By Pat Maurer
Since August 16th, and possibly even longer than that, Zaria, the Great Dane was stranded on an Island in Cranberry Lake and eluding all efforts to capture her.
Wednesday just before 1 pm she was captured in the trap where food had been placed, hoping to lure her in.
Animal Control Officer Bob Dodson said she was wandering on a marshy, muddy island just off the shore of Cranberry Lake in Hayes Township. The 16th of last month is when he found out about her and began rescue efforts with multiple volunteers to catch her.
At first, she was in bad shape, starving and probably dehydrated, but cornering her on the island, which is about the size of five football fields, was just about impossible. So, with traps baited with food, for the past three weeks Dodson, animal shelter workers and many volunteers have been feeding her 3-4 times daily and working to gain trust with the frightened dog. She gets chicken, chicken livers mixed with vitamins, beef and venison every day,” he said.
Lately, some food was left outside the trap, so she would eat that and not go in, Dodson said. “We are making sure the food left for her is in the cage now.”
He said her condition appears to be much better and she is getting used to the trap. “She has been inside, but the trap didn’t trigger.”
The process was proving difficult because, like most lost dogs, she was in survival mode and any humans nearby were a threat. He added Wednesday morning, “We have not abandoned her and are not giving up on our efforts to catch her.”
Their efforts were finally successful. A report from the Animal Shelter said she was headed to the Vet for a checkup Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier Dodson said he believed the Great Dane had slipped her collar and swam a canal, ending up on the island, where she has been for well over a month now.
“We almost had her last evening,” Dodson said Wednesday morning, but a raccoon got into the cage/trap and she was afraid of the animal. Eventually,” Dodson added, “the raccoon left.”
He said he has been spending a lot of late nights and days on, or near the island. Wednesday morning he said after watching her until nearly midnight, he was confident she would be rescued soon.
That confidence finally paid off Wednesday afternoon.
Now that she is secured the work will begin to gain her trust again and teach her that she is safe once more.
Dodson said the support the Animal Shelter has received has been “overwhelming.” A nearby resident has opened his home to them and used his boat to ferry them back and forth to the island. Harrison Lumber donated a load of pallets to make a bridge to the island.