Every dog owner’s worst nightmare is a missing dog. A few months ago, we were sitting on our screened-in back porch with our dogs when a cat ran across our backyard. Before we could stop them, both our dogs jumped through the screen, and we were off chasing the cat. The next week was one of the worst in my life. I spent every moment looking for and trying to find my lost babies. It took over a week, but we found them, and I am happy to report that they were both OK. Here are a few tips for finding a missing dog that I learned during our nerve-wracking experience.
Hopefully, you have taken all the steps necessary to help make finding your dog easier. Making sure you are prepared makes finding your dog easier.
Designate Someone to Stay Home
Your first impulse will be to have everyone out looking for your dog, and although looking for your dog is a good idea, someone needs to stay home for several reasons. If your dog has a pet ID with an address on it like this, someone may find your dog and stop by to drop it off. Your dog could also finish his adventure and find his way home on his own. Either way, it is important to have someone at home, whenever possible, until your pet is found. If you have another dog, they will probably need someone’s company and reassurance while waiting for their missing friend.
You need to call all local animal shelters, animal control, and your Vet. There may also be a number to call for your micro-chip to post an alert about your missing dog. Also, call any friends or family in the area and ask them to keep a lookout for your dog. It is a good idea to have the person designated to stay home, make all phone calls.
It would help if you had a recent picture of your dog to make flyers. Workers told me of the shelter to put “Needs Medication” on the flyers. They said this would lead people to think the dog had health issues and discourage them from keeping the dog. Add a reward, but do not list an actual amount. If it is too low, no one will bother with it. If it is too high, people will think your dog is valuable and may try to get more money for it somewhere else. Add a contact number and if the number is a cell phone, make sure to keep it with you at all times.
You can print and hang the flyers all over your area. Hang them in dog parks, convenience stores, and local businesses. Always ask permission before posting your flyer. It will not do any good to leave it if the owner takes it down as soon as you leave. Go back and regularly check to make sure your dog’s information is still available. Give copies to your local postal carrier, UPS, and Fed-Ex workers. These guys see a lot of dogs in their daily travels. Please make sure all your friends and neighbours have a copy and ask them to show it to others.
You can post the digital copies of your flyer on social media and Craig’s list. If you have any videos of your dog, you can also post copies of them online. Make sure to repost or update regularly so that your posting remains in circulation and seen by others.
Check Local Pound and Shelters Daily
Make sure you bring copies of your flyer along. Most places will allow you to leave a copy of your leaflet on file, but just because they have a copy of your flyer does not mean you should not go back daily. I left a copy of my flyer, but the staff did not recognize Nadie. I had to do a double-take when I first saw her in the cage looking pathetic. She had lost weight, was shaking uncontrollably, and looked sad and hopeless. I can tell you, she did not look like the happy and confident dog in my picture, and no one recognized her. You do not want to know how many black Staffordshires and pit mixes there were at the pound: way too many. If I had not personally checked for her daily, I might never have gotten her back.
Online Dog Finders
When our dogs were lost, the local pound recommended placing an ad with Fido Finder. Since these services’ regional strength may vary, ask your Vet or local shelter, which is most effective in your surrounding area. I placed a free ad and purchased several upgrades. The cost was about $20 a dog to run the ads for a total of $40, but it was well worth it because I did find Prince through Fido Finder.
I will never forget opening that email alert with his picture in it. It was early in the morning, but I did not care and started screaming and crying that I had found him. In retrospect, I should have probably waited a bit before calling the wonderful family who had my dog and waking them up at 6:30 AM, but I just could not wait. I was babbling and crying, and till this day, the husband of the family who had Prince always looks at me like I am unstable but to tell you the truth, I was a bit… oh, probably a lot, off the chain that day.
Think Outside The Box
Since I have found my dogs, I have paid more attention to lost dog signs and have noticed some owners that have gotten very creative when looking for their pets. Recently, I saw a billboard and a bus stop bench with lost dog information. There are many creative ways to look for your dog, depending on the amount of time and money you have to spend. I have seen people on the roadside with signs having their dog’s pictures and information.
Finding a lost dog can sometimes take a lot of time and patience. These tips for finding a missing dog should help you get started looking for your beloved pet. I wish anyone whose dog is missing the best of luck in their search, and I hope they are quickly reunited with their fur-faced friend.