My dog Everest is now 11 years old and has a few adventures under his belt. He has a history of escaping. Scratch that. Everest, like any warm blooded dog, has been known to take advantage of opportunities for adventure when he thinks no one is looking.
What’s that? Grandpa didn’t close the front door properly? See you later! The gate in the backyard was left open? Why yes, I do think I will explore the neighbourhood, thank you very much. During his adventures in the ‘hood, Everest has ended up in a neighbour’s home. Thankfully, these kind folks didn’t mind one bit. In fact, they enjoyed the unexpected visit, praised him for being a very good dog and told him he was welcome to come back any time! Everest took that praise to heart and has ended up in backyards, front porches, garages, and even in a grocery store… not always with the same warm reception as you can imagine.
If you have a pet, you too probably have stories to tell about the time they escaped from the house, the car, the park or the backyard. Often, all is well that ends well, but sometimes, days go by and we are still searching for our beloved furry companion.
Here are some things you can do if you have the unfortunate experience of losing your pet:
Search the neighbourhood. Check the local park, the trails, your regular walking route.
Take a picture (or have one on your phone) to show other dog owners. Bring a leash with you, squeaky toy and treats. I have a special toy that I bring for these occasions. It’s my emergency toy that Everest RARELY gets to play with. It looks like roadkill and it squeaks. By waiving it around and making it squeak, my hope is that Everest will see or hear it and come to me.
Utilise the power of Social Media. Helping Lost Pets Ottawa (helpinglostpets.com) and the Ottawa and Valley Lost Pet Network (ottawaandvalleylostpetnetwork.ca) are great resources and have many followers on Facebook and Instagram. Social media will be key in quickly spreading the news of your pet’s disappearance. Include a picture or a description, the street or area you last saw him or her and tell folks how to contact you should they find your pet. Don’t forget to include its name. Indicate any special markings and any particular medical or behavioural issues. Ask folks to share the information. The more people who know about your lost pet, the more likely you are to recover him. You may also want to consider posting an ad on Kijiji.
Make eye catching posters. Choose one or two clear and recent pictures of your pet and put the posters in as many public places you can think of. Include important and relevant information, such as your contact
information and where the pet was last seen.
Check in with Veterinary Hospitals in the event that your furry one has been brought there.
Report your pet as lost or stolen. Contact the Humane Society as found animals are sometimes brought there. You can fill out a report online at: http://www.ottawahumane.ca/services/lost-and-found/claim-your-lost-pet/lost-animal-report/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Report, report report! If you suspect theft, report it to your local police station.
If your dog is microchipped, report your dog to the microchip database. They will then know to inform you if anyone tries to re-register the chip number associated with your pet. (aside: make sure your microchip information is all up to date)
Last, but not least, don’t give up hope. Keep sharing the information about your pet. We know of pets that were found after days, weeks, even years.
Case in point, the story of BooBoo the cat who went missing from her home in California FOUR year ago recently turned up at the Guelp (Ontario!) Humane Society. Thanks to microchipping, BooBoo’s owners were found.