Perhaps all of your best laid plans have gone awry. With the latest snow coming down here in central NY, a gate was left ajar while you went to get the snow shovel back out of the shed and your dog or cat slipped out. You don’t see your pet and the snow is starting to cover up any possible tracks. What now?
Immediately start to contact your neighbors and area shelters. Neighborhood children are often great at spotting a missing pet. If your pet is likely to run away from someone, ask them to call you and not try to chase or catch your pet. The Humane Society of Rome has a wonderful listing of area dog control officers. Don’t just contact the officer for your town – leave messages for the surrounding towns as well. A frightened or excited pet can cover a great deal of ground quickly.
Make some flyers to post everywhere you can think of, including all area veterinary clinics. It is a good idea to have plenty of good photos of your pet. Cute puppy or kitten photos may not be much help in identifying an adult dog or cat. If your dog sometimes has a long coat and is clipped short at other times, make sure you have good photos of both appearances. You can email a photo and text for a flyer directly to Staples on Commercial Drive to be picked up shortly.
Some radio stations will mention lost pets on the air. Our local newspapers – both the Utica Observer Dispatch and the Rome Sentinel – have Lost and Found sections in their classifieds. Be sure that you provide a number where someone can be reached 24/7. Cell phones are great for that. Put a flyer at your post office – mail carriers might notice a lost pet.
Some of the people who have tried to track the lost Afghans mentioned putting some hair from each of your pets into a separate ziplock baggie. That way their tracking dogs would have individual scent to follow. A toy or blanket from your home has multiple scents on it.
If your pet is seen in a certain area, you can try driving there and stopping with your car door open. Many pets, especially dogs, will joyfully run and leap into the car. Sometimes having one of your other pets with you will attract the lost pet. You may need to borrow safe catch traps for pets that are too frightened to come to you. Baited with extra great treats, many pets simply go in to snack and are caught. Traps need to be checked multiple times per day as wildlife may be attracted to the treats too.
Actually go to the shelters daily. Your description may not fit what the shelter sees. For example, brown tabby cats with white paws sometimes get called calicos because they have three colors (brown with black stripes and the white feet).
Hopefully you never need any of this advice – but be prepared if you have a lost pet!