Petfinder Featured Pet

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bring Hanah Home: Dog Missing after Joplin Tornado

A message meant for me was on a sticky note at work today.  I was immediately saddened when I read the words.

"Lost her dog in Joplin tornado and was told to contact us for possible insight on how to locate her dog."  A phone number followed.

I hesitated to pick up the phone, not sure how I could help someone 400 miles away after such a catastrophic event.

There was no name on the sticky note, so I called the number and announced who I was.  The woman introduced herself, and told me her dog was missing from the aftermath of the deadly May 22nd tornado in Joplin, Missouri.  This EF-5 tornado was the 8th deadliest tornado in U.S. history, the deadliest tornado in the past sixty years.

The family had already checked local shelters, and posted fliers.  I asked if Hanah had been microchipped.  She had not been microchipped.  I hated to ask such a negative question, but I wondered about whether her dog even survived the massive tornado.  How could she be certain that her dog did survive such a horrific ordeal?   She was given a photo of Hanah taken after the tornado, alive. Hanah looks stunned, and possibly injured, but she looks pretty good for a survivor of such a tragedy.

"The picture was taken at the location of 4224 E. 26th street in Duquesne, behind CFI/Conway trucking. The people who lives there had livestock. She was carried to the side of the house. When the sirens went off in Joplin the second night after the storm, the people left there house and she ran in some bushes. They called the humane society, when they got back she was gone. But she has NOT been seen at the shelter (if you go-LOOK FOR HER ALSO). The neighbors at a house 2 doors down and they said she was seen Saturday in the yard and yet again no one helped her!! There is a reward for her. Anybody with info can call Kari 417-529-8088 OR call Duquesne police as they are aware of the situation!!! PLEASE HELP BRING HANAH HOME!!!"

This is what is left of Hanah's home...

Hanah's Mom's main concern was the possibility that rescues from several other states ranging from Minnesota to Texas had come in to assist Missouri and rescued animals that were displaced following the tornado.  Unfortunately, there is no record of which rescue groups came in and which animals went where.  Joplin Humane Society is posting photographs of the animals they currently have on their website:

Dogs and cats that are both Found and still Lost, are being listed here:
Humane Society of Southwest Missouri is taking in dogs from the Joplin Shelter to aid them with the influx of homeless animals the tornodo has created.  You can view their adoptable pets here:

My advice is to:

1. Deliver fliers with photos to police, veterinarians, shelters, rescues, media in all towns potentially involved in the "rescue efforts". 

2. If you are able to,  go to the shelters yourself.  Do not rely on shelter staff to confirm whether your dog is there.  Your description of your dog or the breed of your dog may not be interpreted well over the phone by a stranger.

3. Comb , using the zip codes of all the towns listed as possible groups who had entered Joplin offering help. Petfinder does offer search options within different radii of your location, IE 50 miles, 100 miles, All.  I recommended she choose the "all" option.

4. Search for Hanah by varying the breed in the search parameters online and via telephone or other communications.  Hanah is an American Bulldog.  Even on the poster above, it appears as though she is listed as a Bulldog, with the word American written in small print in the corner.  She looks more like a Dogo Argentino to me, especially considering her massive size, but other people may consider her a Pit Bull, Am Staff, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull, American Bulldog, Bulldog, Dogo Argentino, Boxer, Great Dane, Lab mix, etc.  Interpretation of breed can vary greatly among "experts". 

5. Check breed specific rescues.  Often multi-breed rescues will send purebred dogs to breed specific rescues, freeing up a cage for another animal in need.  Again, Hanah's breed could be misidentified.  So check different breed rescues.

6. If spotted in the area, post signs, use live traps, make everyone aware of her face and your contact information.  IF you are going to put food down, make sure you place it in the same place. Also remember, if food is placed, and the enticement to go into a live trap is food, you may be keeping her alive, but hindering her capture. 

7. Remember, that after weight loss and dehydration, an animal looks much different than she does in her healthy happy days lounging on the couch.  Everything about her may look different, her face shape, body shape.  Look at her identifiable markings, ie eyes, and outline of her nose pigment to help identify her in photos and in real life.   This is another good reason to go identify an animal yourself if a shelter believes they may have Hanah.  My husband could not recognize our cat after catching her in a live trap after she was missing for almost two months.

8. In my experience with Hurricane Katrina, after surviving out on their own, animals turn almost feral with survival instinct.  She will likely resist capture.  Once she is caught, and fed, her old personality should come beaming through.

9. Check Craigslist Pet listings, and Petfinder Classifieds as well.  Remember your local paper Found Pets Classifieds.  List her here as lost with photos if possible.

10.  Wildlife cameras may capture evening movement, and help monitor areas where people are no longer residing.

11. Here is a story of a man who placed a tent at the site of his destroyed home following a Massachusetts tornado and awaited each cat's return.  All seven of his cats returned safely within five days.  Camping via tent or camper at the site following the event, if safe, will give the pet an opportunity to return "home".

If you live in the U.S, from Canada down to Texas, please check your local petfinder listings from home.  Her eyes and the outline of her pigmented nose are very distinctive characteristics that anyone can use to help identify her in photos.  She is just gorgeous.  See if you can find this beautiful girl and reunite her with her family. 

Here are some photographs and information from the Facebook page "Bring Hanah Home"

Desperately seeking a 5yr old 110# American Bulldog, white in color,2 different eye colors, may have red rash on rt underbelly. Missing from 4915 E27th st. Please call 1-417-529-8088 or 1-843-399-2199.

Hanah has been seen 2 times since the tornado hit. Once on E 26th street in Duquesne. Hanah lived on 27th st. before the tornado. There is no house there anymore but we think that's why she may be hanging around that neighborhood."

"A VERY generous donor has just called and INCREASED THE REWARD! We are determined to BRING HANAH HOME! We'll have a big ole' check printed up for the fabulous soul who brings our gal home. If she is found at a shelter, rescue or other organization we will donate the funds to them in Hanah's name. We are overwhelmed at the generosity expressed and the love for our Hanah. ♥"

I thought about sharing photos of the devastation created by this tornado to show you how desperate circumstances are after such a massive tornado.  I thought about sharing a video of the devastation caused by this tornado.  But I do not want people focusing on the photos of wrecked houses.  I want people to focus on Hanah's face.  I want you to look at this dog without distraction.  I hope you will note the small things that will help identify her... the freckle beneath her left eye, the fact that her eyes are two different colors, the identifying shape of the pigment of her nose.  These are the details that will reunite Hanah with her family.

Here is a video about Hanah:

Please share this blog.  Spread the word.  Post it on facebook.  Send it by email.  Check your local for a dog matching her description, regardless of where you live.

Hanah's family huddled together during the storm.   Hanah was torn from their arms by the devastating winds.  The photo of Hanah sitting on the rubble was given to the family after the tornado, proof that she survived, and the search began. 

To know that your dog survived a tornado, and still not be able to hold her must be absolutely heartbreaking.  Hanah wanted to go home, but her home is no longer there.  Her neighborhood is no longer there.  Hopefully she is in the care of a good Samaritan.  The more that Hanah's photos and story are shared, the more likely the person who has Hanah will see it and be able to bring her home.  Please, help Hanah find her way home by sharing her story with as many people as you can.

What if it is your SHARE button that brings Hanah home?  

Become a fan of our Veterinary Rescuer Blog page on Facebook here:!/pages/Veterinary-Rescuer-Blog/133173784037 .

You are invited to share a link of the blog on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter.

If you would like to receive this blog into your email inbox each time it is published, go to , and enter your name into the subscribe box on the upper right side of the page. The blog will send you a confirmation email. Reply as instructed in the email to confirm your subscription. This is a required step. You will then receive the blog as it is published. You will not get junk mail as a result of subscribing!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing heart breaks for this family...I am heartened however by all of the people from all over the country that have come together to Bring Hanah Home..

Sara said...

I live 60 miles south of Joplin. We (Fellowship Bible Church) went to Joplin on the Wednesday after the tornado to work. We saw very few animal in the wreakage. I believe they were scared to come out. I will repost and put a flier up at work since we still have teams going weekly. Will pray that this sweet family will be reunited soon.
Ps I am a former Iowan

Mary A. Dempsey said...

That is soooo heartbreaking!! I'd be out there searching day and night leaving no stone unturned. I hope Hanna makes it home to her family!!

Beth Ann Corr said...

This is GREAT!

Mynette Cornelius Carlson said...

I have shared this on my wall.

Megan McLaughlin said...

Please! PLEASE keep looking... She is out there and she misses her family.

Marguerite McGrath said...

shared this and someone else shared it from my profile.

Anonymous said...

Reposting in Oklahoma City, hoping people in that area on my Friend's list may spot breaks my heart that the people who saw here didn't try to take her to a shelter or call for help for her. Some people don't appreciate animals, but at least they got her picture, so you do have evidence. A couple of questions: Is it safe for you to camp out at your house's location in case she comes back? Or perhaps get a humane trap for large animals with food in it so you can catch her if she's coming back under cover of darkness to her "home"? I realize it might traumatize her til you got there to remove her from it, but it would be worth it in the end. Just some thoughts to ponder. God be with you in your search. Please keep us posted!

Diane said...

Thank you so much for sharing Hanah's story. I live in the Capital District area of NY state. I have been following, sharing, going over hundreds of photos,etc... since I heard her story the first time. It is so heartbreaking knowing that she is out there someplace, but her family doesn't seem to be getting any closer. I am so hoping that they will be reunited very soon !

Anonymous said...

Hi - I am definitely glad to discover this. cool job!

Anonymous said...

I have published on my wall..praying that Hanah finds her heartbreaking...

Anonymous said...

I'm praying for Hanah in the state of GA.--- Far away, but still wishing and praying for her safe and happy return. It's unfortunate that she was spotted, yet no one tried to help her. I find that difficult to understand.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous from Oklahoma city..
yup, The family has camped out multiple times , put out cages, fliers, walked on foot, contacted vets, shelters, all kind of companies etc.I believe they just recently got what they are calling "Hanahcam" up and running.. i think it is some sort of camera for animal gaming that takes pictures if there are movements. (hoping hanah walks by) Im a fan of the Bring Hanah Home facebook page and we have all shared to as many pages and news channels..emailed rescues.. etc as we can and are still sending more everyday. and are also checked everyday too . We all can't wait till she gets back to her family :) The most important thing people can do is GET THE WORD out and pass out fliers to as many places as possible. Even if you are in another state! <3 COME HOME HANAH!!!!!!

Erich said...

As important as microchipping the pet, is the registration of the microchip.

According to the only study I have seen, by the AVMA, up to 1/2 of pets in shelters with microchips werre not returned home due to wrong or missing microcchip regitsration.

Why the US is the only country in which implanting the chip and registering the chip are two different procedures should be a scandal.

Easy to check here:

Any shelter or rescue who wants to provide low cost microchips to the public:

Anonymous said...

shes lying about the pictures and other information. Its obvious the dog in the pictures isnt 110 pounds. Hanah was obese, the dog in the pictures isnt.

Anonymous said...

There is a white bull dog that appears to be lost on the geekfest forum from Eureka Springs.