The saying ‘A dog is man’s best friend’, is very true for a lot of people. Dogs are loving and loyal companions, always there through the good and bad times, cheering you up when you are down, giving you that reason to get out of bed each day. Anyone who owns a dog will be able to relate to this, and many people that do own dogs tend to have more than one. There are many different breeds and sizes of dogs, all with their own personalities just like us, that are a part of our lives. But what if a dog goes missing? You have suddenly lost a friend and family member and you will do whatever is in your power to find them, but if this should ever happen to you and I hope it never does, would you know what the first steps would be to take to find your friend again? Here are a few points that may help you get your dog back home quickly.
Lost a dog?
So what happens when your dog gets lost? What if, say one day, while you are out on your morning walk in the park with your dog, they suddenly get lost? Maybe they slipped their lead when they saw something of interest, or you throw a stick into the trees and your dog doesn’t return straight away even when you call them. First thing to do is not to panic, that’s easy to say I know but it won’t help the situation and time is precious if you are to get your dog back quickly.
Keep them in sight at all times
When you go out with your dog you should never let it out of sight. In the UK where I live it is against the law to let a dog run free in a public place. So when in the park or a public space if I want my dogs to be able to run I either run with them or have an extending lead or really long lead so they can roam around, but I still have them safe at the end of it. This does not mean that things cannot happen, they may pull the lead from your hand, you may trip over and let go, the lead could break or they may slip it. In short even on a lead your dog could get off, and potentially get lost, and sometimes, even dogs that are properly trained will look for ways to get free to roam around.
Your dog could escape from a garden or out through a gap in the door, so there are many ways that a dog could potentially go missing, you just need to know the first steps to take in finding them again.
Things to do if a dog is missing
1. If you have your dog microchipped contact the ID company they are registered with and inform them they are missing, that way if someone finds your dog and takes them to have their chip scanned it will alert that the dog is known to be missing.
2. Check around your local neighbourhood. If you have a set routine to your walks then follow that as your dog may be doing the same.
3. Get an up to date photograph of your dog it can be an actual picture or an image on your phone something you can show to people you see in the street, they may have seen your dog recently and point you in the right direction.
4. Get it out online, there are Facebook groups for lost and found dogs, and local pages that people post on, share it on social media and ask people to share the more awareness that is raised the more chance someone will see your dog.
5. Check the local animal shelters in your town, contact the police. Leave a complete description of your dog with them in case anyone hands your dog in, Include your name and contact information. And leave a recent photograph of you and your dog.
6. Check all the local pet shops and veterinarians. One of the first places a person will take a dog if they find it is to the local vets. So you could ask the staff or vets if somebody has reported a lost dog, and leave your details in case anyone does.
7. Post details of your missing dog along with your contact information around the local area especially where the dog went missing.
8. Put in your local newspaper, if you get a free paper in your area put an ad in there, and also check the classifieds someone may have put an ad in saying they have found a dog. You could also offer a reward.
Getting your dog home
The worst thing imaginable for a dog lover is for them to lose their precious companion, and getting them back as quickly as possible is the main priority, I suggest you don’t just pick a couple of these things to try, you should do them all, as the more publicity you gather and the more aware you make people to your dogs disappearance the more likely and sooner you will get them home.
When I got one of my dogs a few years ago, my friend also had her brother, one day we had gone over to other friends for a barbecue, and he had left his dad looking after his dogs, and his dad let them out in the yard but had forgotten to put the chain on the gate, and one of his dogs could open it, so a while later we get a call saying he was missing, we rushed home, and basically looked everywhere. It was a Saturday evening so nowhere as far as shelters, vets, shops etc were open, so I contacted a lost and found page on Facebook they put up an ad about him, and we put stuff on our social media, we spent most of the night driving and walking around the area but could not find him. We made posters and on the Sunday morning we were walking around the local area attaching them to trees and lampposts when suddenly I had a call from the lady who ran the lost and found page on Facebook saying someone had found him the night before but because it was around 9 pm they had taken him home for the night and fed him ham.
We were exhausted and emotional, and so very happy, we went and bought a massive bouquet of flowers and took them to the persons’ house to say thank you and fetched him home. So, in the end, it was a happy ending. He did not have a collar on, as my friend only usually put it on when taking him for a walk, but he was microchipped. The lady said she would have taken him to the vets on Monday when they reopened to get him scanned, so my friend would have got him back anyway. But she had been checking the local pages on Facebook and had seen the post I had put on the lost and found page, and had contacted them.
So I just wanted to say these things do really work, make sure your dogs are microchipped or wearing ID and do all of the other things I mentioned as they will help you find your best friend I am talking from experience. Then, when you get them back, all you have to do is make sure they know how much you love and missed them.