Last week I shared my story about finding my dog, Maple. I was so fortunate to get her back within 24 hours. If I had not, there are other things I would have set in motion to continue my search. I want to share five more tools with you, in case you ever find yourself in the same predicament.
- Dogs Finding Dogs. I actually left a message for this group during our search for Maple. Thankfully we found her and didn’t need their assistance, so I called back to let them know this. Dogs Finding Dogs is a 501(c)3 organization that tracks and finds lost pets. When they take your case, they stick with you until your pet is found. This is an all-volunteer group, comprising highly trained dogs and their handlers. A handler and dog successfully helped one of my clients find a missing dog that had been hit by a car and hid herself in the woods. She recovered from her injuries.
- Rent the sign at your local fire company. Andrea from LostPetPR suggested this to me. The local fire company was located just down the road from where Maple went missing. It would’ve cost me $10 to rent the sign. A simple message is suggested: “Missing Dog, small brown terrier, Bayville Shores Fenwick DE, call (111) 111-1111.”
- Borrow a trap from the local SPCA. Because so many dogs and cats are skittish when on the lam, you may need to set up a trap to get them back. I definitely experienced this with Maple. She saw me and heard my voice, but she ran away from me. Even family pets go into survival mode. A trap can be set up in a location where the pet has been spotted. Tasty food is a good way to entice the pet to enter the trap.
- Leave a trail back to “home base.” Using a combination of clothing with your scent on it and treats or food, you can make a trail from a location where your pet has been seen to your home or to a safe place to set up a trap.
- Use your car as a mobile sign. Write a message on the back window of your car (and a friend’s car too) using a glass marker. Again, the message should be simple, and make sure to include a legible contact phone number so it’s easy for folks to reach you. Make the letters at least 3-4 inches tall so they can be seen easily.
For more reading and tips on this topic, I like this website. Just last weekend in my local area, I watched the power of social media reunite a lost dog with her owner. She had been missing for three days and was found 4-5 miles from home. An alert citizen visiting a local cemetery saw her and posted a photo of her on a community Facebook page. From there, word made its way to her owner, who was able to find her and catch her the next day. This story is a good reminder of perhaps the most important thing when a pet goes missing: be proactive immediately to get the word out.