Another dog was stolen last weekend while tied up outside a coffee shop. This is becoming an all too common occurrence; it’s the 6th one I’ve heard about in Toronto in the last 2 months. Add to that the number of dogs that go missing because someone left the gate open by mistake or a dog walker was distracted for 2 minutes and I couldn’t help feeling some tips on how to find your lost dog as well as some preventative measures were timely.
1. Act Immediately.
Don’t wait for Rover to find his way home.
2. Tell Everyone.
Call all local veterinary clinics, animal shelters, humane societies. Keep checking in with them.
3. Get the word out.
Make up posters including your pets name, a recent photo and a brief description. Don’t assume everyone will know what a Barbet/Spinone/ Bernerdoodle looks like. Include your contact info in big bold letters or tear off tabs. Plaster posters in high traffic areas within a 5 mile radius of where Rover was last seen: busy intersections, park entrances, coffee shops, grocery stores.
4. Assemble and organize a search party.
You’d be surprised how many strangers might want to help. Facebook can actually be useful for this. Enlist people to distribute your posters while calling out for Rover and mentioning it to everyone they meet on the street. The more people know about it the better the chances are of Rover coming home safe and sound. Arm your search party with his favourite treats and inform them that even the friendliest dog can become extremely fearful of strangers when lost and confused. Tell everyone to avoid chasing him but to call him over while enticing him with treats.
5. Most importantly: PREVENTION
- DO NOT leave Rover tied up unattended outside any store.
- Secure gate latches and fenced in areas.
- Be sure Rover has up to date ID on him: printed name and contact number on the collar or on a good quality steel tag (can you even still read the info off that $1 tag ?).
- Have you moved since registering Rover? Keep microchip info up to date.
- Check up on your dog walker. How many dogs are they taking? Where are they going? Are all dogs in the group off leash? Think about how hard it can be to properly supervise 1 dog off leash; now imagine 6 or more.
- If Rover’s recall is unreliable go back to working on it.