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The search continues for missing Delaware dachshund

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A lost little dachshund in the city of Newark in northern Delaware has done more good than he will ever know -- but he still needs help of his own to get him home.

Rudy is a shy, seven year old, 11 pound miniature dachshund who has been missing for two years. He is alive and is frequently spotted and even photographed, but he runs off as soon as anyone gets close. He is constantly on the move, much to the frustration of his worried owners, Donna Watson and John Ohnstad. They know his general path of travel in the area, and there have been some sightings around the communities of Newark and Elsmere, but still no luck in getting Rudy home yet.

Rudy escaped from a pet sitter the day the couple were almost to Baltimore, where they were to board a cruise ship for a vaction, December 25, 2011. The woman who was watching Rudy called to tell them he had escaped. Without a second thought, the couple put aside a prepaid cruise and returned home immediately to start the search for Rudy. Never did they think it would take this long and require so much effort.

The pet sitter who was watching Rudy tried to catch him and recruited others to chase him too, but it scared him and he easily out-ran them. Dachshunds were originally bred to chase and hunt badgers; they are very speedy animals when they need to be.

The couple tried every method imaginable to catch their wayward friend, but the elusive dachshund is thus far always a few steps ahead. He is spotted on a regular basis, which encourages and lifts the spirits of his owners.

The couple have set traps, searched on foot, hired physics, animal communicators, placed lost ads on Craig's list, ads in the newspaper, and ads in free area publications. They have posted countless signs and hired private investigator Karen Tarqwyn and her tracking dogs to find Rudy. Tarqwyn specializes in searching for lost pets. Her dogs have picked up Rudy's scent several times. For more information about Karen Tarqwyn, who lives in Nebraska, you can visit her website at

Mary Beth Raven and her Belgian Shepherd Pippin,who live near Baltimore, MD, have joined the effort to track recent sightings of Rudy and "are able to respond very quickly as necessary to give us the feedback that may assist us in developing new strategies that will lead to his recovery," Watson said.

Rudy's owners will not stop until Rudy has been found. Their resolve has to be very strong for the number of hurdles they've faced in looking for their beloved dachshund.

Some of the challenges of finding Rudy have been quite difficult. Rudy's owners have been harassed online when posting in the lost pets section. Trail cameras they've purchased and put up to track Rudy have been stolen. Posters have been torn down. The town of Newark's sign laws prohibits hanging signs, which hinders the ability to raise awareness that Rudy is lost. Volunteers have searched on foot for Rudy, put up posters and flyers and have gone door to door to promote awareness. Well-meaning people want to help find Rudy, but trying to catch Rudy will frighten him out of his well-establish path of travel.

Rudy is now operating in survival mode, which makes it more difficult to capture him. It's been especially difficult to bring Rudy home because of his skittish nature, a common trait in the breed.

The lack of a central agency to report lost and found animals hinders the search for and location of Rudy and all lost pets. Watson has found herself the unofficial agent people turn to in order to find lost pets. Watson is now a pet detective advisor and has helped others find their lost pets at no charge. There is a lack of services to help people find lost pets, she said, but she is working to change that.

While some local officials have not been very helpful at all, others have been. State Senators Karen Peterson and Patricia Blevins, State Representatives Kim Williams and Mike Ramone, and New Castle county councilmen Tim Sheldon and David Tackett have joined the effort to support bringing Rudy home. They have taken his story to numerous civic association meetings. Senators Peterson and Blevins and Representative Williams have supported the efforts to find Rudy and have listened to presentations and comments at every Animal Welfare Task Force meeting Watson addresses.

As a result of participating in meetings, Watson is helping to establish a Lost and Found Pet Registry. "I am Rudy's voice, and ultimately the voice of many lost animals."

"Our Rudy has done a lot of good things for other missing pets in the state of Delaware. He has been directly responsible for the rescue of 21 lost dachshunds and numerous other dogs and cats in the New Castle County area. We hope that all of this awareness will bring him home." At this point in the long search, Rudy will probably have to make a mistake and go into one of the traps in order to recover him.

"We will go anywhere and do anything to spread the word,” said Watson. She vows to continue to search for as long as it takes to find him. "We can't leave him out there. He's our kid,” said Watson. "He is a loving loyal soul. We want to bring him home to give him the life and the love that he deserves."

To help the search for Rudy, here are some suggestions:
Watson asks people to call 302-437-5112 any time to report sightings of Rudy.
In addition, Rudy has some really great places on the Internet for you to visit.
Rudy has his own website ( Facebook page, ( ) and his own Twitter account: @DonnaLWatson (aka Bring_Rudy_Home)

In order to cover the cost and other expenses related to the search, there are occasional fundraising auctions .

Donations of items to auction are appreciated and accepted. The exact date of the next auction hasn't been decided but will be posted online. The last three have been very helpful, Watson said. The auction site can be found here



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