By Katy Cable, TWR
A 3 minute read
Did you know more dogs and cats go missing and/or get injured over the 4th of July holiday than on any other day of the year. With that in mind, I had planned to write about what steps to take should your dog be lost and ironically life imitated my editorial calendar.
July 5th, 2019, a woman came into a pet store where I was working. She had found a darling little Pug roaming on a busy street. She was relieved when I informed her of my background working with Pugs and relinquished him to me for help.
Shivering, skinny, banged up and dirty, I fell in love with the little Pug the second I saw him. I picked his boney little body up and promised him he would be safe. He wasn't wearing a collar and his back was covered with infected wounds. The poor little pug was so infested with fleas that after 30 minutes of continuous washing and five flea baths, the white grooming tub still looked like someone had spilled black pepper all over it.
Once he was cleaned and dried I put him in a darling harness and whisked him off to the vet to see if he was micro-chipped, and make sure he didn't need any urgent care. The vet was swamped with critical emergencies and said the pug had no micro-chip and was in no immediate danger.
I immediately called one of the rescue groups I work with, Pug Nation Rescue LA and asked for their assistance. This pug had a painful ear infection and he was skin and bones. I assumed he must have parasites as well and didn't want to expose my own Pug Olive to a possibly sick dog.
While Pug Nation prepared an isolation room for the little guy, I fed him a healthy dinner of turkey & sweet potatoes which he devoured in a New York minute. I then took him out for a nice walk around the neighborhood. Louie was happy and enjoyed all the love and attention.
A few blissful hours later it was time to turn my new friend over Pug Nation. If no owner came forward, they had a foster home waiting and a long list of hopefuls waiting for a darling new pug to adopt. As much as I wanted to put my name at the tippy-top of that list, I had Olive. I will never forget how desperately I wanted a pug and how thrilled I'd been when I got the green light to adopt my pugs. I wanted to "pay it forward" and give somebody the same opportunity. I knew this little pug would be treasured and that's what mattered.
At the crack of dawn the next morning, I got a call from the pug’s owner. They had been worried sick. Their young son had not shut a door securely when they left for the 4th of July festivities and the Pug had snuck out. He wasn't wearing his collar or micro-chipped. When they returned home and couldn't find him they went immediately to a shelter and were so relieved to see the posts and know he'd been found alive. They made a donation to Pug Nation and collected their dog.
I will admit, as mad as I was with their negligence, I've done the same thing myself on more than one occasion. My hands were full and I raced out the door without checking if it had been securely shut. Thankfully, in my case, I've noticed my Velcro pug Olive right on my heels and she's micro-chipped so I've avoided a lost dog.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION
The best eat advice I can offer is to try and prevent your pet from going missing in the first place. Here's a few important steps you can take:
✅First and foremost. Get your pet micro-chipped. Have it scanned and checked periodically when you visit the vet to confirm the reading.
✅Confirm ID tags have correct contact number and is easy to read. Make sure dogs are wearing ID tags and collars before leaving them home alone.
✅Keep records on in a zip drive and carry updated photos of your dog. Use a close-up, full body and a full body next to another object to gage the size of the dog.
✅Double (and over the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve) TRIPLE check all doors, windows, gates and "escape-routes" are secure before leaving the house.
✅Remind children to be diligent about closing doors, windows and gates.
✅Take your dog to a boarding facility or hire a pet-sitter if your dog exhibits severe separation anxiety. -Or if you cannot be with them during stressful times such as Fourth of July and other occasions with fireworks. If dogs are fearful they can scale walls and accomplish other miraculous feats. Don't take chances.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOG IS MISSING:
If your dog has gone missing, quickly make up a flier showing good, clear, recent pictures of your pet. Don't use the shot wearing the funny costume or glasses. Have one picture with your dog next to another object to get an idea of their actual size. Leave tear-off strips with your contact number at the bottom to post around your neighborhood. I would use bright yellow or neon paper.
🐾Include the Pet's Name
🐾Where/When Last Seen
🐾Any Identifiable Markings or Characteristics
✅Notify Animal Control Services
✅Contact the Police Station
✅Post flier on all your social media platforms.
✅Post fliers at Community Center/Shelters/Rescue Groups in your area
✅POST flier on:
🐾Craig's List (both "Lost" and "Found" sections) *(Be cautious about posting any type of "reward" if found. Lots of scanners looking for a quick buck of someone's misfortune.)
🐾Any local/community papers in your area.
Check sites often to look for postings.
✅Post a large sign in your front yard. Put signs in the windows of your cars.
✅Canvas your area posting and handing out fliers. Give fliers to your neighborhood postal worker, Amazon, FedEx, UPS delivery drivers, dog walkers, groomers, vet's, realtors and your neighbors. Post fliers at all major intersections, post offices, police stations, fire department, pet stores, CVS stores, Target, grocery stores and all places people frequent often.
✅Enlist the help of the TV news
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A DOG:
✅Use Caution When Approaching: Fearful, anxious, neglected dogs can be aggressive. You don't know this dog so be extremely careful. The dog may not have been immunized and could have parasites, fleas or other problematic conditions.
✅Call Animal Control or 9-1-1 if it is an aggressive dog or it is in immediate danger.
✅If the dog is mild tempered, and has no ID, take them to the nearest veterinary clinic or animal shelter and have them scanned for a microchip. They will direct you from there. They will take your name and contact info. if you are relinquishing the dog to their care. They may have additional questions if the owner comes forward. Or, you should get the first option to adopt the dog should they not be claimed. All shelters/rescues have slightly different protocol on holding periods, fees, adoptions, surrenders, and other timelines.
✅If the dog has not been turned over to a rescue or shelter, or if you are waiting for their owner to retrieve the dog, keep them in a secure safe place away from other pets and children.
✅Check neighborhood for signs and ask the people listed above to notify you if they hear of anyone looking for a missing dog. Make them aware and provide your contact info.
✅Photograph the dog and post on social media using the sites/steps listed above under: “Lost Dog.”
Hopefully these tips will prevent more dogs from going missing get lost pets returned quickly! Have a safe and wonderful summer. Pugs and kisses😘🐾