Finding Lily, Part 2: How Lily Was Found

Yesterday, we discussed the background of how Lily became lost. Today, we are going to focus on tips and techniques on finding your lost dog based on our experiences on how we found Lily through Community, Prayer, Relentlessness, and Scenting.

(1) Community

Never underestimate the power of a united community. The people of Birmingham are the reason why we have our dog with us today. There are two ways to utilize your community. First, contact all of your family and friends who live in the area. We are extremely blessed to have some amazing people in our lives, because our family and friends hit the streets the moment we called them and they didn’t go home until we found our dog. The key is to have as many people out looking as possible. Second, social media, social media, social media! Social media is an unparalleled community resource. Make a lost dog flyer and post it anywhere you can online. Then beg everyone else to post the flyer anywhere they can. Use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook,, and every lost pet website there is. *The key to posting missing dog flyers on social media is to keep them updated. Any time we had new information about Lily’s location I would create a new flyer so everyone would have live reports on her whereabouts. We have some great community social media accounts like Dogs of Bham, Instagram Bham, Buy Local Alabama, Discover Birmingham, James Spann, and Scott (Reg) Register just to name a few. The people who run these accounts were a catalyst to a social media takeover for our dog-hunt. One person told me that Lily was the most sought after dog in Birmingham, and I believe it! But here’s the amazing thing: people—friends and strangers alike—saw the flyers and actually went out to help us look! They spent hours of their day on foot, in their cars, and on their bikes helping us search. Allan and I would like to thank those people again—from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU.

Lily Flyer

Example of flyer (included contact info and where Lily was last spotted).

(2) Prayer

When you lose something you love you find yourself praying a lot, if you’re a person of faith. We began every day of our search by asking God to give us wisdom on where to look for Lily, and to guide us in the right direction. We asked God to calm our anxious and worried hearts and to keep Lily calm, safe, and alert. I honestly believe that God heard and answered our prayers. When we found Lily she didn’t have a scratch on her. She dodged cars for three rush hours and spent four nights on her own downtown. God knows our hearts and He hears our prayers!

(3) Relentlessness

A very important key to finding your lost dog is relentlessness. It’s physically and mentally exhausting to conduct a several day dog-hunt, but you have to do it. If your dog is lost in the city it isn’t going to just wander back to your building and sit on the sidewalk waiting for you to pop outside and spot it. They’re going to be on the move and you’ve got to go find them. Maybe if you live on a lot of land or in a low-traffic neighborhood, you can rely on your dog’s sense of smell and on flyers to find your pooch, but every minute that your dog is lost in a city is even more dangerous. Allan and I spent every waking moment looking for Lily from Thursday night to Monday morning. Take a vacation day from work if you have to. Take two. Do whatever it takes. Establish a team to help you. You will need to spend all of your time outside so your dog can smell you, see you, and hear you. Ask someone else to be in charge of calling local shelters and vets. Ask another person to be in charge of updating social media. Ask a third person to make copies of your flyers for distribution. You should delegate as many tasks as you can. That will free you up to spend your time out on the street searching. If the sun is up, it’s your responsibility to be looking for your lost dog.

(4) Scenting

Finally, the magic trick: scenting! Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. Once we had a good idea of where Lily was camped out we set up a little hub that we hoped to lure her to. There was a patch of pine straw next to some air conditioner units where she was seen over the weekend. We put one of my unwashed sweatshirts in the pine straw along with a pair of my used socks. Clothing that smells strongly of you is key. We also set out a large bowl of water, but no food. We didn’t want any other animals to be drawn to the food and risk Lily losing control of the territory. Finally, we marked the area with urine. We had our other pup pee all around the area to establish her scent for Lily. Then we sprinkled my husband’s urine all around the area. We also made trails of the urine coming from all directions, leading to the hub we built for her. Yes, we were the ones walking around Southside with the water bottles full of urine. But I would do it again 100 more times if I had to, because it brought Lily home! The next morning as the sun was rising, we drove over to the spot and there she was, sleeping! Right in the spot we built for her! Once she saw us she ran right to us and has been cuddled up next to us ever since.

Lily is found!  This photo was taken right after Sarah and Allan found Lily.

Lily is found! This photo was taken right after Sarah and Allan found Lily.

Lily + Sarah

Lily + Sarah

Finding Lily 4

The process of finding your lost dog is an exhausting one, but it’s so rewarding. Don’t give up and don’t lose hope. Your dog wants to be found and is out there somewhere waiting for you to come get it. All of your hard work will be well worth it once that fur-baby is back in your loving arms!

Tomorrow, we will share the last post in the “Finding Lily” series.

Sarah and Allan Woodall are local artists and animal lovers. You might know Sarah from her series This is Birmingham, a collection of paintings, prints, t-shirts, and gifts featuring pop art paintings of the Birmingham skyline. You might know Allan from his weekly series Spatter Beasts, a collection of monster illustrations created from splattered ink, or from his famous Sloths Furnace t-shirts. You can find their art in their online stores at and


Finding Lily, Part I: The Background

Hello, everyone! Sarah Woodall here. I’ve been asked by the creators of Dogs of Bham to write a guest post on how to find your lost dog in the big city. I’m sad to say that I have firsthand experience in losing a dog in downtown Birmingham. But, it is with tremendous amounts of joy and thankfulness that I can say that I also have firsthand experience in FINDING a lost dog in Birmingham! I would like to share with you fellow dog parents some really great tips and techniques that my husband and I learned during our four-day search for our beautiful Lily.

Meet Lily!

Meet Lily!

Here is the short story of how she became lost: I took her out to potty in the courtyard of our building. Like we always do, I let her off her leash to give her some space. She’s a very loyal and obedient dog, so it’s never been an issue. Foolishly, I forgot to check that the back gate was completely closed. (Ouch!) Lily is an extremely skittish rescue dog who has a hard time trusting anyone she doesn’t know. So when a rambunctious little neighbor puppy came into the courtyard and attempted to engage Lily in some rough housing, she panicked and bolted. It was rush hour and raining and I was obviously panicking. My husband and I, along with some wonderful friends and family members, spent hours searching for Lily that night, to no avail. We searched until midnight or so before finally having to give up for the night. We spent the next three days straight conducting a full on search and rescue mission to find our lost and scared dog.

There were many times that it felt like we were searching for a needle in a haystack, or as my best friend said, it felt like we were tracking a unicorn. But don’t give up hope! Your dog CAN be found and there are tricks to finding them. There are four things to which I attribute to us finding Lily: Community, Prayer, Relentlessness, and Scenting.

Tomorrow, we will dive into these four topics. Stay tuned!

Sarah and Allan Woodall are local artists and animal lovers. You might know Sarah from her series This is Birmingham, a collection of paintings, prints, t-shirts, and gifts featuring pop art paintings of the Birmingham skyline. You might know Allan from his weekly series Spatter Beasts, a collection of monster illustrations created from splattered ink, or from his famous Sloths Furnace t-shirts. You can find their art in their online stores at and

Dog Park Etiquette 

The dog park is a fun place for dogs, and their owners, to mix and mingle.  It’s also a great place for dogs to burn a lot of energy.  However, if not prepared, it can also be a place of unfortunate mishaps.  It is important, as the dog owner, to prep your dog before going to the dog park.

Sidenote:  If you know your dog has nervous or aggressive behavior toward humans or other dogs, find a time to go to the park when there is not a crowd in order to eliminate dangerous situations.  Sometimes, socializing the dog in a dog park will not rid the dog of the nervous/aggressive behavior but worsen it.  For extreme aggressiveness, a professional trainer would be needed to address the behavior.  We must all work together to keep our furbabies safe.

Check out the info graphic below created by Scri(be) Inspired for Angels Among Us Pet Rescue for Dog Park Etiquette Tips.

Yes, we love warm weather (and so do our pups)! 

In Birmingham, the weather has been warming up which means we can enjoy more outside activities with our pups. Check out these outdoor shenanigans our Bham pups are doing…

1. Grabbing a drink or playing fetch at a local brewery.

2. Stopping to smell the flowers.

3. Becoming one with nature and going hiking.

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Ready for more sun and less rainy days.

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4. Basking in the glory of the sun.

5. Playing outside with their favorite balls.

6. Sprucing up the garden. 

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I like leaves 🍃

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Dogs & Blogs

First of all, can we all say ‘Hallelujah’ for a non-rainy day!  It was a beautiful Sunday to meet up with Birmingham dog lovers at Loch Haven Dog Park in Hoover.  It was great to meet everyone and their fur babies outside the Instagram world. We want to thank Birmingham Bloggers for connecting us with this event and CahaBones and Kim Crenshaw for taking part.


CahaBones had a table set up with several of her delicious treats.  Of course, we couldn’t help but purchase several bags for our doggies (especially the Blueberry Coconut).  If y’all don’t know, CahaBones is an all natural, all Alabama ingredient dog treats.  Melissa, who is the wonderful mastermind behind CahaBones, has tons of various spent grain and grain free treats.  Our dogs give both paws up to CahaBones.

The majority of the time was spent with our Q&A session with Kim Crenshaw.  (She even showed a little bit of agility training with her dog Velocity which was super cool)  For some of you that might not know her background, she is a nationally ranked trainer and animal behaviorist with 25 years of experience.  She has national titles in obedience, agility, rally obedience, tracking, canine good citizen, herding, versatile companion dog, and therapy training.  Kim had great advice to give to several of our dog owners.  Here are a few tips from the Q&A session with Kim Crenshaw:

-If you are trying to correct a behavior, use a vocal command combined with the action.  For example, if you’re using bitter apple spray for your dog to keep him/her from nibbling, chewing, licking, or biting, make sure you are using a vocal command and spraying instead of just spraying your dog.

-Your dog’s safety should be your ultimate concern.  It’s okay to remove your dog from a situation you think is unsafe.  For smaller dogs, she even suggested picking him/her up.

-Remember, you are the pack leader of your household not your dog.  If you’re having issues of obedience, you need to reestablish dominance.  You can do this without ‘breaking’ your dog.

If you want more information about dog training or agility courses, here is Kim Crenshaw’s contact information:

We can’t wait for another meet up with our Birmingham dog community!  Thank you for coming out and enjoying the beautiful weather with us.