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October 2023

Taking the Right Steps to Find a Lost Dog

Friday, January 22, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Yesterday as I was taking my stroll on the boardwalk a stray dog come up to me. He looked so scared and I felt helpless because I didn’t know what to do first. He seemed to have lost his owner right there. I then looked down at the beach and saw two girls looking frantically all around. I then guided the dog down to the beach and low and behold, his tail began to wag and he ran toward them. They were so relieved and happy to see him. I felt relieved and continued my walk. That was simple but lots of pets are lost for days or weeks at a time!

Loosing a pet can be one of the most stressful experience that one can experience. We have a tendency to panic and don’t know what to do first. Here are ten quick tips. Print this blog out and keep it handy in case your dog gets lost.

1. Don’t waste time!  In the first two hours, get as many people as you can involved in your search. Ask any family, friends and any neighbor you see to search around town and up to a three-mile radius of the location where the dog was last seen.

2. Search  the neighborhood by foot. Create flyers to hand out and/or staple to telephone poles so that your information is readily available and easy to share. Put a photo (preferably color) of your dog on these cards or print out some images of your dog separately to accompany your information cards. Give these cards to anyone you encounter during this first search.

3.   Bring along your dog’s favorite toy of some other noise that he is familiar with. This will make him come when he hears it.

4.  Bring along another friendly dog companion if possible.

5. While you’re out searching, have someone else make phone calls to your local Humane Society, animal shelters, rescues, vets, and police departments. 

6. Create an ad with a recent picture of your dog. Describe the dog so that an average person would recognize him/her if they saw the dog. Include identifying information about him/her like his collar, dog tags, tattoo, identifying features like scars or unusual coloration or microchip ID number.

7. Intensify the search after your dog has been missing for 24 hours. Make at least 200 photocopies of your ad.  Start posting them on bulletin boards, super markets, telephone poles and in other highly visible areas.

8. Take “found” calls with a grain of salt. There could be some unethical people trying to take advantage. Ask key questions but don’t waste your time if you’re not getting anywhere.

9. After two days, extend your search.

  • Go a little further by vehicle and start spreading the word to local mail carriers, UPS and Fed Ex drivers, joggers, runners, bikers and anyone else walking around the search areas.
  • Continue using strong ad messages to spread and expand your search.
  • Expand the radius of your search area by several miles. Call shelters even beyond the area you think your dog could have reached.
  • Visit the animal shelters and rescue leagues to look for your pet every other day. Don’t expect volunteers to recognize one brown dog from another. If the dog is a dirty, matted mess that lost weight, you may have trouble identifying your own pet. Ask if there is a quarantine area or an area where injured animals are kept in case your dog is separated from those shown to the public.
  • Check the “found” ads in they newspaper each day your pet is lost.
  • Check online databases of lost and found dogs.

10. Stay positive. Dogs have been reunited with their owners even after a year or more.DOG FOUND






Remember, your pets count!

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