The Science of Sustainability

Have You Seen My Dog? Top 10 Tips for finding lost pets

  • share this article
  • Facebook
  • Email

Nyla – found safe and soundYesterday, a 10:00 am Text Message from friend stated:

My Dog Nyla had disappeared. I could use some help.

My reply:

Whatever you need.

I know what it is like to have a missing pet. When my cat Tucker slipped out two years ago around the winter holidays, I was distraught. I feared he was stuck in the garage of a vacationing family, hit by a car, starving in an alley, wet, cold and crying for me somewhere in the streets. I did everything to find him, creating a 'CSI Oakland' headquarters at my house. Though I did not find Tucker, I did feel at peace with my efforts and felt able to advise my friend on his search. The trick is to turn your guilt, fear and sadness into positive energy and to take immediate action!

1. Reach out to Friends and Family: Right away, reach out and ask for help. You would be surprised who steps up and offers their time, so give them the chance to do so.

2. Create an e-mail list of your team and keep them updated.

3. Flyers, postcards and business cards: It is PR time. Arm yourself with the flyers, tape, staplers and tacks and hit up the neighborhood. Use your most current photo of your dog and create bright-colored flyers, as well as smaller postcards or business cards. Post your flyers right away and everywhere within 1 mile of where the pet went missing. Post in coffee shops, store windows, video stores, parks, pools, churches and local hangouts. State clearly, "MISSING DOG". Include what neighborhood the dog is missing from and when he/she was last seen, as well as your phone number and a description of the dog. If you are offering a reward leave out one detail of the description (eye color or odd patch on belly) in order to weed through responses.

4. Network: Set out in teams and talk to people. Give out the cards to your neighbors, dog walkers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, local police, neighborhood youth, the postman, garbage woman and everyone you meet. Give them away at the farmer's market, shopping center and BART station, wherever you can encounter the most local people. Almost everyone can relate to a lost pet and most will be sympathetic to your mission.

5. Contact Pet Places: visit your local Animal Control, Humane Society, rescue places, veterinary offices, pet stores and pet supply places. Check their found dogs and give them flyers to post. With Animal Control, you must go in immediately and visit often. You can post in their Lost Dog binder and check the Found Dog one. Staff will show you current found dogs and, sadly, the police deceased animal cards. Bay Area Shelters are at www.animalservices.org/uploaded_files/shelterlist.pdf or www.labrescue.org/Pages/bayareashelters.htm.

6. Craigslist: As always, a fantastic resource. Use Craigslist to list your missing pet, but also use it to check for found dogs. Try the newspaper, as well.

7. Call the Police: Most officers are quite willing to take a card and keep an eye out.

8. Look: With a friend, look for your dog in his/her favorite places, like a friends' yard or the local dog park. Call to them, rattle their leash, squeak their favorite toy or use an Acme dog whistle as you walk.

9. Stay Positive

and

10. Do Not Give Up! Pets have been known to find their way back home after being lost for several months.

Now for the good news: thanks to flyers (#2 above), someone called with a lead late last night and Nyla was found. Hey, it works!

Amy Gotliffe is Conservation Manager at The Oakland Zoo.

latitude: 37.7502, longitude: -122.148

Related

Explore: , , , , , , ,

Category: Biology, Health, Partners

  • share this article
  • Facebook
  • Email
Amy Gotliffe

About the Author ()

Amy Gotliffe is Conservation Manager at the Oakland Zoo. She is a Detroit transplant, enjoying the good Bay Area life for 17 years. She has a degree in communications, holds several teaching credentials and has a Masters Degree in Environmental Education. She has worked at various Bay Area educational and environmental institutions, teaching second grade, working on campaigns, planting pollinator gardens, producing earth day events and generally spreading the word about wildlife and green living. She currently works at The Oakland Zoo where she serves as the Conservation Manager. There, she coordinates support for international, national and local conservation efforts, produces a Conservation Speaker Series, produces the zoo's Earth Day event, leads eco-trips, teaches the various educational programs and heads up an on-site Green Team. On her list of other passions are travel, photography, music and the lindy hop. :-)
  • tara

    I was the one who called in with the lead on Nyla Monday night! I was actually just surfing the net to see if it panned out, and I'm positively THRILLED to see she is back home!
    FWIW the sign makes all the difference in the world — I had only seen it a couple of hours earlier and it was a great picture and description, so really stood out. As a dog owner myself, I'm always keeping an eye open for lost animals.

  • amber

    You can also get your pet microchipped with a little ID tag under the skin. Many vets and shelters will scan animals for chips, and if you've registered your pet, they'll give you a call.

  • ian

    As a member of the 'Operation Nyla Come Home' team, I fully support all of the ideas that Amy mentions. The most important move we made was to get out there – fast and furious – and paper the town. We put around 3,000 posters, fliers, and business card size info sheets on public streets, on windshields at BART station parking lots, and handed them to every person we saw over a three day period.

    It took us three solid days to get 'the machine' (as we called it) in place. And once in place, it was only 24 hours before we got the call that lead to Nyla's rescue.

    By the way – I would add to Amy's caption above that Nyla was returned safe, sound, and SMELLY.

    Four days of rain makes for one smelly husky.

    Ian

  • helpingpets

    I agree completly, all of this advice is so important. When a pet goes missing or even lost it is so important that we proactively react to the situation. Taking steps to protect your pet prior to having this scary and overwhelming incident happen. These steps include always keeping a collar on your pet with I.D Tags. Having your pet micro-chipped and registering them properly. Never leaving them outside unattended, this could lead to their escape as well as giving the opportunity for someone to steal your pet.

    Making sure that you’re pet (s) are registered properly is vital to helping them return home. There are many companies that you can register your pet with. One of these companies is called http://www.helpmefindmypet.com they provide not only a registry but they also have created a proactive lost pet alert that is sent out in up to a fifty mile radius to all Shelters, Rescues, Veterinarians, Municipalities, Groomers, Kennels, Pet Industry, and Members. People find lost pets; if your community is aware that you’re pet is missing this will create a local involvement resulting in more pets being reunited with their families. Prevention and preparation is essential to keeping your family together.

  • http://www.lostpetcards.com Maverick Mailing

    If anyone needs next-day mailing service to put a postcard in all of your neighbors' mailboxes, our family business can help. We have a canned service ready to take over the door-to-door neighborhood walking to help free up your time to visit the shelters, hang signs, etc. The postcards generate the most response in a search for a lost pet, but the next best thing is to be sure to make LARGE posters at key intersections near where your dear friend was lost.

    Hang in there!

    http://www.lostpetcards.com

  • http://lostpet.com/ Lost Pet

    These are great tips on what to do if you lose your pet.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.myspace.com alisha

    i lost my dog on christmas morning he ran out the house too catch my other dog that always run off but he didnt never come back this time, im so worried, he has a microchip in him but im sceard that he mite be somewhere hurt, and ii dnt know what tooh do we putting up posters nd stuu bhut ii need too find ah website tooh post his picture up big

  • lookingforbella

    My dog was lost Dec 28th, we are now going on our 3rd week without her. I am devestated! I want to do the post card thing but it is a little pricey….any other ideas? Please if anyone has any tips let me know. Her name is Bella. She is a blue (silver/gray), female Great Dane. 3 Years old. She was lost in Orange, CA. She is not micro-chipped. Thank you.

  • http://www.oaklandzoo.org amy gotliffe

    hi bella's family:
    have you checked shelters?
    You can hand-make posters – or just make paper copies of the information with photo, instead of post cards.
    KEEP TRYING!

    to alisha:
    any luck?
    some micro-chip companies will send out a LOST DOG e-mail to all the other micro-chipped dog owners. Contac them…an

  • http://www.kqed.org krysta

    i lost my dog roxy she is tan i lost her a week befor christmas and it been like 5 months and a half plz people keep a look out i beg i miss her so much

  • http://www.kqed.org krysta

    Plus my dog have a chip

  • http://www.kqed.org krysta

    but i cna't find her

  • http://www.oaklandzoo.org amy gotliffe

    Hi Krysta.
    I am so sorry about Roxy.
    Did you try the local shelters?
    Did you put up signs in your neighborhood?
    Also, contact your micro-chip company, they put out alerts via e-mail and will tell you if Roxy was reported.
    It has been a while, but there is still hope.
    Hang in there!
    Amy

  • http://www.kqed.org krysta

    well.. no my mom saod we arnt aloud so she don't want people to get my phone number we keep a look out we called the shelters i really want her back did you lose? you dog?

  • http://www.oaklandzoo.org amy gotliffe

    That makes sense. You have a nice mom.
    I lost my cat a few years ago. Tt was very hard for me and i missed him.

    T tried for a long time to find him. After a while, I knew in my heart that he had found a new home and was happy.

    Keep up the good work, but don't feel too bad about it. I bet that Roxy is ok.

    How old are you, Krysta?

  • http://www.kqed.org krysta

    ohh well. i don't want her to go to a new home i want her to come home iwith me and i am 11

  • http://www.oaklandzoo.org amy gotliffe

    Krysta, I feel your pain. Many of us have been in your same position and know how hard it is.

    Keep trying at shelters — you can leave a photo of Roxy there, as well.

    Here is another source of information:

    http://www.petrescue.com/library/find-pet.htm

  • http://www.kqed.org krysta

    thxs well i don't think she comeing home for awhile but i will keep my hopesup and keep a look out EVERYwhere maybge can you ask people? i asked the mailman but still no lucky maybe something good will happen i allways here good stuff happans to good people

  • http://www.kqed.org krysta

    Wait did you find your cat????? my mom thinks Roxy is comeing back home. my Dog is named roxy and she is tan she is about 3 years old and she not small she is mediem she is cutie maybe where she is right now this sec i bet she is thinking aboiut me and trying to find her way home bec it ben like 7 months i WILL FIND HER even if she is in a house she will come home and they have good hearing.Do you live in philly,amy?

  • http://www.kqed.org LOOKING FOR ROXY

    still can't find her

  • http://www.dogs.com dalia

    i lost my dog scruffy have you seen him he got lost on october 2 2009 at 7.29 in the moring.when i came home from school he was not there when i came home so now i figure how did he get lost he couldnot get out of my backyard.he was the 1st dog i ever had and he is the cutest in the from all dogs. CAN YOU GUYS PLEASE HELP ME LOOK FOR MY DOG HE IS BLACK AND TAN AND IS A MALE HE HAS A CURLY TAIL AND HAS HIS EARS DOWN

  • http://www.oaklandzoo.org amy gotliffe

    Hi Dalia.
    Where do you live?
    Amy

  • http://haveyouseenmydog.com Angie Gentry

    i have recantly got my daughter and my son beagle puppies, and one day me,husband,two kids left to go somewhere and our two puppies got out and we don't know where to look.Our neighbor rachel found an add in the newspaper resquesting that the animal shelter had found our two dogs, my daughters friend helped my daughter in her desprate need for istanishment and help getting her calmed down for loosing her dog. I just want to say thanks for my neighbor ranchel and for my daughter's friend Jordan Dunn.

  • http://haveyouseenmydog.com Angie Gentry

    dalia did you find your dog?

  • citara

    I lost my dog on 11 November 2009, female German Shepherd her name is Inul. I thought she was being kidnapped because she can't jump through my fences. I live in Indonesia and there is no local animal control here, even the police wouldn't help me to see her. What should I do?

  • Andreina

    I have lost my dog Nutella, my husband and I are devastated. I have post on lost dogs websites and I'm planning to print some flyers but I feel so bad and guilty. I just want her to come back….

  • William

    Lost my Dog Luna, we are devastated, this was the most important an animal has ever been to us, they'll never be another dog like Luna. Lost in the city of Macon, Georgia, in Bibb County, please help.

    I don't know what to do, we searched on foot, but I'm away from home and don't have the resources to put up posters. We're near a busy highway, I'm so scared for her, its the middle of the night. She is microchipped and I told the humane society that did it, but its Christmas so the Animal Control isn't open…

    If anyone, at all, can do anything, please help. Her name is Luna, she is very shy and skittish. She is a Chiuhaha, Brindle Colored, Purple Colar, my number and her name is on her blue tag. IF anyone has ANY advice, please.

  • Ganduri sowmya

    i lost my puppy 2months back which is 2 years old…i could not sleep…i could not enjoy at all.. dont know what to do……….her name is ARIES

  • Gandurisowmya

    ARIES …lost my puppy in ramnagar.. hyderabad..

  • http://www.corporatebattlefields.com/ Graeme Cooper

    BANJO …. my Black Lab went missing last Night … 9 year Old Green and White collar…. Home Coopers Court, Moreton , Ongar, Essex CM5 0LE
    cooper@waterlootours.co.uk
    01277 890214

  • Minishi Andreo

    thanks for the tips