With the arrival of nicer weather, lots of folks are planning vacations and even staycations with their dogs, while others may leave their dogs home with a trusted family member or friend or possibly board them out. But while you are making plans, have you given thought to what happens if your dog gets loose from where they are staying and suddenly becomes lost? Or, you come across a dog that is lost? In either case, what do you do? What are the first steps to get a report and poster out? How wide of a net should you go cast with notices of a lost or found dog?
The good news is there are professional answers to these questions, and reliable resources to help. In getting the word out, social media is a huge asset in helping share reports of a lost or found dog. Because dogs can travel, or be taken, great distances, it is key to share notices and fliers not just locally, but across the country. There have been wonderful stories of dogs reunited with their families from hundreds of miles away, and sometimes even months to years later. A reunion between a lost pet and family is always a joyous occasion to celebrate.
What happens when a dog becomes lost?
Obviously, it is a very confusing and scary time for a dog as they are no longer with their family or in their familiar surroundings. According to Lost Dog of America, they go into “survival mode, a natural response that dogs can exhibit when they are lost or separated from their owners. It is characterized by a range of behaviors that help dogs adapt to their new environment and increase their chances of survival until they can be reunited with their owners.”
How to begin a Lost Dog search?
A great place to start is with assistance from Lost Dogs of America, that is an extensive informational site that also includes a network of Facebook pages across America that now includes all 50 states and the District of DC. They are a FREE service.
How to post your lost or found notice (dog, cat, or other pet)?
First stop, lists LostDogsOfAmerica.org, is to file a report using this link (https://petfbi.org/) and PetFBI will work with you to take your report and automatically create a FREE flyer and “your listing will be posted to the appropriate state page.”
Be sure to have a current photo of your dog and description, as well as microchip number and as much info to the location where the dog was last located. Also important is to list any markings, special needs, and/or medications the dog may be on.
What are the first things to do when a dog goes missing?
According to Lost Dogs of America, there are five things to do:
Immediately put out food, water, dog’s bed, and an article of your clothing at the scene where your dog went missing in case the dog returns (and yes, it is possible).
Make flyers and signs (similar to Garage & Yard Sale signs). Have dog’s photo and a contact number (that will be public) on the sign. Check your phone often! Go door-to-door in the neighborhood where you dog was last with posters to see if anyone has seen him/her.
Contact local animal shelters and rescues, animal control office, police, and vet clinics to report your dog missing. It’s also important to contact the microchip company and your own vet to let them both know the dog is missing.
Instruct everyone who is helping search for your dog to NOT chase or call your dog. They should lay down, avert eye contact, and gently toss out treats to lure the dog in while calling you on the phone.
Post your dog on HelpingLostPets.com. It is a no-cost data base run by the non-profit Pet FBI. Through their online form, they will take you through the steps to create a Lost or Found flyer.
What to do if you’ve found a dog?
States Lost Dogs of America:
Check for a license and ID tag. Ask around the neighborhood to see if anyone recognizes the dog.
Have the dog scanned for a microchip. Bring the found dog to a veterinarian or shelter office for scanning.
Report the found dog to all authorities. These include local police (non-emergency line), town/city animal control office. Bring the dog with you if you cannot leave it safely at home.
Create a Found flyer. Post them around the neighborhood and at animal service businesses.
Post the found dog to PetFBI.org, NextDoor, newspapers (note: be careful with this one. Do not give away too many details. Let the burden of proof be on the caller to be sure it is indeed the dog’s legit owner and not a scam). List on any Lost and Found Facebook groups.
What contact number should you use on flyers and posters?
In this day and age, and for safety sake, it’s nice to have another option other than listing your own telephone number in order to weed out any calls that are unrelated to your lost pet. Did you know that Google Voice can provide a FREE internet telephone service that will supply you with a phone number to use?
According to Lost Dogs of America, “Google Voice will redirect the calls to your existing phone so you’ll still get sightings and leads as soon as they come in. You will also get an email when you miss a call.” To set this up, you will need a Google account or Email first, then go to the Google Voice website to sign up.
Be sure to check out the website for a large library of more tips including tracking info, other steps to take, info on microchips, helpful articles, and much more. It truly is a one-stop shop to help with lost and found dogs.
Tune in to The Sibe Vibe’s “Help Me! I’m Lost!” Podcast
This 2-part series, hosted by The Sibe Vibe aired on Dog Works Radio, features Kathy Pobloskie, is the co-founder of Lost Dogs of America, an umbrella organization for other Lost Dogs State Facebook pages. She is also the director and co-founder of Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, an all-volunteer 501c.3 organization committed to reuniting owners with their lost dogs.
The other featured guest is Barb McDonald, a Siberian Husky owner for more than 40 years, Husky rescue adopter and volunteer, a Lost Dogs of Wisconsin volunteer, and one of the admins to the Lost/Found Husky Dogs group page on Facebook. The information in this two-part series is packed with helpful information:
So, if you’ve lost a dog, or should see a stray one, we hope the information and tips listed here will help bring a happily ever after to both dog and family.
4Knines is a pet-focused business. They believe it is important to give back to the animal community. Over the past 10 years of doing business, “Every purchase made has helped dogs all across the country.” They showcase efforts of animal advocacy groups through donations they make to a different canine charity each month. In addition, 4Knines donates all like-new returned items to organizations that help dogs in need. Check out their line of fantastic products HERE!
Did You Know…?
4Knines hosts a monthly Photo Contest!
Take a photo of your dog using one of their products, upload it HERE, and you could win a $50 4Knines gift card and be featured on their social media!
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author. Her canine books include EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books: What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle (ArcticHouse Publishing). Her internationally top blogsite is FiveSibes™ , based on her five Siberian Huskies, and includes an online encyclopedia for the Siberian Husky breed.
Her work has also appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul & Rosie the Riveter book series, Woman’s World Magazine, AmericanPet Magazine, American Dog Media, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy has been awarded the prestigious Maxwell Medallion by the Dog Writers of America Association for “Excellence” for her writing, photography, and fiction. Her book EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy received the Independent Press Award for “Excellence” in the Reference Book category and the NYC Big Book Award for “Excellence” in the Animal/Pet book category. She was named “Best Author” by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four of her books were named “Best in Print” by AmericanPet Magazine.
An official International Purple Day® for (K9) Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy partnered with the nonprofit Purple Day® Every Day presented by The Anita Kaufmann Foundation for her #Paws4Purple initiative, and she created the #FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K9 Epilepsy Online Resource Library—all inspired by her epileptic Siberian Husky, Gibson, in order to help other Epi-dog families find accurate information to help their Epi-dogs.