Vashon Island Pet Protectors and a host of other island volunteers have been trying to rescue a lost dog, who escaped from his new owner last month.
Henry, a 4-year-old Australian shepherd-sheltie mix, has been spotted frequently at night since he jumped out of owner Karin Debelius’ car Nov. 22 at her north-end home. VIPP is working to humanely trap and return him to her.
As in the social media posts about Henry that have been circulating widely, VIPP’s Amy Carey stresses that islanders should not call to him or run after him — both of which make him run more. Instead islanders should call the owner or VIPP and report where he was at what time and what direction he was going. This helps them establish his activity pattern and assists in determining the location of the trap or feeding station.
In March, Henry was rescued from a hoarder in California, who had nearly 150 dogs in filthy conditions. He was placed first with a shelter and then with a foster arrangement on the Kitsap Peninsula until Debelius adopted him less than six weeks before he fled from her car. She said she feels that she and Henry were beginning to make progress, but he is not socialized. VIPP’s Carey said he is spotted frequently — always running and always at night — and is nearly feral and extremely fearful.
Both Carey and Debelius say they are hopeful they will catch Henry and agree that the trap — which holds food — will provide the solution they are looking for.
“Our only hope is to trap him,” Debelius said. “We hope one of these days he gets so desperate for food he will go inside.”
There are wildlife cameras on the trap, and volunteers who monitor at night. Carey said Henry has gotten close to the trap, but has not gone in.
“We just need him to take three more steps,” she said.
When Henry first fled, Carey said he stayed close to Debelius’ home, running in the vicinity. But as time wore on, he expanded his range and has been spotted as far south as town. Given his upbringing — he was possibly born into the difficult hoarding situation — he does not know how to behave around people or cars and is often spotted on roads, including the main highway. Carey asks drivers to use extreme caution. Signs are in place to alert drivers.
Islanders who spot Henry are asked to call VIPP at (206) 755-3981 and Debelius at (206) 567-5837 or (206) 771-1285.