Lost and Found

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A frightening experience that no pet owner wants to go through is searching for a lost pet. Pets go missing for any number of reasons. They were scared by something (fireworks, a storm, other loud noises), they’re trying to get back to a previous home or owner, chasing after another animal, or they’re just plain adventurous. Whatever the reason, the first thing to do when a pet is missing is to not wait to get the word out. Start immediately .Of course a collar with an I.D. tag or license can help tremendously, and micro-chipping is even better, but don’t rely on just those means to find your friend. Call local animal shelters, animal control, rescue groups and local veterinarians to report a missing pet. Put up posters with a brief description, a picture if possible, the pet’s name, and your contact information in big letters. Offer a reward but don’t state how much. Make up index cards with information and hand out to neighbors and residents of surrounding areas. Pets have been known to travel far and wide while lost, so don’t discount that happening. Post on social media sites for lost and found pets, such as those found on Facebook. Place an ad in the newspaper (they’re usually free for lost pets). Visit shelters frequently, even if you’ve called them, to check out recently admitted pets.

If your pet is sighted in an area, go there. Put out water and leave an item of your clothing with your scent on it. If the pet can detect your scent, often it will stay there. Check back often. If the pet is found but can’t be caught, chasing it probably won’t help. Animals are much faster than we are, and especially if already frightened or traumatized. Sitting down and calling to the pet, patting your lap, showing a treat, making whatever sound he might be used to hearing might encourage him to come closer. (I did this with Zeke on several occasions when he escaped the fence, and he ran back. But then he hadn’t been scared and alone for days.) Humane live traps can be rented or purchased in a last resort effort to capture a frightened pet. Once the pet is found, lavish praise and love on him, never yell or speak harshly or he will associate being found with being punished. Most importantly, don’t give up the search. Pets that have been gone for a long time have been found, and people are willing to help. You just have to reach out every way you can.

Something worth checking out is a free mobile app that is available for smartphones from the ASPCA. It gives you much of this information and more for what to do when a pet goes missing, handling pets during severe storms or other natural disasters, lets you store important medical information for pets, and can help you design a lost pet flyer to share online. The http://www.ASPCA.org website is a great resource for everything from pet nutrition and finding low cost spay/neuter clinics to dealing with the loss when a pet passes. Check it out!
(Thanks to Petfinder.com and ASPCA.org websites for the information in this article.)

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3 Comments on “Lost and Found”

  1. melissakeir Says:

    We were fortunate that both of our dogs are microchipped. While there’s a fee to keep them active, it is worth that piece of mind.

  2. Diane Burton Says:

    In 1986, our old (12) dog wandered out of our house the day the movers were there. In a blizzard. A wonderful lady found him on the ramp to an expressway trying to go back to our old house 3 states away. He had tags from the old house including the rabies tag. She called the vet’s office long distance (which cost $ then) who thought Hubs worked for Kelsey Hayes. So she called every K-H office in the Detroit-area until she found someone who knew him. That taught us to put a relative’s phone # on the tag. Now we would put our cell phone #. That was a scary experience. Thank goodness for that kind woman.


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