How to Find a Lost Dog or Cat
- Go to the 5 closest shelters ASAP in person as they will not satisfactorily help you over the phone because they have too many animals and don't always know what just came in or will not recognize a particular animal from a phone description. If possible, go every day to check and remind the staff to look out for your dog or cat. Most shelters only hold them for a few days to a few weeks, so time is critical.
- You need to call the police in your town and all the surrounding towns. The police often are called to pick up wandering strays and may have information of your animal's whereabouts.
- Check Petfinder.com every day for several weeks or even months. Look outside your local area (even nationally) as animals that are stolen sometimes surface several weeks later in a different state.
- Use the shelter and rescue group index on Petfinder.com to find and contact rescue groups in your local area who may be in possession of your animal, but have not yet listed him or her on Petfinder. Sometimes, a particular animal will never get listed because the group has a home waiting for that breed or temperament.
- Create fliers with the animal's photo, name, age, distinguishing physical characteristics and the date and where he or she was last seen as well as your phone number and the name of the police station they can call if they happen to see the dog some time in the future. Blanket telephone poles all over town, including pet food stores and supermarkets. If a good samaritan took in your pet, they will eventually have to go buy food for him or her, and may see your flier. Repost any that are taken down. Take your fliers with you to the shelters and the police stations and hand them out to staff.
- Put a piece of unwashed clothing that you have worn (it needs to have your scent on it, like a tee shirt) and put one in the front of your house by a bush and another in the back with food next to it every day. This is especially helpful for cats, even cats that may have been outside before.
- Talk to all your neighbors in a several block radius and leave the flyer with them. Cats, especially, could be hiding in their backyard and they don't know it. Usually people are kind and understanding. Children are great lookouts because they are often out playing and will see the cat hiding in the yards and bushes. Make sure they neighborhood kids are in on the search!
- One other thing you can do, and it does sometimes help, is put a picture in your Small Town Paper with a photo of the animal, name and date, etc. it was lost. It is always worth a try.
Good luck, and don't give up searching.