“I saw a little dog today, and oh, that dog was lost. He risked his puppy life with every street he crossed. Against the city’s bigness, he looked so very small and frail. I whistled and I followed him, and hoped that he might guess that all my heart reached out to him to trail. I recalled the many times, I have been lost, and lonely, and afraid. I followed the dog through the crowded street and then the God of All put trust into the puppy’s heart and made him heed my call. One phone call to the number on his collar, and he was no longer a little dog lost.” – Margaret Sangster
Losing a pet is a traumatic experience. The caregiver worries about every possible disaster that could possibly happen to his dog. Every year, millions of cats and dogs in the United States become lost pets, and if your pet goes missing it is important to remain calm and implement an organized “plan of attack” as quickly as possible. Make calls, hang flyers and posters, talk to people personally, and send e-mails.
- Check your house and yard carefully; maybe he is caught somewhere and cannot move, but will bark if he hears you call his name.
- Search the immediate area around your property and notify your friends and neighbors that your pet is missing.
- Check with local animal control and human society to see if they have picked up your dog. File a missing pet report with every animal shelter, vet office, and law enforcement office within a 60 mile radius of your home. Give a complete description of your pet including coat, eye color, age, weight, sex, and any distinguishing marks.
- Post “lost pet” signs EVERYWHERE – vet clinics, boarding facilities, pet supply stores, libraries, schools, animal shelters, post offices, grocery store bulletin boards and on street posts. Your flyers should include a recent photo of your pet, a detailed written description of the animal, and your name and phone number. Offer a reward to encourage people to keep an eye out.
- Put “lost” ads in newspapers and check the “pets found” ads. Contact any that even vaguely resemble your pet since some people may not be able to accurately describe the found animal. Contact radio stations and ask them to publicize your plight.
- Post your dog’s photo and videos on social media. Put an announcement on Facebook or Twitter with the particulars of the theft. See if there are any lost pet groups on facebook you can post to.
- If possible, hire a pet detective to look for her, but always get reliable references, and steer clear of anyone who guarantees success. Be wary of pet-recovery scams. When talking to a stranger who claims to have found your dog, ask him to describe the pet thoroughly before you offer any information. Be wary of people who insist that you give or wire them money for the return of your pet.
- Be persistent. Check all possible places daily; don’t rely on them to notify you if your pet is brought in.
- DON’T GIVE UP. Reunions have happened months, even years later.
This happy ending story is related by Nebraska friend, Deb Uden, whose dog was stolen and, because she refused to give up, Jax is back home!
“My Jax, a 6 pound Chihuahua was stolen from my home during a burglary in early December. My heart was broken, and I immediately put out a reward in hopes of recovering. I recruited all my friends and neighbors to be on the look out, and the days passed, but I refused to give up hope. I continued to put out posters in all the vet offices, convenience stores, post offices, and any other place I thought might provide wide spread coverage. Many people suggested that I “just get another one,” but I didn’t want another one…I just wanted my Jax back. Three weeks passed, then a month – miraculously I found a clue as to where Jax was 400 miles away in Denver, Colorado, listed on a Buy’Sell/Trade site for sale for $200. I contacted law enforcement in Colorado who said they were unable to contact the person who posted him for sale if I didn’t have an address for the person. I thought that was the job of law enforcement? Enter a Private Investigator from a lawyer friend in Denver, and then things happened. He quickly obtained all the info on the man: name, address, aliases, age, place of employment, etc. Why were the police unable to obtain the same info? The sad fact is that most law enforcement groups,are overworked and underpaid, and dogs are not a priority. And Jax was just a stolen dog from Nebraska. On January 6, I received a call from Colorado. A couple had adopted him, totally unaware that he was stolen, and they were willing to return him to me. I made the long trip to Denver the next day and picked up Jax. What a happy reunion for both of us. My advice for anyone facing a similar situation, NEVER GIVE UP! Keep looking and looking and looking. Don’t depend on local law enforcement if it is at all possible, hire a PI. I truly believe that the only reason I have my Jax back with me today is because I NEVER GAVE UP! And Jax was just a stolen dog from Nebraska. On January 6, I received a call from Colorado. A couple had adopted him, totally unaware that he was stolen, and they were willing to return him to me. I made the long trip to Denver the next day and picked up Jax. What a happy reunion for both of us. My advice for anyone facing a similar situation, NEVER GIVE UP. Keep looking and looking and looking. Don’t depend on local law enforcement if it is at all possible, hire a PI. I truly believe that the only reason I have my Jax back with me today is because I NEVER GAVE UP!”