Titus Search Blog
Here are all of the entries that I made when Titus was lost, from beginning to end.
Lost April 1, 2011
Overview – April 1, 2011
Titus is an 8 ½ year old Rhodesian Ridgeback who was owned by DJ Rodrian. He was 90 lbs with brown eyes and brown hair.
On April 1, he escaped from a dog-sitter at 51st & Hampton in the City of Milwaukee. That same day, Titus was seen near his old house at 94th & Burleigh which is 5 miles away. Titus lived at that location for over 7 years before moving to Lisbon, WI in the summer of 2010. He actually barked in front of the very house, and lay down on the front porch. One neighbor described “howling”. But it was the middle of the night and eventually he wandered away.
Titus is operating in a substantial area bounded by Watertown Plank on the South, Highway 100 on the West, Mill Road on the North, and 92nd Street on the East. This is a large area, and he seems to prefer the Oak Leaf Trail / Hampton / Silver Spring area.
Titus is an athletic and capable animal who was able to cross streets and wander both yards and natural areas. He regularly runs 5+ miles without getting tired and DJ and Titus have run in the forest over 1,000 times together.
How We Hope to Catch Titus: We have 2 traps out where Titus is roaming. These are long cages with a trap door that closes behind the animal that goes into the cage to get food. I am also in agreement with some expert advice that I have been getting, that Titus is most likely to be recovered by someone calling DJ directly, immediately, after seeing Titus. We believe his home range is 92nd Street to Hwy 100, North Avenue to Good Hope. We need to have the phone call “I have eyes on Titus”, which requires that each and every home and business in Titus’ wandering area get a flyer and keep it handy. Because Titus is constantly moving and seems to be very clever in lying low, it is almost impossible to just drive around and “spot him”. So many have been trying this approach, including me, without results. He is elusive, and we need to pace ourselves. I truly believe that 1) either he will just “show up” somewhere and turn himself in; or more likely 2) someone with a flyer will see him, call DJ, and then keep eyes on Titus long enough for me to come and get him; or 3) he will be caught in a trap. Flyers are truly the key, and we have an unlimited supply available at Rodrian Insurance, 4120 N Calhoun Rd, Brookfield, WI. Just call Marilyn at 262-781-4750 and she will get you set up with large or small flyers.
I appreciate all of the encourage and nice e-mails that are basically saying, “keep going!”, and “don’t give up!” and “keep the faith!”. I need your energy. At the same time I hope each person who has invested (time, energy, thought, and resources), is able maintain a sense of peace and patience. Looking and waiting can be frustrating. The hard part is keeping a good attitude. That takes faith – which is why this could be called a “test of faith”. The questions that I keep going back to: “Is God willing and able to take care of Titus?” and “Am I willing to accept the time, place, and final result of this test?”
One last thing, for people who ask, “what should I do if I find him?” I wish I knew, he seems to run away before anyone can get within 30 feet of him. Thank you to Karen who e-mailed this page of tips: http://www.lostdogsearch.com/spotthedog.htm.
DESCRIPTION OF LAST QUALITY SIGHTING, WED APR 20, 7:30 PM: Titus was spotted by a faithful volunteer named Laurie who was out with her family specifically looking for Titus – he was spotted just west of Parkview Elementary School on 108th & Villard on the Oak Leaf Trail near a bridge, around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. Laurie was well prepared with a cell phone, my cell number 414-322-1301, a small leash, and liver treats. First he was sighted by some kids playing near the school, who asked her “are you looking for a dog? He went that way (west along the concrete trail).” Shortly thereafter, Laurie’s party saw Titus himself standing still near a bridge – he was unmistakable. They called his name, and he paused, and cocked his head at them to size them up. Then he trotted off into the thick woods to the north. I arrived about 15 minutes later, and I ran all the way to Silver Spring, through the deepest woods, calling his name over and over, until it got dark.
I want to personally thank each person who cares about Titus, for everything you have done. I have seen a huge effort put forth by friends, neighbors, co-workers, and complete strangers. There are hundreds of you out there, who have ADOPTED Titus, and I couldn’t be more humbled and grateful! As I deal with the pain and grief associated with this, I feel myself loosening my grip on Titus in terms of ownership. I am SHARING his ownership at this point – Titus has 3 owners: 1) me; 2) the community (you) of people who have chosen to care about him; and 3) God. While I have enjoyed having Titus to myself for 8 ½ years, now I have no choice but to trust that God can feed and shelter him. God oversees the care and feeding of the entire planet each day, I think he find room for Titus!
The weather has been brutal, but spring is coming. Spring is Titus’ favorite time of year. He loves the sights and smells and he grazes like a deer on the fresh greenery. For anyone out there crying, looking, and worrying (like me), I encourage you to pace yourself, enjoy the beauty of creation, and consider that God is in control of whatever happens. There are so many prayers going up for Titus, I have to believe all of this is going to have happy ending, but just like Jesus prayed, “not my will, but yours be done”. What a timely message at Easter.
We found a racoon in one of the cages. He was sleeping peacefully in the cage, unharmed. Here is a picture:
· Titus is going north. He is on familiar ground, as he and I have covered all of this area on our runs. The weekend’s flyer blitz will focus between Hampton and Silver Spring on Saturday.
· The apartment buildings on the east side of Highway 100, between Hampton and Silver Spring – this might be where Titus is finding food and shelter, there are dumpsters, piles of litter, and GRILLS located at the rear of these buildings, which butt up against the natural areas along the Oak Leaf Trail where he was sighted. There are hundreds of apartment units concentrated here in a small area. Titus could be living a pretty nice life running the trail, and raiding these apartments from the west. We will get flyers in all these apartments over the weekend.
· How does Titus cross Hampton? The Oak Leaf Trail goes under Hampton next to the river. How does Titus cross Highway 100? The Oak Leaf Trail goes under Highway 100 just north of Hampton. Titus can run the whole parkway from the Currie Dog Park all the way to Silver Spring, without crossing a single street!
· Could Titus be retracing his steps from Titus & DJ’s May 2010 Menomonee River Charity Trail Run for Jobs & Jesus? This run was from Mill Pond Park in Menomonee Falls, to Hoyt Park in Tosa – 16+ miles. If Titus hooks up with the Menomonee River going north from Silver Spring/Mill Road, he would know his way northwest to downtown Menomonee Falls, which also points him towards his new home in Lisbon, WI.
I had a nice conversation this afternoon with a real dog expert from MADACC, who has been working the northwest side of Milwaukee for years. This fellow also has 30+ years experience trapping dogs. He gave me some good advice about my traps (which have been ineffective for almost 48 hours), and I have updated both traps and changed the way they are set up in terms of bait (he said use a McDonald’s double cheeseburger for bait!)
Here is a picture of a dog trap:
If you see a trap, unless you hear a dog barking, it would be best to leave it alone. We are checking regularly.
I am starting to look at this as a marathon rather than a sprint. We have searched intensively for 2 weeks. Titus has not been spotted by people driving around – he has revealed himself through his travels in neighborhoods, going from point A to point B. He is completely free, and there is no limit to how clever he might be in staying out of sight. He is as smart as it gets. When the weather gets nice, he will be sighted, when he is sighted, we hope that it is someone with a flyer who knows what to do. My prayer for everyone involved, is for patience and also for peace. Titus is like a small deer. He stands like one; he runs like one, he even has the same type of coat and color. We don’t worry about what happens to the deer when it rains, in fact, we know that the LORD is watching over them in the wild. God himself is looking after Titus, that’s the way I see it. Thank you for praying for Titus.
Friday night’s (April 22) sightings around 98th & Grantosa were probably false sightings. There was another dog named DAKOTA who is a chocolate lab, also loose in that very area where she lives. Dakota has now been found at MADACC on Saturday, so she is no longer loose – I am so happy for her owner! I followed up with the witness, and one of them really agrees it was probably a chocolate lab she saw. On the other hand, the witness from 93rd & Capitol, really felt she saw a TALL dog which would have to be Titus. He is quite tall. So I don’t know.
Tuesday morning, April 26: Happy rainy Tuesday! Just kidding…I’m not feeling too happy because we haven’t had a REAL sighting in 5 ½ days. Last night we spent about an hour pursuing a lead near Madison Elementary, only to find out the witness had seen and chased “a Husky”. It isn’t unusual to get information 3rd or 4th hand (i.e. “my Facebook friend’s neighbor’s son might have seen him a week ago”). But I love to talk personally to anyone who might have seen Titus, so we will keep poking around. Here is the latest thought pattern:
· We had come to believe that Titus was migrating somewhat north. He clearly seems to be north of Capitol with the sightings at Pinelawn Cemetary and Madison Elementary.
· Then he was seen on the Oak Leaf Trail between Hampton and Silver Spring. Further north.
· Now, some of the more interesting leads I am pursuing are 1) a cop might have seen him north of the JC Penny Outlet store on Silver Spring; and 2) a lady and her neighbor who live around 114th & Florist, feel that Titus is in the area.
· We basically have no idea where he is. Advantage: Dog.
· Check out the updated Google Sighting Map link at the top of this page, I put the latest sighting in RED, the old sightings in BLUE, and the possible sightings in YELLOW.
One last thing: the e-mails, cards, letters, and thoughtful gifts just keep coming in. To everyone who has expressed condolences for my loss: THANK YOU. I am amazed by all of you who have been SO nice.
DJ’s Original Posting About Titus’ Passing (4/26/2011):
I am devastated to report that Titus has died and gone to heaven. I received a phone call on Tuesday afternoon from someone who found him near the railroad tracks behind Best Buy. I went and found him immediately. I don’t think he suffered. He had on both collars, including the black one with my cell phone number on it. I wailed and cried for 30 minutes while my family rushed to my side. It was raining. Titus was a great dog, and I never got to say a proper good-bye. I would give anything to hug him one more time. This whole thing is just really sad, and I am sorry that I have to share this result with all the new friends and supporters who have been so helpful over the past 26 days.
I slept at Camp Titus last night. I’m glad I did. It was rainy and windy and 40 degrees (just like every night I stayed there), but I was less than 2 miles from Titus. He fought a good fight, and so did each and every one of YOU, all of the people who looked, and cared, and prayed. No one could have done anything more, we all tried our best, and for that I will always be thankful.
A few times I thought to myself, “there has to be some kind of good that comes out of this”. Here is the good that I see: the world is full of nice people who care about others, including a stranger and his lost dog. Our community is kind, and helpful, and generous. Milwaukee is a wonderful and beautiful place to live. So many have offered prayers and encouragement. The good LORD decided not to keep us in suspense any longer, he must have needed a good running dog up in heaven. It is likely that Titus died on Good Friday, or perhaps Easter Sunday.
I will miss my buddy. He was the best dog ever. He never left me during hundreds of trail runs. He was loyal, faithful, fun, enthusiastic, and full of life. All he ever wanted to do, was be with me. Thank you Lord for Titus.
D. J. Rodrian
P.S. I will keep updating this page for a while, especially to post any e-mails that I get going forward.
TITUS RODRIAN – REST IN PEACE
November 2002 – April 26, 2011
Here is the timeline and action plan, that I updated all along the way, concluding with Titus’ death.
Titus Timeline Action Plan
Friday, April 1, 2011 – Titus escapes a 1st floor window from a home at 51st & Hampton, in the morning.
Friday, April 1, 2011 – Milwaukee Fire Dept spots Titus at 60th & Capitol. Later the same day, Titus is spotted 5 miles away at the intersection of Hwy 100 & Burleigh. He ran east on Burleigh, and then south down the Menomonee River Parkway, where he lost his trackers around Center Street. His collar and tags were ON.
Saturday Early Morning, April 2, 2011 – Titus was barking in the early morning hours at his hold house on 94th & Burleigh. He was ignored and he left the area.
Saturday, 9:30 a.m., April 2, 2011 – Titus met a woman near the Hansen Park Golf course, in a park area known as Wil-O-Way parkway.
Saturday, 2:00 p.m., April 2, 2011 – Titus is spotted in the Kmart / Medical Clinic parking area on the NW corner of Hwy 100 and Burleigh. He went south and was lost.
Monday, April 4, 2011 – Titus is spotted at the southern entrance of Blue Mound Country Club just west of Mayfair Mall. He ran away, possibly into the CC.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 – Spotted by MPD at 70th & Capitol, causing speculation he may be heading back to his original escape point of 51st & Hampton.
Tues & Wed, April 5-6 – DJ sleeps in tent at 94th St house in case he came home. No luck, but it was raining.
Friday, April 8, 2011 – Neighbors are confident that Titus visited 94th Street around 1:00 a.m. DJ came and slept in the tent the rest of the night.
Friday, April 8, 2011 – Titus spotted at Burleigh & Menomonee River Parkway.
Monday, April 11, 2011 – Titus might have been sighted in the late afternoon at Currie Dog Park. This report is unconfirmed.
Approx Monday, April 11, 2011 – Titus has face-to-face encounter with female homeowner on Parkside & Glendale, very near Highway 100 north of Pinelawn Cemetery. He is scared and he runs away.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 – Titus is seen running in Pinelawn Cemetery which is located at Hwy 100 and Capitol. He was running along the north side. This was at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 14, 2011 – A young man reported to Camp Titus, that his mother and brother had spotted Titus on 96th & Concordia which is only 4 blocks from ground zero.
Friday, April 15, 2011 – Titus makes one of his regular stops at the Madison Elementary School playground, 100th & Glendale, where he is observed by many students who have seen him all week long. Approximately this same day, Titus is seen 2X in the neighborhood north of Pinelawn Cemetary.
Saturday/Sunday, April 16-17, 2011 – Titus is spotted once on Saturday night and again on Sunday morning, near the Currie Dog park.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 – Titus is spotted around 108th & Villard on the Oak Leaf Trail, at 7:30 p.m. This is near Parkview Elementary School.
Friday, April 22, 2011 – Titus is spotted multiple times in the area between Capitol and Grantosa, around 93rd-98th Streets. This report may be false, it might have been the lost chocolate lab DAKOTA, who was found
Saturday, April 23, 2011 – Titus reported seen by a homeowner near 106th & Lawn.
Sunday, April 24, 2011 – Third-hand report of a possible sighting at 95th & Auer at 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 – DJ receives telephone tip, and finds Titus deceased behind Mayfair Best Buy, near the railroad tracks.
Flyers can be picked up at Rodrian Insurance, 4120 N Calhoun Rd, Brookfield, WI 53005 – call ahead to Marilyn at 262-781-4750.
** Current focus is door to door and we have gone all the way north to Silver Spring, staying between 92nd Street and Highway 100. Also windshield flyers at businesses near the sighting points. **
· Retail & Strip Mall. The large flyers can be given to business owners and managers. The small flyers can be placed under windshield wipers in parking lots. Current needs include Mayfair Mall, K-Mart, Capitol Court, and particularly businesses near 94th & Burleigh.
· Major intersections. Waterproof large flyers can be taped up at major intersections including bus stops and shelters. Current needs include the Mayfair Mall / Hwy 100 area, going east down Burleigh and Capitol Drive all the way to 60th St.
· Door to Door. Neighborhood by neighborhood, every house should get a small flyer. This can be done by taping small flyers to front doors. Much ground has been covered, but there is more to do.
Call or Visit Shelters / Vets / Humane Societies
· We have contacted the Milwaukee Humane Society, HAWS (Waukesha Cty), Elmbrook, and MADACC.
· DJ personally visited MADACC where all captured dogs go, from all of Milwaukee County. Last visit Thursday April 14.
· Calls have been made to vets and emergency animal care places.
Police Departments & Relations
· We have visited 3 precincts of the MPD with flyers. Another volunteer is visiting more.
· Wauwatosa PD, Brookfield, and Menomonee Falls have been notified.
· We still need to call other departments.
Internet & Social Marketing
· Send a link to this page www.godsinsomniac.com to anyone you know in the area.
· Join the Facebook Cause “Find Lost Dog Titus” – www.causes.com (search cause lost dog titus)
· Check back to this site often for updates.
April 28, 2011
I am honored that the Journal Sentinel picked up the Titus story as a celebration of the kindness of strangers – please see the Friday April 29 Journal Article about Titus.
I have posted most of the HUGE amount of e-mails that I have gotten over the past 3 days, expressing support and regrets for the loss of Titus. Just scroll down the page. These comments are awesome, I hope they bring you the same comfort that they have brought me. Please note, I will keep updating every couple of days with anything “new and exciting”, including more of the e-mails that are coming in. Thanks again to everyone and think happy thoughts! DJR
May 2, 2011
May 3, 2011
May 5, 2011
Now that life is going back to “normal”, I don’t think about Titus as much because I’m distracted with work and the responsbilities of life. But whenever I want, I can close my eyes and sit back and think about my good friend Titus. I remember what it felt like to pet his head and face, how much he liked to be hugged, how warm he always seemed to be, and the way that he would lay as close to me as possible, with his chin on my leg. I can see him running on the trails with an unlimited tank of energy. It still seems real in my head because I can picture it so well. I just I could experience all of those things one more time.
I just think about how amazingly “tuned in” Titus was to everything happening around him. When I talked to him, he would stare directly into my eyes. He was a dedicated friend and listener, and he made a big impression on everyone he met. To know him was to love him.
The picture below was taken after a long training run last May, when we were training for our charity run down the river. He was so tired, yet here you see a dog that is as happy as he could possibly be.
SAVE THE DATE – MORNING / AFTERNOON -- SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2011 (day before Father’s Day).
For people still following this story, who might be looking for some closure and a grand finale – I am planning SOMETHING BIG for Saturday, June 18! We’re calling it the “Titus Trail Relay for Charity”. Here is what I know so far:
· It will involve another 16+ mile run/walk down the Menomonee River from Mill Pond Park in the Falls, to Hoyt Park in Wauwatosa.
· Since I no longer have a dog, I am going to invite participants to join me with THEIR DOG(S) to keep me company.
· I am dividing the route into 10 unique sections to form a type of “relay”, with a group, couple, or individual run/walking each leg with me.
· Each team will be able to raise money online through their custom team website provided, and 50% will go to The Milwaukee Outreach Center (TMOC), and 50% to that group’s “featured charity”.
· We are going to have a party at the end to celebrate Titus, great causes, the parkway, and the community!
This is how it is meant to end. Something good coming out of something tragic. If you think it sounds interesting to spend a Saturday participating in something TOTALLY UNIQUE, and you want to raise some money for YOUR favorite charity, church, school, or non-profit, start praying about coming on board and doing this with me! I look forward to the company, and the adventure. Right now I’m kind of scared, because I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m making all this up as I go along. But that’s how I put it together last year, and we raised over $5,000. (A number of people have already donated to TMOC, and their donations will be credited towards this event…so we have already taken in around $1,000 J.)
By the end of this weekend, I will have the details ironed out, and there will be a special new event website to tell you all about it. The main site and team pages will have pictures, videos, audio recordings, and all kinds of fun information that should be really cool. So please stay tuned, save the date, and let’s all say goodbye to Titus with a bang!
DJ’s Update as of Monday, April 2, 2012. ONE YEAR LATER.
It was one year ago that Titus got loose in the City of Milwaukee on April 1, 2011. What a crazy time it was, with so many friends, family, and concerned citizens involved in his search and rescue. Twenty six days of manic anticipation and excitement! Surely someone was going to find him…until we heard the unfortunate news that he was found deceased on April 26.
“I can’t stop crying about Titus.” I received more e-mails from neighbors and local families that had tried really hard to find Titus. It was so sad when he died. You can still see the comments and outpouring in the e-mails below, all jumbled together with the rest of the stuff I posted throughout those months.
Our sadness was changed to celebration and joy, shared by everyone who participated in the Titus Trail Relay for Charity on June 18, 2011 – as we raised more than $10,000 for various Christian and dog-related charities. The finish line picnic had dozens and dozens of dogs in attendance, and the whole thing was a big kick – all good – just like a dog’s love for his owner, and vice versa.
There are 3 things I wanted to share on this important anniversary:
1. I don’t have a new dog yet – sorry! I have been asked this question probably hundreds of times, and I do look forward to another dog eventually, guaranteed. But I’m still not ready. I’ve been travelling a lot. I’m a little bit afraid of the responsibility, yes, a little scared, that I will lose the next one. I also think so highly of Titus and his memory, that I worry the next dog won’t be as amazing, as special, as loving. In my heart I know this isn’t true, and I know I WILL get a new dog eventually…just not now. Thank you for your patience and understanding. I can’t believe how fresh his memories still are, I can still picture petting him, hugging him, seeing him run through the woods. What wonderful memories.
2. Titus taught me about life, and God, and how it all really works. Not only was he a beautiful animal that only God could create, but I learned about giving and receiving unconditional love, what it means to be adopted, the value of obedience, and perpetual forgiveness. I didn’t love Titus because he was perfect, I loved him in spite of his faults, including his faults, in a state of grace. There was nothing he could do that would cause me to stop caring for him, because he was mine, I adopted him and I simply enjoyed being in relationship and fellowship with him! I delighted in his obedience, and he was energetic to please. The ultimate win-win deal. This is how I loved Titus, and I know that this is how God loves me. Pure and simple – and I am thankful to God that Titus helped me to reflect on these things.
3. SAVE THE DATE – SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 2012 – for another Titus Trail Relay and Finish Line Dog Picnic! The website www.titusrelay.com is back online with limited (and some outdated) information, but in a nutshell, I have reserved the Hoyt Park spot where we had so much fun last year, and 10 participants will (again) be going down the Menomonee River to raise money for their favorite charities. The field is closed until May 1, but I will keep everyone posted via this site, e-mail, and Facebook. Let’s keep the “doggy love” alive for another year and celebrate all things canine once again!
If anyone needs to reach me, feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. I will always be grateful for all of you, and also for our pets living and departed.
D. J. Rodrian
5/8/2012 4:41 PM