Having a pet run away from you is a heart-breaking experience. Your go-to thoughts probably revolve around whether you weren’t taking good enough care of your beloved pet. Or, that they don’t love you. That’s really not the case. For starters, understand that the little guy is probably lost and can’t find their way back to you. They’re alone, cold, scared, hungry, and wondering how to get home. Here’s what you should do next.
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Start Searching Right Away
The minute you realize that your buddy has escaped an open door or yard gate, start searching the neighborhood. The sooner you begin the search, the higher will be the chances of locating them fast. Understand that the open world is an exciting bouquet of aromas worth exploring for the canine’s highly-developed sense of smell. Your pal likely took off after the neighbor’s cat or a squirrel, rabbit, or butterfly. A tree sprayed with the scent of a passing dog can also be worth investigating for a doggy mind. And, once they were out, enticing smells and maybe, aromas of food probably led them away.
Organize a search party with friends and family and scan separate areas to cover maximum ground. Preferably, request people who your pet is familiar with and knows as part of the family.
Stay Calm as You Call and Whistle
Your pet is unlikely to have traveled a long distance in a short while. Look around up and down the street, perhaps, following the route you usually take when walking your best bud. Pets are fine-tuned to your voice and tone modulations. They know when you’re upset, so watch your voice when calling their name. Don’t let the panic show through, or you might scare the little guy into thinking they’ve been bad. The last thing you need is them hiding from you.
Instead, put on your happy voice, the one you use when it’s time to go to the park or have a ball play session. Bring along some tasty treats and their favorite toys to attract them. If the furry guy hears your voice, they might just drop the chase and come running back to you.
Check Your Phone App for the Pet’s Location
Most pet parents make it a point to invest in a microchip and dog tracking device. At times like these, you’re going to be thankful for the purchase. Your phone app should give you a close enough location where the little pal is and lead you straight to them. However, be aware that if your pet loses its collar and tracker, it isn’t going to do much good. Worst-case scenario, if the pet has been stolen, one of the first things the thief will do is lose the tracking device. But, you will be able to get to the last location of your dog. You could always ask around if someone has seen the pet.
You should also register the microchip number with the pet’s registry. Check online to ensure that the listing has your updated contact information. If your dog is delivered to a veterinarian clinic or pet shelter, they’ll likely scan the chip for the owner’s details. With some luck, you should get a call soon.
Report the Missing Pet to the Authorities
Visit the nearest police station and file a report about the missing dog. Also, contact the local SPCA, animal control, and humane society within a 60-mile radius of your home. A good samaritan might rescue the lost pet and drop them off where they can be returned to their owners. Remember to bring a recent picture that clearly defines the dog’s features. A copy of a pet portrait you ordered might be the perfect detailed likeness to identify the little guy.
Check with the Neighbors
While you do have lots of pictures saved on your phone, take a few minutes to print out a paper copy to show around. Knock on neighbors’ doors and ask if they saw your best bud. Focus on people who also own pets. Chances are that your bud invited himself to a play date or stopped by to beg for a meal or treat. Someone might have spotted the dog wandering along the streets or sniffing around trash cans hoping for tasty morsels or maybe a juicy bone.
Think Back at Your Pet’s Behavior
Pet parents are familiar with their buddy’s behavior, likes, and dislikes. Use this knowledge to find clues about where they might be headed next. Do they love to go to the nearby dog park? That’s the first place you should look. Or, do they love kids? Check with families in your neighborhood who have children and ask if they saw your dog. If your buddy has always been interested in investigating a particular yard or garden, make sure to check there first. If your bud loves car rides, search around the garages in the community.
The dog’s breed can also influence how far they’ll get. For instance, if you own English setters, Boxers, or Labrador Retrievers, expect to search a more extended range because they love to run. But, pugs, bulldogs, chow chows, or a Saint Bernard will more likely wander around a bit before settling for a nap on a sunny porch. They’re unlikely to cover a long distance, so you’ll likely find them soon enough.
Mourn the Loss of Your Best Friend
While you can expect to find your furry buddy within 30 days or so, the probability drops drastically after this time frame. Although you should keep hoping that someone will spot your pal and bring them home, it might be time to accept that they’re gone for good. Mourn the loss of your best friend with shiva baskets and, maybe, a small memorial service. Pray that they find a warm, loving new home and are happy and cared for.
Dealing with the loss of a runaway pet is tough, but don’t blame yourself. Remember that the little guy is just as anxious to find you as you are to find them. It’s just an adventure gone wrong, and they might just find their way home–back to you!