START SEARCH PROCEDURES IMMEDIATELY BEFORE DOG HAS TIME TO GO FAR. REMEMBER 90 PERCENT OF LOST DOGS ARE FOUND WITHIN TWO MILES OF WHERE THEY WERE LOST.
1. Mobilize all available help (family, neighbors, dog club members) and assign tasks to each person.
2. Prepare a written description with the dog's name, your veterinarian's name and your name, plus phone numbers. (An 8 1/2 x 11 master can be copied and, unless the whole page is necessary, cut into smaller areas duplicating the info.)
3. Drive or walk through the neighborhood calling the dog. Have two people in the car one driving, the other looking for the dog. Be cautious calling for the dog at busy intersections...your dog may try to cross the street to get to you.
4. Notify all residents of the immediate area to be on the lookout for the dog.
5. If your dog is friendly to strangers, check parks and schools.
6. If your dog is shy, frightened or may be injured, check places that offer it instinctual seclusion.
7. Leave the dog's crate where the dog was last seen with articles of clothing bearing your scent.
8. Leave the gate to your yard open in case the dog returns home on its own.
9. Try to locate the owner of a trained tracking dog. If you don't know of anyone, a local rescue club or tracking club may be willing to help.
10. Contact emergency animal hospitals throughout the area leaving the written information with authorization you will be responsible for any medical attention your dog may need if brought to them.
IF THE DOG IS NOT FOUND WITHIN A FEW HOURS, START MORE DETAILED MEASURES.
1. Print and deliver flyers; most owners of lost dogs use about 2,000.
2. Notify county animal control officials and all local animal shelters. Policies vary so ask questions and keep records of each center. Some shelters maintain lost-dog reports and contact owners if the dog is brought in. Some only follow up if the dog carries license tags, others must be contacted on a daily basis.
3. Notify all law enforcement agencies police, highway patrol and sheriffs cover different areas.
4. Advertise in the local papers offering a reward for information leading to the dog's recovery.
5. Check with local radio and TV stations; some broadcast news about missing pets.
6. Notify local dog clubs, all breed, obedience and specialty ones.
7. Email dog subscriber lists with the written information with an email return address; if not your own, cite one of a friend who will telephone you with any replies.
8. Leave your answering machine on 24 hours daily; if you don't own one, buy one immediately so no calls will be missed.
9. Do not dismiss any leads no matter how remote they seem.
10. Consider consulting with a specialist in finding lost animals.
IF THE DOG ISN'T FOUND WITHIN SEVERAL DAYS OR A WEEK, IT MAY HAVE LEFT THE IMMEDIATE AREA. OR, WHOEVER FOUND IT IS KEEPING IT. REMEMBER LOST DOGS HAVE BEEN RECOVERED AFTER MANY MONTHS, PLUS RECOVERED AS MUCH AS 300 MILES FROM WHERE THEY DISAPPEARED.
1. Expand the search to surrounding towns and repeat all of the above for each.
2. Notify organizations that alert laboratories using animals for experimentation, giving a description especially a tattoo number if existing.
If you recover your dog, do not express anger! Instead, let your dog know how happy you are to see it. Have a treat ready when you do find your dog.
Adapted from "The Spot Watch," by Jackie Isabell and Gerald A. Schwartz