Your first line of defense against a lost pet is identification. A registered microchip and identification tags make it easier for a rescuer who may find your pet, to help reunite you.
Whether or not your pet has identification, time is of the essence when your pet disappears. If an owner searches actively for them in the first 12 hours after the loss, 89 percent of lost pets are recovered. If you want to find a pet, think like a pet. Dont zoom about in a panicthere are places in or near your home, property, and immediate neighborhood that may have always been interesting to your pet.
Once youve covered your immediate neighborhood, dont assume your pet wont go far from home. Pets have been found many miles from their homes, so even though your pet may still be in the neighborhood, dont assume that to be the case.
File a lost pet report with the police, post lost pet signs, and report your loss to all local animal shelters.
Check the newspapers daily for found pet ads. Take out a lost pet ad with information about where you lost your pet and a short description.
Several online databases track lost and found pet information and help facilitate reunions. You can also join lost pet messages boards and forums to connect with other people who may have lost pets.
Dont give up hope. Sometimes, pets and owners are reunited months after the pet went missing. Use every resource at your disposal to increase the odds of whether or not you find your pet.
Its important to communicate as much as you can that your pet is missing. If you receive reports that your pet has been spotted in a certain area, thats where you should concentrate your search. Someone may be feeding the pet or there is a ready food supply that is keeping it in a certain place. Leaving a piece of clothing with your scent will often draw the animal to the site and it may even remain there until your return.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: If your pet, especially a cat, does not respond (come out or vocalize) when called, it is likely that it has gone into survival mode. When searching take the time to thoroughly LOOK INSIDE possible hiding places. If the pet is in this state it will not move. YOU WILL HAVE TO FIND IT.
Karen Cunningham is president of the St. Lawrence Valley Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.