6-year-old ‘dog whisperer’ rescues dog that no adult could catch

June 19, 2017 3:59 pm Last Updated: October 24, 2017 12:07 pm


After spending 57 days on the run, one of the most elusive dogs that the city of Hollister, California had ever seen was finally caught last December … by a six-year-old.

The saga began in October when the dog, Daisy, was adopted. Daisy had only been in her new home for two days when she ran away from the family’s backyard. Members of a Facebook group for lost and found animals in Hollister tracked the pooch’s whereabouts, but couldn’t catch her.

“She was in fight or flight mode,” said animal rescue expert Deanna Barth.

Posted by Deanna Barth on Monday, December 19, 2016


Barth, owner of the H.A.L.F. Hollister Animal Lost & Found Facebook page, told NBC Bay Area that every time anyone got close to Daisy, she would dart away. They tried using numerous techniques, “cage traps and baiting with smelly food,” but nothing worked. After weeks of unsuccessful rescue attempts, Barth reached out to Daisy’s former foster family.

Barth was aware that Daisy had formed a bond with the family’s six-year-old daughter, Meghan. The wildlife rescue specialist hoped that Meghan could use her special connection with Daisy to bring her to safety and find her a home once and for all.

The six-year-old girl has a very unique gift with dogs. She said she can actually communicate with the animals.

“She told me if Mom stayed in the truck she would come to me, and I believed it,” Meghan said about the dog Daisy.

Posted by Deanna Barth on Monday, December 19, 2016


Meghan told NBC Bay Area that it was Daisy herself who finally told her how to come get her. According to a post in the H.A.L.F. Hollister Animal Lost & Found page, Meghan and her mom, Karen Topping, made two attempts to bring Daisy in, but each time was unsuccessful. They left blankets with their scent on it near the area where Daisy was seen, but the difficult-to-catch dog wouldn’t come close enough to be caught.

On the third attempt, the Toppings discovered Daisy lying in a grassy field. Meghan got out of her mother’s truck, walked to the center of the field, and sat down. There she waited patiently until Daisy slowly recognized her and decided to approach her.

This six-year-old did what no adult could do.

When asked how Meghan was able to form such a trusting connection with Daisy, the six-year-old told KSBW Action News 8, “It’s just basic, play with them. Trust. Love.” It also helps that Meghan and her mom regularly care for foster dogs. In fact during 2016 they fostered 75 dogs, one of them being Daisy.

And that’s not where Daisy’s story stops.

Meghan (L) and her friend Ava (R) play with Daisy in her new home. (KSBW/Screenshot)

After rescuing her, the Toppings wanted to adopt Daisy, but due to “unforeseen circumstances,” they could not adopt her. Fortunately, the dog Meghan rescued will never be too far away, because the girl’s best friend Ava and her grandmother decided to adopt the pooch.

Ava’s grandmother, Susan Dommert Hilden, says the family has plans to train Daisy to become a therapy dog so she and Ava can visit the children at Stanford Children’s Hospital.