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Lost & Found
When you’ve figured out that your dog has gone missing it can be a stressful and worrisome time for everybody. Here are some things you can put into action that could help in getting your loving partner back home.
Please Note. We HIGHLY recommend you microchip your pets to make sure they will find their way home should they ever get lost. This service is available at any area veterinary. The more animals who can find their way home, the fewer we have to re-home, and the more we can save from animal control.
Don’t Panic. How timely you execute a plan can make the difference between locating your pet or not. Don’t blame anybody; this is a time when all hands need to be on deck working for the same cause, in a unified manner. Besides, it’s nobody’s fault, things just happen. They’ll be plenty of look-back time later, to figure out what you’ve learned.
Get Organized. As soon as you discover your missing pup, write down the last time and place you saw him/her. When times get stressful, it’s amazing how we can get confused on where and when the time of missing occurred. “It was at 2pm.” “No it was later than that; must have been 4pm.” Write it down, now. Get out pad and pen ready.
Make a Plan. Jot contacts down. Write down a quick plan of whom you are going to contact to alert about your missing pet. Then, as you contact people, also try to keep a notation of when you contacted them, to whom you spoke to directly and if possible a contact phone number. Keep this running log handy, say near a phone or where other family members can have access to it. Some folks think it’s a good idea to start concentrically from where your pet was last seen, then work out, contacting groups in broader zones.
Cell Phone. Keep it on you, front and center. Your cell phone will now become the puppy-search-and-rescue-command-and-control center. You will need your cell to keep in touch should your family and neighbors spread out to canvas the area.
Get out and Walk the Neighborhood. Keep your cell phone on you, but keep somebody at the location of missing, somebody at a place of central command, like your home. Ask passers-by, ”have you seen a dog walking around here lately?” Describe your dog, tell them your story, people care.
Don't forget to MICROCHIP
DOG-GONE-MISSING CASE #1
We had a dog get out of an owner’s home, elderly family member had left the front door open. Family started calling and canvasing the neighborhood. Up and down the streets calling for their dog. Where was he? Next door, staring and fixated on the neighbor’s cat. It was as if he was saying, ‘What’s the problem? I heard you calling me all the time! I knew where you were...”
DOG-GONE-MISSING CASE #2
An older dog was visiting from out of town, the owners didn’t know it at the time but the dog was having medical problems. The dog wandered off into the neighborhood, confused, all in a blink of an eye. So here we had a geriatric dog, in an unfamiliar place, GONE. Signage was put up within the first 2 hours of missing, all around the last known location. Into the night passed, then the next day, 18 hours still missing. The out-of-towners began the sorrowful, painful journey back home without their dog. Then, out of the blue, a phone call, FOUND HIM! Why? SIGNAGE. Seems a good Samaritan found this dog wandering on a busy street, near last known location, and thought, ‘that pup’s in trouble.’ The good Samaritan took the dog home with them, to be safe, some 50 miles from the lost location. The next morning, the good Samaritan returned 50 miles BACK to the scene where they had picked up the dog, only to find SIGNAGE! Bingo! Happy ending! Don’t underestimate signage.
DOG-GONE-MISSING CASE #3
Geriatric dog, wandered off, missing. A good Samaritan found it in a nearby parking lot in a strip mall, fed him part of his breakfast taco, checked his collar, only to find a rabies tag. Then drove the dog some 25 miles to it's vet in Austin. The vet called the owner, ‘we have your dog!’ We love Central Texans, a lot of good folks around here. Root cause: the dog was at the beginning of medical issues unknown to the owner and his vet.
Pets have a way of hiding pain; we need to be more sensitive to our aging canines.
Alert Your Neighbors. If your pet was lost in a residential area and when you call your neighbors, and you let them know it was recently that your pet went missing, oftentimes, they will join in the hunt, helping to cover your neighborhood. Other neighbors might get in a car quickly to peruse the immediate area. Don’t think this is for nothing. Friends may come back and say, “well, we drove around the neighborhood 5 blocks that way and 4 blocks the other way and we didn’t see him/her.” It’s information – at least you had eyes on the immediate vicinity and nobody saw them at that time. It feels great when your neighbors help out, you feel like an army is coming to your aid. And they will, because good neighbors know your pet and they want them back too!
Post Signage. Pictures, Description Your Contact Info. You see them all the time, and think, ‘oh those poor people, I hope they find their pet.’ And don’t you find yourself looking around, just hoping you might see that animal? Don’t you want to be that person to make somebody’s day? It may seem like folly, but the truth is signage is a very good thing.
Call the Vet. Call your vet and then all local veterinary offices to alert of a missing pet. If you found a dog, let the vet know, somebody might be inquiring about their pet. Post signs/pictures at veterinary offices. If it’s over the weekend, still call and leave a message at these local vet offices. If you have found a pet, bring it in to the vet; they may recognize the animal and can certainly scan for a microchip.
Call Animal Control. Alert them you’re looking for YOUR pet. On the weekend, leave a message. You want Animal Control to know that if by chance somebody brings your pet to them, that you’re looking for your pet. They are only required by law to hold your animal for 3 days only. If your pet is older or has special medical conditions, let them know. Make sure to check with them every day if you are looking for a lost pet. File a lost pet report with every area rescue shelter within a 60-mile radius of your home and visit the nearest shelters daily, if possible.
Social Media. Post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Craigslist, yep that’s right, Craigslist. You would be amazed how many people are looking on social media for lost animals. Additionally, you get the benefit of them reposting your lost pet, again and again; people who love dogs will let this information go viral. If your dog is of a particular breed, contact your local club for that breed. When your pet is found, please let these folks know, there will be as much jubilation making the rounds on the Internet as there was concern.
Contact Us. You can email Highland Lakes SPCA at firstname.lastname@example.org, or see the Contact Us section for our full information and we will be happy to send the pertinent data and picture to all of our network of volunteers and community to keep a lookout for your pet. It might seem like you’re duplicating postings, but you’re not. The more diversified groups you can get the word out to the better.
Newspaper. If your pet is missing for more that one day, you might consider an ad in the local newspaper (Highlander, Picayune). These papers have been known to post this information for free or reduced prices. Contact each newspaper for more information.
Check back, again and again. The vets, animal control, social media will all get to know you and will have a special place in their hearts and minds for you. Incredible stories happen all the time.
Don’t give up. “Never, never, never give up.” ~Winston Churchill
Copyright@2017 Highland Lakes SPCA P.O. Box 1275 Marble Falls, Texas 78654 830-693-0569 | To rescue, rehabilitate and secure loving and healthy forever homes for homeless dogs.