A Dog’s Eye View: Resources for Lost Animals

A Dog's Eye View: Resources for Lost Animals

You are a kind soul, and you have offered to take care of a friend or family member’s cat, dog, rabbit, bird, or snake while they go away on business or vacation. You have met your ward on a few occasions, or this could be the first time you’ve done this. Either way, you and the pet do not have a close bond, but you figure it’s only for a week, and all you really have to do is feed it and give it water. How hard could it be?

Three days into your babysitting gig you figure this is going pretty well – you haven’t been bitten, the furniture is intact, and nothing has caught on fire. The creature in question still has all its fur, feathers or scales, and both eyes. Life is pretty good for both of you.

On Day Four, you open the door to leave, just like you have for the last three days, and suddenly your world implodes. In a split second your heart stops and the pins and needles feeling starts in your face because Fifi (Lulu for birds or snakes) just bolted out the door, and is spiriting away faster than the human eye can track, away from you. Now what?

Most dogs or cats will return home after awhile. Since you don’t know if this is going to happen, you need to do something. Suicide is not an option here.

Your first call should be to the local Animal Control Officer or police department to let them know this has happened, and most of them will be on the lookout. Cats, birds and reptiles are a bit hard to track,  but they, too can be recovered. Dogs seem to be the most commonly recovered, because most of them still like people, like to check out where other dogs have been, and like to play in traffic. Cats are a bit different, as most people do not think twice about seeing a cat cross their path. Birds and snakes are excellent at hiding, but occassionally they are found again. One lady used to let her iguana sun itself on the porch, as it had done dozens of times without incident. One day, a neighbor brought it back to her, as it had decided to take a walk down the middle of the street.

You can also call your local Humane Society and Veterinarian Offices, as sometimes people pick up animals and bring them there. You can post online listings on Petfinder.com, craigslist.com, or any number of companies that specialize in finding/listing lost pets, as well as the websites of other local shelters. Depending on the circumstances, you may have access to a picture of the runaway and can create many copies of a “lost or missing” poster to display around the neighborhood.

Creating a Facebook page is becoming popular, though you want notify the owner of the pet about what has happened first, since the internet is a worldwide place, and well, people used to talk, now they text. Knock on doors, talk to people everywhere you go. Post your flier in local businesses-make sure you leave your contact information. Talk to groomers, dog walkers, and pet store owners. Consider running ads in local newspapers. Maybe consider calling local radio stations, since sometimes a DJ will air your call, but be prepared to be made fun of.

Many pets can be found, it’s usually a question of time. Everyone’s heard a story about “the stray that was taken in.” Many of these animals live happy and healthy lives, though you as the prior owner will never know it. Unfortunately, there are many animals out there that really are abandoned. The people that take in the stray have no way to know whether the animal is lost or abandoned, but they will respond if they see a poster or ad that says someone is looking for it.

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