LOST PETS DESERVE VETERINARY CARE

Eye removal may be needed if it is badly injured and causing pain Photo credit: Taken by Cat’s photos, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Eye removal may be needed if it is badly injured and causing pain. Photo credit: Taken by Cat’s photos, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

When missing dogs and cats end up at shelters, these unfortunate, lost pets deserve veterinary care. Some suffer from injuries ranging from minor to serious. Others become malnourished because they eat whatever they can find. And, numerous animals will not get the medications they normally would at home. They all need help. Some will receive it but for way too many their future is grim. Sadly, those are the ones without hope and, ultimately, they will be put down. 

When a lost pet has surgery and follow-up it has a better chance of going home or being adopted
When a lost pet has surgery and follow-up, it has a better chance of going home or being adopted

Medical Attention Saves Shelter Animals

About 10 or 12 years ago, I read about a case like that on social media. It’s something that haunts me to this very day. There was a young adult, blue, pitbull-type dog, with the sweetest but saddest face. It was standing in a concrete pen, on three legs, at the Miami-Dade Municipal Shelter. And, it was plain to see that the other leg was fractured. 

Despite, shelter volunteer efforts to find an organization to pull him and get the medical attention he needed, nobody responded. Two days later the staff put him to sleep (although there is a stronger term I think would be more appropriate!).

This example illustrates what can happen when nobody acts to give lost pets the veterinary care they deserve. It takes lives; it doesn’t protect them.

DR. EDWARD AND THERESA GARCIA

Veterinary Care Pioneers Form Partnership

The story begins in 1971, in Colorado, when Dr. Edward Garcia (father of Theresa) opened North Metro Emergency Animal Hospital. In fact, it became the first 24-hour animal hospital in the Rocky Mountain Region. And, it was quite an ambitious undertaking. The staff of 30 included the area’s first Board Certified veterinarians. They managed four surgery rooms, a full kennel, and their own in-house x-ray facilities—a rarity back then.

With good veterinary care a surgeon can examine an x-ray and treat an injured shelter animal immediately
With good veterinary care a surgeon can examine an x-ray and treat an injured shelter animal immediately

Pet Surrenders And Animal Drop-Offs

Located right off a major highway and close to the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter (DMAS), the hospital soon became well-known. “Every week people would drop off an astounding number of animals,” commented Theresa Garcia. “We became ‘famous’ for taking in animals as opposed to their surrender at the DMAS. They knew that the medical attention the pets received would far outweigh what the shelter could provide.”

The cut on this dog’s shoulder received attention as soon as it arrived at the animal hospital
The cut on this dog’s shoulder received attention as soon as it arrived at the animal hospital

She explained that a few of the animals lived on the premises until their adoption, or the DMAS found the rightful owner. Shockingly, though, fifty percent of the time the owner didn’t want to take the animal back!

Heartbreaking image of an abandoned senior dog showing signs of extreme neglect
Heartbreaking image of an abandoned senior dog showing signs of extreme neglect

Surrendered, Lost, Abandoned

For decades, the Garcias absorbed the temporary boarding and medical expenses for all these surrendered and lost canines and felines. And, to this day, they continue to donate their veterinary services to DMAS. Their commitment to providing medical attention is saving shelter animals’ lives. Encouragingly, many other smaller family-owned animal hospitals across the country are doing the same. They truly love their communities and strive every day to end needless suffering.

Shelter drop-off suffering from demodectic mange and hair loss will be treated and put up for adoption
Shelter drop-off suffering from demodectic mange and hair loss will be treated and put up for adoption

Vaccination Records Help Track Pet Ownership

Also, let’s remember that one of the ways to reunite a lost pet with its owner is through vaccination records. And, North Metro Emergency Animal Hospital was able to assist DMAS in another way. “At one time, our veterinary facility was the only one open and available to assist the municipal shelter,” Garcia remarked. “A large percentage of lost pets were vaccinated here so we had 24-hour access to owner addresses and phone numbers.”

Much needed eye drops can make a lost pet’s wait at the shelter more tolerable until it’s owner is found
Much needed eye drops can make a lost pet’s wait at the shelter more tolerable until it’s owner is found

Needless to say, this partnership was a very successful one. “Our veterinary hospital became the first one in Colorado to enroll in the now mandatory licensing program. And, we are also very proud of another achievement. We were the first to offer the DMAS vouchers to waive registration fees for seniors and minorities,” Garcia added. 

To Sum Up

There’s a lot more to learn from Theresa about her non-profit organization, Pets 4 People. Also, there’s exciting news about the animal hospital’s new facility and expanded services for a holistic approach to animal medicine. But we’ll keep all of this on hold for another day! In the meantime, however, you can visit http://pets4people.org for an overview.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

More must-read articles in this category:

Recently updated blog, now the introductory article in a mini series on losing, finding and reuniting companion animals https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-search-tips

Here are stories about what some resourceful pet parents did to get reunited with their missing dogs and cats https://petpeevesunmasked.com/helpful-strategies-find-pets/

Pet guardians forget that dogs have wild instincts and can easily run off https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dogs-run-away-because/

HELPFUL STRATEGIES FIND PETS

When we share success stories and the helpful strategies used to find pets that went missing, everyone benefits.

Firstly, let me point out that this post is designed to give you a wide variety of options to try. What has worked for others, may well work for you, too. So, please keep an open mind. Be creative, have the courage to try new tactics, and get reunited with that precious furry member of your family.

I have no doubt that when you read the following accounts, you will find them inspirational. These three pet parents didn’t stop, didn’t give up, and the outcome was…a win. Because of their actions, Fido and Fluffy are home, sweet home, again!

Check your security cameras and any nearby for sightings of your lost pet Photo credit: Taken by Bearas, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Check your security cameras and any nearby for sightings of your lost pet.
Photo credit: Taken by Bearas, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

OUR FIRST LOST PETS SEARCH SUCCESS 

Story Posted By Paula Valentino, Cat Lover

The only way a lost cat can find its way home on its own is with its nose. Cats not only know their own scent, but they know yours too,” Valentino said.

Because cats can smell up to one mile away from home, she suggested leaving the dirty litter box outside. And that goes for any clothing that has a strong smell of you. This would include items like exercise garments and smelly sneakers.

If you leave your garage door slightly raised, your lost pet will have shelter until you notice it has returned home
If you leave your garage door slightly raised, your lost pet will have shelter until you notice it has returned home

Valentino also recommended raising your garage door just enough so kitty can get underneath. Also, putting a sign with a cat’s face in your yard that says LOST CAT REWARD. Another important tip is to check any security cameras in the area (your neighbors’ as well as your own).

“And, make sure you talk to your mail carrier. They’re always driving in the area. Ask them to keep an eye out, too,” she added.

STORY NUMBER TWO 

Told By Lee Rider Stymie, Cat Guardian

This worked getting mine back, after almost 4 months, after Hurricane Irma,” Stymie recalled. She broke down her strategies into two parts. However, we are going to focus on when cats have been gone for longer than a just a few weeks. 

“A couple of things I did. I got Office Depot to make up business cards with LOST CAT at the top. It had her picture, name, distinctive marks, as well as my name and phone number. A hundred cards for $10.00. Worth it when you are out talking to people. They generated a lot of calls.

By leaving your shed door partially open, your missing pet may be able to follow the food trail described here
By leaving your shed door partially open, your missing pet may be able to follow the food trail
described here

“Then I set up a trap for my cat. I knew she would be difficult, so I used my attached shed as one big trap,” commented Stymie. She let every creature out there (opossums, raccoons, other cats) come in to eat. What Stymie planned so skillfully was create a scent trail to food. And this is precisely the helpful strategy used to find her pet.

Food Is A Powerful Tool

“I did the ‘Kitty Blast’ trifecta of tuna (in oil), sardines, and Jack Mackerel. Don’t make up a lot, mix together, and be sure its mush. Only put out about a tablespoon of the mixture. I also used cheap dry cat food, about two hands full. Keep the bowls full. The animals will check about twice a night,” she continued.

Strong-smelling fishy kitty food helps set up a scent trail
Strong-smelling fishy kitty food helps set up a scent trail

Then she set up up her cellphone in the shed and streamed a private Periscope feed. From her tablet, she was able to see who was going in. Then, once they finished and left, this determined cat guardian would replenish the bowls.

Dry cat food serves as a tool to attract a pet gone missing
Dry cat food serves as a tool to attract a pet gone missing

“Once you get that scent trail down, you’ll then start to see your baby following it to your feed station. That’s how I got mine back,” Stymie said with great relief. Apparently, the feline had only ventured about five streets away. Nevertheless, she stated that cats normally will follow trails we cannot see, or see them.

THREE-ELEMENT COMBINATION

Anonymous Dog Parent

We do not know this person’s name but they were reunited with their dog as a result of this strategy. Here, the story demonstrates that flexibility, perseverance and a gut feeling can produce a happy ending. And, fortunately, the situation was such that three key elements worked together perfectly. Give it a try!

A helpful strategy to find a lost pet is leave out your smelly sneakers
A helpful strategy to find a lost pet is leave out your smelly sneakers

Select an article of clothing that has been worn all day, so your lost dog can pick up your scent. If your pet has one, get its crate (and a familiar toy). Take them to the location where the dog was last seen and leave them there. That is, of course, if the spot is appropriate for them to be left there. 

Successful search for a lost pet after leaving its crate at location where last seen Photo credit: Taken by Elf, transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by JohnnyMrNinja using CommonsHelper. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Successful search for a lost pet after leaving its crate at location where last seen.
Photo credit: Taken by Elf, transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by JohnnyMrNinja using CommonsHelper. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Assuming you can do this, it would be advisable to attach a note asking others not to move the items. Putting out a bowl of water is fine but food is not recommended. That’s because it may attract other animals the dog would likely want to avoid. Return the next day, or check intermittently, if possible. Hopefully your pet will be waiting for you. 

After implementing this helpful strategy to find their lost pet, the anonymous owner wrote the following comment. “I was skeptical. I doubted my dog would be able to detect an article of clothing if he didn’t hear me calling his name. As loud as possible. All day. For 12 days. But I returned the next day and, sure enough, found him sitting there! I hope this helps someone out there who’s missing a best friend. Good luck.”

To Sum Up

Hopefully, these experiences have broadened your range of options for finding pets that have gone missing. Besides, don’t forget that you are not alone. There are others eager to share what they also went through to get their precious dogs and cats back home, where they belong. 

So, reach out to others. Continue to learn. And, most importantly, put these skills into practice to benefit yourself and the pet parent community at large.

Next Time, A Different Angle

For my next article on this topic, I will introduce you to a veterinarian who partnered with a municipal shelter in Colorado. My goal is to highlight the medical attention needed by lost animals that end up in such facilities, wherever they happen to be.                                               

See you soon!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

More must-read articles in this category:

Recently updated blog, now the introductory article in a mini series on losing, finding and reuniting companion animals https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-search-tips

Pet guardians forget that dogs have wild instincts and can easily run off https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dogs-run-away-because/

Missing pets that end up at shelters often lack veterinary care but private animal hospitals are donating their services to save lives https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-deserve-veterinary-care/

DOGS RUN AWAY BECAUSE

Please don’t blame, scold, or punish your pet. Dogs run away because they are unpredictable. It really is that simple!

Now, we all know that they get up to mischief when they are left unattended and become bored. A very determined little, or not so little, guy will dig and dig to squeeze underneath a fence. Free to roam, sniff unfamiliar smells, and explore.

Not surprisingly, loud noises terrify them, so beware. They will do whatever it takes to flee from thunder, fireworks and gun shots.

However, there are other factors why dogs run off that pet parents often don’t take into consideration.

Very often dogs run away because they catch a scent they cannot ignore
Very often dogs run away because they catch a scent they cannot ignore

Attracted To The Opposite Sex

“A female in heat will attract a male that is as far away as 15 miles.” So says T Macaulay, animal care management specialist. Just think about that for a moment. You have no idea your dog has caught that scent. Neutered or otherwise, he will pull, jump and run off in pursuit. He will do anything to get away in search of a mate. And, what’s more, you will be unable to stop him. 

It is preferable to have your dog on a very long leash when you go hiking
It is preferable to have your dog on a very long leash when you go hiking Photo credit: Craig McCaa. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Why Dogs Run Off While Hiking

“In Vermont we get a lot of tourists because of the trails near the Canadian Border,” Macaulay points out. “Never let a dog off leash when you are hiking. Instead, use a 25-foot-long leash otherwise, if it smells deer, a rabbit, or raccoon, it will take off.” The Director of Canine Protection League also recommends caution when visiting from a distance, especially out of state. “It’s so much harder to find a lost pet and be reunited if you don’t live in the area.”

Obedience training is important but wild instincts take over and why dogs run off
Obedience training is important but wild instincts take over and why dogs run off

Obedience

“Dogs are unpredictable and wild instincts will take over from training.” Macaulay made it abundantly clear that so many guardians forget that their pets are not like humans. They need to realize that they are genetically programmed to behave in a certain manner. If not, that other way of thinking can lead to unfortunate events.

Nevertheless, obedience training is very important. “Obedience lessons should be taken by dog owners, too. Learning an instant recall word is essential for emergency situations, so a dog will obey to that word,” the expert points out.       

To Sum Up

Think ahead of time and take precautions. Don’t assume you can predict what your dog will do at any given moment. Dogs run away because of a  variety of different situations. And, remember, a dog is a dog with pre-wired instincts that are sometimes contrary to what you have taught it.

But There’s More To Come

Soon, I look forward to sharing a few more success stories of pets that got reunited with their families. See you in a couple of weeks!

Before I Go

If you want more information about the work done at Canine Protection League in Vermont, check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CanineProtectors/. And, most importantly, you can participate in their weekly ($5) Five Dollar Friday donations campaign by clicking on https://www.givinggrid.com/ksxwei/.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 

More must-read articles in this category:

Recently updated blog, now the introductory article in a mini series on losing, finding and reuniting companion animals https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-search-tips

What these pet parents did to reunite with their precious canine and feline family members after they went missing https://petpeevesunmasked.com/helpful-strategies-find-pets/

Missing pets that end up at shelters often lack veterinary care but private animal hospitals are donating their services to save lives https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-deserve-veterinary-care/

And, a reminder about the importance of having more than just one ID https://petpeevesunmasked.com/one-pet-id-isnt-enough

TAKE LOST PETS HERE FOR MICROCHIP SCANNING

A microchip can be scanned at any time, day or night
If you find a lost pet, take it immediately to be scanned for a microchip. Photo curtesy of Big Creek Veterinarian Hospital, Ontario, Canada

If you see a dog or a cat hiding or roaming, with no visible ID, it just may have a chip. Remember, you can always take lost pets here for microchip scanning in the hopes that its owner can be located. 

Of course, this all depends if the animal in question is friendly enough so that you can transport it somewhere to find out if it is chipped. In the event that a microchip is found, hopefully the pet, owner and veterinary information is current. And, if that is the case, then a happy reunion is much more likely.

Around The Clock

Let us suppose you found the pet late in the day, or at night, after normal office hours. I see so many people posting online that they picked up a lost pet, but it’s late, and they are going to take it to a vet’s office first thing in the morning. Please don’t wait. Every hour that passes is time wasted. An owner, a family, is desperately searching for their furry companion. But where to go?

Where To Take Lost Pets For Microchip Scanning

Here is a list of places that will scan for a microchip, and they do not charge for this service. There is always somewhere open at any time of the day or night, at weekends and on holidays.

1. A veterinary clinic, open during official office hours.

2. Banfield Animal Hospital, located inside all PetSmart stores, which has longer hours of operation than your   normal veterinary clinic. 

3. Other pet store chains also provide this service.

4. An emergency animal clinic. They are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, during the hours your usual veterinary clinic is not.

5. Your local privately-run animal rescue organization as well as the municipal shelter (also known as a pound).

Try To Avoid Municipal Shelters

Please take note that once you surrender a lost pet to the municipal shelter, the animal’s future will be uncertain. The pound is supposed to comply with a mandatory hold for a certain number of days in order to give the animal’s owner time to claim it. If it is not claimed within that time period, they can put it up for adoption. 

One Of My Pet Peeves

Unfortunately, there are reports every single day of pounds across the country that do not put a pet’s welfare first. They ignore these “hold” laws and have even put the animal down within hours of it being dropped off. Sadly, in other instances, it may be destroyed, even if it has a medical problem that is treatable and does not exhibit aggressive behavior.

A Pep Talk To Remember 

My tip for today: be responsible and do everything in your power to keep your pet(s) safe…not sometimes, not most of the time, but ALL of the time.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

More must-read articles in this category:

All the steps to find a missing pet http://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-search-tips

A better chance of reuniting lost pets http://petpeevesunmasked.com/one-pet-id-isnt-enough

Also, you might like this related topic on domesticated cats that are allowed to roam and don’t return home: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/indoor-outdoor-cat-statistics/

LOST PETS SEARCH TIPS

FB page run by local volunteers in Florida has lost pets search tips
FB page run by local volunteers in Florida has lost pets search tips

If your dog or cat ever went missing, would you know these lost pets search tips and be able to implement them without hesitation? This may be a hypothetic question. Or perhaps you’ve already had to deal with such an unfortunate experience at some time in the past. In any case, it’s worth knowing the basics. Ones that every pet parent should follow when getting the word out that they have lost a companion animal.

EDITED AND EXPANDED VALUABLE CONTENT

Before going any further, I just want to make a comment. This article was one of the very first I published when I launched my site a few years ago. However, now the content has been updated and expanded to offer more tips about lost and found pets. What’s more, I’ve also included first-hand accounts of success stories as well as valuable information from animal experts. 

So, please check this out in its entirety. There is no doubt in my mind that it will make you better equipped and more confident. You will be able to help yourself as well as others get reunited with their beloved canines and felines.

Make a missing pet flyer and nail it to a tree or wooden post. Photo courtesy of petfbi.org
Make a missing pet flyer and nail it to a tree or wooden post.
Photo courtesy of petfbi.org

BONDED DOGS ARE SAFELY HOME

Family Member Tells Her Side Of This Success Story

Last January two Miniature Schnauzers went missing from their home in a golfing community in Oldsmar, FL. Without the occupants realizing, the terriers had ripped a hole in the screening and fled. My guess is they were reacting to wildlife and decided to give chase.

“It was mid afternoon when I noticed the dogs were gone,” said the lady. She had been at the home assisting her older relatives, the pets’ parents. Incidentally, she declined to give her name and wanted the family to remain anonymous.

The Search Gets Underway

“We called out their names, knocked on doors, stopped everyone riding a bicycle,” she added. “But after four hours it was already dark and we called off the search.” The lady explained that they then notified the microchip company in case someone had reported them found.

Found But Searching For Their Home

What they did next was publish a missing pets post on the local Nextdoor website. It was seen by neighbors in another subdivision who had given the dogs food, water and shelter overnight. And, fortunately for everyone, their own pet Husky was delighted to have some unexpected fun with the new visitors…at least for a few hours. 

Thankfully, the next day, after less than 24 hours of anxiety, the dogs were back home. This was such a great outcome. And, I even heard that all three pups may now be enjoying regular playdates as a result of this incident!

A PERSONAL COMMENT

I have always said this to pet guardians who rely solely on a microchip ID. When pets go missing, one form of identification is not enough! If the animal has a collar and tag on, this visible ID will likely save a lot of time and heartache. You can read more about this by clicking here http://petpeevesunmasked.com/one-pet-id-isnt-enough

When pets go missing, they look stressed and afraid Photo credit: Paul Sableman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
When pets go missing, they look stressed and scared
Photo credit: Paul Sableman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How To Get Them Home Again

Use The Internet And Social Media

  • Post a description with photo of your missing pet and your contact information. Re-post daily until it is found.
  • Check the section that contains postings of missing pets that are looking for their owners. 

Flyers, Always High On The Lost Pet Search Tips List

  • Immediately print some flyers and put them up in your neighborhood.
  • Make an extra big one and display it in your own yard so people know where the pet lives.
Make a found pet flyer and post it outdoors. Photo courtesy of petfbi.org
Make a found pet flyer and post it outdoors.
Photo courtesy of petfbi.org

More Lost Pet Search Tips And Tools

  • private, locally-run pet lost and found
  • Craig’s List
  • Facebook
  • Local newspapers, online AND print versions (lost and found ads are usually free)
  • Your Home Owners Association, country club, school, church…

The great thing about having a professional profile on LinkedIn is that you meet some interesting and very talented people. I joined several groups whose members share information on cats and dogs. In one of these I met T Mac, who has spent her whole life rescuing and advocating for companion animals and livestock. 

She gave me a number of very helpful recommendations to include in this new expanded list of websites. Places to go where parents have more options to locate their pets when they go missing. 

Check out these search tips to get your lost pet home Photo credit: Niks1331, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Check out these search tips to get your lost pet home
Photo credit: Niks1331, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

More Lost & Found Websites To Visit

It takes perseverance and consistency to locate a missing pet. You will probably be unable to post, and look at them all, repeatedly, without any help. Ask friends, family and neighbors to assist. Anyone reliable who will check for updates. Several times a day, every single day, until they are safely back home. Ask them to focus on one website each. Sharing the responsibility will help prevent stress and psychological burnout, especially if the job takes longer than you had hoped.

HOW THE INTERNET CAN GET YOUR PET HOME FASTER

http://www.lostmydoggie.com

877.818.0060

“A lost or missing dog locating service that can dramatically increase the chances of finding your lost dog, missing cat, or stolen pet.”

Create a free lost or found pet listing. Through their national lost pet recovery system, they will email and fax it to local shelters, vets and rescue groups.

http://petkey.org

866.699.3463

“If you have lost or found a pet please add a free listing and search our lost and found database by city, state or postal code to see if you can find a match. If you find a possible match, make note of the reference number and contact us.” 

This is a nationwide lost and found pet recovery database. When you register your pet’s microchip, and report your pet lost or stolen, an alert is immediately sent to shelters, vets, animal companies and members within a 25 mile radius of where it was last seen. 

http://www.fidofinder.com

Register to obtain the phone number

“Register your Safe Dog and your Safe Cat BEFORE they ever get lost. 

“With safe dog/safe cat registration you will receive notifications any time a dog of the same breed, color and gender, or cat of the same color and gender, is found in your exact Postal Code.” 

In addition to contacting local shelters and vets, they will also email Neighborhood Watch about your lost or found dog/cat.

This is a registry for pets in the USA and Canada, and they have named their canine and feline databases Fido Finder and Tabby Tracker.

http://PawBoost.com

“Sign up for local lost pet alerts. Join the PawBoost Rescue Squad, a group of volunteers, rescue owners, shelter employees, veterinarians, and pet lovers just like you.” 

And over three million of them already have. Sign up for email alerts. To get PawBoost on the go, download the PawBoost mobile app for iPhone or Android. 

http://akcreunite.org

880.252.7894

“Call our Helpline to let us know your pet is lost and confirm your contact information is up to date. You can also activate a Lost Pet Alert to shelters, veterinarians and pet lovers in your immediate area.”

A lifetime enrollment to the American Kennel Club website is only $19.50 online and there are no annual fees. If your pet’s microchip was purchased with prepaid registration, enrollment is free.

And, by the way, you’ll be hearing from T Mac next time in a follow up article. But, for now, go check out Canine Protection League non-profit in Vermont, where she is president. I’d really like to help her continue to help the helpless and give a boost to her fundraising efforts. http://www.CanineProtectionLeague.com

Another example of how to create a missing pet flyer
Another example of how to create a missing pet flyer

Go In Person To Your Local Municipal Shelter

When pets go missing, a member of the public or someone from Animal Services may have already found the dog or cat and taken it to the local municipal shelter. So, please remember to do the following.

  • Go in person and verify if your pet has been surrendered there. Do not rely on making a phone call or looking at their website.
  • Take a recent photo of your pet, a copy of a flyer you may have already printed, and proof of ownership.
  • Check the shelter’s website for postings. However, bear in mind that descriptions are not necessarily accurate and a staff member could have taken a photo that distorts its appearance. 
  • You must visit the shelter personally every two days at the very least, preferably daily. Do not rely solely on the shelter’s website. You are the only person who can truly identify your pet.
  • Each shelter has its own rules and regulations, and hold times at different facilities can vary quite a bit. After a certain number of days, a pet can be put up for adoption or, sadly, it may be put down (destroyed). Typically, kittens, cats and seniors, as well as sick and injured pets, have a very low survival rate.

Word Of Mouth

Inform as many people as possible who live or work in your area. That includes veterinarians, emergency vet clinics and privately-run rescue organizations.

Stay Strong And Positive

The volunteers who run a Lost and Found FB page for pets in my area do a wonderful job. They also encourage owners who feel helpless and desperate and are starting to lose hope. They will…

  1. tell you not to despair
  2. encourage you not to give up too soon 
  3. urge you to keep searching actively for at least 8-12 weeks

To Sum Up

Reach out to your neighbors. Communities have a history of working together to help in situations of adversity. Nobody wants to suffer the heartbreak of losing their four-legged family member.

Start a search party the very first weekend. You’ll be amazed how many people will show up to help. And, when pets go missing in your neighborhood, not only will you be better prepared to take action, you’ll also be able to help others.

But That’s Not All

No, it isn’t, because there’s much more coming your way very soon. This topic is far too important not to share what I’m already preparing for the next article. 

So, get ready for information about:

  • contacting shelters 
  • more success stories from Florida
  • tips on how to prevent your pet from wandering off in the first place                                             
  • providing medical attention for animals taken to a municipal shelter in Colorado, and
  • an exciting pilot program to evaluate new imaging software designed to increase Return To Owner success rates.

See you soon!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 

More must-read articles in this category:

Pet guardians forget that dogs have wild instincts and can easily run off https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dogs-run-away-because/

What pet parents did to reunite with their precious canine and feline family members after they went missing https://petpeevesunmasked.com/helpful-strategies-find-pets/

Chip scan 24/7/365 to get a missing pet back home http://petpeevesunmasked.com/take-lost-pets-here-for-microchip-scanning/

Missing pets that end up at shelters often lack veterinary care but private animal hospitals are donating their services to save lives https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-deserve-veterinary-care/

And, a reminder about the importance of having more than just one ID https://petpeevesunmasked.com/one-pet-id-isnt-enough

Also, if you’d like to read about the safety concerns of domesticated cats that are allowed to roam, please visit https://petpeevesunmasked.com/indoor-outdoor-cat-statistics/

ONE PET ID ISN’T ENOUGH

Hopefully these two dogs also have microchips since one pet ID isn’t enough to get them back home
Hopefully these two dogs also have microchips since one pet ID isn’t enough to get them back home

Did you know that one pet ID isn’t enough when you face the odds of never being reunited with your dog or cat if it gets lost? Yes, it’s true. Here’s some of the data which will probably shock you.

First it shows that an estimated one in every three pets will go missing at some point in their lifetime. Then it gets worse. Less than 20% of dogs and 2% of cats will ever be reunited with their human family. Did you expect to read this or were you surprised?

Now let’s analyze what steps pet parents can take so that the chances improve.

One Identification Option

The first stop that most “owners” of a new puppy, kitten, adult dog or adult cat make is their local pet supply store. They want a visible identification for their recently acquired companion. So they buy a blank ID tag and use the retailer’s engraving machine. The instructions are really easy to follow. You type in the pet’s name, a contact phone number and anything else of importance.

That, of course, is a start, but what’s better than one pet ID? Two pet IDs! And here’s why. Let me ask all you pet parents this. Does your pet wear its collar and tag all the time? By that I mean all the time it is outdoors AND all the time it is indoors? Possibly not. For that very reason, the point I’m trying to get across is that a dog or a cat can “escape,” run off and go missing from any location, including the home.

A Second Pet ID

As I just mentioned, if your pet has a collar and ID tag but isn’t wearing it, one pet ID isn’t going to be enough to get him home. So now let’s look at microchips and scanning.

In recent years, the practice of microchipping pets has seen a significant surge because of one indisputable fact. Pet guardians now realize they have a far better chance of finding their pet if it has a chip rather than solely relying on one visible ID tag. Collars often get pulled off and tags can become detached. 

Remember, microchip databases can be accessed 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Furthermore, it is usually possible to have a pet scanned at any time by going to an animal hospital during regular office hours. Also, emergency animal clinics are open at night-time, weekends and on holidays.

To Sum Up

Very obvious but often forgotten, it’s important to keep all ID information updated, particularly after moving to a new address.

And, to summarize, be responsible and take precautions. Protect your pet by using BOTH a visible ID AND a microchip ID. Because now we know that one type of identification alone just isn’t enough.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

More must-read articles in this category:

All the steps to find a missing pet http://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-search-tips

Pet guardians forget that dogs have wild instincts and can easily run off https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dogs-run-away-because/

Chip scan 24/7/365 to get a missing pet back home http://petpeevesunmasked.com/take-lost-pets-here-for-microchip-scanning/

Also, if you’d like to read about the safety concerns of domesticated cats that are allowed to roam, please visit https://petpeevesunmasked.com/indoor-outdoor-cat-statistics/