How To Find A Lost Pet
Having a lost pet has to be one of the most nerve wracking experiences we go through. Here are some helpful tips for you.
Get a partner. Have someone stay at home in case your pet decides to come home on it’s own. Or if a kind stranger finds your lost pet, they may call or simply show up with the pet if your address is on the pet’s tags. Have the person who’s staying at home make the lost pet reports.
ALWAYS KEEP AT LEAST ONE IDENTIFYING FEATURE OF YOUR PET SECRET. As much as we don’t like to think so, there are unscrupulous people who will try to trick you. So if you have someone call you to say they have your dog, you can ask them about the identifying feature(s).
ITEMS TO TAKE WITH YOU
Flashlight - Even if it’s not dark when you go out searching, you’ll be looking in dark places (under decks, sheds, etc) and using a flashlight will allow you to see eye shine.
A picture of your pet - A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s much easier to show a picture to your neighbors or people you see on the street than it is to try and describe your pet.
Something that makes noise - A bag of food, a clicker that you use during training sessions, a bag of treats, a whistle, a squeaky toy – anything that your pet might have a positive association with.
If your lost pet is a dog, take another friendly dog out with you. Dogs are social animals and sometimes can be calmed down by the presence of another dog.
When you go out into your neighborhood to look for them, check under decks, bushes, sheds .... get down low and think like a dog or cat. Do you see any places that look like hidey-holes? Check those. Use your flashlight.
IF IT’S BEEN 24 HOURS OR MORE
It’s time to expand your search.
Make up some flyers and post them all over your neighborhood. Your poster only needs the basics – LOST FAMILY PET, your pet’s picture and your phone number in LARGE, easy to read lettering. Find high traffic places, like grocery stores, gas stations, parks, dog parks, and playgrounds and, if necessary, ask to post your flyer there. The words “Family Pet” are more likely to make people pay attention and look.
Talk to your neighbors first. They are your most important contacts. Most people are kind, and when they see a wandering pet, are likely to take it home for a day or two while they try to find the owners.
The site www.nextdoor.com was set up to help bring neighborhoods closer by helping people get to know one another. One of the things that people use it for is to reunite lost pets with their owners.
Talk to your mail carrier, delivery drivers, joggers, or other people that you may see in your area but don’t live there.
Call your local animal shelter to make a lost pet report. For those of us in and around Conway, call Conway Animal Welfare Unit. Their number is 501.450.6160. Call them even if you live in the county. You'd be amazed at how far animals can travel, especially dog breeds like the Husky, who are bred to run for miles. Sometimes well meaning people pick them up and take them to the nearest town. Go and check at your local shelter every day. Pets can become dirty and thin in a matter of days. If days go by and you haven’t found your pet, expand your lost pet report to every shelter within 60 miles of your home.
Call your local vets to let them know about your missing pet. Many people think a vet's office is the best place to take a found animal. They also take them to pet stores, groomers, kennels, local rescues – anyone that they think might be able to do something about or take care of the pet.
Use Facebook. Check Arkansas Lost and Found Pet Network to see if your pet might be listed. While you're there, make a Lost Pet Report.
Post on your own page using clear pictures of your missing pet. Make sure to include a contact phone number in your post so that when your friends share it, all the info that's needed is included.
Craigslist (www.craigslist.com) allows for free posting of lost and found pets.
Most newspapers will allow you to run a free Lost Pet listing for a couple of weeks. Keep your posting simple, just like your flyer.
FINDING LOST CATS
The Lost Cat Network has an excellent article on how to find lost cats. You can read it on Facebook HERE.
FINDING LOST DOGS
Many dogs, when they’re lost, become fearful and will run away from people, even people they know. Instead of them depending on their eyes, help them use their nose. If they’ve been seen in an area, take their crate (or the bottom half of a plastic crate) and put some bedding in it that has their scent. Add some clothes from the family – the smellier, the better. You might even add a familiar, favorite toy. Put a bowl of water nearby. You might leave a note letting other people know why these items are there and asking them to not move them. Then go check the area at least every day.
I hope something here helps, if you need it. You have my best wishes for a joyful reunion with your pet!