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Old 09-09-2008, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
973 posts, read 2,771,283 times
Reputation: 1216

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Hi everyone,
I thought I'd post this to help others who have lost their pets and need help finding them. Having been through this a couple times, I've learned a thing or two and would like to share. There are tips on what to do ahead of time at the bottom.

1. Go look (don't call) at the local Animal Shelter or Humane Society
first. They may be there waiting for you.

If they are not there, follow these steps........
2. Gather recent photos of your pet and make up a BIG LOST PET
POSTER.
Write REWARD in bold letters at the top. Include a clear photo, detailed
description, the GENERAL area where your pet was last seen and your
contact information. Use colored markers and highlighting to grab
peoples attention. Make LOTS of copies.
3. Post the posters everywhere. On STOP signs in your neighborhood,
on the glass door of the gas stations and convenience stores within at
least a mile or two from your home. Make sure to get permission from
store owners or the poster may be removed after you leave. Put up
posters at the community pool, YMCA, park or any other place lots of
people congregate. Also, post signs at area vets offices.
The Posters need to be VISIBLE to people coming and going from the
building. The door is best.
4. Take out an ad in the major newspaper for your area. Post a REWARD,
and elect to have the type printed in bold. It gets attention. List your
pets detailed description and list the GENERAL area your pet was lost
in. Don't be too specific because if your pet wandered away from that
area, someone may not realize it is your pet if they found it.
Be wary of people who call and seem more interested about the
reward than returning your pet.
There are scammers out there. Offer to meet someone claiming to have
your pet in a very public place and tell them to bring the pet there
and you will bring the reward. Take a friend or family member with you
for safety, just in case.
5. Post a FREE ad on "CRAIGSLIST" in your area and post current photos.
6. Post a FREE ad on "PETFINDER.COM"
7. Check the "FOUND PETS" ads in the local papers and online. Look
regularly because new ads are posted daily.
8. Hit the streets!!! You and your family need to both walk and drive
through your neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods and call
the pets name. Make sure you stop and listen, too. If your pet is
nearby, but injured, it may cry to get your attention. If you and the
family are hollering non-stop, nobody will hear it.
Don't assume your pet is close by. Dogs in particular can travel a lot
in a day. Don't stop looking after a day or two. Your pet may be lost
or injured and needs your help to come home
9. While you are driving and walking the neighborhood, STOP and hand
out your Lost Pet Posters to KIDS, WALKERS, JOGGERS AND
BICYCLERS. These are the ABSOLUTE BEST people to talk to about
your lost pet because they are out in the neighborhood regularly. It is
like having LOTS of EXTRA EYES LOOKING FOR YOUR PET.

Emphasize something special about your pet to "humanize" it to them.
Is your pet elderly? Does it need daily medication? Is your pet going
blind or deaf?
"Humanizing" a pet can alter the perception that it isn't just ANY dog or
cat and that it really needs help to come home. It gives that animal a
personality or characteristic that people will remember.

(When I lost my dog, I emphasized that she was elderly and going
blind. When I continued to go through the neighborhood day after day,
people came up to me and asked, "Did you find her yet?" because they
remembered me talking about her.)

10. Go to the Animal Shelter, Humane Society and any other animal
rescue in your area armed with your posters and additional photos if
you have them. Go to the neighboring counties shelter if
you live within 10 miles of the county line.
Do NOT rely on the staff to tell you if they have your pet.
Remember, these folks see a LOT of animals. Unless your pet really
stands out from the crowd in some way, they probably won't be able
to tell you anything.
Walk through the holding area yourself and plan on on visiting on a
regular basis. Do NOT count on the staff to call if your pet is found.
Too many people have made that mistake, including me.

(My cat had been missing for days. I called the shelter daily and they
had her photos and contact information. She was wearing her
collar and I.D. when she escaped the house. After 5 days of searching
I stopped a group of kids near my house and gave them a copy of
my poster and asked if they'd seen her. They HAD seen her.
She'd been hit by a car and Animal Control had come out to do a
report and take a photo. She was left in a bag at the side of the
road, 100 feet from my house. I checked the bag and it was her.
When I called Animal Control to ask why nobody called me although
they took a report and a photo of her, they didn't have
a ready answer. My cat was wearing her collar and I.D. with my
phone # when I found her body in the bag.)

11. Talk to your neighbors and give them a copy of your poster. Don't
assume your neighbors will recognize your pet. They don't
see your pet every day. You do.
12. If your pet doesn't come home right away, don't give up hope.
I have friends whose pets were gone for days before either being
found or coming home on their own. Remember though, your pet is
counting on YOU. If they are lost, they need your help.

Tips to help get them back that you can do now, before they are lost!!!

1. Microchip your pet and register the microchip. It doesn't do any
good to have it and not register it. It may mean the difference
between your pet coming home or not.
2. Take plenty of photos and have recent ones ready if they are
needed. Use good lighting and a neutral background to clearly show
your pet's markings and coloring. Take photos from different
angles and sides. If the pet has a distinguishing feature, get
plenty of photos of that feature. (different colored eyes, a stripe
on it's muzzle, a curly tail, etc...)
3. Get a colorful collar and I.D. with your phone number for your pet.
Make sure it is tight enough it won't slip off easily but won't
choke it either. Get a new ID if you change numbers! Take photos of the collar too.
4. THE most important thing to do is SOCIALIZE YOUR PET!!!!!
You need to teach your pet that people are okay and not to be afraid
of strangers. If your pet is terrified or aggressive towards people,
chances are slim that someone can get close enough to it to catch it.
A well socialized pet will LOOK FOR people to approach if it gets
lost and hungry. A timid one will avoid people at all costs.

If you lose your pet, your persistence can pay off. The expense for ads may be a bit much for some but your pets safe return is invaluable.

Remember, there are a lot of nice people out there who will help if you only ask. Both times I lost a pet, someone pointed me in the right direction to find them. Although my pets didn't have a happy ending, yours may be one of the many lucky ones that do. It hurt to find out my pets were dead but it brought me and my family closure. My blessings to those people who helped me bring my babies home to be buried.
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:14 PM
 
Location: coos bay oregon
2,096 posts, read 7,683,402 times
Reputation: 1256
Been there, doing all that. Still praying too.
Another thing with the posters that we did, was each one I put up, had a neon colored paper behind it at an angle to catch the eye even more. And we also used cardboard backing on as many as possible to help them be more sturdy.
We also got copies of the flyers to our local mail carriers, garbage and recycle guys and newspaper delivery people. After all, they're pretty much everywhere!
My kids handed out flyers to their school mates too. Kids are all about a reward! Lots of them actually care about finding this kitty too!
We called the reality people who have the houses up for sale/rent near us, and not only gave them flyers, but asked them to check the houses in case possibly he had slipped in while they were showing a home. Theyre keeping an eye out too.

Tiffany
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:39 PM
 
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 30,318,610 times
Reputation: 3352
Thanks GizmoBizmo, it helps to hear what others have tried .
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Old 09-18-2008, 06:21 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
3,398 posts, read 6,604,931 times
Reputation: 2805
It might also help to have a tag attached to their collar with the dogs name, your address, phone number (s) and email.

You can get engraved tags like these at stores like Petsmart and Superpets for about 6-7 bucks.

I have one for mine, as well as my phone number engraved onto his leather collar.
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Old 09-27-2008, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
467 posts, read 1,473,013 times
Reputation: 366
I also recommend calling non-emergency number for local law enforcement, and also dropping off a "lost" flyer to them. They'll post it right in the dispatch room, and it does work. The one time I lost one of my foster dogs, she was gone for 3 days. She was returned because the person who found her (so hypothermic she was almost comatose) called the local PD who had my info and photo.

Additionally, any dog I've ever found, one of my first steps has been to call the PD - and 9 of 10 times, a reunion has occurred.
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