One of our doctors found a stray dog a couple of months ago. We posted it on Fairview Animal Hospital’s Facebook page. Over 14,000 people saw the post but no one claimed knowing the dog or its owners. That, coupled with multiple calls to their two local vets, their County Animal Control, and the neighboring County Animal Control still didn’t help them find the dog’s owner.
Currently, there is no great way of connecting lost pets with their families. There are some websites (www.petfinder.com, for example) dedicated to reconnecting pets with their owners, and social media is a good resource, but none of these are hugely successful. Often times, owners post in one place and the people who find the pet look in another and the two never connect. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, someone will develop a single platform for connecting the two but, until that time, prevention is the best way to address the issue.
Letting a pet run loose poses a great risk. We’ve seen so many pets hit by cars and, in an even worse scenario, dogs that have been shot because they wandered onto another person’s property. Pets may be lost, stolen or picked up by Animal Control. The doctor we mentioned lives in a very rural area yet there is an area in the heart of his small town that has had a higher-than-normal number of dogs “go missing” from owner’s yards. Law enforcement suspects that they are being stolen to be used as “bait dogs” for illegal dog fighting. In our opinion, the only thing worse than losing a pet would be to think this was its fate!
The best way to ensure none of these things happen is to NEVER let your pet run loose. If you don’t have a contained area for him, then always take him out on a leash. Unless you have an extremely well-trained dog, taking him outside off-leash and staying nearby may not be enough. Even the best of dogs can bolt when something catches their attention.
A few other pieces of advice:
- Make sure your pet wears a collar and has an ID tag on it. (Note: We also recommend using a breakaway collar for safety reasons. If your pet does become lost, other types of collars may pose a safety risk if it gets caught on something and your pet can’t get loose.)
- Make sure your pet is microchipped. (Note: Also make sure you keep your information current in the microchip company’s database.) No appointment is needed to bring your pet to our hospital for microchipping and we do it while you wait. The cost is $25 and includes lifetime registration in the Save This Life database and a tag for your pet’s collar announcing that he is microchipped.
- If your pet does get lost, don’t just call your local Animal Control, go look for your pet yourself. There is always a chance you talk to a staff member who isn’t familiar with every pet in their facility. Also, physical descriptions of pets are very subjective.
- If you find a pet, make sure to have your local veterinarian scan him to see if he has a microchip. If so, we recommend checking with www.petmicrochiplookup.org to try to find the owners. They do the best job of compiling all the information from the various microchip databases.
We hope you never lose a pet but, if you do, these few steps will give the best chance of getting him home to you.