WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PET IS LOST
Working at Calvin & Susie is a rewarding job. You get to leave the store everyday feeling as if you have perhaps made a difference in the well being of a fluffy family member somewhere out there.
Unlike when I was working in the corporate world, I can sleep at night knowing that I’ve helped a pet owner pad their pet’s tummy with yummy food instead of padding some company’s wallet.
One of the only things that is truly gut wrenching about working here is when you hear about lost pets. Because of our reputation and the compassion of everyone who works here, we get multiple fliers, messages, e mails and posts every week about missing pets. Every time we hear of a pet who has gone missing, we all take a genuine interest in finding that pet and returning it home. We regularly update each other, as well as our social media outlets, on missing pets, and rejoice when a pet is found.
Over time we have collected some tried and true tactics in aiding the return of your pet. I’ve seen many a pet come home after weeks of diligent search and communication by their owner. There is always hope!
I’d like to share some of them here. I hope that you never have to use any of these, but it’s always best to be prepared.
Post everywhere anyone will legally let you. Go to pet shops, vet clinics, boutiques in the area, shelters, some grocery stores have community bulletin boards- anywhere where you think your lost pet might get exposure. Don’t be shy. The worst someone can say is no.
What should go on the posting? Make it clear and easy to read. Choose an appealing and detailed picture of your pet. If your pet has any unusual markings, either mention them, or better yet include them in the picture. Make your pet’s name prominent, the name your pet responds to. Note if your pet has been neutered or spayed, microchipped, has any special needs or illnesses, age, size, sex, or any other defining characteristics.Are you offering a reward?
Especially with bigger dogs or “bully” breeds I think it is worth mentioning if your dog is friendly.
People are more likely to approach your lost dog to help it if they know your pet is safe.
Also, remember to put where your pet was last seen (and update if you can). Which neighborhood?
Which cross street? Near what major landmark?
And remember to put contact information that you check regularly! Phone number/s and e mail address, if possible is a great way to go. For safety sake, I’d recommend refraining from putting your address anywhere on a flier.
Shelters and Rescue Groups
Regularly check your local shelters and rescue groups. Your pet may get turned into a shelter and you will need to claim them. If you have microchipped your pet, the shelter should be able to read the microchip and contact you. It cannot hurt to notify your local shelter either that you are looking for a lost pet.
Be diligent. Many happy reunions have occurred because owners checked their local shelter daily, if not multiple times daily.
Use social media to your advantage. Post on your Facebook or Twitter. Contact pet stores or local animal organizations and ask them if you can send them an electronic flier to post on their online pages (I regularly post “Lost Pet” notices on the store’s Facebook). This will really help you to cast your net wide.
There are also online databases that will help you search for your lost pet. One such database Fido
Finder allows “Lost dog owners and finders can post classified ads, search listings, and print posters”. It is for the US, Canada and UK. I clicked around a bit on the site, and you can even register your dog before he gets lost.
Get out there!
Search, search, search. I had a friend who would go out every night for over a week calling for her lost kitty, then slept in a sleeping bag on her front porch hoping to attract her cat to come home. Her cat did come home.
I’m not suggesting that you sleep outside, but so many pets have been found due to owners getting out and physically searching for their pets. You know your pet better than anyone, and they you. The odds of them responding to your scent and voice are much greater than that of a stranger. You know your pet’s habits- do they like certain parks? Playing in streams or the ocean? Certain restaurants you frequent with them?
There was a great story on the news a little bit ago, about a family who lost their dog. They went searching for their pet on a hiking trail and found evidence that their dog might have been taking shelter on a certain part of the trail. I think they left a bed there for her, which they discovered was being used by a dog with her hair color. Yet where was she? Eventually they bought some Chinese take-out food (her favorite!) and carried it up and down the trail, then back to their house. Very quickly their dog followed the scent of the food and found her way home!
This is another sort of “extreme” story, but proof that hard work and determination can pay off in finding your pet.
Pay It Forward
Lastly, help out pets and families of pets who are lost. If you see a pet that looks confused, lost, scared or in danger, figure out how you can help. If you do not feel comfortable approaching a dog, call a trusted shelter for assistance. Read “LOST” posters and take note of the pet’s name and information. Even if you cannot catch the lost pet, contact the owner and report the last place you saw the pet and what condition her or she was in. Always ask yourself the question, “How would I want my lost pet to be treated?”.
Like I said, I hope none of you ever have to employ the tips I’ve detailed here in finding your pet. Accidents happen and pets get away, it’s important to remember not to let blame or guilt overwhelm you.
All the Very Best in the New Year!
~You Loyal Calvin & Susie Blogger