300 posters and posters were put up in the area where he had been seen and in the area where he lives, hoping to receive ‘ natural’ sightings as people happened to spot him as they were going about their daily business. We put a remote camera and feed station at Kath’s house and the gate and door were left open hoping Finn would make his way home.
On Monday we received a couple of sightings still near the area where he’d been seen last (Baxenden). Then yesterday, Tuesday, we had more sightings reported and most in a particular area of Baxenden so we went there, thermal scoped the area and set up some remote cameras and a feed station. Lots of appetising food was put down (had to be a lot so if any wildlife ate it there would still be enough for Finn) along with Kath’s unwashed recently worn clothing which would help to attract Finn to the camera. The aim was, once Finn had found the food, he would come back (when they know there’s a food source they come back) and we would set up the humane trap to safely secure him quickly and safely. The main worry with this was that, because he had been trapped before, the chances were reduced of him going into the trap again, but, as we know with Akira, some dogs will enter a trap more than once (as my rescue lab Katie does everytime I have it out in the garden to clean and we trapped her) when food is involved.
We worked out the best place for the feed station (and trap) and gained permission from the land owner and a feed station was set. Later that evening, at 22:09, Finn showed himself on camera. He had a really good feed and a good smell of his owners clothes where he cried while smelling them. That was heartbreaking to watch 😰. He returned several times during the night and early morning.
This morning, there was some plastic blowing about in the wind from a hay bale next to the feed station and we asked his owner to go there to cut it away so it wouldn’t blow as it was scaring Finn. We coached her on what to do if she saw Finn. The main aim was, because we had seen how Finn had reacted to his owners clothes from her scent, we knew there was a good chance that if he was still around he would go to her. When she got there, she managed to cut the plastic then got back in the car. She had her other dog with her, Tilly. She then spotted Finn who appeared at the feed station and she let Tilly out of the car (it was safe and in a rural area). Finn had already picked up their scent and he went to Tilly (see videos and photos) and there was a happy reunion between both of them. Kath had already opened the back of the car and after about 10 minutes of Finn hesitating, he and Tilly both jumped into the car! The rest is history! He’s now home, happy and safe 💙. Welcome home beautiful boy. No more please!
We believe that Finn was truly lost when he found himself back in Baxenden and just could not find his way home. Most lost dogs will, and do, return home if they are allowed to settle and calm down without people searching and approaching them. Finn however was unable to do this. We don’t know why he returned back to this area as he has lived in Helmshore for quite a long time. He had gone deep into survival mode, as lost dogs do, and simply concentrated on survival-water, food, shelter and staying away from predators (we as humans are predators to a lost dog). When he was given the opportunity to feed at the feed station, and he smelled his mums scent on her clothes, it helped to bring him back a bit to who he was therefore allowing him to recognise his mum (and Tilly 😍) when he saw them and scented them. He was already calm after being allowed to settle without being searched for, approached, and pursued by drones etc and because he was calm he was able to take the few minutes to realise that the lady in the car was his mum 💙.
We would like to thank everyone who shared our posts, Facebook groups who allowed them (sadly there are some who don’t allow them even if local-which certainly does not help the lost dog) to be posted in their groups, people who phoned in or private messaged us with the sightings, Kath, Finn’s mum who again listened to us and followed our advice and instructions, the land owner who gave us permission to use their land and those who saw Finn and allowed him to stay safe by not trying to approach him.