How to Find a Lost Dog
Your dog is lost! What should you do? Here is a time line for immediate action, what to do after two hours, two days and beyond. Keep this emergency guide on hand, in case your pet is lost. Speediness and thoroughness are essential for bringing your dog home safely. Don't waste time! Get a couple people to work in an organized way simultaneously. In the first two hours, ask family and friends to search around town and up to a two-mile radius of the location where the dog was last seen. Create business-card sized flyers to hand out so that your information is readily available and easy to share. Use free services such as The Pet Rescue (www.thepetrescue.com) to place a free ad or use their Premium Service which is a collection of broadcast of the lost pet information to veterinarians, shelters, rescue groups and pet lover including a Red Alert information system and an RSS feed. The Pet Rescue has the largest network of veterinarians, shelters, rescue groups and pet lovers in North America, they will spread the information in a 50 miles radius.. Bring along your dog's favorite toy, or another noise that makes him come running. Dogs can hear sounds from very far away and may come if they hear a comforting sound! Shaking a treat bag or something else a dog knows means food can help, too. While you're out searching, have someone else make phone calls to your local Humane Society, animal shelters, rescues, vets, and police departments. Contact your neighbors to be on the lookout. If you're close to a county line, contact similar places in that county, too. If your local TV and radio stations make community announcements, ask them for help. Notify the local pounds and shelters. If someone does find a dog and brings it there, they will know to reach you. If they do say they have a dog that matches, make sure to visit yourself, and don't call off the search until you're sure it's yours. Their description and yours can easily vary. Same evening after it's too dark to search any more: Create an ad with a recent picture of your dog. If you don't have a photo, and your dog is a purebred, use a picture from a book. Describe the dog so an average person would recognize him if he saw him. Include identifying information about him like his collar, dog tags, tattoo, identifying features like scars or unusual colorations, or microchip ID number. Be specific: "LOST: (Dog's Name) a brown dog with white face and paws, SPAYED female; 60#, got loose from yard on Dec. 1, 2005 (Location where lost) near the post office in Our Town, PA around 4 p.m. Wearing a pink collar with rabies tag and license. Is on anti-seizure medication. Family pet. REWARD. Call (610) 555-0000 ." "Family pet" tends to motivate people to look. Advertising it as a "show dog," "breeding dog," "therapy dog," or "search and rescue dog" is not a good idea. Too much disclosure is not always the best policy in these matters. A reward tends to motivate people. However, don't state an amount. If you make the reward too large, like $5000, people will wonder about the dog's value and some people may not want to return your pet. Always say a female is spayed, whether she is or not. Again, this is to protect the dog from the unscrupulous who might see a breeding opportunity. The same logic applies to a medical problem or genetic defect. People will be less likely to think of breeding a dog that could be perceived as valuable if they think it has a medical problem. That gives an urgency to the ad, too. If the dog is friendly, say "Please try and coax her into your garage or fenced yard and call us." If the dog is not friendly or could be a fear biter say, "Don't attempt to corner her. Simply call us with her location ASAP." Day 2: Intensify the search. Make at least 200 photocopies of your ad (Printer ink runs in rain; photocopier toner won't.) Start posting on bulletin boards and in high visibility areas like gas stations and grocery stores in your neighborhood. Tape flyers to phone poles (in many places, it is illegal and unsafe to use staples because it's a danger to pole men). Ask friends and family members to distribute flyers door-to-door. Be sure to put extra fliers around that playground, or notify the owners of that dog park. Take "found" calls with a grain of salt. At this devastating time, you are vulnerable and there are unethical people who may try to take advantage. If someone calls and describes your dog from your ad and says, "I've got your dog here," respond, "Does she have a black mark inside her right leg?" and they say, "She sure does" and your dog doesn't, hang up quickly. You don't want to deal with such people. If they say, "No, she doesn't" and you think it could be your dog, simply say you made a mistake, that's another dog you've seen before. If someone tries to blackmail you into a higher reward before returning your dog, try to make sure they have the right dog (or any dog at all) and ask the person to meet you in a public place. Then go with another person to meet them. Don't be taken advantage of. If it is your dog, offer a token reward. Recent scams include people calling for out-of-state airfare for your lost dog. They might say your dog has been stolen and dumped far from home and they found him 200 miles away. Don't fall for it. After 2 days: Extend your search. Go a little farther by vehicle and start spreading the word to your local mailmen, UPS and Fed Ex drivers, joggers, runners, bikers and anyone else walking around the search areas. Drop off or fax a copy of your ad to area shelters. Expand the radius of your search area by several miles - call shelters even beyond the area you think your dog could have reached. Visit the animal shelters and rescue leagues to look for your pet every other day. Don't expect volunteers to recognize one brown dog from another. If the dog is a dirty, matted mess that lost weight, you may have trouble identifying your own pet. Remember that dogs travel and your pet may be farther than you may think, after a couple of days automated phone systems are not effective anymore, services like The Pet Rescue, on the other hand, covering areas of 50 miles radius and more, are a solid help in bringing your pet home. Stay positive. Dogs have been re-united with their owners even after a year or more. Keep going back to the shelters showing pictures of your dog. Who knows, maybe he will find you!
How to Find a Lost Cat
Cats occasionally wander off, much to the alarm of their owners. While this can be a distressing event, there are ways to make sure you get your little fur-ball back home safe and sound. Remain calm. If your cat is normally indoor-only, and has escaped outdoors, he will most often stay very close to where he got out. He'll hide in the nearest place he sees - under a porch, shed, inside a garage. Unless chased or forced to leave by hunger, he will stay there. If you can't find him during the day, make sure you go out at night. Most times they will hide until after dark and when things are more quiet. If yours is an indoor/outdoor cat, cats are curious and active creatures, so it's not uncommon for them to go astray once in awhile. It's possible that your cat is nearby and just preoccupied, but if your cat has wandered off or is in danger, panicking will reduce your likelihood of finding it. Don't delay looking for your cat. The longer the cat is gone, the further away it may be. Statistics show that owners don't start looking for their cat for several days. If your cat has been taken to a crowded shelter or municipal pound, and they may only be able to hold cats for a few days before euthanizing him/her. Use free services such as The Pet Rescue (www.thepetrescue.com) to place a free ad or use their Premium Service which is a collection of broadcast of the lost pet information to veterinarians, shelters, rescue groups and pet lover including a Red Alert information system and an RSS feed. The Pet Rescue has the largest network of veterinarians, shelters, rescue groups and pet lovers in North America, they will spread the information in a 50 miles radius.. Retrace their steps. Think back to when you last saw your cat and recount what events have taken place since then. Did you open the door at all? Did you open the doors to any rooms that you've since shut? Ask anyone in the house, as well as your neighbors, when and where was the last time they saw the cat. Narrow the search. Look in and around the areas the cat was last seen. It's particularly important to look for hiding spots. When cats find themselves in unfamiliar places, they usually become scared and hide. If you're looking outside, check underneath nearby cars or other nice hiding spots, like underneath barbecues, and patios. Unfortunately, on occasion a frightened cat may climb underneath a car or climb onto the engine of a warm car. Cats are also known to climb trees and get stuck. Indoors, look underneath beds, or in boxes or other accessible hiding spots. #* Also, if your house has stairs, search under the stairs and under the porch. You may have to crawl around the area if he’s hiding in the darkness. Use a flashlight. Likewise, check the back of the house if you have a basement crawl space or any basement window areas. Look in piles of leaves and any debris near your house. Look around the garbage cans. If you have any brush around your house, areas of thick plants and tall grass, check those areas very carefully. Look behind tall plants and trees, especially those growing near your house. Move the tall grass around. He is more likely to be in there than in open areas like lawns. Call your cat. Tempt your cat out of hiding or back home by calling it and offering it treats. If your cat is an outdoor cat or if it's possible it got loose outside, place some of its food in a dish outside of your door. Make the sounds that usually get it to come to you, such as shaking treats in a can or whistling; however, be aware that some cats in a state of distress may not come to your calls. Stop and listen regularly. A cat that is trapped, hurt or hungry will likely "meow," so whether you're searching by yourself or with a group, take a few minutes in every area you search to listen quietly and attentively for the cat calling out. Call for reinforcements. Call your friends to come over and expand the search. With more people looking, you can increase your odds of tracking down your cat. However, be sure to warn them that if they do spot the cat, they must remain quiet and not make any sudden movements, or else they may just spook the cat away again. It's usually best if the owner approaches the cat, especially if the cat is skittish to begin with. Call the SPCA. Usually if someone comes across a lost cat, they'll report it to the SPCA, Animal Control or your local equivalent. Call your local animal shelter and report your cat has gone missing along with all the relevant details (sex of the cat, color, and your contact information). Visit them every day or two until your cat is found, as sometimes shelters have many cats and have a difficult time matching your description to what they have. It's also important to check the local shelter very often as they may only keep lost pets for a few days until they put them to sleep. Notify your local police department. Police get calls about found animals. Officers who spend their day driving around might notice your cat. Motivate them: Offer a good reward. Distribute fliers in your neighbourhood. If your cat is missing for more than a few hours, talk to your neighbors and make fliers to put in their paper boxes or under door handles. Put your name, your phone number, and if you can, a photo of your cat on the flier. If your neighbors are aware your cat is lost, they'll know to contact you if they see it around. Include relevant information about any specific dietary or medical conditions your cat might have. It's best to post as many fliers as you can within a 1-mile radius of your home. Set a humane trap. If your cat is indoor-only, she is very likely hiding in fear close to where she ran away and will not make a sound when (even) you call her. Many animal shelters will rent or lend traps that are easy to use. Don't forget to put some cat food in the trap. This is your best bet for finding your indoor-only cat.