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Sam Dobson Writes: Lost Dog (Prevention + What To Do If The Unthinkable Happens)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lost Dog (Prevention + What To Do If The Unthinkable Happens)

Over the weekend a coworker/friend's dog went missing under some unfortunate circumstances. While the owners went away for a fun weekend in the snow, their little terrier mix escaped unbeknownst to the people taking care of her. Sweet little Boo is the dog mommy of my newest edition, Levy, so this is very near and dear to my heart. Every time I go on vacation, my biggest fear is that something horrible and unrealistic will happen to my dogs. Blake tolerates the phone calls and many visits to the Paws webcams that I make daily while away. I can only imagine what my friend is going through.

Now back from her trip (she found out about her missing four-legged child a few days after the disappearance), my friend has hit the pavement hard. Posters hang from hundreds of trees and light posts and the search has continued on foot all across our little town. Just about every coworker has shared the information with all of their followers on Facebook. We are doing our best to get Boo home.

The dog paranoia I experience while on vacation may not be totally unwarranted. My friend's nightmare is just enough to remind me that this can happen to anyone. This is why it's important to know what you can do to prevent your dog from getting lost and what to do if it happens despite your best efforts.

Preventing Your Dog From Getting Lost

A collar and tags with current contact information is your best friend's best friend. I will admit that I rarely keep collars on my dogs while at home, but if they were to get out while we weren't home, identification would make a reunion more likely. Always keep a collar on your pup for outings, when having guests over, on noisy holidays (think scary fireworks and other loud noises) and when left alone at home.

Take a quick tour of your yard or patio. Are there any weak spots? Look for space between the ground and the bottom of fencing that your dog can impressively squeeze under. Make sure your fence is high enough so Fido can't jump it and look for loose boards to nail down. Dogs are more clever than we give them credit. If they are scared or anxious and there is a weak spot in your yard, they will find it.

What To Do If Your Dog Gets Lost

The second you realize Fluffy isn't where she is supposed to be you should take action. Start by searching every nook and cranny of your house and yard. I've heard plenty of stories about dogs hiding for one reason or another while their owners search all over town, assuming they got lost. Once your search of the house and yard has concluded with no luck, check the immediate outdoor area around your house and don't be afraid to shout your pup's name. Chances are, they haven't gone far in the short amount of time it took you to realize they were gone. The sound of your voice may be enough to turn your wandering dog around. 

If your beloved dog is in fact, gone, remain calm and keep proactive. Call all the local shelters in your area, don't rule out the county shelter either. Check back frequently and leave a contact number and pet description if possible. 

Spreading the word about your missing pooch is the most effective tool in bringing him home. Don't underestimate the power of social media. Post pictures and information on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter then ask friends and family to share the information with their followers. Craigslist is a good resource for listing lost and found dogs too. 

Old fashioned flyers are a must! Find a clear picture and put it together with some details about your pup and your contact info. Run off tons of copies and enlist friends and family to help you post them all around the area your pup was last seen. Information is key. A simple tip on your dog's last whereabouts can lead you in the right direction. You never know what a dog lover might do, I've picked up many dogs seen by themselves on the streets. It's possible some kind soul has your pup and is waiting for the shelter to open or may have reservations about forfeiting him over to the shelter. Your flier could make it so much easier for this kind soul to contact you and say "Don't worry, I have your dog".

I know these aren't miracle solutions and the task may feel daunting, but keep your head up and keep busy. Remember, prevention is the best source of action. I know the panic that comes over you when you learn your pet is missing, it's happened to me a few times with a certain older boxer who has separation anxiety. I got lucky every time. Think positive thoughts that my friend gets lucky too. Oh, and keep an eye out for little Boo.



At March 12, 2014 at 11:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't it make sense to set traps? I know I would do that for a cat, but I'm not a dog person. The animal shelter has traps; maybe they'd be willing to let you borrow one. Yes, you might catch a skunk or a raccoon. Let them go and set it again. You might catch Boo!

At March 12, 2014 at 12:19 PM , Blogger Sam Ulmer-Dobson said...

This is an interesting idea. It could possibly work depending on the dog and the area where it went missing. Thanks for the input and your readership!


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