I lost my dog
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I lost my dog!
It is the experience that chills every dog owner. You call its name and it nowhere to be seen. You might be traumatized by a slipped leash, an open door or an empty backyard. Your beloved dog could be anywhere. Anywhere but where it is supposed to be.
The first reaction after you lost your dog is panic. But this should be the last thing you do. In order to be in the right state of mind to look for your lost pet, you should take a deep breath and start going through the steps I prepared below, and hopefully, within no time your will be re-united with your dear pet again.
Step One: Day Zero
React as soon as you notice he/she is gone.
Like a missing person, after lost your dog the most critical hour is the first hour after you notice they are gone. If you are a fan of crime shows, then you probably know that the first 24 hours are very critical. The same time period applies to missing pets. If your pet has decided to go on an adventure, the sooner you start looking for it the sooner you will find it.
She can’t have gone far.
Your pet doesn’t own a car or a jet does it? Swinging into action means that you will be searching a smaller perimeter. The longer you take to start the search for your lost dog, the larger the search perimeter you will have to search. So as soon as you establish that your lost dog is not sleeping under the couch (or chasing a rat somewhere in the basement) it is time to set up the search team
The command centre
If you were smart enough to have your phone number on its collar, you might be getting calls from your neighbours, the police or a Good Samaritan. If you had tagged him with your mobile phone number, you will have a mobile command centre (let’s split up, will cover more ground this way). If you put your landline, get someone to handle the calls.
All the same, have someone stationed at home, just in case the adventure becomes boring and she comes home. The person at home should also take the opportunity to check with the police and local animal shelters. It is smart to use a separate phone from the one on the pet’s collar. Make sure to leave a description of your lost dog, address and phone number with the authorities… the search team just got bigger.
Carry a picture
Not everyone is good with colours. The best time saver is to have a recent picture of your lost dog. You can use this when giving a description of your dog’s physical appearance. If you don’t have a picture, make sure to download one of a dog that resembles yours.
Get some bait
If your lost dog likes or responds to a specific sound, maybe a whistle sound or the shaking of a food box or squeak toy, bring the item with you. Make the sounds as you call your lost dog. You will be surprised to see him come running out of nowhere.
Expand the search bloc
Carry your address card or a writing pad where you can write your address and contact details. Give your contacts to passers, neighbours and anyone you run into during your search. Ask them to call you in case they see your dog. Additionally, use websites such as PetAmberAlert.com that allow you to post your lost pet’s details for concerned citizens in your area who might come across your dog. Need I mention the power of social media?
Step two: The day after yesterday
God forbid that you haven’t found your dog after 24 hours. Don’t panic. All hope is not lost. Dogs have splendid survival skills. They may meander back home after a long overnight adventure. If they have been kidnapped, there is still some good chance that someone saw something fishy.
Make a poster
Create a missing dog poster with your pet’s picture on it. If possible, have colour picture of your dog. Include a short description of your dog, anything it responds to, the last seen location and date and a physical description of the dog. Be sure to include your telephone number and pledge a reward for anyone with information leading to the dog’s safe return. However, don’t include the reward amount. A small reward may make people unconcerned and a big reward may make the dog appear expensive and he might end up being sold.
Check in with the search bloc
Visit the lost and found sites. Start with the sites that you had posted information about your lost dog on day one. Then check in the “lost and found” sites. Check local newspapers and bulletin boards just in case someone found your lost dog.
Step 3: Been some time?
If it has been some day and still no news or signs of him, don’t give up yet. If your lost dog had proper contact information on its collar, there are high chances that someone would have contacted you in case your dog had been found injured or otherwise. At times, no news is good news. You can’t rule out that he is out there still wandering around.
Broaden the search radius
Start contacting police stations and animal shelters outside your local area. Ensure you update your online appeals and local newspaper adverts. As other people post their dogs online, your post may drop to the bottom of the page or to page 2. Make sure to update the post daily.
Keep the fire burning
Check to make sure that any poster and flyers you posted on bulletin boards and strategic corners are still there. Replace the ones that need to be replaced and add more with update pictures or information. Keep the fire burning and you never know, your pet may return to you.
I lost my dog during a sunny afternoon. I searched vigorous for my lost dog and after five days of searching, after almost giving up, an old lady called me with news that she spotted a dog fitting the description I gave. My Drogo had wandered 12 kilometres away! We have had inspirational stories of pet owners being reunited with their pets after long periods of time. Don’t rule out yourself as one of these stories!