You found a loose dog, posted him with Helping Lost Pets and now you’ve received a phone call from a potential owner. Great job! What next? How do you make sure you are returning the dog to the right person?
When someone calls in response to an ad and/or flyer you have posted for the dog you found, ask the caller’s name and telephone number and tell him/her that you will call back right away. This will give you their information in case you need it later.
Call back and then let the person inquiring describe the dog including unique identifying characteristics. (i.e. scars, tattoo, behaviors, color patterns, etc.) If the dog was found with a collar, ask them to describe the collar color and pattern.
Ask the owner to provide Proof of Ownership via email or text which should include some of the following documents:
- Vet records (call their vet to confirm)
- Rabies certificate or license
- Adoption papers, registration papers, transfer of ownership or bill of sale
- Photos (dated and w/family members)
Make arrangements to meet the owner at your local police parking lot, vet office, or a safe public place in the daylight. Be sure to let a friend or family member know where you are meeting or ask one of them to go along. If you meet at a police station, go into the police station first to inform them of what is happening so they can keep an eye out.
Observe the meeting of the dog and person. Does the dog show familiarity with the person? Be aware that a dog who has been missing a long time or who were in survival mode may not immediately show familiarity or affection so do not be alarmed if this happens. It may take time for a long-lost dog to recognize their owners or feel comfortable with them.
Thank you for helping reunite a dog with their family. Together we can help more lost dogs get home!