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Sunshine and Slaughter: Finding a missing pet

April 27, 2015

Source Sunshine and Slaughter
April 12, 2015

In February, I saw a shocking Instagram post from a person I follow. Her dog walker lost her dog. Sugar is still missing, and not a day goes by when I don’t think about her. If you know anything or see her, go to her Facebook page.

More recently, a friend pointed me to a story with a happy ending. A couple who tracks lost dogs learned of a dog who needed help. He’d been spotted for months in a remote park near Mount Rainier. He was starving and afraid. No one could catch him. When Amanda and Dylan, the trackers, couldn’t lure him with food, they devised a new plan.

baby bear

Lost, Found Pets of WA State

Amanda lay down on the ground. Amazingly, the dog approached. She whimpered. He lied down next to her. She gained his trust my making herself vulnerable. He helped her!

Amanda got a leash around the dog and he’s now in a foster home. But the story isn’t over. Baby Bear, as they’re calling him, was likely lost, not abandoned. If he has a family, they need to be reunited. To help, go to Amanda and Dylan’s site, Lost and Found Pets Washington State or their Facebook page.

In the weeks between when Sugar went missing in NYC and Baby Bear was found in the remote forest, I’ve seen other lost pet announcements–from Facebook to telephone poles. I realize that, tragically, a lot of people lose their beloved cats and dogs. Whether urban or rural, there is hope.

I thought I’d put together a bit of info to help prevent such a situation and devise a plan if the unthinkable happens.

Before your animal gets lost

  • Microchip your animals. This drastically increases the likelihood of a reunion.
  • Spay or neuter your animals. This decreases their desire to escape the house and wander away. It also means when you find your animal, she won’t come home pregnant.
  • Add your contact info to your animal’s collar. Consider a GPS collar. Both of these work only if the animal still has his collar on. The microchip will be your backup. Harder to read (only a vet, groomer, shelter, or other facility with a reader can), but impossible to lose.
  • Make your cats indoor cats and invest in a catio if they want to experience the outdoors in safety.
  • Check your fencing and make sure gates latch properly. Did the meter reader leave the gate open? Check.
  • Put your animals in a safe, quiet room during storms or fireworks, times when they might get startled and bolt.
  • Have pictures handy in case the unthinkable happens.

If your animal is lost

  • Start looking immediately! A big dog could run for miles, but a scared cat is likely close by and hiding. Chart your area based on your animal’s characteristics.
  • Make big posters and post them in high-traffic areas. Make indoor signs for vet’s offices, libraries, and grocery stores.
  • Check shelters, animal control, and vet’s offices. PAWS has a great checklist.
  • Tell your neighbors, use social media and spread the word.
  • Make sure your animal’s microchip info is up-to-date so if she is found, someone calls the correct number.
  • Consider humane trapping your cat. Cats don’t usually wander far and won’t often come when called if they are afraid.
  • Work with Missing Pet partnership, Lost Pet Professionals, or another organization that can help you find your animal.
  • Don’t give up.

If you find a stray animal*

  • Don’t chase the animal or call to him. He’s likely afraid.
  • Sit or lie down and let the animal’s curiously kick in.
  • Use a potato chip bag or treats container to make noise that the animal associates with food.
  • Drop food on the ground and use a looped leash to gently snare a dog.
  • An unwilling cat or dog may need to be trapped humanely.

*If the animal in question isn’t yours, exercise extreme caution. Call animal control if you think you’re placing yourself in danger. If you recognize the animal from a Lost sign, call someone who knows the animal.

More resources

How to find a lost dog, Huffington Post article
How to find your lost dog, a Petfinder article
Recovery tips, from Missing Pet Partnership
How to find a lost cat, from
Must-do tips for finding a cat, a Petfinder article
How to find other animals (ferrets, tortoises, birds), from Missing Pet Partnership
Sign tips, from Missing Pet Partnership
Sign tips and downloadable template, from Lost Pets USA
Tracking your dog with GPS (courtesy Natalie)

* I should note that I prefer the terms companion animal and animal guardian, not pet and owner. However, when searching for resources or looking for a lost animal, the common terms are pet and owner.

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a companion animal
is ones soul and heart.
when one is lost,
we fall apart.
check out the
resources listed
a wealth of knowledge
and a world

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

10 Comments leave one →
  1. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    April 27, 2015 7:01 am

    a companion animal
    is ones soul and heart.
    when one is lost,
    we fall apart.
    check out the
    resources listed
    a wealth of knowledge
    and a world

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Chaos Realm permalink
    April 27, 2015 7:05 am

    Totally agree about keeping cats indoor-only. I grew up with letting cats roam freely, but now I’m a 100% convert. In addition to reducing their impact on the bird population, I am free of the stress of having to take them to a vet every time they get into a fight, or a raccoon gets a hold of them.

    Every so often in ours, and other, neighbourhoods around the city, a rash of cat, and even dog, disappearances occur “Dog missing from yard” etc. The local rumour used to be that people would canvass neigbourhoods and take dogs and cats left unattended or to roam free and sell them to laboratories to be used in animal testing. Now the latest rumour, passed on from local authorities and people in animal rescue causes, is that dog fighters are paying individuals to steal animals in order to use them as bait animals. I have no idea of the truth behind these rumours–anyone else heard similar stories? Urban myth?

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 27, 2015 9:36 am

      I have heard similar stories, too. I have no doubt that they are true, sadly. Thanks.


  3. April 27, 2015 2:58 pm

    Thanks for reposting!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. April 28, 2015 2:11 am

    Reblogged this on Just Cause.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. May 4, 2015 11:49 am

    Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.


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