For the Love of Abby
On December 27, 2013 our beloved Toy Fox Terrier, Abby ran away from our in home pet sitter while we were on vacation in Florida. Despite the best efforts of friends and notifications to Animal Control, Lost Dogs Illinois and local veterinarians, our baby was found deceased. The whole episode has been so heart breaking, that I hope no one ever has to go through what we did. Below are some tips for keeping your dog from becoming one of the lost.
- Micro-chip your pet. It is very easy and cost effective to do.
- Tag your pet. In some towns, this is required by law along with a rabies tag.
- If someone other than you or any of the family members that the pet lives with are taking your dog out for any reason, have them take the pet out on a leash no matter what! Your friends would feel awful if your pet escaped on their watch.
- Periodically check the fenced yard your pet uses. Check for broken pieces on wood fences and bent areas on chain link fences. Make sure lawn clippings piles and wood piles are not too close to a fence line giving your pet an easy stairway over a fence.
- Interview all pet care givers that interact with your pet and in some cases your home. Have a meet and greet with the caregiver and the pet. Are they insured? Bonded? Licensed if your jurisdiction requires? Do they have references? Any internet reviews? DO THEY HAVE A LOST PET PLAN??
- Always require that all caregivers have a leash on your pet when out of doors.
- Have pictures of your pet on your phone or in your computer archives. Especially useful, are pictures of your pet next to an object (like a footstool) to give a sense of the pet’s size. Have a picture that shows and unusual markings or features like two different colored eyes or odd shaped spots, etc. If a lost flyer needs to be made, it can be done in a hurry.
Despite all of your best laid efforts, some dogs can still escape and become lost. Now what?
- Let neighbors know that pet is missing.
- Contact town police and Animal Control.
- Post listing on Lost Dogs Illinois
- Have family and friends search with flyers in hand or at the very least a picture on their phone.
- Have someone contact any vets or shelters in your area by phone.
- Drop off or email a “Missing” flyer to all area vets, shelters & rescues.
- Use social media and other internet portals but do not offer a reward as this can attract scammers. Have your Facebook/ Twitter friends in the local area spread the word.
- Put flyers in the windows of local stores, especially gas stations.
- Think outside the box: put up stake signs (yard sale signs) with your flyer on it at local intersections. Live near a sports field? Hand out flyers there. Live near a commuter train station? Put up flyers there. Live near a school? Leave flyers at the main desk to be given to the PE and maintenance staff. Live near farmland? Ask the owner if you can check the outbuildings.
- If your pet is still missing after several days, re-group and touch base with all contacts.
- Continue developing new contacts to send information to and try to stay motivated during your search.
Developing a missing pet plan now may help you identify and address safety issues preventing a lost pet. While we will never ever forget what happened to our darling girl, we found we so loved having a dog in our lives that we have adopted a rescue dog.
For the Love of Bean