It can almost feel like the end of the world when this happens, and no matter how much you’ve prepared ahead of time, there’s no way to prevent yourself from worrying if your dog does happen to get lost.
Hopefully, you’ve made sure they’ve got as much identification as you can, but there’s no guaranteed success and it’s impossible to just sit around and wait for things to work themselves out. You need to feel like you’re doing something to find your dog, otherwise, you’ll go crazy.
There are a lot of things you can do in this situation to help make sure that you get your friend back. Here are some things that you should get on as soon as possible:
Get as Much of the Neighbourhood on the Case as You Can
One of the few good things to note in a situation like is that your dog probably hasn’t gone very far. Dog’s like to explore, and they will take notice of absolutely everything. Every flower, every street sign, every car, they’ll probably stop and sniff a hundred things within just an hour.
In some cases, a dog might run away if it’s been lacking in exercise and stimulation. That might not be the case for you of course, but it’s important for a dog to have more activity than just being taken out for walks.
So when it’s out of the house and into the world, that stimulation is everywhere, which means it will be occupied even just in your neighborhood. So get in contact with everyone you know who lives nearby.
Ask all of them to be on the lookout, because chances are, your dog will be passing by a few of their houses on his travels. Let local folks know if you are putting together a search party too. The more people you have the more ground you can cover.
A good chunk of them will probably be dog owners too and will be sympathetic to the problem. It’s important to build up this network of support as soon as possible just to ensure that the dog doesn’t get far.
This might seem a little antiquated in the age of the internet, but it’s well worth taking this particular step that’s been helping out people with lost dogs for decades and decades. Make a ton of flyers and put them everywhere.
There’s a bit of an art to putting together a good missing poster, but the really important elements are the clear picture, the contact details and you should probably have a reward on there. Yeah, it might seem a little odd, but more people will be receptive, and this is a crisis after all.
So draw this flyer up straight away, get a ton of them printed and then get them out there. Again, the more people helping out with this one the better. Designate a portion of your search party specifically for putting the flyers on every streetlight and in every letterbox in the area.
This is how you can get to people nearby that you don’t personally know, and also those that don’t use the internet. Speaking of which:
Make Use of Social Media
This is an advantage we have these days that allow us to spread the word even further than just the surrounding area. Social media has proven to be extremely useful in times of crisis such as this one.
Even missing people have been found after a picture and a description of them has been posted on Facebook. The same principle applies to a pet. Post a picture of your flyer on your Facebook page and then get people to share it.
Most of us have a couple of hundred friends on Facebook and even if 20 people share it, it’s going to be seen by hundreds more. This is especially important if you don’t find your dog on the first day or two because they’ll be further away and you’ll need to reach a wider range of people.
The same principle applies to Twitter. You post it, others will retweet and you’ve got more and more folks on the case. There are even Facebook pages that serve this specific purpose so try and find those too.
Check Local Vets and Animal Shelters
When someone ends up with a stray dog on their hands and hasn’t seen any flyers or social media posts, the first place they’ll go is to the local vet or animal shelter. You should get ahead of the game here and get into these places with some flyers.
One thing that might be a little frustrating here is that these establishments generally won’t give you any information about apparent strays over the phone, but if they have a picture and your contact details, that’s a whole different story.
Make sure that every nearby vet or animal shelter has a flyer and knows how to contact you, a lot of dogs end up in shelters that aren’t actually strays but it’s never found out who they belong too. Don’t let this happen to you.
And here’s something that you probably don’t want to hear, but that’s very important nonetheless. You have to try not to panic. Be concerned of course, how could you not be, but panicking won’t help.
It will just cloud your mind and take focus away from actual productive measures. You’ll find out really quickly that we live in a time when help is always at our fingertips, and it’s never a problem you’ll have to solve all alone.
Finally, Always Show Your Gratefulness
At the end of the day, there’s one more thing to keep in mind. As we’ve mentioned above, mobilizing everyone you know to help you find the missing doggo will be crucial for a successful search. And sure, your family and friends will probably be glad to help you out; as well as neighbors you’re close with, especially if they’re dog owners too. However, regardless of how much they wind up helping out - you should think of a way to show that you’re grateful for their effort.
Remember, a dog can go missing more than ones - especially with pets that are prone to wandering off. With that in mind, you may want to consider getting a small gift those who’ve spent the most time searching for your dog. If you do that, such a symbolic token of appreciation will make sure that the people close to you will answer your call for help; you won’t have to seach for your dog on your own in the future!