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What to Do if Your Pet is Lost

I had a scary thing happen today. Max got out our back gate because the pool guy didn’t close the gate and properly latch it. I’d let him out to do his business and after a half hour (because sometimes he takes 20 minutes), I went looking for him. He wasn’t anywhere to be found. I grabbed a leash and went calling his name. My neighbor 2 doors down said that a woman had picked him up at the house across the street from me. She rang that doorbell, but not my own, and I’d just missed her driving away with him. She told my neighbor that she was going to come back to put up signs for him and she took his number but didn’t give him hers. So I gave him my number and then I put up a simple sign in my front yard:

Lost Pug – Maximus – along with my address.

I then waited by the front window and watched for the car matching her car’s description to drive by. I saw her drive by, look at the sign, and then she pulled into my driveway and I went out to speak with her. I told her I was indeed missing  a pug. She drove home (a few streets away) and brought back Max. He’s now tired out and resting from having played with her dogs for 3 hours. I thanked her profusely!

I was very grateful that my story ended this way because it could have ended another way.

So here’s what you do if this happens to you.
1. Don’t panic! (this is a hard one for me) and go outside looking for your pet. Bring treats and call their name.
2. Immediately ask your surrounding neighbors if they’ve seen your pet.
3. Immediately make a sign that says Lost Pet – Pet name – Pet Color – and your address on it to put up around your neighborhood. I’m the first house on my street so I put it up right next to my mailbox where it couldn’t be missed. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to get the point across. In Max’s case I wrote ‘LOST PUG – BLACK DOG – MAX’ and also put my house address.
4. Reach out to your local shelters to let them know that your missing your pet. Tell them your pet’s name, what your pet looks like, and give them your number so that they can call you if your pet is found. If you can, email them a picture of your pet.
5. Tweet about your missing pet. I’ve seen people do this recently on twitter, saying Missing X dog in Y area. This could help locate your pet faster. I didn’t do this because my neighbor had spoken to the woman, and she said she was coming back, so I was stuck waiting.

We’re very lucky that Max was only missing for a few hours. I definitely think it is critical to get a sign up immediately and talk to your neighbors when looking, as well as searching.

Other things that you can do for your pets:
1. Get your pet microchipped. Phaedra and Max are microchipped. This means that if they get picked up by animal control or anyone else, they should be able to read that they belong to us.
2. Always keep a small collar with identification tags on your dog. This is a no brainer, yet Dave had taken Max’s collar off. I’m getting Max a harness that doesn’t ever have to come off. Phaedra, as you know, always has a collar on.
3. If your dog has a medical problem, state it on the tag. I’m actually getting a new tag made for Phaedra that says she’s got Addison’s Disease because if she were to get out, if she didn’t get her DOCP shot she would die. She’s got to have that shot every 6 weeks. So my new tag for Phaedra will have her name, Addison’s disease, and my phone number.

So yeah, I had a stressful afternoon and I was worried about Max. I’m so glad he’s home safe.

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