(Mon) - No new sightings. On Saturday, the Richmond Times Dispatch
published an update on Rumble's progress. Yesterday, the
Charlottesville Daily Progress also published an update. We so
appreciate both articles as they have reminded people that Rumble may be
at a critical point in his journey. We know that many people saw the
articles because we received several calls letting us know that people are
pulling for Rumble and are on the lookout for him. On Sunday, we took Bita,
Rumble's mom, for a car ride. We took her to the areas through which we
think Rumble will most likely travel. We walked her around the areas and
showed her to people so they will have some idea of Rumble's size,
markings and coat coloration. (See photo of Bita in Rumble's Scrapbook.)
9/17/02 (Tue) - As a result of the weekend newspaper articles updating
Rumble’s progress, we received several reports of possible Rumble
sightings. Many folks have asked how we decide to which ones we’ll
respond. The answer is that we try to respond to all of them! We don’t
want to overlook a single possibility. Since Sunday, we’ve been checking
out several reports, two of which appear to be quite promising. One was in
the general location of the sightings reported on
and the other was several miles north of there. Since it's not possible
for both to be Rumble, we'll wait for another sighting before we update
the maps. We took Bita with us again yesterday when we went to check out
the sightings. On the way home, we stopped at the Colleen Drive-in for
soft-serve ice cream. Two women saw Bita and very nicely asked if she was
"the lost dog." We explained that she was Rumble’s mom. They asked to pet
her so we took Bita out of our car. The nice ladies fed Bita their
soft-serve from a spoon! (See Bita's photos in
9/18/02 (Wed) - No new sightings. For the past few days we've been
intensively searching the area near the last sighting
(see maps) since several recent reports
came from there. We finally saw the dog that folks thought was Rumble.
At a distance, we ourselves thought the dog could very well be our
boy, but it was not. In addition to being saddened that we didn’t find
Rumble, we were also saddened by the condition of the dog (Black Dog)
we did see. Black Dog was accompanied to our food bait site by his
buddy (Yellow Dog). Both dogs were emaciated. The sight of these poor
dogs, desperate for food, was heartbreaking. Photos of Black Dog and
Yellow Dog are in
Maybe you know someone who's looking for them the same way we're
looking for Rumble, and together we can help these two find their own
families. Rumble's journey has been a journey of the heart, and Black
Dog and Yellow Dog are part of that journey.
9/19/02 (Thu) - No new sightings. Yesterday we showed photos of Black Dog
to the person who believed he saw Rumble on 9/04/02 (see sighting report
9/07/02) on Rt 657 (see maps). After
studying the photos, the man said that the dog he saw was Black Dog, not
our Rumble. We understand how difficult it can be to identify a dog. After
all, we had to get close enough to Black Dog to be able to take photos
before we could say the dog wasn’t Rumble. We have requested that the
folks who believed they saw Rumble in Gladstone also take a look at the
photos. We are still checking out one other Nelson County sighting from
the weekend, but we’re preparing ourselves for the possibility that the
last confirmed sighting may be the one east of the James River in the
Yogaville area (see sighting report of
8/20/02). If this turns
out to be the case, then, in all likelihood, Rumble is still east of the
James River in Buckingham County, probably subsisting in the James River
Wildlife Management Area. Several people who live in that vicinity have so
kindly emailed and telephoned to assure us that folks there are aware of
Rumble’s plight and are on the lookout for him. The maps will be adjusted
to reflect whatever we learn. Knowing that so many folks care about our
boy comforts and encourages us. The strength of our prayers for and faith
in Rumble are matched only by Rumble's own spirit and courage to make it
9/20/02 (Fri) – No new sightings. Although we've had no new sightings, we
constantly keep in our minds that the August 16th sighting (reported
8/20/02) was accurate
and that the glimpse gotten of Rumble showed him to be strong. Many
wonderful people are helping raise public awareness that Rumble is
somewhere in Central Virginia. We had an opportunity yesterday to meet a
young lady whom we believe to be the youngest member of the “Rumble
Helpers” team. Kali, five years old, stopped by with her mom to pick up
flyers to distribute and post. We couldn’t let the moment pass without
getting a picture or two of her with Raider, Rumble’s dad (photos below
We want to thank Kali for her efforts in finding our boy!
9/21/02 (Sat) – No new sightings. We would like to share with you
some good news! Remember
the German Shepherd in the animal control facility near Atlanta that a
friend of Rumble's notified us about because she thought he just might
possibly be Rumble (see report of
9/10/02). He was rescued!
wrote to us and said, "I received all kinds of emails from
people all over the country wanting to help with "Justice" as he is now
called. "Justice" is safe in a foster home outside Atlanta and his
foster mom says he's a wonderful boy. He will be transported to the
rescue organization as soon as they arrange transport for him. Thank
you so much for caring." We wanted to share this good news,
because you deserve thanks too! Justice was rescued by the good
folks at West
Virginia GSD Rescue Co-op who now hope to find
Justice his forever home. We've created a
special page just for Justice. If
together we could help Justice find a family to love him, that would be
wonderful! (See photo of Justice on
9/22/02 (Sun) – No new sightings. We've all been reflecting on how
Rumble has managed to evade being caught, or even sighted more than
briefly between western Chesterfield County and Buckingham County. We
realized that, in fact, he comes by the ability naturally. Rumble's
grandmother, Gypsy, often has been called the Houdini of the K9 world.
Gypsy has quite a reputation for not staying anywhere she doesn't want to
be. She also has a reputation as a great adventurer. Stories abound about
Gypsy and her escapades. Vets particularly are curious about how so many
of Gypsy's teeth have gotten broken. We know it's from Gypsy dismantling
chain link fencing! A photo of Gypsy may be found in
9/23/02 (Mon) – No new sightings. After we determined that the dog
on Rt 657 was Black Dog and not Rumble (see 9/19/02 update above), we
thought we should show Black Dog's photo to the folks in Gladstone who
thought they saw Rumble
(see 9/02/02 report).
They now have looked at Black Dog's photo and said that the dog they saw
was not Black Dog. Based on the descriptive information these nice people
have provided and the direction in which Rumble was headed when last seen
(see report of 8/20/02),
we believe that the dog they saw was Rumble. They saw the dog around
August 19. Rumble's human aunt, who owns Noah, Rumble's brother, has
notified folks in that area that Rumble may be there or may have passed
through there. Noah's photo may be seen in the
collage of Rumble's immediate K9 family and in
9/24/02 (Tue) – No new sightings. Yesterday, we visited with the
Gladstone folks (see 9/23/02 update above) who saw the dog that looked
like Rumble. We took Bita and additional photos of Rumble. After looking
at Bita and the photos, they were even firmer in their belief that the dog
they saw was our boy. When the dog they saw left, it was traveling north.
If the dog was Rumble and he continued north, he would have crossed Rt 60
onto the road that leads to Norwood where the Tye River empties into the
James River (see maps). On our way home, we
explored some of the back roads off of Rt 56 near home. We became so lost
it took us over an hour to finally find the road home. The roads wind
around and through the mountains and are intersected by many smaller roads
that aren't on our maps. We couldn't help but think that if Rumble travels
along any of these roads, it will take him much longer to reach home.
Leaving the roadside to travel cross-country may take even more time
because of the mountainous terrain.
9/25/02 (Wed) - No new sightings. While we wait
for the next sighting or for our boy to arrive home, good things
happen as demonstrated by the following email:
"Hello, First let me say that I don't have any information about
Rumble. I don't want you to get your hopes up. I do want to let you
know that 400+ elementary students in Richmond are pulling for
Rumble. After reading the Times Dispatch piece on 9/14, I
photocopied the story and distributed it to all of the teachers in
my school. The principal and I thought that it would be a great
"springboard" for journal writing as well as for a host of other
learning tools (map skills, projections, measurement, etc.). Your
website is amazing and the local interest of the events means
something to our students. Personally, I am an animal lover and your
update is the first thing that I check each morning. I know that it
is hard not to lose hope, but hang in there! It is clear that Rumble
has a wonderful home to return to, and I'm sure that this is what
will keep him motivated to find you too. I bet you never thought
that Rumble would become an integrated part of the Virginia SOLs!!"
Needless to say, we are thrilled that the efforts to find Rumble are
being used as an educational tool for young people.
9/26/02 (Thu) - No new sightings. We received a telephone call last
night of a possible sighting west of Lynchburg on Rt 501
(see maps) near the entrance to the Blue
Ridge Parkway. We spent the day handing out flyers and talking to
folks in that area. Since no one was able to confirm seeing a large,
mostly black dog in that area we are not calling it a sighting.
However, the call did cause us to once again study Rumble's course.
Our thinking has been that from Gladstone, he went north across Rt. 60
and deeper into Nelson County toward the Tye River. It's certainly
possible that he turned around after leaving the yard where he was
seen and followed the James River south and west. It would be an easy
trek as railroad tracks run parallel to the river. We're now notifying
as many folks as possible in that area about Rumble.
9/27/02 (Fri) - No new sightings. Saturday, October 5 is the opening day
for bow hunting in Virginia. We spent yesterday getting flyers and related
supplies ready to take out this weekend to post in areas where bow hunters
are likely to enter the woods. Next week, we will be notifying hunting
clubs that our boy may be hiding in the woods where the hunters will be.
While there is a serious risk to Rumble's safety during hunting season
there also is a good chance that a hunter may spot him in the woods.
Starting October 5, there probably will be more folks than ever in the
woods across Virginia. We're viewing this as a good opportunity to find
our boy. We hope Virginia's hunters will help us. If you know a hunter,
please tell him or her about Rumble.
9/28/02 (Sat) - Yesterday we had some reports of sightings in the same
area as those on August 16 (see
report of 8/20/02
and maps). This area is the same one
where Sladie and Sandy (Sladie's handler) saw Rumble. This afternoon,
we're meeting the folks who saw the dog in the sighting area. (Our
fingers crossed and we are saying so many prayers!) On Wed., Oct. 2,
we will be taking Raider and Bita (see
to meet the students of Redd Elementary School (Richmond City Public
School system). Redd Elementary is the school that is using Rumble's
website as an educational "springboard" (see
9/29/02 (Sun) - We spent Saturday in the area
where Rumble was seen on August 16 (see
report of 8/20/02
and maps). We talked to folks who believe
they have seen him twice in the same area within the last week.
Although not everybody we talked with had seen a dog that looked like
Rumble, everybody knew about him and wanted to help. A local family
will be placing food in a specific spot at the same time every day for
the next several days. We will be checking on the spot daily. If we
believe that the dog is Rumble, then we'll be taking his sister, Chili
(see photo in
to the same area. Our lost dog recovery expert, Debbie Hall, has
advised that one way to entice a dog out of hiding is to play with a
dog that the lost dog knows. Rumble sure knows (and loves) his
sis. Yesterday we also stapled "Watch for Rumble" flyers to trees at
the entrances to popular hunting areas. We'll be out posting more
9/30/02 (Mon) - No new sightings. The food bait we put out on Saturday
(see 9/29/02 update above) was gone yesterday.
Sunday's food was put out at 3:00pm and was all gone by 5:00pm. We
think it's unlikely that a cat has been taking the food because of the
quantity: 1.5 cups of dog kibble and 1 small can of cat food. We're
using cat food because its "scent" is so aromatic. We believe that
we're close to having a feeding schedule set up now. It seems
impossible for a schedule to be established so fast, but then we think
about Black Dog and Yellow Dog (see 9/18/02 update)
who returned to the food bait sight three times within an eight hour
period because they were so hungry. We plan to take things very slowly
with the current baiting plan. We want whoever (Rumble, we hope) is
eating the food to drop some of the wariness as he comes to rely on a
regular feeding schedule. Sometime later this week we will try to
observe, from a vehicle, the food bowl and get a look at who's
enjoying the dinners.
10/01/02 (Tue) - No new sightings. The cat food was gone from Monday's
food bait. The kibble was left in the bowl. Tomorrow we will be
replacing the cat food with a beef based, wet dog food. While the
latter isn't as aromatic as cat food, we're told that raccoons, cats,
squirrels, etc. will not be as interested in beef based, dog foods as
in cat foods. We are determined as ever to find our boy. Our expert,
Debbie Hall, has a saying: "the biggest obstacle to recovering a lost
pet is that owners give up too soon." We were heartened in our
persistence by a wonderful story today. Waldo, a little Corgi, was
lost on July 27th at a family camp. Waldo was presumed dead, eaten,
never seen since the day of his disappearance. Waldo belongs to a
little wheelchair-confined boy from Maryland who was visiting family
at the camp. The family didn't give up. They did everything possible
to find Waldo. Three days ago Waldo was recovered. He had lost weight,
but his thick, digging claws and long nose helped him survive, maybe
by cornering, digging up and eating rodents. If we can get a photo of
the little boy with his Waldo, we will.
10/02/02 (Wed) - No new sightings. We spent yesterday posting more
flyers at the entrances to the private hunting areas. We also replaced
the canned cat food with canned dog food. Many folks have written and
called to suggest that we use a surveillance camera to determine what
kind of critter is eating the food bait. We've ordered one, which
should arrive within the next day or two. We want to thank everyone
for the suggestion. On another note, we received an email from Straja,
one of Rumble's human aunts. She is the human mom of Tangus, one of
Rumble's brothers (see photo in Rumble's
Scrapbook and collage of Rumble's
immediate K9 family). Straja and her husband live with Tangus in
Calgary, Canada. Straja, a therapist, specializes in animal assisted
psychotherapy. Tangus is Straja's co-therapist. Tangus, along with
teammate Straja, has received much heart-warming recognition in the
Calgary area. Pictures of both as well as a description of their work
may be seen on
and Tangus' web page. Today we go with some of Rumble's K9 family
to Redd Elementary School in Richmond, VA to meet the students (see
9/25/02 update above).
10/03/02 (Thu) - No new sightings. Food was put
out at 3:30pm yesterday. It was gone by 5:30pm. The bowl had been
licked clean and over turned. We're trying to not read too much into
the over turned bowl, but Rumble loved to carry around his food bowl
after he ate. We don't believe the bowl was the work of a cat. Our
visit to Redd Elementary School was so much fun. The students loved
seeing Rumble's family, and we truly enjoyed spending time with a
group of young people so enthusiastic about finding our boy. Examples
of their delightful work may be seen by clicking:
Looking for Rumble. We want to thank Yvonne and Jamie Dingus
(Thunder's human mom and dad) for bringing Thunder (Rumble's cousin
and Aunt Ever's son). We also want to thank Phillip-Morris for giving
Jamie the day off for the event!
10/04/02 (Fri) - No new sightings. We received the game-tracking
camera late yesterday afternoon. Once we figure out how to work it, we
will be placing it close to the food bait site as the food continues
to be eaten every day. When we were observing the food bait site
yesterday a tabby cat walked by but didn't even glance at the food.
We're also going to increase the quantity of food. With the camera we
should be able to get a photo of what is eating the food.
10/05/02 (Sat) - No new sightings.
Several people have asked if our guys at home are continuing their
daily howlings in the hopes that Rumble will hear them. The answer is
a most affirmative "Yes." Rumble's K9 family "sings" several
times each day just for the joy of hearing their own voices.
When we were at Redd Elementary (see 10/03/02
update), we tried to get Rumble's family to howl but they were too
interested in the new surroundings. Since the dogs wouldn't sing, we
asked the students to give it a try. Their young voices were so
beautiful that we wish we had recorded it. We know it would be a
compelling song to call Rumble home.
10/06/02 (Sun) - No new sightings. We know we've thanked you
before for your support, caring, encouragement, prayers, ideas,
cross-posting, sharing Rumble's link, posting flyers, keeping your
eyes open for Rumble as you drive or hike ... and all the other
millions of little things so many of you have done to help us try to
bring Rumble home safely... but we can never thank you enough. A
friend of Rumble's (which we consider all of you to be) recently wrote
to say that the search for Rumble is not just about a particular dog
or even a particular breed. It's about loving and caring for our
animals. It's about not giving up when things seem hopeless.
It's about always being there for those you love, regardless of what
happens. It's about trying to make positives out of negatives.
And finally, it's about reaching out and helping each other in times
of need. Thank you - - from our hearts to yours.
10/07/02 (Mon) - No new sightings. We're still working on the
technicalities of the game-tracking camera (see
report of 10/04/02), so we have not been able to set it up yet.
Some friends of Rumble had written to warn us that this camera is a
lot trickier to set up properly than one might expect! One
Rumble friend wrote that once it's set up, even focusing it correctly
can be quite a challenge. She mentioned that her husband had a
similar camera and gave us some helpful suggestions. Apparently
if you're not very careful, the camera will focus on the wrong thing.
She described how her husband got down in front of the camera on his
hands and knees to make sure the focus was in the right place.
Once we figure out the technical aspects of the camera, the
hands-and-knees part should be simple!
10/08/02 (Tue) - No new sightings. A friend of Rumble's recently
sent us the following wonderfully encouraging words:
"A friend's sister travels the Rt. 29
area every day on her way to work. As a matter of routine, she has
been carrying Rumble's flyer, a cell phone, and dog food in her car
during her commute. She also has many of her co-workers who live and
travel all over this part of the state doing the same thing. Please be
assured that these folks understand the need not to frighten Rumble by
trying to catch him, but rather want to be prepared to at least have
some food to put down if they should spot him while you are traveling
to the site. The strategy is twofold: readily available food might
keep him local until you reach him, and if nothing else, the guy would
get a meal. (They also appreciate the caution re feeding long-lost
dogs). So, there are many, many eyes looking for Rumble. I'm sure that
someone will see him soon."
We cannot begin to tell you how much the support
of wonderful people like this means to us. Between our own efforts
and the kindness of strangers, we know we will find Rumble! He's
out there somewhere, so it's only a matter of time, faith, and
10/09/02 (Wed) - No new sightings. Several of you have asked
about Rumble's coloring and have commented on how different the colors
are just within Rumble's immediate family. (See
Family Collage.) Rumble's
background includes mostly German Shepherds (of just about every
color, including solid blacks and solid whites), plus one Malamute.
We previously showed you pictures of Rumble's maternal grandparents,
"London" and "Gypsy" (see photos in
Rumble's Scrapbook.) Now we'd like to share with you a photo
of Rumble's paternal grandparents (Raider's parents). A
"romantic" photo of Raider's Dad, "Shep" and Raider's Mom, "Trinka" is
in Rumble's Scrapbook.
10/10/02 (Thu) - No new sightings. We mentioned in our update of
9/29/02 that our lost dog recovery expert,
Debbie Hall, has advised us that one way to entice a dog out of hiding
is to play with a dog that the lost dog knows. Apparently the
lost dog gets caught up in the moment, temporarily forgets to be so
cautious, and doesn't want to miss out on the fun. If we get the
opportunity, we'd like to try out this approach with Rumble.
Rumble absolutely loves to play! In fact, Rumble and all his
bothers and sisters are notorious for their love of playing. One
of our favorite pictures is of some of Rumble's brothers and sisters
playing when they were small puppies (see
10/11/02 (Fri) - No new sightings. On Wednesday, we finally were
able to successfully set up the game-tracking camera (see
report of 10/04/02). We checked it yesterday morning and
found it had taken two pictures of what seems to be a large,
short-haired dog (see photo in
Rumble's Scrapbook). The dog appears to be a floppy-eared
type of dog, perhaps with some Mastiff in it. We naturally were
disappointed it wasn't Rumble, but know we must be patient. The
camera is set up in the area of the last confirmed sighting in the
Yogaville vicinity of western Buckingham County (see
Rumble's Scrapbook). While
there, we spoke with the groundskeeper who said he had seen a "black
or very dark dog" that morning who seems to fit Rumble's description.
Several other people in that area have said the same thing. We
believe that there are at least two dogs moving around in the
Yogaville area: the one we caught in the photo, and one that resembles
(or is) our boy. We will continue with the food bait and try to
get more pictures.
10/12/02 (Sat) - No new sightings. When we checked the food-bait
site yesterday, the food was gone but the camera hadn't taken any
pictures. We set out the food-bait again and will hope for
pictures when we check the site today. The camera technology is
really impressive! The photos are taken on a memory card. We
take the laptop to the site and, using a little external, USB port
cable, download the photos from the memory card directly to the
laptop. We can view the photos right there in the field, make any
adjustments to camera height, focus options, distance from the bowl,
etc. (An example of the first photo we got, which was of another
dog, is in Rumble's Scrapbook.)
10/13/02 (Sun) - No new sightings. We had set up a second
food-bait site, but no food was eaten at the second bait site.
We have discontinued both the first and second bait sites. We
set up a third food-bait site based where the dog resembling Rumble
was recently seen. We put out food Saturday morning and it was
gone within two hours. We found fresh footprints large enough to
be Rumble's. A man who has seen the dog resembling Rumble
several times took us to the various sites where he had seen the dog.
All were sites we had personally visited previously, so they no doubt
had our scent. We found hair that could have been Rumble's
caught in barbed wire at the spot where the man saw the dog going
through a fence earlier this week. Several friends of Rumble
have expressed concern that since we spent so much time in the Yogaville area after the confirmed sighting of August 16th (see
update of 8/20/02),
Rumble may have waited there for us. We are beginning to believe
that is most likely what happened. We think the dog in Yogaville
is probably Rumble. Maps have been
10/14/02 (Mon) - No new sightings. We have spent most of the
weekend in Yogaville hoping to spot Rumble. The
food at the third bait-site had not been eaten when we checked early Sunday
morning, so we established a fourth bait-site
nearer to where we believe Rumble has been "living." (It's the
area we had most heavily scented after the August 16th sighting.)
Although we went out very early in the morning on Sunday (4:30am), we
didn't spot Rumble. We realize that this could be another case
of "mistaken identity," just like we had with Black Dog (see
update of 9/18/02), but the various clues we're
seeing, when put together, still make us believe that Rumble is
probably here. We extend our apologies to those of you who have
sent us an email in the past few days. On our short stops at
home, between our visits to Yogaville, we've read all your messages.
We sincerely appreciate your good wishes and suggestions, but in order
to get a little sleep, we haven't replied yet. We promise we
will, just as soon as we get a spare moment! Thanks for
(Tue) - No new sightings. We recently re-read an inspirational
story we received about "Jake" the cattle dog. Jake
became separated from his owners during a cattle drive, so they left a
family member's jacket on the ground in an area where they thought
Jake would go. When they returned the next day, there was Jake,
lying on the jacket! We think Rumble may be doing a similar
thing and staying near the areas we scented in Yogaville.
Although we spent all Sunday night sitting in our vehicle in Yogaville,
we didn't see or hear anything. Of course, it was completely
dark where we were anyway. However, it gave us an idea.
Since we can't yet bring Rumble home, we'll bring home to Rumble!
Yesterday we began making arrangements for a camper. We'll take
Raider, Bita, Chili, and Rumble's great-aunt "Sharona." (See
pictures of Raider, Bita, Chili, and Sharona in
Rumble's Scrapbook.) Rumble adores his dad, Raider; he is soul
mates with his sister, Chili; and his mom, Bita, and great aunt
Sharona are great howlers. We'll take metal food bowls, food,
the works. We can't get the camper until Friday, so until then,
we'll continue with the food-bait stations and the game-tracking
camera. We'll also spend as much time as possible in Yogaville
to keep our scent fresh. Our goal is to keep Rumble safe in that
area until we can bring him home.
10/16/02 (Wed) - No new sightings. We continue to spend most of
our time in Yogaville and still believe that's probably where Rumble
is. One of the things that has given us the greatest comfort and
encouragement is inspirational stories you have shared with us about
being reunited with beloved, lost pets. Your stories are
heartwarming and are lessons in never giving up hope! We've
collected as many as we could locate and have added them to a new page
(click here). Also, in case
you missed her, we added one more Shepherd to Rumble's "Just in
case..." page the other day. "Bridgett" actually looks more like
Rumble than any "just in case" dog so far. She is a beauty in an
Ohio pound who truly deserves a loving home. (Bridgett's
pictures and contact information are on
Rumble's "Just in case..." page.)
10/17/02 (Thu) - No new sightings. Yesterday we were pleased and
honored to have two true friends of Rumble, Maxine and Larry, visit
us. (See their photo with Rumble's dad, Raider, in
Rumble's Scrapbook.) Although
we never knew them before, we treasure their new friendship. They have been following Rumble's story from the
beginning and are devoted to helping us find our boy. Maxine
knows the names of every dog that has been mentioned on Rumble's site.
She even remembers the context! For example, she remembered that
Gypsy is our "Houdini," Chili is Rumble's soul mate, Raider is his
dad, etc. Maxine serves as "Rumble Central" for her office and for her
friends who don't have computer access. They have helped to spread the
word of Rumble and even have Rumble's flyer taped to the windows of
their vehicles. Thank you Maxine and Larry! And thank you
to so many of you whom we haven't met for all that you're doing too.
10/18/02 (Fri) - No new sightings. We've been discouraged that
there have been no new sightings, but still believe Rumble is in the
Yogaville area. We're hoping our recent re-scenting efforts,
together with the food we've been putting out at the food-bait sites,
will keep him in the vicinity. Today is the day we get the
camper so we can "bring home to Rumble" (see
10/15/02 update). We're very fortunate that we are being
joined by Debbie Hall, the lost dog expert who has been advising us
all along. If you haven't had an opportunity to read the glowing
Boston Ledger article about Debbie published in May that we
mention on Rumble's "With Gratitude" page,
it's quite interesting. To read the article, which is entitled
"DOG DETECTIVE: Debbie Hall keeps up the ceaseless search for lost
click here. Because
we hope we're getting close to being able to see Rumble ourselves,
we're very grateful to have Debbie's expertise and guidance to help
us. We have learned so much from her already! We never
before realized how the psychology of a long-lost dog is so different
from one that is missing for just a short time.
10/19/02 (Sat) - Because we've been unable to be in Yogaville around
the clock, we have a wonderful family there helping us with the food
bowl at the food-bait site during the in-between times. The lady
of the family believes she saw Rumble in Yogaville on Wednesday
morning as she was taking her children to school. We
picked up our lost dog expert, Debbie Hall, at the Richmond Airport
yesterday and arrived home in Nelson County late last night. We
also picked up our rental camper yesterday. We've been finishing
our last-minute packing of the camper and will head to Yogaville this
morning. Our plan is to take turns sleeping so one of us will
always be watching for Rumble. After Debbie met the rest of
Rumble's canine family (see photos of Rumble's family in
Rumble's Scrapbook), she feels
confident that we'll be able to find Rumble and bring him home.
She says the family characteristics include high intelligence,
curiosity, and a strong sense of love and family, and these will help.
It's her guess that it will ultimately be one of our dogs that draws
Rumble in, particularly due to their howling. Debbie Hall says it's important to have as few new
distractions (sights, sounds, and smells) as possible in the area
where we'll be. Several of you have kindly offered to help
search. We appreciate your offers so very much! However,
the best thing would be to not come to Yogaville at this time.
Our sincere thanks to all of you for your continuing prayers and warm
thoughts. We know they're helping!
10/20/02 (Sun) - No new sightings. We watched carefully during the day yesterday and all night long, but
there was no sign of Rumble, although we saw deer and other animals.
We're pleased to report that our howlers (Sharona and Bita) came
through for us and did a great job of howling - - especially Sharona!
(See photos of Sharona and Bita in
Rumble's Scrapbook.) When we checked our camera yesterday,
it had several photos of a huge, beautiful, magnificent fox.
These are the first pictures we've gotten of an animal eating from the
bowl since 10/11/02, although the food has
been gone almost every day. We know we must be patient. We still
believe Rumble is in the area. (See sighting
report of 10/19/02.) We are camping on private property and
obtained the landowner's permission, but it turns out we mistakenly
parked our camper on a neighboring piece of property. We'll be
moving to a spot on the property where the very nice folks have given
us permission. It's actually better than where we are now and is
closer to where Rumble has been sighted. We all miss Rumble and want him home!
Rumble's brother "Noah," who lives in Pennsylvania, is wearing a green
ribbon for Rumble. (See photo of Noah in
Rumble's Scrapbook.) Looks to
us like Noah is trying to call his brother home too!
10/21/02 (Mon) - (This is the report called in by cell phone from
the campsite at 8pm yesterday.) No new sightings. We're
standing in a pitch black field. We have placed cooked liver and
fried chicken on top of the van. (We picked liver because Rumble
really loves it!) We've placed the meats on the van's roof so
the scent will carry. There are lots of animals in the area,
including a Black Bear. We think something has already eaten the
food from our food-bait site this evening, but it's too dark to tell
for sure. Sharona and Bita have been doing a super job of
howling - - we're so proud of them! Saturday we didn't hear any
other dogs howling in return, but Sunday we did. One definitely
sounded like a large dog, but we can't be sure if it was Rumble.
Rumble has always been a howler himself and has a fine baritone voice.
On Sunday, Debbie Hall visited all the places Rumble had been spotted
in Yogaville and concluded that if you have to be a lost dog, this is
a pretty good place to be. There are lots of sources of water,
nice meadows, and plenty places to take shelter. But if you're a
lost dog, chances are your grandpa is hoping you'll come home!
Rumble's Grandpa "London," who lives in Pennsylvania, is wearing a
green ribbon for Rumble. (London is Bita's dad.) At 140
lbs, he's one of the biggest Shilohs ever. (See London's picture
in Rumble's Scrapbook.)
10/22/02 (Tue) - (This is the report called in by cell phone from
the campsite at 8pm yesterday.) No new sightings. It was
raining all day yesterday, and most animals seemed to be taking
shelter. There was so little activity, that we used the
opportunity to go home for a few hours for a hot shower and fresh
provisions for the dogs and ourselves. On our drive back, we
were on Rt 56 in Nelson County (Crabtree Falls Highway), when we saw
an elderly, beautiful, black Great Dane standing in the road.
She looked confused and was obviously lost. We stopped the car
and Debbie Hall coaxed her to us with a treat. We were able to
get a leash on her. With the help of an "Angel of Mercy" from
the Nelson County Humane Society who just happened to be passing by,
we took her to our Vet in Lovingston. They had kenneled a
female, black Great Dane for a night during the Summer and thought
this might be her. In the hopes she was the same girl, they
called that family. She was! They were so happy that she
had been found and was safe. We can imagine the joy they must
10/23/02 (Wed) - (This is the report called in by cell phone from
the campsite at 8pm yesterday.) No new sightings. Tuesday we
revisited all the places Rumble has been sighted in Yogaville.
We know we're focused on our mission, but we had to laugh at ourselves
- - When we drove into town from the campsite, someone asked us why we
were driving around with a tub of chicken on our roof! Although
Rumble hasn't been seen since last Wednesday (see
report of 10/19/02), we're feeling encouraged. We met with
the nice lady who had gotten so close to Rumble last Wednesday that
she could touch him. We had Bita with us so the lady could see
first-hand what Rumble looks like since he looks like a larger version
of his mom. (See photo of Bita below and in
Rumble's Scrapbook.) The lady
and her family have owned dogs themselves, including German Shepherds
and Rottweilers, so she knows large dogs well, and she was convinced
after seeing Bita that the dog she had seen was indeed Rumble.
We also visited the barn where Rumble was sighted. Debbie Hall,
our lost dog expert, said that a dog definitely had been staying
there, although she couldn't be sure how recently. We've kept up
two food-bait stations, but our main customers seem to be cats.
10/24/02 (Thu) - (This is the report called in by cell phone from
the campsite at 8pm yesterday.) No new sightings, but we're very
encouraged! Wednesday we returned to the barn where Rumble had
been sighted previously, and we saw fresh canine tracks the size of
Rumble's! They weren't there yesterday, and the tracks were
huge. To illustrate, Ranger's front, left paw outline is shown
below and in Rumble's Scrapbook
(click image to see actual size). Rumble and Ranger are brothers
and littermates, and are very similar in size. (Ranger's human
Mom placed Ranger's foot on a piece of paper and traced around the
edges with a felt-tip marker.) We put a bowl of food and one of Rumble's toys
in the barn. Unfortunately, we've been
having memory card problems with the camera, or we'd place it there
too. We'll let you know tomorrow what we find!
10/25/02 (Fri) - (This is the report called in by cell phone from
the campsite at 8pm yesterday.) No new sightings, but we're still
encouraged. Thursday we left the campsite for several hours and
went home for showers, fresh provisions, and to get the camera
repaired. For days we've left Rumble's human mom's sweatshirt
draped over the "x-pen" that we have set up outside the camper.
(It's the same one she's wearing in the photo below and on
Rumble's Photos page.) When we
returned, the sweatshirt was lying on the ground! (There was no
wind.) We don't want to get our hopes up too high, but it's hard
not to! The food and the toy in the barn hadn't been touched,
but we refuse to let that discourage us. Thursday we also met
another very nice family who said they had seen Rumble at almost the
same time and same location as the other sighting
(see report of 10/19/02). They said he appeared to be
looking for food along the road. On Friday, we plan to remain
hidden quietly in the camper and hope to see Rumble approaching it.
We'll also set up the camera in the barn near the food dish. We
feel we're getting close!
10/26/02 (Sat) - (This is the report called in by cell phone from
the campsite yesterday.) No new sightings that we've been able to
confirm. The food from the barn was eaten and we think there's a
good chance it was Rumble who ate it. We've suddenly gotten
sighting reports from several different parts of Virginia. We
still really believe Rumble is in Yogaville, but it has always been
our philosophy to "not leave any stone unturned," so we look into all
sighting reports. Until we ourselves see our boy, we can't be
100% positive where he is. The most intriguing report is from
Woodlake (just west of Richmond). Last summer we received many
reports from Woodlake and spent a tremendous amount of time there
ourselves. It turns out there's a long-lost, elusive German
Shepherd there who looks similar to Rumble. (We call him the "Ghost
Dog.") We saw him ourselves and can understand how folks could
be confused (see report of
7/28/02). However, the lady who just called says she's well
aware of Ghost Dog, and this is not him. If you live near
Woodlake, we'd be most grateful if you could keep an eye out for
Rumble. If you could manage to take a picture too, that would be
Rhodie (a cat from Pennsylvania) is wearing a green ribbon for Rumble!
(See photo in our new
"Green Ribbons for Rumble" album.)
10/27/02 (Sun) - (This is the report called in by cell phone from
the campsite at 8 pm yesterday.) No new sightings. Yesterday
marked a week that we've been camping, but we've had enough positive
signs that we've decided to stay longer. There were more
paw-prints at the barn again today, and the food was gone!
Unfortunately the camera didn't take any pictures, so we've
repositioned it. Something else we've started doing is using
"mug shots" when we talk to people who think they've seen Rumble.
We'll show them pictures of several similar-looking dogs (including
Rumble) and ask them to pick out which dog they saw from the
"line-up." So far, everyone who believes they've seen Rumble has
successfully identified his "mug shot"! There's more good news
we'd like to share with you. In case you haven't had a chance to
look at Rumble's "Just in Case" page
lately, three of the dogs have been adopted or have adoptions pending!
One is "Justice," Rumble's very first "just in case" dog. We are
so happy for them!!
10/28/02 (Mon) - (This is the report called in by cell phone from
Yogaville at 8 pm yesterday.) No new confirmed sightings; however,
yesterday we learned that Saturday, at about 8pm, a dog matching
Rumble's description was seen in Yogaville! The person who saw
the dog thinks it was Rumble, although because it was so dark outside,
we won't officially label this as a "sighting." We're hopeful it
was our boy, but we've heard there's also a brown German Shepherd
wandering around Yogaville, so we don't want to get our hopes too
high. Yesterday the food in the barn was again eaten. Some
even more exciting news - - we had hung Rumble's toy from a peg in the
barn approximately 3 feet off the ground, and yesterday the toy had
been removed from the peg and dragged about 8 feet!
(Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures because the glue that helps
connect the camera strap had come apart.) When we called in our
report Sunday evening, we were quietly out of sight at the place of
Saturday evening's sighting, hoping the dog would re-appear.
We'll let you know tomorrow if we saw anything!
10/29/02 (Tue) - (This is the report called in by cell phone from
Yogaville at 8 pm yesterday.) No new sightings. A man
has rented the area around the barn for hunting, so there was a lot of
activity there - - riding an all-terrain vehicle, taking down gates,
etc. We're not surprised there wasn't any sign that Rumble had
been there yesterday. We didn't see him when we were watching
for him yesterday evening either. We had spread out bits of meat
and were frustrated that the possums kept trying to eat the meat!
However, that gave us a good idea. Slurry! We've just made
up a "slurry" dish that we're going to use to tempt Rumble instead of
spreading around bits of meat. It's several different meats
(including liver) mixed together with canola oil, then whirled in the
blender. We can pour the slurry - - sort of like leaving bread
crumbs for Rumble to follow. Because of its consistency, even if
another animal eats it, bits will likely remain that a dog could try
to lick up. The scent will certainly remain!
By the way, several of you have sent us wonderful photos of your pets
wearing green ribbons for Rumble. Thank you! We invite you
to take a look at these super photos in the
"Green Ribbons for Rumble" album.
10/30/02 (Wed) - No new sightings. Yesterday we spread the
"slurry" (see update of 10/29/02) in a line
all the way from the location of the previous sighting to the camper.
We became instantly popular with local cats! However, because of
the oil base of the slurry, we're not worried. It should leave a
good scent trail even if the cats do eat a lot of it. By evening
it was raining so hard that we couldn't even see out the camper
windows, so we decided to go home to Nelson County for the night.
That will also give us a chance to make up another batch of slurry to
take to the campsite Wednesday morning. Several friends of
Rumble have written to us with a variety of excellent ideas.
Thank you! We're also very touched to learn that some of you
have been naming pets and other living things in honor of Rumble.
What a lovely gesture.
10/31/02 (Thu) - (This is the report called in by cell phone from
Yogaville at 8 pm yesterday.) No new sightings. No sign of Rumble at
the barn. No footprints, and the food and toy were untouched.
We're trying to figure out where Rumble might be! We've spent
days covering the same territory over and over. Some folks have
suggested that someone may have taken him into their home.
Another possibility is that he's moved on, especially since there are
now hunters in the area. We must remember that Rumble was pretty
single-minded in his quest to get home until he hit the barrier of the
James River. He's already covered over 100 miles on a virtual
bee-line from Chester toward our home in Nelson County. He was
confirmed to be in Yogaville by a trained tracking dog and her owner
on August 16th, so we know for sure he's come this far on his
homeward-bound trek already. (See Maps.)
For a dog traveling on foot with no known sources of food and water,
that takes an incredible amount of determination! Perhaps, with
all our drives across the bridge, we've left enough of a scent trail
that he's finally crossed the Wingina Bridge and is continuing with
his quest to make it home. If there's one thing we've learned
about Rumble, it's that we're not very good at second-guessing him!
LATEST SIGHTING: October 16th
(report of 10/19/02)