It can happen in just a mater of minute, friends arrive at your house, doors are opened, greetings exchanged and while you’re not looking Sparky slips out of the yard and off on an adventure.
In my case, I was shoveling the driveway and letting my dog enjoy bouncing through the snow drifts. One minute she was in the yard, the next she was gone. Thankfully I could follow her prints in the snow and found her one block away with a family that had leashed her and were going to have her picked up by the shelter. Calling me would have been nice, since my dog had tags on with my number on them, and maybe they did but since I was outside shoveling I didn’t get the phone call.
She had only been gone minutes, I was calling for her, and if they hadn’t tied her up she would have come to me. But they didn’t know if she had been out for minutes or hours, so leashing her and contacting animal control probably was the right thing to do. If I had not found her when I did, she would have spent the night in the local shelter and they would have called me the next day to pick her up. I would have spent a worried night, but she would have been safe and warm.
In a perfect world dogs would not leave their yards unless accompanied by their owner on a leash; but we don’t live in a perfect world, be ready in case of emergency.
Before a dog is lost:
- Every dog needs to have a collar with 3 id tags attached: one showing current owner phone numbers, another indicating rabies vaccine is up to date, and their local license id. If your dog ends up at a shelter, they will use this information to alert you and with a current rabies id tag your dog won’t receive an unnecessary vaccination.
- Get your dog micro-chipped and keep the chip contact information up-to-date.
- Have a current photo and description available to make a printable missing dog flyer and for posting on the internet.
After a dog is lost:
- Search your neighborhood and alert your neighbors
- Print up flyers – including dogs name, photo and how to contact you
- Take flyers to your local shelter, vets office, pet supply store, dog park, grocery store, any place you can think of that people who care about animals will see it and possibly help
- Go to your local shelter every day to see if your animal is waiting for you there. Shelters will try to contact owners based on dog license, id tags and microchips, but if the information they find is out of date, they don’t know how to reach you. Please realize, owners will be required to pay a fee to reclaim their dog from the local shelter. These fees are necessary to help defer the cost of caring for your pet.
- File a report at Lost dogs of Wisconsin.org http://lostdogsofwisconsin.org/report/
- A longer list of things to do can be found at FindFinder.com http://www.fidofinder.com/find-your-lost-dog.php
- Check dog for id tag – Call the number on the tag – leave a message if possible
- If no tags, take dog to a vet or shelter to be scanned for a microchip – if a microchip is found you can go to http://rfid-usa.org/ to help you locate the owner
- If you choose to foster the dog while you look for the owner file a Found dog report at http://lostdogsofwisconsin.org/report/
- If you are unable to foster the dog take him to your county shelter who can properly care for him while giving his family an opportunity to locate and claim him
I hope your dog never goes missing, but knowing what to do and that there are people out there willing to assist you can make this situation manageable.
Lost dogs of Wisconsin Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/findfido
Lost dogs of Wisconsin website http://lostdogsofwisconsin.org/
Lost dogs of Illinois website http://www.lostdogsillinois.org/
America’s National Lost & Found Pet Database http://lostfoundpets.us/
Fido Finder Lost Dog Database http://www.fidofinder.com