Losing a pet can be a traumatic experience. If your pet goes missing, these suggestions from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals can help you find your beloved four-legged friend.
Identify your animals. Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag. The tag should contain a phone number, address and your name. Most tags also include the animal’s name. Make sure the information is up to date. The same holds true if you’ve had your pet microchipped. If you change phone numbers or addresses, make sure you update the information in the microchip registry.
Don’t waste time. The chances of finding a lost pet decrease as time passes. Once you suspect your pet is missing, ask everyone when they saw your dog or cat last. Assign someone to check around the house, in closets, under beds or in the back yard. Lure your pet with its favorite food, if necessary. Once you’re sure your pet is not in the house, scan the immediate neighborhood. Have someone drive slowly while others walk. Ask neighbors or passersby if they’ve seen the animal. Take pictures of your pet with you. Even if others haven’t seen your pet, they’ll know what it looks like if they do.
Check the shelters. If your neighborhood search has proven fruitless, call the local animal shelters. Your pet may already be in their care. If the animal has no ID tags or has no distinguishing marks, you’ll have to go in person. Check the shelters daily as long as the pet is lost.
Flood the neighborhood. Post fliers in your neighborhood. The more the same flier is seen, the easier it will be for strangers to commit the information to memory. Keep the flier design and message consistent, as well as simple. State that your pet is missing: Title the flier “Missing Dog,” for example. Include a clear picture of the animal. If the photo on your flier is black and white, write a brief description of the pet’s color. Include your name, phone number and address, and where the animal was last seen. You may want to include a picture of your child holding or hugging the animal. People are more likely to respond if you involve them emotionally. Places to post fliers include lamp posts, grocery stores, near schools, parks and pet stores.
Use the Internet. The Internet was invented for networking. Send emails to any friend or acquaintance you have in the area. Include a picture of the animal and a name to contact. Post information on animal forums. Use Craigslist and other online want ads.
Keep the faith. It’s easy to get negative, frustrated or even depressed when your pet is missing. This, unfortunately, will not help and will actually hinder your ability to progress in the search. In addition, young children take these losses very hard. It’s up to the adults to maintain positivity, no matter how difficult it seems.