Lee doesn’t just run…..he
surges thru woods, brush, creeks and neighborhoods on his missions
to find missing pets. Lee is a 4 year old Treeing Walker Coonhound
that in 2009 was taken under the wings of Dogs Finding Dogs, Inc, a
501c3 charity that does K9 search and rescue for missing pets. He
was pulled by a rescue from a high kill shelter in Darlington SC and
given to a foster in Maryland who subsequently lost him. He was
thought to not have what it takes to be a great scent hound. Dogs
Finding Dogs was hired by the rescue to find Lee and return him to
them. To date, Lee has reunited over 500 missing pets with their
Life for Lee looked pretty grim at first. He was left tied to an
igloo outside on concrete for almost a year before he was pulled and
sent up to Maryland to a rescue. Full of pressure sores to the point
that he did not know how to lay down and sleep, Lee made his journey
up to Maryland and was placed with a foster who was a young college
student. “Not the best idea for sure for a scared, unsocialized
hound dog. Lee being so scared, bolted out the door and found his
way to a huge patch of bamboo behind my local supermarket. It was
that Easter Monday 2 _ years ago that I got the call from the rescue
about him being missing,” said Anne Wills, Founder and Executive
Director of Dogs Finding Dogs, Inc.
It took 2 weeks to finally catch Lee in the bamboo forest he called
home. “We had a trap set out for him. Blankets inside, food, toys
and every time we went back to check it Lee had pulled everything
out and made a nest in the bamboo with them. I had laid a leash on
top of the trap when I was rebating it. Went to the car for no more
than 3 minutes and upon my return, Lee had snitched the leash as
well”, said Anne Wills.
Lee would come out to play with Heidi, the personal K9 SAR dog of
Ms. Wills and the dog that sniffed Lee out in the bamboo. In the
process of watching how he would trace Heidi’s every footstep on the
ground with his nose, it was decided that when he was finally caught
we would ask to keep him for Dogs Finding Dogs. And that is exactly
what happened. After 6 months of training, Lee the Super Hound Dog
to the Rescue was born!
“This dog who was to be thrown away like trash, who slept standing
up for over a month at my house, has become a true success story,”
Dogs Finding Dogs was formed as a 501c3 non‑profit organization, in
September of 2008. Its main goal is to help reunite missing pets
with their families by the use of K9 search and rescue dogs. By
doing this, not only are the pets returned home, but they are saved
from a possible pending doom of being in a shelter. Our moto is “Our
Noses Know Where Your Pet Goes!” and the testament to a working dog
is “The highest honor for a search and rescue dog is to save the
life of just 1 missing pet, to save the lives of many is truly a
Dogs Finding Dogs is purely donation based. It does not turn down
any plea for help because family cannot afford to donate. “This is
what our “Walker Fund” is for. It’s a fund that people donate to
help offset the costs involved in running a case for those who are
financially indigent,” said Anne Wills.
That being said, in 4 years, either by counseling on the phone or by
deploying SAR teams, DFD has reunited over 4000 missing pets with
their families in the Maryland, DC, VA and PA states. DFD counsels
on a national basis daily and has formed alliances with respectable
trackers that can help families throughout the United States. “And
Lee, our beloved goofy fantastic coonhound was one of those cases!”
Dogs Finding Dogs has grown to 11 SAR teams of which 5 are made up
of hounds. Treeing Walkers, Foxhounds and a Bloodhound. “Now,
training up a hound is far different then training up a Shepherd,”
Wills quotes. “The hound LOVES to hunt! This is a great feature.
They get it FAST! They have stamina and can tolerate the hot summer
days much better than a Shepherd, but… the trick is to teach them
the End Game, that is, “Please signal me when the scent we are to
follow is done and don’t pick up the nearest deer or raccoon trail.”
This is the trick.
We have found that the
hounds are not so interested in the reward of a ball at the end of
the scent trail as a shepherd would be. For them the reward is the
hunt itself. Building a strong bond with the handler, high praise
for a job well done is key in our training of a hound. Thus, the End
Game has to really impress these super nosed dogs.
The hound dog also has a built in super weapon. They bey. At first
we thought, “Oh No! This will scare all the missing dogs off”, says
Anne, “But we quickly found that the beying actually called
dogs in to us. However, for the kitties….it just freezes them in
place under a deck or shed they are hiding under.”
The beying intrigues other
dogs as if to say “Hey there little lost doggie, come see what I am
up to.” So using a hound dog particularly if the missing dog is from
the hound family works to our advantage.
All of the Dogs Finding Dogs hound teams are extremely successful.
They are sent out on the cases that we know will require a long
tracking time like in the farm lands, state parks and heavily wooded
areas. Hot weather is not a problem. “I think my K9 hound handlers
sometimes wish that they were running a Shepherd in the hot summer.
The hounds just keep going and going. The Shepherd handlers sit back
with a sigh of relief that they aren’t the ones out there for hours
on end.” Says a chuckling Wills.
“Lee is very fond to all of us at DFD. We saw a true rags to riches
story unfold in front of our eyes. We were all part of his success.
And for me, at the end of the day after a hard track with Lee, there
is nothing better than to have him crawl up along side of me on the
couch for a little nap.”
Dogs Finding Dogs has started a series of children's books. Volume 1
is called “We Love Lee.” It teaches the lesson of hard work and
accepting help from others. Sighting some of the true pets that Lee
has found, this heartwarming children's book has been a great
success. The proceeds of the book sales go into our Walker Fund to
help families of missing pets who cannot donate to us for our help.
Copies are available and can be ordered off of our website or thru a
simple email to DogsFindingDogs@gmail.com. A sneak peak of the book
can be viewed on our facebook page under the We Love Lee album.
To learn more about Dogs Finding Dogs or to donate to them visit
www.DogsFindingDogs.com or call 410‑908‑6374
About the book…
The book “We Love Lee”
has a lot of true facts in it.
Lee is a big funny hound! Always wanting to run, leap and spin in
the air. He just wanted to have fun! Thus we played on this
characteristic in the book We Love Lee.
The ferrets were in fact a real case. However, there were 7 at one
time that went missing from the same house. He found all 7 safe and
sound. The mastiff is another real life case of Lee’s. And Callie
the Calico cat was Lee’s first cat that he had found hiding under
The story of Lee is heartwarming. It shows that if you give a animal
a chance you can be very surprised on how well all can turn out.
With Lee, he had a lot of help from his friends. He proved himself
to be a hero! And he continues everyday to lighten our hearts, even
though he has to spin in the air and jump like a kangaroo at least
once on every track he is working. Well, this too helps to make
people smile who are so sad and worried as we are looking for their
pets. Lee is truly the “Super Hound Dog to the Rescue!”
Dogs Finding Dogs
PO Box 18244, Baltimore MD 21227
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