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Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Lost My Dog! What Do I Do?

So it happened. You come home and Fido or Fluffy isn't there. First you run all through the house calling their name, searching the backyard, then the front. No Dog.
What now? Where do you start?
First of all sit down. Take a moment to think about how long you have been gone, all day? A couple hours? Next think of places nearby that maybe you take your dog. Do you go to the park? An open field to run and play? Many times dogs will go to familiar places. Do you walk the neighborhood? Where are some of the places that your dog likes to stop?
Next find a picture of your dog. A picture you can carry with you to ask anyone out and about if they have seen this dog. You will also need a picture for lost posters and Internet postings.
Now if it's been several hours take the few minutes it takes to make up a few lost posters on your computer. Poster Should include the following:
LOST DOG
(picture if available, if not list breed, or size and brief description )
date lost
PHONE NUMBER
One thing to consider is make picture and phone number visible to a passing vehicle.
Now your ready to start looking. check your dog's favorite places to go on walks. Place your posters in high traffic visible areas, intersections of streets, make sure they are facing the direction of travel. Nothing sucks more than having to turn around twice to park and get out to walk and look at a sign that is facing the opposite direction than you were driving.
Ask people. Ask your neighbors, even if you know them or not. Tell them you are putting up flyer and it will have your phone number if they see your dog.
One thing to remember, dogs can travel far and fast. Just today I had a dog reported playing frogger at one intersection and within 15 minutes was a mile and a half away in another intersection. Then he disappeared into the residential. A Couple of years ago, I picked up a little dog that had traveled 5 miles in one day, and had managed to cross 2 major roadways.
You have searched all the familiar places, posted lost signs and still no sign of your dog. What now?
There are many Internet sites that you can post your Lost pet. Keep in mind that not every one has Internet so you will have to go old school with your search too.
Craigslist lost and found is a good place to start. Craigslist also has a pets section so you can and many people do place lost and found ads in both places. I check craigslist several times a day. Love my smartphone! I have successfully re-united lost dogs with owners many times thanks to craigslist.
WARNING!! There are kooks and con-artists out there on the world wide web. And craigslist seems to attract a lot of them. So be careful what you put out there and be wary of who replies. And keep checking back. Some days there are lots of ads so the pages can fill up and move fast to the bottom.
Other websites to post your lost pet or look for your lost pet:
PetHarbor
Petfinder Classified
Online lost and found classified of your local news papers
Online shelter websites, city shelters, county shelters, and SPCA. Which ever agency provides shelter and animal services to your area. Don't know? Aren't sure? Look up your county or city government website and search for Animal Services. But don't just stop at looking at that shelter's website. Here we have a county shelter that provides services for the entire unincorporated part of the county as well as 3 cities within the county, a city shelter, and the SPCA shelter who also provides shelter services for 2 more cities in the county. Confused yet? We also have neighboring counties with shelters, one shelter of which is closer to residents in the north side of our county than the county shelter.
 Get the picture? don't limit your search. People will often go places they are close to or familiar with. We have had people find pets in other counties they are traveling through and will stop and turn in animals at our shelter because they know where it is and are familiar with it.
Don't forget the old school ways too. Remember newspapers? Made out of paper? People do still read them! And most do provide free or cheap lost and found ads. Pennysaver and other small local papers.
Check with Veterinary hospitals in your area. People will sometimes bring found animals in to have them scanned for microchips. Vet Hospitals sometimes have bulletin boards or folders for lost and found fliers. some Vets will even take in found pets, injured or healthy, and hold them until Animal Control can come get them.
Speaking of Microchips! If your dog is microchipped, you need to call the microchip company and advise them that your dog is lost AND make sure that your contact information is CURRENT! You have no idea how frustrating it is to be so excited to find a microchip and either the owner didn't finish the registration as instructed when they got the chip or the information is old and the phone numbers are disconnected. Microchips don't update automatically when you move or give the dog to someone else. Remember that paperwork you got when you got the dog chipped? All the information is right there.
This is just to get you started.
Your going to also need to visit your locate shelters in person. Shelters also have lost and found binders to put fliers in and for you to look through. Some finders will send in a found dog report or bring one in but are keeping the pet at there home until an owner is located. They can also provide you with more lost pet tips.
Most important. Keep looking.
I know it seems like a lot to do, and there is a lot more to do.
But bringing your dog home is worth it.

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