Lost or Found–What to Do?

By Dawn Aerts

I’ve only lost one dog in my life, who we called ‘the puc.’  He was the happy-go-lucky puppy that was known to dart and zig-zag across the floor and then right into our hearts despite his flamboyant and carefree nature.

The day he went missing, we frantically patrolled the neighborhood, searched the alleyways, called the local shelters, and posted a ‘photo’ on telephone poles.  In short, we were beside ourselves with worry, and there was little more we could do than continue a hopeless search.

That is, until we received a call three days later.

“Hey, I think I found your dog over here,” the gentlemen said with genuine enthusiasm.  I was stunned. “How did you find him, and us?” I asked with obvious wonder.  “Well we happened to look at the collar, with a phone number!”

Yes, I had forgotten about the little blue collar, when we thought it a nice idea to write this line in ink:  REWARD, if found call xxx.  So that, my friends, is my best ‘tip’ on things you can do (before) you lose a dog, and five things to do after your pet is lost.

First, when your pet meanders away, you’ll want to stay calm.  Of course you’re upset, but you need to locate the wanderer as soon as possible and every minute counts.  In other words, the longer they’re gone, the further they travel.  So take a deep breath.

Second, it’s always wise to check the house, the yard and the garage before the full search — but let your neighbors know your pet is missing (with a photo) which will get more people out ‘looking’ for the stray animal in the yard.  Local shelters suggest you contact them as early as possible with a pet description in case they are picked up or turned in by someone in the days ahead.

A next step is to ‘post a physical flyer’ in nearby businesses or in other public places.  You can also use that posting to make a digital post on sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., as these too can be effective in giving your lost pet some attention and add to your ‘look’ base.

Some people suggest leaving a recently worn article (an unwashed sock or other item) around the yard, as a dog or cat have been known to recognize and find the scent.  I’ve known cat owners who have placed the litter box or their pet’s food dish outside the door, to retrieve a lost kitty.

Finally, it goes without saying – that both pet collars and microchips have become more helpful in locating a lost pet.  And, don’t give up.  If you happen to have a pet collar, you may want to sketch in your phone number with the words REWARD noted inside and your phone number.

Yes, it actually worked — twice!

IN support of your local animal shelters.  If you can offer a caring home to an adoptable dog or cat, contact the Enoch Animal Control Office, the Cedar City Shelter or Iron County, at 435-586-8791, or 435-586-2960.

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