What To Do If Your Pet Goes Missing

It’s every pet parent’s worst nightmare when your beloved pet goes missing.  Despite our best intentions it can happen in the blink of an eye.  I know because it happened to me on Christmas night.

I hosted a great dinner for friends and family on Christmas day.  We all had a great time and my good friend, also named Carol, was the last one to leave.  We had been chatting away for quite awhile when she decided it was time to go.  Now I know my Schnauzer, Cash, has a tendency to want to dart out the door but I wasn’t even thinking about it when Carol opened the door to leave.  Whoosh!  Cash was gone in a flash, down the driveway and across the street running through a vacant lot.  Chuey was fast on his heels for a little while, but fortunately Chuey came right back when called.  He’s a mama’s boy and he’s never going to go very far without me.  But Cash was relishing his freedom.  It was so dark outside and Cash was gone in an instant and I lost sight of him in no time.  The little booger is so fast that I couldn’t even begin to keep up with him.

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Carol and I started roaming the neighborhood calling out for Cash repeatedly, but there was no sign of him anywhere.  We finally gave up and I was heartsick.  I knew I wasn’t going to get a good night’s sleep that night unless he came back home.  There’s a lot of open land around us where coyotes roam, as well as stray dogs that could attack a little guy like him.  My best hope was that because we walk the neighborhood often he would soon get tired of his adventure and return home.

But before bedtime I decided to give it one more try and I thought if I brought Chuey along on his leash that perhaps Cash would come up to us.  So with Chuey in one hand and a flashlight in the other we set out.  We had no more crossed the street in the direction Cash had left than he came running up to us.  I quickly snatched him up and carried him home.  I was so relieved and thankful!  Rest assured I’ll be more careful from now on about opening the door without making sure he’s secured first.  And we are also going to work on training him to come when called, using The Online Dog Trainer’s videos.

What If It Happens to You?

According to the Humane Society, there are several steps you should take:

  1.  File a lost pet report with every shelter within a 60 mile radius.
  2. Search your neighborhood repeatedly.
  3. Post flyers everywhere you can with your pet’s description.
  4. Post notices online.  There are a variety of websites you can use, such as Craigslist, Pet Finder, Lost Dogs of America, Lost Pet USA and Fido Finder are just a few of the most well known sites.
  5. Beware of scams.  Unfortunately there are always unscrupulous individuals out there who like to take advantage of a situation.  When talking to a stranger be sure they can provide identifying characteristics about your pet.  Be especially cautious of anyone who asks for money to return your pet.
  6. Never give up.  We’ve all heard stories or pets who have been reunited with their owners months or even years later.

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Take Precautions

No matter how careful you are, pets can escape in a flash.  You should always be sure your pet is wearing proper identification, a collar and tags with your name, address and phone number.  Ideally your pet should be micro-chipped because collars can be removed or slipped off, so a microchip is a good backup.

I know I was extremely lucky to find Cash and bring him home that same night.  He of course had identification, but that still wouldn’t have protected him from predators or being hit by a car.  Please do everything you can to keep your fur babies safe.

If you have any question, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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