Let’s hope your dog is always by your side, but if he were ever to become lost, it’s important to know the steps to take to maximize the probability of his safe return home. Even the most careful and responsible owners can lose their dog, because dogs have a mind of their own and things happen. So, here are the important steps to take, according to pet detective, Kat Albrecht:
- Conduct a hasty search. The moment you realize your dog is missing, grab your cell phone and search the neighborhood. The faster you start searching, the better chance you have to find him. If you see neighbors out, ask if they’ve seen your dog. Ask which way he went.
- Start calling your animal-loving family and friends to come over. You’ll be panicked and will need people who understand and will help.
- Return home and search your own property. Check any place your dog may hide or could be trapped. Make sure he’s not lying nearby injured.
- Get in the car and search a further distance. Stop and ask anyone who is out if they’ve seen your dog. Ask which way he went. Try to establish his direction of travel.
- Return home, and hopefully, some friends have arrived to help. Assign a volunteer to go door to door asking if they’ve seen your dog. Which way did he go?
- Assign someone to find a picture of your dog and make flyers to hand out around the neighborhood. It should say: LOST DOG. REWARD. Include your phone number. Place the flyers in pet-friendly places, such as veterinarians’ offices, pet stores and animal shelters.
- Assign someone who can identify your dog to go to the animal shelters to find him. Make sure they also check listings of found dogs. Shelters should be checked daily. Dogs left at animal shelters after three days become the property of the shelter.
- Make a Lost Dog poster. Assign someone to go purchase a stack of bright fluorescent colored poster board. In giant black letters write: LOST DOG. Place a large photo of your dog and a 2 – 3 word description, such as WHITE POODLE. Write your phone number. Leave off other details. Post it at major intersections. People should be able to read it driving by. Here’s a sample Lost Dog poster. If your city won’t allow postings, have volunteers hold the signs.
- Place a Lost Dog ad in the classified section of your local paper. After a few days, be sure to check the Found section.
- Consider enlisting the help of a pet detective. It may seem too soon to get professional help – but the sooner you get help, the more likely you are to find him. A pet detective can profile your dog and give you advice on his most probable location. Hopefully, you’ll find a pet detective with a trailing dog. The sooner the dog detective can get on your dog’s scent, the easier it will be to find him.
- After a week, start checking sites as if you were in the market to adopt a dog just like yours. Many rescue groups use Petfinder.org. You may find your own dog up for adoption. Be vigilant. It may be weeks before you find your lost dog. Also, don’t fall prey to schemes. If someone calls saying he found your dog, do not pay a reward until you have him back. Offers to ship your pet to you after you send money are likely a scam. Have someone with you when meeting a stranger to retrieve your dog. Good luck, and hopefully you’ll never need these tips!
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