Helping dogs find their way home
Help! I’ve found a dog.
If you’ve found a dog wandering around your neighborhood or walking down the road and were able to bring it to safety, you rock! You’re a kindhearted person and probably feel some responsibility about what happens to the dog next.
It’s important to keep in mind that even if the dog is injured or seems scared, do not assume the dog was abused and shouldn’t be returned to his/her guardians. Someone may be desperately searching and praying for the return of a lost, beloved companion. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye and even responsible guardians can lose a dog. Dogs can get injured while on the loose; hit by a car, scuffle with another dog, get cut and scraped by branches or by going under or over fences. It’s imperative to have compassion for the dog and the guardian who may very well be absolutely devastated about their missing dog.
If you have found and have control of a lost dog, here is what you should do:
Step 1: Check for ID tags with contact information. If the dog has no tags start by knocking on nearby doors to see if anyone knows where the dog lives. Check community sites like Craigslist, NextDoor, and Facebook Groups such as Lost Dogs of Wisconsin for posts of missing dogs that match the description of the dog you found.
Step 2: If you can’t find the guardians quickly, take the dog to your local animal control facility. If you are unable to get the dog there yourself, please call them so they can arrange pick up. Many well-meaning people do not know this, but when you find a stray dog you are legally required to report such a finding to your community’s law enforcement association or animal control agency. This is where the dog will be immediately scanned for a microchip and guardians will come to claim the dog. Although it may be tempting to keep a lost pet and try to find the guardians yourself, it is absolutely essential the animal be scanned for a microchip. Despite misguided opinions, animal control facilities are often filled with kindhearted people that have been given an overwhelming job that most of us could not do. And, if no one claims the animal, it’s often possible for the person who found the dog to adopt the pet if they choose.
Step 3: Even though the dog is waiting to be reunited with his/her guardians at animal control, there are still several ways you can help the dog get reunited faster. If possible, take a photo of the dog and post fliers around the area where the dog was found, at local vet offices, supermarkets, anywhere that will take them. Post about the dog you found with the picture on community sites like Craigslist, NextDoor, and Facebook Groups. Also, be sure to file a report about the dog you found on Lost Dogs of America.
Help! I’ve lost my dog.
We’re terribly sorry you’ve lost your beloved companion. We hope this nightmare ends happily and that you can be reunited quickly. It’s vital to get the word out to as many people in as many places as possible, so be sure to enlist the help of your friends and family in the search efforts. Follow the steps below if you’ve lost your companion.
Step 1: Put food, water, your pet’s bed, and an article of your clothing with your scent on it near the last place your dog was seen. It’s possible they’ll return to that location.
Step 2: You should immediately post fliers. Create a lost dog flier with pictures of your dog and contact information. Post these at local vet offices, street corners, supermarkets, anywhere that will allow you to post them. Go door to door in the neighborhood where your dog was last seen and hand out fliers. Post a flier on the door of your home, your mailbox, and make a yard sign to put in your yard. Be as visible as you can be.
Step 4: Report your lost dog to your local animal control facility. If your pet is found, this is where they’ll be. Plan to visit animal control daily if possible and check to see if your dog has been found. Be courteous and don’t get angry with them. Keep your cool. We know it’s an emotional situation, but they want to find your dog as much as you do.
For more information on what to do if you’ve lost your dog, visit The Humane Society of the United States.