Family

Find That Lost Dog!

Take action when a pup goes missing; what you must know

One of the saddest, most anxiety-provoking events that can happen to a family is losing a beloved dog.

Standing at the back door calling your dog’s name, perhaps shaking a bag of food while peering hopefully into the darkness, are what parents do with a heavy heart when Fido goes missing. Many times, your dog returns unscathed, back from a happy romp in the woods or fields.

“A tag is inexpensive and easy to make. There’s just no reason not to take this simple step.”

But when he doesn’t come home — there are several steps you can take to facilitate his return.

First, prevention is always best. Take advantage of microchipping and tagging your dog, to protect him before he takes off.

Microchipping is a permanent record of your pet’s unique ID number on a tiny chip, which is placed under its skin. When scanned, the ID number goes to a recovery service, where your pet’s information is stored. Implanting the microchip doesn’t hurt your pet any more than a routine vaccination, and the cost is about $45. If tags or the collar falls off, you dog can still be identified by its chip.

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The next line of defense? ID tags.

“Tags are really important,” Paul Flumer, the dog and cat manager at Petco in Falls Church, Virginia, told LifeZette. “I have heard people saying, ‘I don’t need a tag — my dog loves me and knows his way home.’

“That’s not smart,” he added. “A tag is inexpensive and easy to make. There’s just no reason not to take this simple step. And, in the sad event your dog does get hit by a car, through his tag you can be notified. At least you know what happened and can have closure.”

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The American Humane Society also advises that when a dog disappears, act quickly. “Don’t waste days hoping your pet will come home. The sooner you begin your search, the better the odds of finding him,” the group explains on its website.

The American Humane Society also explains the following actions you can take for finding your canine family member.

Search. Look for places you pet may have become trapped — a neighbor’s garage or shed, for example. A lost pet often will hide during the day, so be sure to go out again at night with a flashlight and call for him.

Call. Immediately file a “lost pet” report with your local animal shelter and the animal control authority in your town. Also, connect with shelters in other towns.

Visit. Don’t just call the shelter; check in physically every day. Perhaps your dog was brought in after you called, or is dirty or muddy and doesn’t look like your phoned-in description.

Write. Make posters, adding a good photo of your dog, and put them up in your neighborhood and in post offices, libraries, pet supply stores, veterinary clinics and grocery stores.

Inform. Tell your veterinarian, groomer, and dog walker that your pet is lost in case they receive any information through their networks.

Watch. Keep an eye on the Internet and newspapers. Place ads in local newspapers and on free Internet classified sites such as craigslist.com.

Reward. Offer a reward, in case someone has your dog and is thinking of keeping him.

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And lastly, don’t forget to believe in miracles.

“Our cocker-poo Rascal was lost for two weeks, and we were devastated,” Carole Elizabeth, of Baltimore, Maryland told LifeZette. “We had people reporting different possible sightings, we put up posters, and we looked and looked, day and night. One day, my mom got a call — a family had found our dog almost as soon as he went missing, and had taken him in. They saw his picture on one of our posters.

“We always appreciated that they called us, because their kids were in love with him,” she said. “But the parents patiently explained to them that it was the right thing to do — return him to his family.”

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