Lacey, the Elusive Great Dane, is Finally Home After Six Weeks on the Run in Traverse City
When I first heard there was a Great Dane missing in Traverse City, I thought to myself, “Well, how hard could it possibly be to find a dog THAT large?” It’s kind of the same thought that runs through my mind when I hear that there is a Basset Hound or a Dachshund missing – I mean, hey, they’re pretty slow. Seems like an easy task to find them. Little did I know. I will never again pre-judge a missing dog’s capabilities to be evasive no matter what size or breed.
Lacey, a four-year-old Great Dane, went missing from the Holiday Hills area of Traverse City around August 20th. She was on trial with her adoptive mom, Kathy Stone, who fell in love with Lacey and adopted her from H.A.N.D.D.S. to the Rescue. Kathy’s family has had Great Danes before and sadly grieved over two of them last year when they passed away. They wanted another Great Dane, but were looking for one who didn’t look like their previous Danes. When Kathy saw Lacey’s photo on the H.A.N.D.D.S. Facebook page, she went over to Tractor Supply to meet her. Lacey was taken home to Kathy’s house to make sure Lacey got along with the other family members – the humans and the other dogs and cats.
Everything seemed to be going well until Kathy was at her door talking with a friend and Lacey bolted past her. Because it was dark and Lacey had only been with Kathy’s family for a few days, even if Lacey wanted to get home after wandering around, she probably didn’t know where “home” was.
Once it was posted on Facebook that Lacey was missing, there was a huge outpouring of support and suggestions on how to catch her. Lacey’s photo and story was shared hundreds of times, with one post by Sun Dog Kennel reaching more than 8100 people. Dog lovers from all over Traverse City went out looking for her whenever there was a sighting posted. People searched by themselves and in groups. It’s impossible to know how many people went out looking for Lacey but Kathy estimates that it was probably close to 50 people. They searched with chicken, liver treats and steak. They searched with other dogs. They searched with Lacey’s puppies. A couple from Honor even showed up to help with the search. But Lacey was very skittish and would not let anyone get too close to her. She even ran away from her previous owners when they came to town to help with the search.
And it was quite the extensive search…Lacey certainly got around. While Lacey can never tell us exactly what she’s been up to for six weeks, the posts from the internet on the Facebook page Grand Traverse Area Lost and Founds can give us some clues. She started out on the East side of Traverse City in the Holiday Hills area and was also seen in Williamsburg. Kathy thinks that Lacey followed the power lines for a while. Then, all of sudden, she was spotted in Kings Court in Traverse City and after that she headed towards the downtown area – Union St., 16th, by the Senior Center, near Burritt’s… it was almost as if there was Lacey GPS on Facebook – but everyone was a step behind of this crafty Dane.
While Lacey was busy sightseeing in Traverse City, her human friends (and strangers) were busy trying to find her. People were networking her story; A Facebook page was set up; Professionals were consulted on how to locate her and the Grand Traverse Police and Animal Control were notified as well as Cherryland Humane Society. Live trapping was suggested but it was obvious that it wouldn’t be an option in this case as Lacey never seemed to stay in the same place for very long. There was also a fine line between wanting to spread the word to find Lacey but also not having too many people out looking so it wouldn’t create a dangerous situation for Lacey and scare her even more.
The good news was that it was usually only about four days between sightings. That is, until the last week of Lacey’s “outing.” She hadn’t been spotted for about a week and when she was, the person who saw her said that her leg was injured and they saw blood. That kicked up the search into overdrive.
It was on Saturday, September 27th that Lacey was spotted with her leg injury in different parts of downtown Traverse City. Although everyone was overjoyed that she surfaced again, they were worried about her injury. Kathy and several others went out searching on Sunday morning and handed out flyers, including one to the police who handed it over to Grand Traverse dispatch.
Luckily, some Traverse City homeowners on 6th Street noticed Lacey behind their house on Sunday, September 28th and called the police. The police then called Kathy that Lacey had been found. Kathy called everyone who had been in town looking for Lacey that day to see if they could help with the rescue. At the same time, someone posted on Facebook that Lacey had been found and H.A.N.D.D.S. sent out Lori (former vet tech) to help. Also at the scene were the police (the same ones who had received the flyer) and a handful of additional volunteers.
Lacey was laying down in between the homeowner’s garage and fence. They had put up flexible fencing on one side to keep her there. Kathy and others blocked the last opening. Exhausted, Lacey would lift up her head and then put it back down. It was obvious that she had given up the run – tired and hungry from her adventure and now injured. Kathy held out bacon and put a lead over her head. Lori worked with Kathy and put a second slip collar over Lacey’s head so she couldn’t run. Lacey was loaded into the van. In fact, she actually jumped in! She gave kisses, grateful to be rescued.
Lacey was taken to Bay Area Pet Hospital to get examined. She was found to have a broken front leg, some minor abrasions and was malnourished. Because the injury was only to her leg, it was unlikely that she had been hit by a car. Lacy’s injury may have been a blessing in disguise, slowing her down long enough to get rescued. An anonymous and generous person went in to the veterinarian and paid for Kathy’s emergency bills. Now, Lacey is scheduled to have surgery in Flint the end of this week to get a plate and screws in her leg so it can be saved.
Lacey is now at home resting with Kathy, her husband, her teenagers and Lacey’s fur siblings, including two other rescue dogs and several cats. Kathy’s boss generously gave her a few days off so that Kathy could stay at home with Lacey, who became her shadow the first day, not wanting Kathy to leave her sight.
Kathy Stone and H.A.N.D.D.S. want to thank anyone who helped with Lacey – those who searched on foot, posted or shared Lacey’s story, called or posted a sighting, the family on 6th Street who found her and kept her contained and called the police, those who showed up to help with the “capture” and the great staff at Bay Area Pet Hospital. The community, through social media, really came through for Lacey – a story often repeated with humans and pets alike in Traverse City. We definitely have a city to be proud of.
If you’d like to donate to help offset the costs of Lacey’s surgery, you can donate to the Lacey fund through H.A.N.D.D.S. at this link or send a check to: H.A.N.D.D.S., PO Box 1953, Traverse City, MI 49685.
UPDATE: October 1st
From H.A.N.D.D.S.: I am happy to report $95 has been donated to Lacey through HANDDS paypal, Lacey’s Surgery will be done by Dr Dan Degner from Animal Surgical Center of Michigan who is not a veterinarian that we normally work with so to keep it all straight, HANDDS will pay the bill, Kathy will be paying back everything minus any donations received. If you would like to donate please do so via our paypal link on this page, directly to HANDDS PO Box 1953 Traverse City, 49685. or if you prefer Bay Area Animal Hospital that will be doing any of her follow up care. We Thank you all for your support in helping Lacey.