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I lost my pet now what do I do?
Here are a few suggestions on things you can do to help bring your beloved pet home:
Knock on doors and talk to people in the neighborhood. Most people walk the streets around their home and just call their pet. People who knock on their neighbor's doors and ask if anyone has seen their pet instead of just calling are more likely to find it. You might even print up your name and phone number to leave as a type of calling card in case they happen to see your pet later.
Hand out fliers with your pet's picture and your phone number. Fliers need to have a clear photo of the animal and a telephone number that someone will answer or that is hooked to an answering machine.
Visit all the local shelters and the government agencies charged with picking up stray and lost animals and look for yourself, at least every other day.
Calling the animal control department or shelter on the phone is not usually effective. Your pet may not yet be listed in the records at the front desk, and the way you describe your pet may not be the way a shelter describes your dog. Any animal may become dirty, matted and neglected looking very quickly. You should visit the shelter personally, even if your pet was wearing tags when it was lost.
Visit the shelters at least every other day. Few shelters can keep animals for more than 72 hours. Sometimes it takes more than a few days for a pet to be picked up and brought to a shelter.
It's important to visit all the shelters within 20 miles of where your pet was lost. In many areas stray animals are picked up by a government agency which holds them for a period and then turns them over to a shelter. If someone took your pet in for a few days hoping you would knock on their door and ask about it, they might later drop your pet off at the shelter that's most convenient for them, rather the one that's closest to you.
What to do next...
Unfortunately, the next most successful way of finding a lost animal is through checking the with the highway departments and the shelters' dead lists. Even if your pet is wearing tags and the highway maintenance department is supposed to send a list to animal control, you should check with them directly.
There are usually several departments that cover roads in your area. You'll need to check city or town, county and state roads departments, as well as the animal control agencies. Pictures or a copy of your flier should be left with each department. Again, calling is seldom successful, and actually visiting the department is best. You should check back weekly.
Put an ad in the local paper, and in the papers in surrounding areas. Some people only look in the newspaper to locate an animal's owner. Advertising in the paper can also be important to establish you were actively looking for your pet in case someone were to claim it you meant to give it up or didn't want it.
Ask businesses for permission to post your flyer. Good types of businesses are gas stations, fast food restaurants, laundry mats, convenience and grocery stores. Ask if you can put a copy of your flier up in the pet food aisle. If someone picks up your animal and holds it for a few days hoping you will find them, they will need food.
Contact local rescue organizations and give them copies of your flier. People who are afraid animals will be euthanized if they turn them over to the shelter might contact a rescue, and rescue people often go through local shelters looking for animals they can help place in new homes. Ask the shelters if they know of anyone doing rescue in the area, even if they don't work with them.
Give copies of your flier to veterinarians, groomers, trainers and pet stores and ask them to put them up. Give copies of your flier to people that walk their dogs in the area. They're more likely to spot animals than most people. If you go to the parks early, you may find people who regularly walk their dogs together as an informal group.