Checklist & Resources to Help Find a Lost Companion Animal
Most animals are safely re-united with their guardians within 72 hours of becoming lost. The majority have not ventured far ( especially cats ) and can be easily re-united with three family because they have I.D tags & microchips. Animals without I.D may present more of a challenge.
1. Check your local shelters and register your pet as lost. Check back every day. Usually animals without I.D are taken to shelters if they can be easily caught or are found near by. Sometimes well intentioned people take an animal into their home, then relinquish them to a shelter days or even weeks later. Sometimes animals are scared and hide, sometimes they run.
2. Make a flyer. If you are able to include a photograph, that is ideal, if not just use a thick black marker and include basic details ( Date / Description / Exact Location / Your Contact Info ) Make copies. Using neon color paper will increase the chances of someone noticing and reading a flyer. Offering a reward may also increase the chances. Include any details to make it more personal ( Beloved Family Dog / Needs Medication etc )
3. Search the immediate area, knock on doors, talk to everyone you meet and
give them a flyer / details of your lost pet. If you believe your animal could have run far, extend the search area.
4. Post flyers throughout the immediate area, especially on intersections and heavily trafficked locations. Post flyers at local pet stores, vet offices, dog parks and any business that will allow you to.
5. Send an e-mail alert with flyer attached, to everyone you know and ask them to please forward to any local contacts.
6. If you animal was adopted through a rescue organization, contact them right away, so they can assist and put their resources into action.
7. Place an ad in your local paper, local blog, Craigs List. Lost & found ads are usually free of charge.
If you do not find your lost pet right away, do not give up ! Someone may have taken them in and not know what to do, or are thinking of keeping them. Someone may have given them to another person who lives miles away. With enough flyers around, chances are, the animal will still ultimately be returned, but it does not hurt to check ALL shelters, even the ones that are far from your home.
If all efforts to locate a lost pet are to no avail, you may want to consider a more aggressive approach, such as hiring a Pet Detective, or enlisting the help of a speciality service such as the ones listed below. Methods used vary. ‘Pet Harbor’ will send postcards of your lost pet to area addresses. ‘Find Toto’, will deliver a recorded message to home phones within a 1 mile radius of where your Pet went missing, reaching hundreds of people within minutes.
Dogs by nature are very resilient and can survive incredible situations. I have seen a Chihuahua survive three weeks in the snow and a Pomeranian fend off predators while injured. Pet owners should never give up on their missing pet because they believe the animal could not survive due to environmental odds. The one thing none of us ever know is… how our pet responds and behaves when we are not around. Most dogs will step up to a challenge and survive. I have known dogs to be returned after months, even years.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO HELP LOCATE LOST PETS Search for Local Shelters: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters.html
Recovery Tips to help find a LOST dog: http://www.missingpetpartnership.org/
Help with Flyers – http://www.missingpets.com/mpfliers.htm
Microchip Company with Lost Pet Service – www.homeagain.com