Category Archives: lost dog

What to Do When Your Dog Gets Loose

By Ruthie Bently

As a responsible pet owner you never want anything to happen to your dog, but what about those times you have no control over? We have a fenced yard for Skye, but accidents sometimes happen. A delivery person drops off a package and forgets to close the gate or Steve goes to work and forgets to latch it. Like most dogs, Skye loves to play and go for walks and car rides; an open gate is a different matter altogether.

To a dog an open door or gate means freedom – real freedom, not the kind of freedom they get at the end of a leash or at the dog park. It’s the “I’m on my own and can go where I want” freedom. All of the neighborhood smells are very enticing to dogs. The female dog in heat six blocks away or the smells coming from the neighbor’s garbage can; even the smell of something to roll in can trigger their wanderlust.

If this happens to you, what do you do when your dog gets loose? The most important thing is not to panic. You need a clear head to find your dog, and panic will only detract from you doing that in a timely fashion. Time is of the essence, don’t waste it. Enlist your family and friends, as they can help you complete multiple tasks at one time. Call as many neighbors as you can, as well as any veterinary offices and animal shelters in your area. Contact the local police animal control officer and make them aware of the situation. They’ll want to know how long the dog has been missing and from where. Unfortunately, dog theft is on the rise and the more information you can remember, the better you can help the police recover your dog if this is the case.

If you have a photo of your dog, make up flyers with their picture as well as your contact information. Include your dog’s name, age, gender, any scars your dog may have, whether or not they were micro-chipped or tattooed, and where they were last seen. Be as specific as possible. Get the flyers made as quickly as possible and begin distributing them. Make sure to get copies to the vet offices, shelters and police departments you contacted, as well as your neighbors. If there is a grocery store or mall nearby, ask the store owners if they’ve seen your dog or if they will put your flyer in their window. If you know which direction your dog went, take flyers, a leash, spare collar, dog treats and their favorite noisy toy with you. Get in the car and begin driving in that direction. Make sure you leave someone at home to man the phones in case your dog is found while you are out looking.

The best thing to do is to be prepared. If you have a plan in place before your dog becomes lost, you can accomplish finding them that much faster. Have a current photo of your dog taken and update it every six months. Write down a detailed description of your dog. Include the information mentioned above, as well as your current contact information. Make sure your dog’s identification tag has your current address and phone numbers on it. You may want to have another family member’s phone number on it as well. Take your dog for a walk in the neighborhood and stop and introduce yourself and your dog to the neighbors. Your neighbors will be less afraid of a strange dog wandering the neighborhood if they have already met it in person.

Consider a GPS collar for your dog. There’s a company in Minnesota that manufactures one that you don’t need a cell phone or monthly subscription to be able to use. It has a hand held GPS system that uses current satellite technology to find your dog. If your dog is not microchipped or tattooed, you might want to consider that. Shelters are required by law to have a microchip reader, and many dogs have found their way home due to this technology. Many veterinary offices also have chip readers and if a stray is brought in they’ll do what they can to return your dog.

No one that lives with a dog ever wants to be separated from them. The emotions we feel for our canine companions run as deep as those for a human family member. By being prepared you can help bring your beloved dog home quicker, and the reunion will be that much sweeter.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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What To Do With a Stray Dog

By Ruthie Bently

Has this ever happened to you? You’re traveling on a country road, a busy interstate or even at your favorite store and you see a dog without their human owner. What do you do? First of all, if you decide to approach this dog, do so with caution. You don’t know how long it has been on its own, and it may have been traumatized by its experience. Though this may be someone’s four-legged baby and might be the most wonderful dog in the world under normal circumstances, it has sharp teeth and could be frightened by what it has been through so far.

A biscuit or a food item may be a good thing to have in your hand, as this will distract their focus and may also endear you to them. You should check to see if the dog has a collar, and hopefully tags as well. You can also check with any neighbors in the area to see if anyone has lost a dog. If you are uncomfortable taking the dog home, then contact the local animal shelter or humane society. Sometimes these are linked to the police department animal control unit. If you want to take the dog home, you should still contact the local shelter or humane society to let them know you found a dog. Giving them as complete a description as you can is important, as this will facilitate getting the dog home sooner.

If you take the dog home with you, they should be provided with food, water and a safe place to rest. Check the local papers every day for listings of a lost dog, as well as with local veterinarians. You can either keep the dog until the owner is found or take them to the shelter after 24 hours. However, if you take the dog to the shelter, check to see what their policies are on euthanasia as some have a seven day limit for keeping lost pets. Ask if they are a “no kill” shelter, and what will happen to the dog if they are not reunited with their owner within a week.

Do your best to make sure the dog gets home by hanging flyers, and place an ad in the local paper (many local papers offer free “found dog” ads). Also make sure the information gets to your local police department and vets, as well as those in the town where you found the dog (if it’s a different city than yours). Many dogs are micro-chipped now, so check with your local shelter or vet to see if they have a universal chip reader. This may also get the dog home sooner.

I had an interesting experience with a lost dog once. Though it took a bit of ingenuity, I was finally able to reunite the dog with his owner. It was early one Sunday morning at the store where I worked as pet department manager. A customer came in and mentioned there was a German Shepherd sitting by the front door. I went out to see the dog; it was waiting patiently so I thought he was waiting for his owner to come out of the store. He seemed friendly so I gave him a pat and went back to work. Little did I know, I would become more involved in this dog’s life.

I checked to see if he had tags on his collar, and he had a rabies tag but no name tag. While this was a bit of a setback, I knew I could still find his owner. You see, the rabies tag had the phone number of the county that issued it. I called the number, and with a bit of research they were able to give me the dog’s name and told me that his rabies vaccination was up to date, even though the tag had been issued more than a year before. Unfortunately the phone number she gave me for the owner was no longer valid, as he had moved since the dog was vaccinated.

The story still has a happy ending. Because I called the county that issued the rabies tag, they were eventually able to get in touch with the owner, and he and his dog were reunited. It turns out the dog lived in Wisconsin and was loaned to a friend in Chicago while his owner went out of town. The problem was the “babysitter” didn’t realize the dog’s commitment to his owner. I am a fan of Sheila Burnford’s book “The Incredible Journey,” and this dog must have been also. He got loose one day while on an outing with the babysitter and decided to go home.

This dog had a lot of heart and just wanted to go home to the person who loved him the best. And isn’t that what we all want in the end? Bless you and yours, be they two or four-legged.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.