Yes, Dogs Go Missing

It is true, very good dog owners can lose their dogs. Currently, a good friend’s dog is missing in Aspen and another friend’s terrier was lost for three hours a couple of days ago!

And, I am embarrassed to admit, this week, I managed to lock my precious older dog, Rosie, the miniature pinscher, out of my apartment. She went roaming the building while I slept away with my other animals. I had assumed she went to her spot on the couch where she has been sleeping lately. When I woke up, I couldn’t find her! I couldn’t believe it…I searched high and low, but she was nowhere to be found. I am SO lucky that my lovely dog-owning neighbors took the “stray” into their home for the night. Rosie never left the building and probably was really only “lost” for about 15 minutes before she was “rescued” by my neighbors. Through a few signs I posted in my building and Facebook, all the dots were connected and I knew Rosie was safe.

 
You must be wondering: why didn’t they call me? Well, Rosie recently lost her ID tags and I have been lazy in replacing them. Especially since Rosie is NEVER offleash (and I will never lose her)! Getting her an ID tag has been on the to-do list for a while. I have been planning on ordering one from Sirius Republic. I feel like a failure but after apologizing profusely to Rosie, I I will try to make some nice lemonade from this almost disaster…
 
As someone who worked in the shelter world for almost 10 years, we always preach, “microchip, microchip”…Well, it is super important to do that, but studies are showing that is just as important to have up-to-date ID tags. As Dr. Emily Weiss writes on her ASPCABLOG:
 
“The use of a simple ID tag that includes the name, phone number and address of the guardian would support community return of a lost pet. Ideally, lost pets with ID tags should never enter the sheltering system, as they are returned directly by the finder who calls the guardian’s number clearly displayed on the tag. This means we could decrease intake by increasing the use of simple ID tags.”

You can order high-quality, stylish tags through Sirius Republic or Red Dingo (where Josh got his ID tag for Lucy) for under $20!  Or, just head over to your local Petco or Petsmart, buy some tokens and make tags right on the spot!

Of course chipping is important, so if your pet isn’t chipped, contact your local shelter or humane society and see if they offer low-cost chipping. Sometimes groups offer special micro-chipping events! And, PLEASE don’t forget to register the chip if they vet implanting doesn’t. Even double check after the fact. Equally important is to remember to immediately update your registered information if you move.

And, in the case your dog does go missing, here are some reminders:

  • Fliers and Posters – the old fashioned way works! Make sure you have a clear photo of the dog. Post them at intersections, community boards, the location of where the pet was last scene, animal hospitals and shelters.
  • Visit the shelters in person – shelter employees and volunteers are busy. Make sure you go and look at every cage.
  • Make phone calls – don’t just rely on the internet and emails. Call every vet office if you cannot visit in person.
  • Notify your microchip company in case the dog ends up at a vet or animal shelter.
  • Social Media – use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. Get a viral campaign going to help recover your dog.
  • And lastly, it’s sad but true, you should inquire with your local government on what agency is responsible for picking up animals hit by cars. For instance, a few years ago a local dog went missing. The owners did an amazing job of plastering fliers and contacting EVERYONE about their lost dog. They eventually were told to contact the NYC Department of Sanitation because they are responsible for picking up dogs that were hit by cars. Sadly, they found out their dog was hit by a car not too soon after she ran off. It was devastating news but at least they had closure.

The moral of my story is never take anything for granted. Leashes break, people trip, collars fail. Always have proper IDs and microchips. After this week, I am holding all my four-legged charges tight, making sure they always have tags, and laughing at this: