What to do if you find a lost or abandoned dog?


It is the nightmare of every pet owner: Your beloved cat or dog has come loose and you don't know where it is. Don't panic, there are several steps you can take to locate your little one. A quick action, associated with important communications in the neighborhood, will increase the chances of having your furry friend back! The key is to give the information to as many people and places as possible, so list the help of friends and be sure to involve your entire family in the search.

Identifications, please
It is a good idea that all your pets, including indoor pets, always use a collar with an identification tag. The identification tag must have your name and an updated phone number. If you have decided to place a microchip on your pet as a means of permanent identification, remember that the microchips are as good as the information provided to the microchip company. If you have moved or changed your phone number since registering your pet's chip and forgot to update, please do so as soon as possible.

As soon as you notice that your pet is lost, talk to your family or housemates and ask them the last time they saw your pet. It is a good idea to search your home carefully — under beds, in closets, dark places, small places, behind bulky furniture — in case your pet may be hiding or sleeping elsewhere. Sometimes shaking a plate of food, the jar of treats or favorite toy will cause the animals to leave a hidden place.

If you are sure that your pet is not in or around the house, take a slow walk or walk around the neighborhood. Ask friends or neighbors if they have seen your pet, be sure to bring a recent photo to show them. Check under the porches and bushes and ask the neighbors to check the sheds and garages just in case your pet has been accidentally locked up.

Put the phones to work
Your first calls should be to all animal control agencies, shelters (both municipal and private) and rescue groups in your area, one of them may have your pet in custody. Consult larger shelters every day and pay for your visits personally, if possible.

If there are no shelters near your home, contact the police.

Breaking news
His next task? Create a "lost pet" flyer. We recommend persevering in a design, since repeated views of a constant message are more likely to enter people's minds. You should include a lot of information on your flyer, so use your limited space wisely:
- Start with a large, bold heading that people can read from a distance: "DOG LOST" or "CAT EXTRAVIATED" is fine.
- Under the heading, a photo of your pet would be ideal. Make sure it is well represented after printing or photocopying the photo. Indicate your race, sex, color, age, weight, peculiar characteristics and where and when it was last seen. It is very important that your pet is accurately described.
- Enter your name and two telephone numbers, yours, of course, and that of a friend or relative in case you cannot be reached.

Cover the Neighborhood
With your flyers at hand (and hopefully, a group of helpers) it's time to go to the streets. Good places to advertise your flyers may include:
- Places for dogs and parks
- Pet supply stores and pet grooming stores
- Veterinary offices
- Several commercial establishments, such as abacerías and shops of various articles, gas stations, laundries, bars, cafes and restaurants.
- Lighting posts and trees. Cover more areas where you think your pet was lost, as well as the busy commercial and pedestrian sections of your town.
- Around schools, at the level of children's eyes. Children can be more attentive than adults, especially when it comes to animals.

Note: Be sure to ask permission before placing your flyers!

Go to the 'Network
The Internet was made to communicate. Send descriptive e-mails about your lost pet to your local friends, colleagues and family and ask them to pass the information to anyone they can. Advertise messages on animal forums and billboards run by groups located in your area, parks and places for dogs that have online communities.

Don't give up!
This is important! And remember that many lost animals have found their way back.

Approach the dog

If the dog looks healthy and does not show an aggressive attitude, you can try to get close. An abandoned or lost dog is disoriented, you can get scared easily and run away if you try to approach sharply or directly. For this reason it is important that you get closer and avoid sudden movements. Use soft tones and avoid speaking in a threatening tone. If you have food, you can use it for the dog to relax, instead of attracting it to you, it is better to throw food away from you. You will see that the dog will get closer to you as he gains confidence. In hot weather, it may also be useful to offer water to help you relax in your presence.

When you have it close and the dog's attitude be calm you can try to caress and hold him. If it has a collar, it does not seem aggressive and is easily manipulated, you can use a strap or a rope or hold it by hand directly by the collar. If it doesn't have a collar, you can improvise a leash using a rope.

Tips: If the dog is injured or ill or shows signs of aggressiveness, it is better to stay close and call the authorities So come to pick it up. If you want to provide first aid it is important that you know how to handle it to avoid harming it and to prevent it from harming you to defend yourself.

Once you have taken it, the options are two, depending on whether or not you have the identification plate:

If you have the sheet

In the identification plate there is usually the name of the dog and a contact telephone number. If the phone is up to date and you have a bit of luck, the owner of the dog will answer you first and you can tell him that you have just found his dog.

There are modern badges where you will not find a phone number but a QR code: if you have a smartphone and scan the code you can access the information that the dog owner has left to be located.

If the owner does not answer you, the number is not updated or you cannot read it or you cannot approach or manipulate the dog, you can act as if the dog did not have a sheet.

Tips: Not all animals that walk alone are abandoned, especially in urbanizations. Chopping at the door of someone in the area and asking if you know the dog can be the fastest way to solve the situation.

If you don't have sheet metal

In this case, you can keep the dog in the place where you have found it for a reasonable time: The owner who is looking for it may appear.

The next step may be take the dog to the nearest veterinary clinic to check for free if it has a microchip and thus locate the owners. If you have the microchip, The veterinarian can access your data and contact the owner. In addition, the veterinarian could recognize the dog and notify the owner, even if the dog does not have the microchip.

Another option is call the local police, the Civil Guard or the City Council. If the owner is looking for your dog, it is likely that call local authorities to give notice of loss. In addition, local authorities usually have a microchip reader and if the dog takes it, you can immediately contact the owner of the pet.

If the dog does not have a microchip, both the veterinarian and the local authorities can notify the collection service of abandoned or lost dogs that the dog will be transferred to a municipal kennel and in some cases to a protective one.

Tips: Municipal and protective kennels are not the same. The first, also called Animal Health Centers, are the collection centers for abandoned animals provided by the Public Administration, the second are non-profit associations that are dedicated to the protection of animals and that in some cases have the municipal concession of the management of the collection service for abandoned animals. In most kennels dogs are usually slaughtered if their owner does not claim them or an adopter appears before a certain period of stay in the center is met. In the protectors there are no animal sacrifices except in exceptional cases, such as to avoid the suffering of a sick animal, so dogs can live their entire lives in the facilities of a protector.

If you do not have a microchip

If the dog does not have a microchip, it does not necessarily mean that it is abandoned.. It can simply be a lost dog. But nevertheless, the absence of identification reduces the chances of finding the animal again. In this situation, in addition to contacting the collection service contracted by the City Council, there are other options:

  • you can get in touch with local protectors to find out if someone has called to report his disappearance. However, most protectors are saturated and can not take care of the dog until its owner is found.
  • you can temporarily take care of the dog while you spread the news that you have found it or you can also help you find a new home. You can prepare posters and hang them in veterinary clinics and establishments of the locality where you have found it and of the neighboring localities. You can also post an ad on websites dedicated to lost animals. Even local protectors can help you spread your message.
  • you can offer your home and do the paperwork to adopt it.

Abandonment or loss is possibly one of the most traumatic experiences that a companion animal can live. With your help and involvement it can be less traumatic.

The miracle of social networks

Although it sounds ironic, the first thing you have to do as soon as your pet is lost is publish it on social networks, particularly in local groups where you live. These groups connect many people, and it is possible that at any given moment one of them is going through where your pet is and everything is solved.

Buy and sell groups, or any other type, are ideal for this. Not rarely it has been known from many who belong to these groups that they have found a lost pet and they have taken her home. Or, at least, surely someone has seen some loss and has informed the group specifying the area. It could be your pet!

We know that it is difficult to think about connecting to the networks before going out to look for your pet, but we assure you that this step could be essential to find your friend.

Go find

Especially if it hasn't been long since your pet disappeared, it may not be too far. Go out to inspect the area and, if possible, with some friends so you can cover a larger area.

If your pet is a cat, don't forget to look in every possible corner and especially under cars, one of your favorite places. Call your pet by name and carry one of his favorite treats so he can serve as a claim.

Report it

If, given the previous steps, there are no signs of your pet's life, it is time for you to leave the Animal Identification Registry of your autonomous community. As a general rule, The number of this institution will be on your dog's card, and there they will update all the veterinarians in the area, in case anyone finds it and takes it to one of the consultations.

This step is the test of the importance of keeping the data of the microchip, such as the phone number and address, since in case your missing pet appears it will be the only way they can contact you.

Many people who find pets take them to the police, because they don't know what steps they should take. In case this happened, put a complaint in the local police so they are aware and leave your contact information in case it appears.

This step is essential especially if your pet is of an expensive breed, as it could have been stolen by someone trying to resell, which is a crime punishable by law.

Talk to all the protectors, veterinarians and kennels in the area. Any association that ensures the good of animals, or even foster homes, can be the places that someone would take your pet if it were found.

The municipal kennel can be a key point in this matter, since not only someone could take your pet there, but they could find it on the street while they make their routes.

Spread the word

Also notify your neighbors, stores in your neighborhood and surroundings, as well as other establishments, so they are aware in case they see your lost pet. Show them a photo or even make color photocopies to leave one in every place you can, because it will be much easier for them to recognize it.

Make posters

By last, make posters with your pet's photo and data, as well as with your contact information. If you think you can, offer a reward, Well, that can encourage the search or even if it is a breed pet, it could encourage the thief to return it to you, if it had been stolen.

Do everything you can if your pet has been lost, and surely your effort and effort will have good results. Cheer up!

What other options are there?

Another option is to call the local police, or contact the local protectors to find out if someone has called to notify them of their disappearance. However, most protectors will be saturated and cannot take care of the dog until its owner is found.

You can decide to temporarily take charge of the little furry so that he does not risk his life on the streets, meanwhile you can spread the news on social networks and find his home soon.

Disseminate posters and take them to veterinary clinics and commercial premises near the place where you found them.

"For those of us who love our furry friends, their loss is one of the saddest experiences ... with your support we can help make this happen no more."

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Jorge Peláez
Digital Channel