Lost Pets: 10 Things to Consider to Help Find Them
Has a pet of yours gone missing? Here are 10 tips to help find a lost pet!
Petside had the opportunity to talk to former police officer turned pet detective Kat Albrecht, founder of the Missing Pet Partnership, which helps pet owners in local areas re-discover their lost pets. Here are 10 things that pet owners should do immediately if they have lost a pet.
1. Research and Understand Lost Pet Behaviors
If you have lost a pet, the first thing that you need to do is understand the problem you are dealing with as a whole. The first component of this is trying to decipher how different animals will react when they find they are not at home, which involves doing a little bit of research.
“Dogs and cats are apples and oranges,” says Albrecht, “and they behave differently when lost.”
Generally, dogs run when they are panicked, and so when a dog becomes lost it may be necessary to start your search on a wider, macro level. Cats, however, look to hide, necessitating a search on a smaller, micro level. Although every pet ultimately behaves differently when lost, knowing how a pet may behave can help you better craft your search.
2. Develop Witnesses and Leads for Your Lost Pet
After you’ve done some research, your search should begin. In looking for your lost pet, immediately start trying to turn up leads and potential witnesses who may have seen your pet, including neighbors, animal control, and those in the surrounding area.
“After all, you’ll need to search your neighbor’s yards for your hidden, silent [pet]”, says Albrecht.
While making people aware of the situation will help ease your search, reaching out to the people in your area will also gain more eyes that will be on alert for any potential sightings of your lost pet.
3. Poster Your Neighborhood with Giant Neon Signs
Once you’ve assessed how your pet might behave and reached out to locals to keep them on alert, start putting posters up throughout your neighborhood, preferably including a current photo of your pet’s appearance on the sign.
“Use giant neon posters to capture attention with your message,” says Albrecht.
In making your posters, Albrecht advises using the “5+5+55” rule. The “5+5+55” rule of thumb means using 5 words that people can read in 5 seconds while traveling at 55 mph. One example of a good sign that follows this rule would be: LOST BLACK LAB PINK COLLAR.
4. Conduct an Intersection Alert
Also known as a lost dog protest, an intersection alert is essentially an advertising campaign geared towards making passersby aware that there is a missing animal. More often than not, people want to be helpful. An intersection alert can help your message reach even more people than the static posters you’ve put up throughout your neighborhood.
For information on how to conduct a safe and successful intersection alert, visit the Missing Pet Partnership’s guide.
5. Tag Your Car
When dealing with lost pets, the importance of mass marketing the fact that your pet is missing cannot be understated. While you’ll have done this through your posters and intersection alerts, another way to make the community aware of your plight is by tagging your car.
Using neon window markers, you can write messages on your moving billboard (your car) that make passersby aware that your pet is missing while you conduct daily activities, like going to the store.
6. Post a Lost Pet Ad on Craigslist
While you’ve done the good old fashioned outreach to your local community with signs and posters, it might not be a bad idea to reach out to cyberspace for a little bit of help. Posting a lost pet ad on Craigslist can help you do this.
More people than you think frequent sites like Craigslist. Though it seems trivial, remember that your pet’s recovery depends on doing everything in your power.
7. Use Social Media to Search for Your Lost Pet
Similar to posting an ad of your lost pet on Craiglist, use social media to try to help spread the news about your lost pet. Using social media, which by nature gets people talking, will help raise awareness and efforts to recover your pet.
If you think social media isn’t worth it, just remember the case of Jack the Cat. Although Jack had an unfortunate outcome, he was ultimately found after going missing at JFK Airport for close to a month. His owner amassed a Facebook following of over 16,000 dedicated fans that helped pitch in and search for the lost cat.
8. Use Petfinder and Other Shelter Resources
In conducting the search for your lost pet, don’t count out using Petfinder and other animal shelter resources. In some cases, you may be searching for pet that isn’t even out in the wild anymore.
“Your lost dog could be in a foster home, or up for adoption in a shelter posted on Petfinder,” says Albrecht.
As such, it’s important to monitor these resources frequently for any potential updates on your pet.
9. Leave No Stone Unturned
Though this tidbit scarcely needs reminding, it’s important to leave no stone unturned in the search for your lost pet. Your pet could be hiding in any conceivable place in your neighborhood. Even if you’ve checked a spot, don’t be afraid to double and triple check that location.
“Do not get tunnel vision,” says Albrecht. “Your lost [pet] could be hiding under your neighbor’s deck or trapped four houses down in a shed. Make certain you turn up every stone when looking for your pet.”
10. Hold on to Hope
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you must remember to hold out hope if your pet is missing. Stay positive and think that, due to the efforts you put forth, your lost pet will find home.
“The moment you give up hope and stop looking for your pet, all chances of a recovery stop,” says Albrecht.
Do you have any other helpful advice for people searching for lost pets? Share in a comment.