Pet parents often have a deep love and a strong bond with their animal companions. The pet is a cherished member of the family who brings joy, love, and companionship. It is not “just a dog” or “just a cat.” So, when a cherished pet disappears from home, it is understandable if you feel disoriented and distressed. The confusion could trigger all sorts of imaginations and irrational actions.
Act strategically and fast. Take the following steps to help bring your furry friend back home to safety.
Get the word out
Found out that your pet is lost? Do not wait for a couple of hours for your pet to find its way back home. As soon as you notice your cat or dog is missing, get the word out. You will have a better chance of finding your lost pet if you start the search early.
Use a good, clear, recent photo of the pet to make posters and index cards. Write the words, “lost cat or dog! Call Your Number,” in bold. Then provide a brief but concise description of the pet with information about the breed and color. For example, you could say, “ A black Maine Coon with white spot between the eyes, and a striped tail.” Remember to include the name.
Distribute the posters and index cards in the neighborhood and talk with people as you hand them out. Many people will relate to your anguish. Some will share words of encouragement, and others could join in the search.
Search the neighborhood
Look for the pet as you distribute the posters and stick the index cards on cars around the neighborhood. If you could get volunteers, it would be great!
Walk around the street corners calling out the pet. Thoroughly check places where the pet could get trapped and likely hiding places. Lost pets are also frightened. They often hide during the day to avoid interaction with an unknown world. So, double-check and call out the name in basements, garages, and abandoned areas. You never know if your precious pet is trapped or hiding, and all they are hoping for is a familiar voice.
Check with shelters, animal control offices, and vet clinics
It is easier to find a lost pet during the daytime. However, if night falls without much fruit, don’t lose heart. Instead, intensify the calls. Pets are more likely to emerge from a hiding spot during twilight hours. If you are not successful, start checking with local shelters, animal control offices, and vets.
Our Fit Pets explain that it’s imperative to make a point to visit the establishment and look for your pet. Do not just call and give verbal descriptions. Chances are, these facilities encounter dozens of lost animals each day and would find it hard to identify your lost pet.
Use social media and other online resources
More people rely on social media as their primary source of breaking news than any other form of media. Many pet owners understand how powerful social media is and have formed lost and found animal groups on Facebook and other platforms. Don’t hesitate to identify such groups from your area and post information about your lost pet. Remember to include a picture, a description, and who to contact. Make it easier for people in your circles to find your post by using helpful hashtags.
Don’t forget to place ads in traditional media outlets within the local area. Send the poster to local newspapers and radio stations. Some could set up your broadcast for free.
Make sure the description, name, contact details, and information about where the pet was lost are clear.
Consider including a reward for successful recovery. A little prize money can go a long way and motivate someone to help you find your lost pet. But also be wary of pet recovery scams. When a stranger calls and claims to have found your pet, request them to send a clear photo of the animal they have in their custody. Avoid giving the reward unless you are sure about the pet and its safety.
Don’t give up and prevent future disappearances!
At times our furry friends behave uncharacteristically or wander far away from the safety of a familiar home. If your pet is lost, don’t hold back. Tell everybody, look everywhere, get all the help you can. Check at the shelters and the vet clinics. Do not give up. Your pet is counting on you.
Most importantly, learn how to prevent future occurrences. Find out what triggered the odd behavior and attend to it. Then make sure your pet always has a collar with a visible ID tag and your telephone number. Take necessary measures to ensure your pet’s safety when you travel to a strange place. For example, you can consider using a collar with a GPS tracker. Also, consider microchipping them. If the pet strays and lands in a shelter or at the vet clinic, they can identify it and notify you.