Daisy's Day(s) Out

By Stormy Maddux 

Earlier this year, we had quite a scare when Daisy went missing. Here is the tale of her (mis)adventures. 

We live in the middle of San Mateo, California, a city of over 100,000 on the San Francisco Peninsula that is almost 16 square miles in size. 

Daisy’s story begins on a sunny Friday in May.  Sometime after 12:00 in the afternoon, my husband left the house to meet us at my son’s high school tennis match.  The team was playing in the Central Coast Championship final against their strongest rival.  In the end, our team was victorious for the second year in a row.  It wasn’t until we came home after the match and a celebration dinner that we realized something wasn’t right.  Despite our best efforts to secure our yard, including a side yard with two sets of gates, we had failed.   Daisy was missing!

I immediately posted on Facebook,  CraigsList, and Nextdoor (the private social network for neighbors and your local community to interact online).  Very quickly my Facebook friends went into action sharing the post, but just as quickly reminded me to adjust my privacy settings so that the post could be shared.  Based on a friend’s recommendation, we also posted on PawBoost.   

Saturday dawned with lots of support and prayers.  I made the dreaded trip to our local Humane Society.  I filled out the paperwork, took the tour through the shelter and checked the DOA list.

Sunday and still nothing.  My husband made the second trip to the Human Society.   We continued to check with neighbors and around the area, but not knowing which way she went was frustrating.   Someone told my husband that they thought she took off going south, so he posted fliers in that direction.   The anxiety and desperation made it very hard to stay positive.

On Sunday night about 7:30 pm, I get a message from someone on Nextdoor.  “Not sure this helps, and it seems bit far from where you are, but Friday afternoon all the traffic at Third and Humboldt came to a standstill as a dog raced through the intersection. I was a couple cars back, but was definitely brindle in color and the right size. The dog was headed north up Humboldt. This was around 4:45. You might want to put posters in North Central if you have not.”  We were elated as it had already been 48 hours since she went missing.   I immediately got in the car and headed out that way, driving the streets and calling her name.  San Mateo’s Emergency Vet clinic is in that area.  I stopped by.  They hadn’t had seen her, but took my information just in case.

On Monday, feeling hopeful, we concentrated out efforts in the North Central area.   In the morning, my mom talked to a few of the businesses and found one that had seen her on Saturday running towards the freeway.  My husband drove around the area with her food, leaving kibbles around just in case.  My son and I along with a stack of fliers started canvasing the area after school got was out for the day.  We found two women who claimed to have seen her on Sunday, but no other leads to be had.  

After handing out all our fliers, we stopped by my mom’s house to print more and to get a bit to eat before heading out again.  Then the phone rang and it’s my vet.  Someone has found her.   We called them back, jumped in the car and within minutes are reunited!

The family had captured her in their garage as she crossed El Camino Real, yet another busy San Mateo street.  They had tried to call the phone number on her ID tag, but got our voicemail.   Then they called the vet from her rabies tag.  They refused any offer of a reward.

We got her in the car where she proceeded to tell us a story like there was no tomorrow.  I called and made an appointment to take her to our vet, who just happens to be open until 10pm every day!  She was severely dehydrated and her pads were worn off her feet in multiple places.   The vet didn’t think she was hit, or that anything was broken.  We got her some subcutaneous fluids and some pain medication.  The vet thought that within a week she should be as good as new. 

Daisy’s day(s) out ended with a bit of food and (more) water followed by a good night sleep.

In the end, Daisy wandered through quite a bit of San Mateo.  While the direct route was a little over three miles, by the condition of her paws, she likely ran much, much more, and didn’t appear to have eaten or drunk much during her adventure either.

The next weekend we were off to Sacramento for the Northern California State Tennis Championships.  You better believe that Daisy came with us, booties and all!

In the end, we got our happy ending.   My heart breaks for those families that are not so lucky L.






Here’s a handy list of ToDo’s:

1)      Start with your Social Media Blitz

a.       Free sites first – remember your default/sharing/privacy settings may need to be adjusted for others to view and/or share.

b.      PawBoost – This site will alert local groups on Facebook, generate a lost pet flyer & notify the Rescue Squad™, for free.  For a subscription, they will send the message about your lost pet to Shelters, Pet Trainers and Veterinarian’s in your local community.  To see their local list for your area, check:  https://www.pawboost.com/directory/shelter-veterinarian-rescue

For our post, they indicated that it received 2,859 views.  I elected to join their Rescue Squad and now receive posts for other lost pets in the community.

c.       There may be other pet rescue organizations in your area.  Do a web search or check with friends about what may have worked for them.

2)      Make your poster.  

a.       Some of the specific lost pet sites will auto-create a poster for you.  Microsoft Word has a template that you can download and fill out.  To do it yourself, include the following:

                                                               i.      LOST DOG - as large as you can get it at the top of your poster. 

                                                             ii.      Picture - Include a recent picture or collage of your pet. 

                                                            iii.      Description of your pet - list the breed and color at a minimum.   Don’t assume that people know what a basenji is, or what color brindle is, i.e. Curly tail, erect ears, brown and black stripes, pink collar with tags, spayed, microchipped.

                                                           iv.      Name – add your pet’s name.

                                                             v.      Phone number – add your cell phone or another number that will always answer.

                                                           vi.      Reward – if you offer a reward, it is recommended that you don’t say how much.

                                                          vii.      Consider having your flyer/poster translated into multiple languages.

3)      Canvas the neighborhood. 

a.       Walk in all directions and call for your pet by name.   Your neighbors may think you’re crazy, but this could also enlist their support and awareness.  Unfortunately, unless they have a favorite spot, or a usual walk, don’t try to guess where your pet could or wouldn’t have gone.  Spread out in all directions.  

b.      Call for your pet at night, and at dawn.   If you are calling from your car, roll down all the windows, and stop frequently to listen.

c.       Don’t rely on posting your flyers.  As you walk/talk to people, hand them one.

4)      Call your vet.

5)      Call or stop by emergency veterinary hospitals in and near your local area.

6)      Visit the local animal shelter/animal control.

a.       Even if you fill out and leave your name/number, a visit should be done daily.

7)      Follow up

a.       When you have additional information or news to share be sure to update your social media posts.    

b.      If you post fliers around the neighborhood, be sure to go back and collect them afterwards.

8)      Don ‘t give up!


a.       Posting on social media will likely garner both positive and negative comments.  

 Photos provided by the Maddux/Smith Family