Dubai: How far would you go for a missing dog? Well, a lost dog has been reunited with its foster family in Dubai following a massive search operation that lasted three weeks.
The tale of perseverance and community spirit surrounding the search for Aurora involved several volunteers from rescue organisations and animal lovers.
The “lost and found” journey of Aurora, a one-year-old black and blonde desert mix dog, began when she was on a walk with her foster family and got spooked, managing to slip out of her collar and harness on June 25.
“She was still new to our home,” said Auorara’s foster mum Alexandra S who lives with her husband Lennart B in a townhouse in Town Square, Al Qudra.
“Aurora gets scared easily. She ran off that day when she got spooked by some kids on the bike,” she told Gulf News.
Alexandra immediately contacted Animals and Us Fujairah (AAUF), a registered non-profit animal welfare organisation from where the couple had brought Aurora home.
The search group
A search group was formed with participants from various rescue organisations. Neighbours and friends of the German couple joined them to look for Aurora the whole night. As the news of Aurora’s disappearance spread through flyers and social media posts, several concerned pet lovers also joined forces in the coming days to bring her home.
“There were so many people who offered their help. We got a lot of support from Darla. She is an experienced animal welfare worker and has many contacts, which helped a lot,” said Alexandra.
With the help of the members of the rescue team, the couple then compiled a map of all the spots in the nearby areas where Aurora was reportedly sighted, and started circulating it.
They also announced a Dh3,000 reward for the finders, along with the message in the poster: “Do not chase. Immediately call the number.”
Aurora was initially sighted in different areas of Town Square. Later, it became known that she had managed to cross Al Qudra Road as she was spotted in Mira Oasis and Cherrywoods communities across the road as well.
The search group tirelessly combed through neighborhoods, parks, and even desert areas, hoping to catch a glimpse of Aurora.
“We were searching for her literally everywhere, every day and every night. At some point, an Emirati citizen supported us by tracing her paw trail. We identified the desert area behind Cherrywoods as where she could be,” said Alexandra.
Feeding stations, trail cameras
The couple then set up feeding stations and installed trail cameras in the area. Trail cameras are motion-activated cameras that capture photos and videos of anything that moves within their detection range.
After three weeks of sleepless nights and endless searching, the moment of joy finally arrived. Aurora was spotted on the trail camera, confirming that she was still alive and in the vicinity. The feeding station provided some comfort, knowing she was eating and drinking despite her fear of people.
The Herculean task now was to take her back home without scaring her away again. The rescue team decided to bring Aurora’s brother ‘Axel’ from the pet boarding facility Bed & Biscuits (B&B) to see if she would come to him and can be captured then. However, she did not.
“She was too scared of, I guess, the people around. Monique from B & B, together with members of Animals and Us were with him that night. Finally, we made a decision to set up a live trap to catch Aurora safely.”
After a few days of waiting, on the third Sunday night around 10 pm, the trap successfully captured the skittish dog. Against everyone’s anticipation that she would be too nervous, Aurora calmly entered the trap, perhaps sensing that she was finally going to be reunited with her foster family.
“She took it very well. I think she knew it was okay, and she is going to be back.”
New toys, new life
The family, along with their pet dog Roki, eagerly welcomed Aurora back home. A week after she got back home, Alexandra said Aurora has been doing well. “She has got new toys and she is getting better day by day.”
The couple had been fostering her for just a few days before she went missing. After the ordeal they went through together, they have decided to keep her as a permanent member of their family.
Alexandra is in awe of the strength of community bonds and the unwavering dedication of those who advocate the well-being of animals in Dubai. “We got support from so many unknown people. It was just amazing,” she said, thanking everyone who offered help in “Operation Aurora.”