Lost Dog! Steps to Take

As a new dog owner, you need to take extra precautions: multiple leashes, monitor door usage (tackle stance like you’re in the NFL), collar, tags and microchip (ensure info is always current on file).

But if your dog does get past you, here is what you need to know!

In the moment:
– Do not chase! It’s instinct, but it will make things worse. Stay calm, sit down, face the opposite direction, and let him see you and that you are not a threat. Call for help immediately. You need someone calmer than you, to start working on a plan.

Register Your Dog as Lost:
 https://www.helpinglostpets.com/ – Click the red banner at the top to register. This is a database and will create a flyer. Use flyer to help with your search.

Know Your Resources:

Many areas have a local group that helps “track lost pets”.  They have the expertise and resources and experience to help.

  • Durham Region – Team Chelsea
  • Hamilton – Dream Team
  • KW – Ground Search and Rescue KW
  • Mississauga – Healing Hearts

If you are reading this and haven’t lost your pet, please research this group.  Follow them on Facebook, and support them any way you can.  If you are in heat of the moment and need help finding this group, start with your rescue org and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Lost vs Really Really Lost

Some lost dogs turn up a few hours later, just a block or 2 away.  And some dogs are gone!  They may be on the run and end up many km away.  You won’t know which dog is yours until the first phone calls start coming in, which is why it is so important to get the word out asap.

Flyers – get the word out. Flyers are your best way to get the word out!
Some tips that may help you.  Eddie’s Network can help you as well.

  • Use the links above to create the best version of the flyer.  Select which one you like best and stick with it. Ensure phone number info is accurate.  Check it again.
  • Post the link for this flyer to your Facebook page and ask people to share it.
  • Email flyer to [email protected]   They will email back a “release code”. Make note of this and share it with volunteers. This enables them to go in, enter the code and print as many copies as they need to print.
  • Protect your flyers from the weather.  Use page protectors and tape, plastic wrap, or a combination of both.
  • Do not offer a reward. 

Love it or hate it, it is a combination of social media, communication and document storage.  To keep things simple, we recommend sticking to one platform.  You will be getting phone calls as that info is on the flyer, so technically, you will be working from 2 platforms.

  • Create a “page”.  This will be where you post your public-facing info for people to share.
    • Post vague updates to keep people engaged.
    • Ask for volunteers.
    • Ask people to share main posters to get more visibility.
  • Create a “group” for your main team.  Lock it down, as the info here should be private.
    • Invite trusted volunteers into this “inner circle”
    • When a new sighting comes in, put the map into your phone, print the screen and save it in this group.  These images will help track the bigger picture coordinates of your missing pup.
    • Assign a volunteer lead to delegate locations for flyers etc
    • Use the “chat” feature in the group

When You Get a Tip, Ask the Following Questions (Include this info on your FB page, so Tipsters know what to expect)

  • Get time and date
  • Location & what direction was the dog going
  • Running, walking, demeanour
  • Healthy? Injured?
  • A picture or video would be ideal
  • Get phone number in case we need to call back with more info
  • Remind them to not post info online

Over-Sharing – Our gut feels like we should tell everyone where our pup was last so people can rush to help.  The more people, the better, right?  Wrong!  More people means your dog’s region is compromised and they will move onto a place where they feel a bit safer.  It’s a balancing act of knowing what to share, and an exercise in education to explain what not to do.

Do’s & Don’ts for Helpers – Everyone wants to help get your pup home, but their best intentions can lead to the worst results. They say “patience is a virtue” and we think the quote originates back to dog rescue.

  • Don’t publicize actual locations.
  • Don’t chase or call a dog.
  • Do call in a sighting to the owner.  Get as much info and a photo if possible.
  • Do flyer any and all areas you can think of
  • Do go door to door.
  • Do talk to local businesses.
  • Don’t trespass.
  • Do get permission.

The Wrap Up

  • Get the word out. People have been worried, give them closure.
  • Thank your peeps.
  • Buy a tracking device for your pup.
  • Get some rest.