Talk 2 Animals
gray squirrel

Finding A Lost Pet

Practical steps to help find a lost pet

The most important thing you can do to help a lost pet find their way home, is to stay as centered and calm as possible. I know this is easier said than done, but understanding some dynamics of animal communication will help. Animals pick up on our emotions and the pictures and scenarios we create in our minds, regardless of whether or not you are physically together.

When an animal is truly lost and trying to find their way home, the most important picture they can receive from you is the picture of their reunion with you. This is a great support and helps them remain centered. If you find yourself imagining unpleasant situations your pet may have gotten into, just STOP! Force yourself to stop. Instead, picture how it will be when you and your pet are reunited.

Imagine hugging them, the feelings of gratitude and relief at finding them, plan a welcome home meal, go over happy memories of them sleeping on the couch, playing with a favorite toy, or pray for their safe recovery. Do whatever it takes to keep your mind focused on the positive WHILE you follow through with the following steps:

More good suggestions can be found here.

What To Do If Your Animal Becomes Lost

When an animal becomes lost it can be extremely traumatic, both for animals and their caretakers. If you are facing this situation, here is a list of immediate action items to help you in your search.

• File a lost report with your local animal control.

• Regularly search all of the shelters and veterinarian's offices in your area--IN PERSON. Don't just ask about your animal from behind the counter. Ask to see the cages yourself--especially out-of-the-way cages that would be easy for staff to overlook! Warning: Many shelters only hold stray animals for a maximum 72-hour "stray hold". When this hold expires, the animal may be adopted to a new home or euthanized to make room for other incoming animals.

• Post "lost animal" flyers with a photo and description of your animal. Good places to post: animal shelters, parks, vet clinics, pet stores, grocery stores, school and play grounds, fire and police stations, church and synagogue bulletin boards, community bulletin boards, and around your neighborhood.

• Hit The Pavement!

• Act immediately! Time is of the essence. The sooner you start your search, the less time your animal has to wander further from your home.

• Remember that animals can travel quickly and can cover a several mile radius in surprisingly little time.

• Determine to the best of your ability the time and location that your animal was last seen.

• Search in the direction your animal often travels with you or the direction in which he often sees you depart. For example, do you usually turn right at the end of your driveway? When you take him for a walk, which direction do you usually walk?

• Check your animal's favorite and frequently visited destinations: the local dog park, your neighbor's backyard, a nearby school. Consider other nearby locations that your animal may be drawn to.

• Did you recently move? Your animal may be trying to find his way back to your old home! Check with the current tenants at your old home and ask them to keep an eye out for your lost animal.

• Go door-to-door and talk to neighbors in the area where your animal was lost. Give them your phone number and ask them to contact you immediately if your animal is sighted.

• Inform your mail carrier and children in the area that your pet is missing. They often travel extensively throughout the neighborhood and can keep an eye out for your missing animal.

• Organize a search party. Solicit help from friends, co-workers and family members to search the area where the animal was lost.

• Leave food and/or a personal belonging that has your scent on it near the entrance of your home or in the area where your animal was last sighted. This will encourage him to stay in the area even if you're not present.

• Replace "lost animal" posters as necessary! Take them down when your pet is found.

• Post "lost animal" door hangers with a photo and description of your animal on doors in the area where the animal was lost.

• Place an advertisement in local newspapers and in the classifieds. (Warning: Beware of newspaper scams!)

• Offer a reward. (Warning: Beware of newspaper scams!)

• Posting that your animal needs medical attention on the "lost animal" flyer can solicit a more diligent response from neighbors who may encounter your animal. It can also deter somebody who may be inclined to keep your animal.

• Be thorough and persistent--it pays off!

• Don't lose hope! Continue your search for at least 6 months before resigning yourself to the fact that your pet may truly be gone forever.