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By: Jen J.

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Day 3 Evening - We received a call that Finnegan was spotted in the Gahanna Nature Preserve which is west of the golf course across yet another busy road called Taylor Station Rd.. When we drove to that area we spotted him along the side of this road resting. We panicked. We didn't want to chase him back onto the road. We pulled off into a neighborhood on the other side. When he noticed the car he got up and started walking north along the road away from us. We moved the car out of view so he wouldn't panic and after a few minutes drove back by the spot but didn't see him. We lost him again. We looked around the area where he was and found two breaks in the wire fence between the reserve and Taylor Station Rd. where he must have went back in. We used some of the barricade fencing to seal those breaks up so he wouldn't exit the reserve that way again which would put him right next to the busy road. We split up searching the nature preserve when I stumbled across him again. I held out a hunk of roast beef and talked softly to him, but he was startled by someone else in the preserve, ran off and we lost site of him again. We received another call at around 9 pm from someone in a neighborhood even further west of the nature preserve stating they spotted him. He had no flyers in this area, but it just so happened that friends of theirs who lived back on Oak Hill Rd. were visiting and remembered seeing the sign. We arrived at their house and there was no sign of him. Their backyard is next to the far west end of the nature preserve. We assumed he was back in the preserve and it was dark so we hoped he would sleep there. I borrowed a friend's Cocker Spaniel that Finn had gotten friendly with and we went walking through the preserve in hopes that Finn would want to come see his friend Sherman. But, there was no luck. We put signs up all over that neighborhood and started to worry because he was heading very far west of where he was lost. Before heading home we again setup his crate in the area the dispatch delivery person first saw thinking he may also venture back there to sleep over night and we wanted to keep him from going further west.

Day 4 Noonish - I purchased a large fishing net thinking that if I got close enough to Finnegan again I might be able to throw the net over him and tangle him up since he won't come to me and is too quick to catch or laso a leash around. I walked through the preserve praying to see him but never did. We had no calls from Finnegan spotters all morning. We finally got a call that he was back around the area where we left his crate. Once we arrived we saw him sleeping on a small pedestrain bridge. He looked adorable and peaceful as if he were posing for a picture. He was about 5 feet from his crate. Dan drove around to the other side of the neighborhood with the net to try to trap him on the bridge while I attempted to approach him slowly. I think this plan would have worked but we had interference from someone in the neighborhood and he side stepped us. We followed him back to the golf course and lost him. After 3 days of running he is still very quick. He seemed to know how to conserve his energy because when we spotted him from a distance he would be resting or slowly walking but as soon as we got near him he would bolt.

Day 4 Late Evening - We received a call that Finnegan had been hanging out at a farm house north of the busy Havens Corner Rd. We had no idea he had been back over in that area until we got this call. The person said Finnegan was laying in his yard watching him cut the grass. He also said he was eating some of his dog's food periodically and he had been over there several times in the past couple of days. The person said everytime they would try to approach him he would run away. Shortly thereafter, we then got another call that he was back across Havens Corner Rd. in the Wind Rush Division again, the same area we left his crate. We setup a home made cage trap next to his crate. While we were setting it up we spotted Finnegan. He seemed more curious about what we were doing than scared and didn't immediately run this time. We didn't have the net with us this time. We got back in the car and sat there. He came within 20 feet of the car and lay down in the grass. We moved the car about 20 more feet away from him and he followed us. We then opened the door and softly called his name and squeaked his favorite toy. He was curious but in no way came very close to the car. We moved the car further away from him and he followed but would not get close to it. I got out of the car and tried to approach him. He cautiously stayed about 20 feet away. I then walked over to the crate and trap and he followed me.. He smelled the food in the trap and after much hesitation entered. I was about 15 feet away. He triggered the door but it bumped on his back and he backed right out of the trap as I lunged toward it to keep him in. He was too quick and slid out of my hands and proceeded to run about 30 feet away, stop, and then turn around and let out 4 loud barks. He then slowly walked out of sight. At this point it was about 3 am so we decided to just reset the cage trap and hope for the best overnight.

Day 5 Morning – Upon returning to the site there was no sign that he attempted to re-enter the cage trap to eat the food we left him.However, we now knew where his "home base" was so we persuaded the animal control person to come out and set a live trap for us. They wouldn't do this for us earlier because he kept being spotted in different areas which were miles apart. However, I believe that our persistence paid off. At about 10:30 am the same person that came out with the dog catching "loop" brought out a large wire cage that was about 5 feet long and had a pad that would trigger the door to close when Finn stepped on it.. We put some really good roast beef in the back of the trap, took our home made trap away thinking that Finnegan would never again enter it after what happened the previous night, and we left the area and heard nothing until about 1 pm when we got a truly amazing call. My parents drove by the trap and Finnegan was inside! We actually recovered him after 4 lucky days of running, swimming, hiding, major street crossing and dodging people trying to help him. We took him straight to the groomers where he was looked at by a vet, bathed and de-burred. The vet stated that he must have some cat in him for surviving this ordeal. He is now safe and sound again at my home. We are so lucky!

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