Scooby Doo, Where Are You? Finding Lost Dogs

Dogs — By on October 29, 2011

Does your basset hound think he’s the ambassador of romance? Should your husky have been nicknamed Houdini? Did your bored border collie bore his way out of your yard?

Scooby Doo RunningAlthough they may be having a blast, losing a pet can be one of the most stressful times in our lives.  Fortunately, with immediate, proactive efforts, most pups can be found. Prevent regrets by searching while the trail is still fresh.

One of the keys to finding lost dogs is to take into account their personalities.  A gregarious greyhound may go home with any attractively scented human. A shy pet may be in the petunia patch.

When you have ascertained that your pooch is on walkabout, walk, bike or slowly drive in ever-expanding circles from the spot they were last seen. Even though you may want to strangle your rotten Rottie, call calmly. Follow this by intensely listening.  Allow time for your pet to approach. If the alpha human is unavailable, you may record them calling and loop the recording.

Quiet nights can be an especially productive time to search as calls will carry farther however they may not endear you to sleeping neighbors. Look at the bright side: they will be just as motivated to have you find your dog as you are!

If Fido got lost when you were on an outing, he is likely to return to the parking area or if that is not an option, the last place he saw you. If you can’t wait out your pup’s safari, try the hunter’s technique of leaving food, water, and an especially stinky piece of clothing in that spot. Check back often. You may find your pooch snuggling the same shirt your partner condemned.

Searching for a lost pet can leave you dog-tired. Enlist the help of family, friends, and neighbors. Canvas the area with flyers. Tell neighbors, mail carriers, and landscapers that you are missing your pets. Inform veterinarians, pet stores, groomers, kennels, and breed aficionados. Post flyers or (better yet) banners at intersections. Use vehicles as moving billboards.

Flyers should be designed and hung with fast-moving car traffic in mind. In addition to “Lost Poodle” for example, they should have a picture, description of the companion animal, and phone number followed by “any time.” Do not include dates. Make flyers last with a clear plastic sheet protector. Beware of humans:  high reward amounts or indications that your pup is a purebred may give people the incentive to chase Fido into the next county.Lost Family

Advertise in your local paper, call the news into your local radio stations. Utilize the Internet and post on Craigslist, Facebook and other social networks.  Leave a message on your voicemail asking respondents to state where, when and what they saw so that you don’t feel obligated to answer your phone in the loo.

Regularly visit shelters and rescue groups. Ironically, although the local shelter may be the first place you’ll look, many people won’t turn found pets in out of fear that they will be euthanized. Besides, an especially cute pooch may not end up there until its “rescuer” discovers its penchant for fine footwear.

If you’re in a rural setting (especially if your dog is skittish), consider asking hunters to help track your pet. Bait humane traps with food that has an intense aroma (bring home the bacon).

To minimize wanderlust, get your canines neutered. Make their yards secure and lives engaging. Outfit them with collars with IDs. Keep their microchip info up-to-date.

If your pet is a veteran escape artist, keep current photos on hand. Consider investing in collars that track your pet’s location. You can even play pet detective and check on your howling Houdini from a work computer. Don’t give up. Truth is, there are many ways to keep this from becoming another Shaggy dog story.

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