IF ONLY THEY COULD CALL HOME: Lost & Found Dog Tips

Lanther Pay Phone (16 X 9)(w text)

This post is by The Human… I told her to write it and post it… hope she does a good job… I’ll be over here napping.

This post is inspired by our friend, Dave, who recently found a stray dog in his neighborhood. As Dave is an animal lover, he wanted to ensure the dog’s safety and welfare. He took the dog into his home and began taking steps to attempt to locate the pup’s owner. He took the dog for walks around the neighborhood to keep the dog visible. He brought the dog to a veterinarian to check for a microchip (none was found). After attempts to reunite the dog began to seem futile, Dave began to accept that he may not find the owner. He began purchasing toys, food, and other doggy items in preparation to keep the little guy. He decided he would be ready to provide the pooch a loving home, even though two cats already resided in his home, who incidentally the new canine found irresistibly chasable. One day Dave decided to check the local “Lost and Found” section of Craigslist. There it was on the computer screen, a photo and description of the very dog in his care. His name per the posting was Cooper. Dave contacted the author of the post, and received a return phone call very soon after. The Craigslist “Lost and Found” advertisement had been posted by a frantic father, who had been caring for Cooper in his daughter’s absence. As it turns out a gate had been left open, and Cooper had run off into the world in search of adventure! The father and Cooper were reunited and the man was ever so grateful for Dave’s care and efforts. Happy ending for Cooper and the father! Good Samaritan stars for Dave!

Lost pets…if only they could just call home! “Hey guardians of me! I’m phoning to tell you I’m lost and over here at 123 Maple Avenue! Wanna come get me?!!!” But alas they cannot do this (and not just because they lack opposable thumbs). So what kinds of things can both the lost pet seekers and the lost pet finders do? Here are some things compiled from a few sources to help!

TIPS IF YOU HAVE FOUND A PET

1) ​Call area animal shelters and report that you found a lost pet. Give a thorough description and you will be contacted if someone calls reporting a lost pet with the same description.

2) Knock on doors. Knock on doors of homes near where you found the animal to ask if they know to whom the animal belongs.

3) Scan for microchip. Have the animal scanned for a microchip at any nearby veterinary office, Humane Society or Animal Services which may lead to the owner’s information.

4) Post flyers. Put up flyers in your neighborhood and surrounding areas to let the person looking know that you found their lost pet.

5) Post and search on social media. Post photo and information on where you found the animal on Facebook, Craigslist, Pinterest, etc. (The “lost + found” section of Craigslist is located in the “Community” section of your local city listings).

Craigslist example

*Find “lost + found” in your chosen location’s “community” section

6) Make the animal visible. As in the scenario with Dave and Cooper, taking a found dog for walks in the area in which they were discovered makes them visible to searching owners, or other people who may know or recognize them.

7) Check with local veterinarians. There is a good chance that the animal you found is a patient at one of the local veterinarian offices. Check multiple offices. Dave mentioned that Cooper’s actual veterinarian was the one located closest to his neighborhood, while the veterinary office where he had Cooper  scanned was not the same office.

8) Check with local police departments. Report found animals to the local police department. Many people report their lost pets to area police departments. They also inquire into any reports of found pets there.

***If someone contacts you claiming to be the owner of the dog or cat, be sure you ask for evidence of ownership, including a picture or have them identify specific information that only an owner would know. This could be an unusual feature, tattoo, or something that isn’t visible in the picture.
*** If you find that no one has responded to these efforts after a few days you can then take the pet down to a local shelter and turn it in as a stray..

TIPS IF YOU HAVE LOST A PET

1) Conduct a search. Lost pets may hide if they are fearful. Search in and around all possible hiding places outside, look under sheds, decks, houses, etc. Most animals are found close to home. Talk to your neighbors and, after asking permission, search at your neighbors. Additionally, check places they may have fallen into, or gotten stuck or trapped.

2) Food and water. Put out food and water at home, in hopes the dog or cat will return home for food.

3) Check with local shelters. Call area shelters to make a report and/or to see if your pet has been impounded.

4) Post flyers. Place posters within a 2 mile radius from where the animal was lost and at busy intersections. Posters should be large and bright colors; be brief and to the point and create a visual image. Try: Lost, a photo and your number. Post around town at veterinary clinics, schools, grocery and convenience stores, and anywhere else you think might make a difference. It is always a good idea to leave off one distinguishing feature so you can confirm that this is your lost pet with the person who might have found them.​

5) Post and search on social media. Post photos and information where your pet was last seen on Facebook, Craigslist, Pinterest, etc. Craigslist has a lost and found section… see where to navigate in the example above in #5 of “Found Pets.”

6) Humane trap (get guidance from animal care agencies). For shy dogs and cats, set a humane trap near the point of escape. Check frequently.

7) Check with local shelters. Call all the shelters around where you live and visit them regularly.

8) Spread the word. Contact and leave a description with your mail carrier, newspaper carrier, garbage truck drivers, local landscapers, etc.

9) Check with local police departments. Report lost animals to the local police department. Many people report  found pets to area police departments. They also inquire into any reports of lost pets there.

***If you don’t see your pet, keep looking!  Pets end up in shelters sometimes weeks after they are lost so never stop looking.  Keep in mind what some might call a “lab mix” you may call a “shepherd mix,” so it is always best to visit shelters regularly and not just go on descriptions or website photos alone. Also, you may want to extend your search beyond your local agencies, as pets sometimes end up being secured by people not in your vicinity.

Another idea for posting lost dog info:

Lost dog car window ad

*Photo courtesy of Lost Dogs Illinois

If your dog is lost in a heavily wooded area:

Lost Dog Tips (wooded area)

*Photo/text from an unknown source.

 

SOURCES: ASPCA, Manatee County (Florida), Lost Dogs Illinois, The Human and our friend Dave.