In an industrial area of Kansas City, there is one residential house. The people that live down there, amongst the warehouses, junk yards and trucking operations, are wonderful people. They are true friends to the animals. It’s an area where many strays have come through over the years. There is usually a small pack that have hooked up together. We’ve worked this area for years and have trapped a few dogs and puppies down there. It’s a continuous problem, but Barbara that lives there keeps food, water and shelter out for the strays. We’ve taken a couple of dog houses onto her property and filled them with hay so that the strays have somewhere to go in terrible weather.

One day in late October, I drove through there and saw a dog that I hadn’t seen before. He looked old and skinny. He was a large, cream colored hound/lab mix of some sort. He had scars on his face and head. I don’t think he was fought, but I’m sure he had had to defend himself out there in the world at some point. Sometimes he had a difficult time getting around, but he tried hard to keep up with the other 2 dogs in the pack. He had a great feeding station with Barbara doing everything she could for these guys. I knocked on Barbara’s door and asked her about the old dog that was out there.  She said he’d shown up a couple of months before and hooked up with a pit mix and a black terrier that were hanging around. The pit mix has been around, but the black dog was fairly new as well.

Barbara with her pack:

I felt so sorry for the old dog. I told Barbara that he’d never make it through the winter out there. I told her that as the weather started turning, we would prioritize getting him. He wouldn’t let anyone touch him-not even Barbara. I knew in the meantime he would have food, water, shelter and a couple of friends.

We decided that one of our volunteers would just have to out run him one day. Make no mistake, though he seemed so feeble, this boy could high tail it! We went through a couple of cold spells, but one day in December, Tanner and I went down there to try and get him. We had Barbara go out with their food that they’d all been waiting for that morning. Tanner got out of the car and was approaching the pack when they all started running! Tanner ran after the old man, who headed down one of the streets. I drove my car in front of him to cut him off and he turned around, with Tanner in pursuit! By the time I got my car turned around, went to the corner and made a right-there was Tanner with the old dog on a leash! He said that he had literally had to run behind him and pull his back legs out from under him. I love this picture because it looks like the old man is saying, “why’d you have to do that?”

We loaded this lucky boy into our car and took him back to Chain of Hope.


Welcome to Chain of Hope sweet boy. Your entire life is about to change for the better!

Tanner named this resilient, incredible dog Tracker. Tracker smelled to high heaven-he absolutely reeked! Into the bath tub he went!


Tracker settled in. He was pretty thin and very dehydrated. He was also exhausted. He slept for almost 3 days when he got here. We see that often when new dogs come in-they are exhausted from trying to survive. This old guy was between 10-12 yrs. old


Tracker always tried to hang out by the front door. He seemed to want to go-although he finally had the cushy life that he always deserved.  One day, after Tracker had been here for about a week or so, the door didn’t close tight and Tracker pushed it open and took off!  We heard everyone hollering and we all ran outside, but we didn’t see him. A couple of us walked with slip leads and treats, calling and calling for him. A couple of us jumped in our cars and started driving around. It was just like he’d vanished, he was no where to be seen. How could this old dog get out of our sight so quickly? We drove and walked for hours. We stopped everyone we saw and gave out our cards in case they saw him. We put it on face book and several others came and drove looking for him. We had a sighting of him reported to us at near dark and we hurried to that area, but we could not find him.

I can’t tell you how bad we all felt for this poor old man that was now out there again, trying to survive. We could not understand why he even wanted to leave, but some dogs really do have that “wander lust”. That’s what I call it-when they just have “to go”.  Tracker had been out in the world for so long, obviously. Was it because that’s all he knew? It was puzzling and we were all worried sick about him. We made flyers and put them up everywhere. We drove and drove all the next day and never found him. Why did this have to happen just as he finally got saved?

We woke up to our third day without Tracker and we were devastated. Tracker had left from the west side of Raytown. We made the drive several times to the junkyard area where we’d gotten him, thinking he might’ve tried to go back to his pack. Nothing. We were absolutely devastated! We began talking about hiring a dog tracker. How ironic that we needed a dog tracker for Tracker!

That afternoon of the third day, we received a message from Lee’s Summit animal control. They had Tracker!!! They had gotten a call about him. He was laying on the grounds of Lee’s Summit Hospital. A woman had seen him and thought he was dead. But then she saw him lift his head up, so she called animal control. We thank you, whoever you are, from the bottom of our hearts! When Lee’s Summit animal control arrived, the chase was on. Yes, this old man got up and ran! They caught up with him in the Price Chopper parking lot and they finally had him. Thank God! Tracker had gone a little over 12 miles!

We went to get Tracker-we were elated and so very thankful! He was in bad shape. He was dehydrated again, starving, and very, very tired. We got him back to Chain of Hope. This time, he was going into the kitchen so that we would have an extra barrier between Tracker and the front door. He has his bed in there and the dryer is in there, so it’s a very warm room and he loves it! He lays on his dog bed all day long. He receives a lot of love and attention. He pretty much gets whatever he wants to eat. Most of his teeth are so worn down, they are nubs. He eats canned food and hot dogs and meatballs-whatever he wants!

He barely woke up enough to celebrate New Year’s Eve!

Tracker no longer tries to bolt out the front door. I think he learned his lesson! We are so very grateful to have our boy back. He is a senior citizen and will just stay with us for however long he has. He is safe, happy and much loved! These rescues are only possible because of your support. You have Tracker’s and our sincere appreciation! You make a difference! Welcome to your new, happy life Tracker. We love you!