Sunday, September 12, 2010
Unfortunately, when you have a group like ours that fosters dozens of dogs there are quite a few that get lost I've personally dealt with two of my fosters getting lost in my care and one getting lost right after she got to the home of her new adopters. It's a very emotional experience - frustrating and scary and hopeless. A lot of these dogs that disappear are very scared dogs and to imagine them being in the great big world on their own is hard to to even contemplate. Right now, one of our long term foster dogs is missing in the woods in Imperial, MO. His foster Mom and a number of volunteers have looked for him and the encouraging news is that there have been a number of sightings of this little guy. The terrain is crazy for a human to look in and perfect for a scared dog to find about a million places to hide. Should he end up in a shelter, he is microchipped and our group will certainly get a call about him. Winken has been with our group for about a year so he holds a special place in our hearts. He came from a puppy mill, which is almost always a pretty awful life for these guys.
In my experience and I'm certainly not an expert, these dogs that are scared and in a new environment don't run very far at all. Every foster dog that I've lost has gone no more than 5-6 blocks from the original house. I know we hear stories all the time about how dogs go for miles looking for their people, but these are usually dogs that are scared and don't trust people very well. I had 2 puppy mill dogs lost and 1 dog from a hoarder that was lost. It turns out, Cynthia was taken in by someone and then when they figured out how crazy she was (being part of a 30 plus Pomeranian pack will do that to ya!) they decided to call me I was soooo angry - they called me literally at Midnight one night in January after she'd been missing 3 weeks and when I went to pick her up there was one of my signs right across from their house. When I got her, they proceeded to tell me "She's just not working out for us." OF COURSE NOT - she's not your dog! I think that's the biggest fear we have when a dog gets lost that someone will then keep them as their own. We'd be ok with that if we knew they were a good home and the people honestly didn't know someone was looking for the dog. I'm sure in rural Imperial people might assume that someone has dumped this dog. But a huge presence has been made in the neighborhood by talking to people and posting signs. I'm sure he'll make it home, I just am not sure how long it will take.
If you lose your dog, call the humane society, APA, and animal control and see if you can verbally complete a lost report. A lot of them have the info to be filled out online. Also call local vets in the area and ask them and leave a description for them. Let your postal carrier know as well, someone in our group pointed out today they know a lot about the neighborhood There's a great site out there called Pet Harbor which I personally love. You complete your missing animal info online and then you can request to have a daily email sent from local animal shelters showing dogs that match the size, color or breed of the dog you're missing. When I got that email daily, for some reason it was very reassuring to me. Lastly, put up very visible signs. Plaster them everywhere in the area and put them on neon paper. Even if you think you have too many signs up, they still might get missed. A reward will always catch people's attention too. But you know what, most animal lovers that want to reunite you with your lost pet don't even collect the reward.
Pass on the lost poster for Winken and maybe we can get him home sooner rather than later.