Mor’Du bolted his new owner’s home twice in a couple of days, owing to “fear-based trauma” from a hoarding scenario.
Four months may appear to be a reasonable amount of time, but when you’re a dog attempting to survive alone in the Arizona wilderness, it’s far too long.
Mor’Du, an escape artist, managed to survive for weeks in the Tucson area with the support of community people before being apprehended by a committed team of trappers earlier this week. After two escapes in six months and countless miles traveled, the puppy was returned to the Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) on Monday.
Mor’Du is eager for a quieter, privileged life after surviving his escapes and the hoarding scenario that landed him to PACC in the first place.
Carmen Lopez, who formed the Tucson Lost and Found Pets Support Team and spearheaded the months-long search for Mor’Du, says, “It’s very, very essential to me to give them that chance for the life they deserve.”
Mor’Du, who shares his name with the bear villain from the Pixar film Brave, was adopted from PACC this summer, months after being rescued from a hoarding situation. He left his new owner’s house on Aug. 26 and traveled 8 miles back to PACC, indicating that he was still struggling with “fear-based trauma,” according to PACC.
Lopez tells Daily Paws that she thinks he ran away to reconnect with his family—the dogs he’d been living with in the hoarding case. He was reunited with his new owner in early September, but only a few days later he was gone again. Lopez and her team began looking for him at that point.
Her team distributed ads and combed social media for Mor’Du, a German shepherd/chow chow mix who could be a German shepherd/chow chow mix. He was found 3 or 4 miles from where he escaped a month later, according to Lopez, although he likely traveled much further. She assumed he was looking for his family members once more.
She says, “You can tell he’s a very smart dog.”
The longer a dog is gone, the less likely it is that they will be recovered alive. Community members, on the other hand, set up food stations for Mor’Du, thus that’s probably how he stayed alive while eluding capture. When the crew finally got a good look at him, he appeared to be in good shape. And, other from a limp, he appeared to be in good health when he was finally cornered, according to Lopez.
That day arrived on Monday. Just before noon, a well-placed camera got footage of Mor’Du entering a humane trap in the Tucson region. On his first excursion into the cage, the savvy dog manages to avoid setting the trap, but it closes behind him the second time he goes in to explore the bait. (You can see the rescue in action here.)
Lopez and her colleagues kept an eye on him from a neighboring park using a surveillance camera so they could hurry over and aid him before he could flee again. It brought tears to her eyes after she had spent so many days looking for him with teammates Juanito Esquivel and Tanya Gutierrez.
“To me, it’s just happiness,” she explains. “… You don’t sleep at night if you know they’re out fighting nature or fending for themselves.”
(An interesting side note: a camera from Lopez’s team captured photographs of another missing dog, Spot, during the search for Mor’Du.) Two days before they found Mor’Du, they caught him and reconnected him with his family. “They had no idea we were working on trapping him, either, which was incredible,” Lopez adds.)
We are starting the week off with some good news.
Mor’Du A746366 is back at PACC thanks to the volunteer-led Tucson Trapping Team!! They have been working for months to try and get him. Today, they succeeded. pic.twitter.com/5dIPvdCGus
— Pima Animal Care (@PimaAnimalCare) January 24, 2022
Lopez isn’t sure what’s next for Mor’Du, but she thinks living with one of his hoarding family members might be the best option for him. Otherwise, she thinks he will be able to relax and learn to trust humans in a safe setting.
PACC announced Mor’Du’s return on Twitter, advising people to keep a watch on their pets using GPS trackers like AirTags, as well as a collar and ID tags.
Lopez and the Tucson Lost and Found Pets Support Team, which numbers around 60 people, have been at it for approximately seven years and have no intentions to quit. She estimates that she has saved over 400 animals thus far.
“We genuinely want to save as many people as possible.”