If you have ever lost your pet, you know the anxiety and panic you feel when you first discover your pet is missing. Driving around the area and calling out their name over and over again, praying they haven’t been injured by a car or met up with any wildlife. It is an overwhelming feeling of helplessness for a pet owner.
There are some basic things you can do to help find your pet and one, very cool trick that has worked time and time again.
When I was living in South Dakota, hunters would use this trick to find their hunting dogs that took off after a pheasant only to lose their way. I am not a hunter and could never be one, but I found the trick to be very effective when it comes to finding any lost pet.
Recently, a woman reached out to us on Facebook because her son had lost his pet ferret. The ferret escaped through a slightly opened window and disappeared into the night. The poor kid looked all night until the next morning but could not find his ferret. I suggested to her that she use the South Dakota hunters’ trick and explained what she needed to do.
First, get an article of clothing of the person the pet likes the most. I say this because we get many calls about how the dog ran away from the husband because the dog was frightened. In this case, using the husband’s shirt wouldn’t be the best choice. Try to use a recently worn article of clothing instead a laundered piece of clothing. The more scent of the person on the clothing, the better.
Place the article of clothing near where the pet was last seen. In the case of the ferret, I suggested near the window that the ferret escaped from. Place a small bowl of water by the clothing but no food. If you feed the animal, they may wander off again and food might attract wildlife. Since the ferret was a caged pet, I suggested placing the cage outside as well and place the clothing inside the cage. Now, just wait to see what happens.
The following morning, when the woman checked the cage at 5:30 am, the ferret was snuggled up safe and sound laying on the son’s shirt. The woman and her son couldn’t believe that this method worked. They had their beloved ferret back and all were very happy.
The sense of smell of a ferret is much greater than that of a dog. It would be like a dog being able to smell a fly 2 miles away. It’s incredible. Dogs also have an enhanced sense of smell that is 40 times greater than that of a human being. Therefore, the hunters’ method works so well.
Other things you can do to improve your chances of finding your pet:
Use social media as much as possible to spread the word about your lost pet. Send the pets image and information including where it was last seen, its name, its gender, its age, etc. Ask shelters like HHS to share. There are several Lost & Found Pet Facebook pages available where you can also submit your post.
You can also try the old school method of posting paper notices on lamp posts, fences, at supermarkets, etc. Some people read these notices, so it doesn’t hurt to try.
Visit the local shelters to see if your pet is there. Don’t call and ask the shelter to have an employee visit 300 plus cages and kennels to see if they have a brown and white pit-bull. Most shelters do not have the man power to offer this concierge service and if you truly love your pet, you will get in your car and drive to the shelter to look for yourself. You know your pet better than anyone else, so it is best that you visit the shelters.
Don’t give up too quickly. We have seen owners reunited with their pets 2, 3, and ever 10-years after losing the pet. In these cases, the reunion was due to a microchip being scanned during the intake process into the shelter. If your pet doesn’t have a microchip, you are missing out on the most inexpensive method of finding your pet if they are ever lost. For about $20 you can have a chip painlessly inserted into your pet that can be scanned by most shelters and veterinarian offices. Don’t forget to register your chip online once you have purchased one for your pet. If you don’t register the chip, it’s useless. Some people think the shelter has done this for you, but that is not the case due to privacy laws and password creation. Also, if you relocate to a new home or area, or get a new phone number, please update your chip contact information. Again, unless the information is correct, the chip won’t be much assistance in reuniting you and your pet.
Lastly, there are many animals that never get lost because they have been trained not to run off or leave their yard. There are many behavior training classes available from Halifax Humane Society and other training facilities around the Daytona Beach area. HHS offers affordable private and group classes. For more information visit our website at www.halifaxhumanesociety.org