It was a Sunday, about 7:30 in the morning and I was out with one of our pet sitters caring for 5 dogs in Toms River. Both of us were outside, leash walking the dogs in their backyard when they started barking and pulling us toward the other side of the yard. A stray pit bull was walking up to us, happy as could be. We brought all 5 dogs into the house and the other sitter finished up their morning routine. I went back outside with a leash to see if the dog would come to me, so I could secure it. Sure enough, she did. However, she didn’t have a collar on – so I improvised.
She had no identifying tags on her, so we didn’t know where she belonged. I walked up and down the street waiting for someone to come running, yelling her name. No one came. None of the neighbors who were outside, knew who she was, either.
Since it was Sunday, all the vet hospitals in the area are closed. Luckily, for this pup – we have such great relationships with local vets that we have special ways to reach the staff when the hospital is closed. We brought her to the hospital and scanned her for a microchip. Wahoo! She was chipped! We were able to contact the microchip company and they called the owner.
It turns out, the owner was visiting family who lived around the corner from my client for a Graduation party. The owner and the dog were visiting from Brooklyn and the owner thought the dog slipped out a gate the night before during the party. They had searched for her, with no luck. Thankfully, we were able to return her to her mom and this story has a happy ending.
Statistics say that 1 in every 3 pets goes missing in their lifetime. 10 million pets get lost every year. I know we all think it will never happen to us, but as Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
At the least, your pet should have a collar and identification tag on at all times. You can even have identification embroidered onto a collar, to alleviate needing a tag. We advocate that every pet be microchipped. Just as important as microchipping, is making sure you pay the yearly renewal fees and keep your current contact information and picture of your pet on file with the company.
If your pet ever does go missing, here are some tips.
5 Things to do if Your Pet Goes Missing:
- Contact your veterinarian and every veterinarian in the area. Give them a description of your pet, where they were last seen and any medical or behavior information that is important.
- If your pet is microchipped, call the microchip company and alert them. Some microchip companies send out “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS PET?” fliers to all shelters, vets, etc in their network, some have volunteers all over the country who will go out and help you search for your pet.
- Call the police and animal control. Sometimes good Samaritans will call the police or animal control when they’ve found a pet.
- Leave one person at home with food and water at your door step. Sometimes the pets will come home on their own and having food and water out is a way to attract them right to your door.
- Spend as much time as you can outside calling and looking for your pet. The more people who can help you, means you’ll cover more ground. If you find you’re pet, don’t run right up to it. It will probably already be frightened and although they know you, running right up to them may make them run away from you. Use a soothing voice to call and coax them, throw food or treats to get them closer to you. Some dogs will hop right in the car when you open the door because they LOVE car rides. Use whatever tricks you have to get them to come to you.
We hope you never experience this scarey situation, but we want you to be prepared should it happen.