the adventures of Addie, my friend Carla’s Heeler/Corgi mix that spent 11 days out on her own in the Novato Open Space. Her story had a happy ending as the dog was safely reunited with her worried owner, and other than being thin, covered in ticks and having diarrhea, she was basically unhurt.
Would you know what to do if your pet disappeared?
I learned a lot of new things while helping with this search. All my previous knowledge was based on urban searches, which would be the scenario for any pet lost in suburban areas. Wilderness searches are a whole different story.
And I learned that the type of dog you are searching for plays a big role – you need a slightly different strategy for timid, scared dogs than for out-going ones.
The one thing both have in common is that you can’t do it alone. You need to encourage, bribe, solicit, beg – whatever it takes to get everyone helping you. The more eyes looking for a lost pet, the higher the likelihood of finding her!
Everyone knows the three-word rule if you were to catch on fire, right? Stop, drop and roll. Making it short and simple helps people remember what to do. So what do you do when looking for a lost pet? Alert, Search and Post.
- Alert the microchip company that your pet is chipped with, the shelters in your area and your neighbors.
- Actively begin searching – starting with the most obvious areas and expanding as time goes by.
- Post flyers and posters everywhere, put ads on Craigslist and with other lost animal websites as well as in your local papers.
An email alert for your neighborhood would be a great way to notify everyone at once of any sightings and was really a key in Carla’s search. There is a new website called https://nextdoor.com that lets neighbors sign up for a local e-link which everyone should join.
In an urban search, especially with a friendly, recognizable breed of animal, the chances are higher that someone has found your animal. What you need to do in that situation is offer enough of an incentive (reward) that they will be willing to return her to collect the reward. Not that these people are necessarily evil. Sometimes they think they are “rescuing” an unwanted or abandoned pet without realizing that someone might actually be looking for her. Often it’s the kids that bring the animal home and parents are just too busy to go out of their way to look for the owners.
There are three websites that have very helpful information. Sherlock Bones offers an inexpensive booklet that, among other things, explains some of the psychology of how to motivate people to help find your pet.
Missing Pet Partnership explains exactly how to create an effective poster based on the theory that you have about five seconds as people drive by to get the point across. What they say makes total sense and by doing it right the first time you can save time and money and get your pet back sooner.
Missing Pet Central is selling a service but it can give you an idea for an interesting way to create a flyer that you might hand out to people in your neighborhood.
Having a plan is essential and can help give you hope that you will recover your missing pet. Hopefully you won’t ever need this information, but keep it handy just in case.
Is your pet missing? Post a photo and details for FREE on Larkspur-Corte Madera Patch in our Announcements directory.