Losing your pet can seem like a soul-crushing experience. You’ve called your dog’s or cat’s name and rattled the food bowl but they’re not coming. Some face an empty yard, spot the loose leash or see the backyard is wide open. Your pet could literally anywhere and the one thing you know for sure is that they’re not there with you. Fearing the worst is easy, but you need to be brave and remember that the best thing you can do is avoid giving in to panic. Take a couple of deep breaths, remain as calm as possible and try to cover your bases and, most importantly, approach this issue systematically.
1.Search the neighborhood
“He was there 5 minutes ago!” perfectly describes the majority of lost pet situations and most of the time, your pet will be running around the neighborhood. If you remembered to include contact information on your pet’s collar, such as an address or a phone number, make sure that there’s at least one person at home manning the fort. Go out and start calling out your pet’s name. Ask any friend or neighbor you see if they can help you look around the vicinity. Check out the area around the house before rushing to your pet’s favorite places.
2.Let the world know
Grabbing your phone and updating your social media profiles is an excellent idea and often the first thing people do. We’re online most of the time and the easiest way to let a large group of friends know is to share a simple status update. Include your dog’s name, breed, color, size and any other detail that might help people identify it, or even better, share any picture you have of your pet. Post in your local pet-related groups and social media pages. There are members who have also experienced the same things and can offer your precious intel and guide you through the entire process.
3.Contact the appropriate authorities
Call the animal control service, local animal shelters, and dog pounds to check whether they might have your pet. If the answer is no, contact local veterinary clinics and emergency pet hospitals and see if they might have any useful information. Some online services even offer people the chance to register their lost pets and use their large user databases to help them find their pet. A perfect example is the largest national open lost-and-found pet database called Lost Pet Finders, which includes information on found cats, dogs, birds and other pets.
4.Cover the perimeter
Another thing you or the person sitting at home can do is file a lost pet report with all the shelters within the 50 kilometers of your house. You can find all the information about local animal shelters online, including their addresses and phone numbers. Print out notices and post them on the public bulletin boards in your local community center, dog park or grocery store or pet supply store. Plaster the posters on busy intersections and other locations with a lot of foot traffic.
5.Don’t lose hope
Finding your pet could possibly take a couple of days, so try to hold yourself together during that time. Avoid losing hope, stay focused and repeat your search day after day until your pet is located. You can offer a monetary reward for the person who finds your pet but has in mind that there are those who will try to take advantage of people during their most vulnerable of times. Scams are a real possibility, but fortunately, we live in a day and age where everyone has a smartphone, so you can ask the finder to send a picture so you can be certain that that is actually your pet.
Everyone who’s ever been through it will tell you that it’s not easy to lose a pet. But they will also tell you how important it is to keep your head up and avoid assuming the worst. Be calm and systematic, contact the correct authorities, call your friends and neighbors and update your online following. Before you know it, you will be reunited with your pet and you can put this traumatizing experience behind you.