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How To Find Your Dog When It’s Lost

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Recently Mark & Paul allowed a listener named Maggie to go on the air to ask our listeners help find her lost dog and the story had a happy ending as she was reunited with her pooch. Not everyone is so lucky when their dog escapes or is accidentally let out of the yard. Not for lack of trying but often they don’t have a good strategy for finding their animals.

Up until 2009 “Phoenix” was our family mutt. She was a Houdini her entire life and must have escaped our yard by digging, climbing, brute force and squeezing through wrought iron slats or some combination thereof at least 100 times. Unfortunately at the age of 11 she escaped the yard one time too many (bit through zip ties, tore down chicken wire and scaled a 7 foot fence) and met her fate on a busy street. As sad as it is and as much as we miss her it turned me into a bit of an expert on how to track a dogs whereabouts.

In 2004 Phoenix escaped a kennel while we were out of town for the weekend. The kennel wasn’t very secure… the pens could be pushed open with a bit of force, the door to the building they were in was left open and they had boxes next to their fence which my dog used as a staircase. When the kennel called me Phoenix had been out for 2 hours and I was 2 and a half hours away. I drove home as fast as I could and the kennel manager and I used the remaining hour of light to look for her but to no avail. The kennel said they put signs up but they were basically sheets of paper that said “lost dog” taped to the bottom of a light standard… not very effective. Eventually we did find her the next day and suggestion #3 below was instrumental in tracking her down. In my life as a dog owner I’ve had other lost dogs and fortunately I’ve always been successful in my searches. The actions I suggest below are the reason for that success.

First off the best preventive measure is to make sure your dog has tags with a current cell phone number. To find your dog if it’s lost take the following measures immediately:

1. Make a post on Craigslist and the Gazette website with pics if possible. If your dog is friendly and will walk up to people chances are someone has already found it and is looking at lost dog ads.

2. Look at found dog ads on Craigslist. A couple of years ago a dog my wife had rescued got out of the yard 30 minutes after we brought him and his brother home and we were able to track him down this way quickly.

3. Buy neon colored poster board (Dollar Tree and CVS have this in stock) and the biggest fattest markers you can find and make giant signs with very large, easy to read, letters. I put these on all 4 corners of 5 different intersections near where Phoenix was lost and got a call and was reunited with her within half an hour.

4. Visit your local animal shelter as many people who find what they believe are stray animals will just take them straight to the pound.

5. This is more of a preventive measure but even if you have the best of intentions and your dog has a collar with a current tag, those items can often fall or be torn off of your furry baby in it’s effort to fly the coop. To make sure your dog is returned to you should it end up at a vet or the pound, have it microchipped. The microchip is programmed with your contact information and is placed just below the skin. Any vet or animal shelter can read the chip and return your pet to you.

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