When your dog or cat goes missing, the first thing that people do is PANIC. …and that’s AOK. But if you want to find your pet, the following are critical steps that the owner should take in the first week.
THE FIRST HOUR
- Look very carefully nearby. Cats typically don’t travel far. Dogs may be within the neighborhood. Yelling for your dog may help. Yelling for your cat probably won't.
- For cats, look under steps, in pipes, in sheds, garages, and any place close by where it may hide. Then look again!!!
- Visit MissingCritters.com and click LOST A CRITTER to search and post your missing pet. It’s 100% free, easy, and highly efficient. Visit often.
THE FIRST DAY
- Check with neighbors and especially ask children. A wondering dog is likely to have been spotted and, if you pet is friendly and found by an animal lover, it is likely in someone’s possession. (I speak from experience!)
- Flyers should be posted in the neighborhood by day’s end. A cat is probably still close, but a dog has been following smells and other dogs, chasing critters, and exploring the neighborhood.
- Visit the local shelter near the end of their work day. You can call them, but it’s much better to visit. If the loss occurs on a weekend or holiday, it should be the first place you go when they are next open.
THE FIRST WEEK
- VISIT YOUR LOCAL SHELTER EVERY OTHER DAY (NO LESS THAN EVERY 3 DAYS). Your window of opportunity is between 3 days and a week before an unclaimed pet is either euthanized, moved to adoption quarters, or transported to another shelter.
- Most believe that one visit to the shelter is enough. Shelters don’t have the resources to match each stray brought in with all the notices on file. What I typically hear is, “They have my name and a description. They’ll call.” WRONG!!!!
- Posters/flyers should be up not just in the neighborhood, but within a mile from where your pet went missing. Also, a daily visit to MissingCritters.com is easy, efficient, and cost free.