When you call your pet and they do not come, a sudden fear and panic arises. The uncertainty causes distress, and as time passes the concern for our pet’s well being increases. Before assuming the worst, there are productive measures one can take to find a lost pet. Although the situation is upsetting, keeping a clear head and following steps that will be helpful in finding your pet is the best and only thing one can do.
Before such a situation occurs, to prevent your pet getting lost, implant a microchip at initial veterinarian visits. Although there is controversy regarding the idea of putting a foreign object under your animals’ skin, it is the most effective way to keep tabs on the location of your pet. There is little evidence that microchips are harmful in any way to our animals, and when the situation arises, you’ll be glad you utilized this technological development. There are apps that can keep track of your pets at all times, and will even alert you when your lost pet is found. If your pet is not micro chipped, it is crucial that your pet always has identification on them. A collar and tag with the animal’s license as well as their name and owner’s contact information is a simple, yet imperative step to your pets’ well-being and safety. Keeping your pet’s collar and identification on at all times can prevent them from initially winding up in a shelter. Furthermore, updating information on the tag and keeping it current is just as important—be sure to update addresses and phone numbers as needed. This is the same for microchip information—it must be kept updated with the microchip company.
If you have not utilized a microchip with your pet, don’t panic, there are other ways that you can get your friend home safely. The first and most important step you must take is to check with local animal shelters, veterinarians, and animal control to see if your pet has been found and turned-in. Alert your local shelters, give them your contact information, and stay in touch everyday—the more information you give people and the more persistent you are, the more likely you are to be reunited with your pet. Local shelters’ contact information can be found online.
Conventional methods such as printing posters and going door to door are not lost in today’s world of technology; in fact, such methods are proven to be effective in many scenarios, and in many instances lead to reuniting pet owners with their loved ones. Be diligent in your design and placement of posters. Although in a hurry of fear and uncertainty it may be easy to slap a poster together quickly just to get the word out, taking time to make sure your poster catches peoples’ eye and is full of important information can be the deciding factor between finding your lost pet, and not having any success. Your “missing pet” poster should include a large picture of the animal, preferably in color so that the animal’s unique markings can show up clearly. There should be information regarding the animal’s physical description, such as size and weight, in case the picture does not include enough visible detail. Lastly, the poster should make visible all available contact information so that if the pet is found, an opportunity for getting in touch is not lost simply by a case of a single, misread phone number. Include your phone number(s), address, email, and any other contact information available to cover as many bases as possible. Placing these posters in visible areas, as well as local pet stores, vet clinics, and shelters is the best way to expand awareness.
Going door-to-door is a method that is more helpful than one may think. Imagine that you pass a missing pet poster as you’re driving—it is likely that you did not catch a good glimpse of the picture, nor the important contact information. If you come across the missing pet, it is likely that you’ll need to revisit the poster to get in touch with the owners. However, going door-to-door in your neighborhood alone can increase awareness exponentially. Handing your neighbors a flyer with the same information as the poster will not only add a human element to the urgency of the situation, but will also give your neighbors access to the pertinent information on the poster in their own hands that can travel with them wherever they go, as well as inform multiple members of each household.
The most important thing to remember is that you are the pet owner, and with that title you have a responsibility to do everything in your power to return them home safely. Exhaust all your options, continue to be vigilant, and don’t lose hope.