Missing basset hound leads to desperate search effort in southeast Olympia

Pat Albright said she will never stop searching for her lost basset hound, Max, who went missing nearly six weeks ago.

Max escaped from Albright’s Lacey home near 45th Avenue SE and Ruddell Road SE. Several witnesses have recently spotted the 11-year-old dog about 3 miles away in southeast Olympia, but capturing the dog is another story.

A passerby saw Max late Thursday along Yelm Highway SE near the Boulevard Road SE roundabout. Albright and a small search party subsequently combed the surrounding area, but to no avail.

“We’re just desperate to save the little guy,” Albright said. “I want to catch him before he dies.”

A Facebook page has been set up to help find Max. The Albrights have sought help from canine trackers, and even posted ads about their lost dog. Several residents also have lent hands.

“People have searched for him like he was their own dog,” she said. “We think somebody had him or was feeding him for a while.”

Albright and her husband, Don, adopted Max from a rescue organization about 10 years ago. At the time, Max came from a neglected home and was afraid of people, she said. On two occasions since their dog went missing, the Albrights have come within several feet of Max. However, the dog panicked and ran away.

This is a common situation with lost dogs, said Vivian Dahlin, co-owner of Operation Dog Rescue. The rescue organization has set up a live trap as well as a game-tracking camera and feeding station in a southeast Olympia neighborhood where Max had been seen.

“The longer the dog is separated from its family or humans in general, the more likely it is going to revert to survival mode,” said Dahlin, noting that these survival instincts can take over after a dog is lost for only a few days. “The majority of them have the same reaction when they’re lost.”

Dahlin said there is always hope for recovery. To cite an example, Dahlin recalled an Australian shepherd that had disappeared for eight months, then turned up 6 miles away from where he went missing.

“The good thing is once the dog has been captured and is safely off the street and back in its home, within moments it reverts back to the same dog,” Dahlin said. “It’s perplexing.”

Anyone who comes across Max should avoid chasing the dog, and instead take a photo and contact the Albrights, Dahlin said. She also recommends outfitting dogs with a GPS collar, which allows owners to track their pets’ whereabouts with a smartphone app.