Your Dog is Lost!
By Merci Riccardi
1. If you can't get your dog back in FIVE minutes, the best thing to do is call MGA at any available number. If you don't get an answer, keep trying any of the numbers listed in our newsletter. Someone is there to help you. Then call your friends and family - anyone that can help. MGA members, volunteers and your friends and family can initiate a search. ALWAYS keep collars and ID tags on even in the house, just in case. You never know when they will get loose. Be prepared to answer many important questions so that we may have a better opportunity to help you.
Kari Swanson (630) 466-4022
Cindy King (630) 851-3402
2. If a search of the immediate neighborhood comes up empty, call your local police department, animal shelters, animal control and state police if you're near an expressway. We will assist you in these phone calls.
3. Make up flyers and posters as well as an ad in your local newspapers, also radio stations may be able to give you a plug. Make flyers in large, clear letters, including your phone number, and possibly a clear picture.
4. If one person can't stay home, change your outgoing message to include your cell phone number and include your pet's name and instructions to keep your dog safe. Many people will just let a dog loose that they have found, thinking that the dog will find their way home. It's important to let them know you will come get your dog immediately.
5. Work in pairs. If in the car, each person can search on one side of the road. It's easier than for one person to try to scan both sides.
6. Keep your windows down and radio off. Listen for tags jingling or other dogs barking - this can sometimes lead you to your dog. If there's a cat or bunny in the yard, your dog has probably not been in that area yet. Make sure to test your dog with a squawker. If he or she is interested in the sound, use one to attract them while they are out. You can purchase a squawker from MGA.
7. If your dog is out over a day, the best times to search are early morning and after dinner when other people are walking their dogs - one reason is they may have seen a loose dog in the area attracted to theirs.
8. Put flyers on telephone poles, especially near intersections where traffic has to stop - also on mailboxes, give them out when school lets out - kids love to help, especially when a dog is lost.
9. Put them in the post office, pet shops, convenience stores, vet's offices - wherever you think there is foot traffic.
10. Keep a picture with you and show it to anyone walking on foot - mailman, construction workers, cable guys, telephone repairmen, etc. This is where it comes in handy to have two people, especially if you're approaching kids. Everyone is safety-conscious these days - remember, kids love to help.
11. If your dog is sighted and is allusive, you can usually borrow a humane trap from the local Humane Society or shelter especially useful if you have a spook, but you must know approximately where the dog is - also, leave your garage or gate open in case the dog finds his or her way home - this happens often.
12. If you're stressed, you may forget that you need a leash and collar and a blanket in the car, as well as treats for your pet. Make sure to take good smelling treats such as hot dogs.13. Drive with your hazard lights blinking - this is for two reasons: Other searchers can recognize you, as well as local people and neighbors who may have news of your pet. It is also good for safety and to alert other cars that you may make sudden stops.
14. Place a large sign in your front yard so your neighbors and local people know where the dog belongs.
15. Purchase 2-way radios. They can be an invaluable tool as they allow you to communicate with everyone at the same time preventing fumbling for cell phone numbers and phones ringing at inopportune times.
Sounds like a lot to remember? It is - that's why it's also important to have just one or two people coordinating the effort - have sectors to search and central numbers to report to, especially if the dog is found. Our members have had to do this many times, so please ask for help.
If it's your dog, you're just not going to be able to think of everything, so ask for help and be willing to listen to suggestions. Last, volunteer when you can - it could be your own dog out there in the dark, scared and alone, one night.