Driving home from work on recent Thursday, I saw a woman park her car on the side of the road, get out and approach a big white dog. While she held his collar The dog stood quietly, wagging his tail.
I pulled over, got the leash and bag of treats out of the console and went over to see if I could help. The woman said she saw the dog running after a medium size black and white dog, who had disappeared across the street.
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Immediately, a man approached saying,"That's my dog." By the way, the big dog was wagging his tail and "smiling;" there was no doubt they belonged together.
After that, a distraught young girl appeared, crying and asking if we had seen her black and white dog. The woman told her what we had seen and the young girl ran across the street calling her dog's name. The man and his dog got in their car, I got in mine and we started looking for the medium size black and white dog.
After 30 minutes of slowly driving through the neighborhood, looking between houses, I saw the girl with her black and white dog on a leash. She said, "I found him. I went back home. He'd jumped the fence and was waiting for me in the backyard. Thank you so much for helping me."
The man and his big dog pulled up behind me and the girl moved on to thank them for helping. A happy story for everyone.
But what happens if you're not as lucky as the young girl and her dog? What do you do if you lose your dog and can't find him?
It is important that you need to stay calm. From personal experience, this is easier said than done. But it doesn't help to panic.
The first thing to do is immediately put out food, water and your dog's bed or an article of your clothing at the location where your dog was last seen. There is a good chance your dog may return.
A study reported by the American Veterinary Medical Association found dogs were recovered primarily through a call or visit to an animal agency, a dog license tag and posting neighborhood signs.
Contact local animal shelters, vet clinics and police departments to report your missing dog. Fax or email them a photo of your dog and your contact information. Send a lost pet report with a photograph and description to every shelter, within a 60-mile radius of your home, and visit each shelter daily.
Get the word out by posting fliers and neighborhood signs, advertise. Create fliers and posters containing the following information: A photo, a brief description of your pet, including your pet's age, sex, weight, breed, color and special markings. (When describing your pet, leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds him or her to describe it) and your phone, one that is always available. Post these fliers and signs at stores, veterinarians, groomers and anywhere else that will let you put them up. Go door to door, giving out the fliers to your neighbors or in the neighborhood where your dog was last seen.
Search your neighborhood by walking or driving through your neighborhood several times a day. Ask your mail carrier, or anyone regularly in your neighborhood, if they have seen any wandering animals, especially during early morning or late evening hours. And before entering another neighborhood to search, thoroughly check your immediate area. Instruct everyone that is helping you to NOT call or chase your dog. This will prolong your search. If they see your dog, sit or lay down (no eye contact) and gently toss out tasty treats to the side of the dog to lure your dog in.
PETS911 suggests you be on call along the lines of putting a message on your answering machine/voice mail saying, 'If you are calling about our lost pet, please call us on our cellphone at (555) 555-5555.'"
As always, if your pet gets lost, his ID tags are his ticket home. A pet has a better chance of being returned home if he is wearing a collar and an ID tag with your name, address and telephone number. In addition to ID tags, personalized collars with a pet's name and a phone number are now available. Also, talk with your veterinarian, microchipping your dog is a permanent method of identification.
The Humane Society of the United States stresses not to give up the search. They report animals who have been lost for months, have been reunited with their owners. May we all be as lucky as the young girl and her black and white dog. May all the lost animals find their way home.
Come and celebrate the The Buddy Foundation's 18th birthday. Join us on Thursday, Feb. 28, at Moretti's, 1799 S. Busse Road, in Mount Prospect. Enjoy a sumptuous buffet, a fast-paced raffle and auction, along with music and entertainment. All donations will directly assist the animals at the Buddy Foundation. We receive no state nor local subsidies of any kind. There are no salaries, no paid staff, everyone is a volunteer at The Buddy Foundation.
• Contact The Buddy Foundation at (847) 290-5806; visit us at 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights; or online at thebuddyfoundation.org.