It’s every pet owner’s worst fear…. a door is open, a screen is clawed through, the back gate is ajar and your beloved pet isn’t anywhere. You search high and low calling their name, shake the favorite treat bag that brings them running or you rush out into the street looking left and right just praying you’ll get a glimpse of them. This is when your heart stops and time is suspended and you immediately start bargaining in your head, “please, please, please come back, I’ll do five walks a day, rub your belly anytime you present it, stop being gone so much or working long hours. Please, please, please”…only nothing happens.
Panicking doesn’t help even though it’s all you want to do. Now is the time for action but what is the appropriate action to take?
Next, think about your pet’s pattern; is he a runner or is this the first time this has ever happened? When was the last time you saw her – 15 minutes ago? An hour? Time might be hard to drill in on but knowing if this happened in the last few minutes can give you an idea of what I call “the head start”.
My dog Nanook (a husky shepherd) was Houdini squared; rolling down electric car windows when I didn’t engage my childproof override lock switch, opening the handle on any door in the house that wasn’t locked, bending like a pretzel and disconnecting his lead from his body harness without damaging either. And of course, there was the good old drag-you-down with force when he sees a deer and pulls until I slam into something hard (e.g., rock, tree, etc.) so that I inadvertently loosen my grip on the leash, which Nanook then rips out of my hands.
Even though these incidents happened more than a handful of times (each one a new trick), my sheer terror never lessened. So I’m here to share or remind you of the many tools we have available and the many steps that you can take until you are reunited again…huge exhalation.
TAGS and a COLLAR
I can’t stress this enough. This is reuniting tip numero UNO. People like me find lost animals and first thing I do is check for tags. On multiple occasions, I have called dog owners while they are out driving around franticly and I am like the person from the Publishers Clearing House bringing them a six foot check (a feeling that I totally understand).
Any veterinary office or shelter will check this for FREE in hopes of getting owner information. Without a collar (or if the tag has old information that hasn’t been updated), this is your pet’s way of telling people ‘HEY CALL MY MOM AT 585 XXX-XXXX SHE’S FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW AND I’M HUNGRY!’ Just a side note, if you pick up a lost pet and are heading to a veterinary office, it’s always a good idea to call them and tell them that you are coming.
Call Animal Control
People report their lost pets to Animal Control so the officers know that when that chocolate lab puppy is found on the porch of a house three streets away from you playing with their golden retriever, it’s YOUR dog.
Use your phone
You can post a photo and location of where your dog went missing in your own immediate radius using the app NEXTDOOR. This is a great resource of your neighbors and neighborhoods around you. People use this for many things but I see Lost Dog, Loose Dog, Stray Dog posts on there and people respond. It’s like having eyes on the street and I find it very helpful.
I have done this a ton of times. I’ve called friends or family. We each drove a different portion of the radius, stopped and asked people walking or in their yard if they saw my dog and you can end up on the trail. If you know of neighbors that have dogs (this may be an attractant or repellant depending on your pet), that may be a place to start. Having special treats that your pet will perceive as high value is good to keep on hand.
http://www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=8589949125 or at the closest shelter to you.
If you see a loose dog in the City of Rochester, call Rochester Animal Services at 311 or 911 for emergencies. Finally, please pay it forward and share your support for Rochester Animal Services by spreading awareness of the great residents there awaiting their forever home!
See you at The Fast & The Furriest® on June 2!