If your pet goes missing, getting the word out as quickly as possible is important if you want to get it back. Don’t just assume your pet will return on its own in a few hours. It’s easier said than done, but don’t panic because you will need a clear head for your search. The first 24 hours are critical, and you need to take action immediately.
1. Keep calling your pet by name and listen carefully for a response. A bark or meow may be hard to hear if your pet is behind a window or in a busy street. Carry some treats with you and look in all the places where a frightened animal would hide.
Make sure someone is at home and near the gate in case your pet decides to come back. You don’t want him to come back and find he is shut out and no one is home because they are all out searching.
2. Call all your neighbors and ask them to check in their backyards.
3. Assemble a search party of friends and neighbors. Don’t try to predict where your pet might have gone. Dogs and cats may wander quite far and do unpredictable things. Try to search in an organized way so that you systematically go through every street in the neighborhood.
4. Stop and speak to everyone you encounter. The more people who know your pet is lost, the better. They know who to call if they spot your pet. It helps if you show people a picture of your pet on your mobile phone.
5. Use a dog’s sense of smell. Take any item, such as your dog’s blanket, to where he was last seen. Lost dogs have been known to find their way back to the spot by following their noses to the item.
6. Make some large posters and put them up in strategic places where they will be seen by many people. Keep them simple with large type announcing a pet is lost and there is a reward for his return. Include your telephone number in large numbers at the bottom. You will need to add a brief description and add your pet’s name so people can call him by name if they see him.
7. Call vet’s rooms and animal rescue centers or shelters in the area. People will often pick up a stray animal, and their first instinct is to take it to such places.
8. Use social media to create awareness. Post on the pages of rescue groups, put a picture and message on WhatsApp and get the word out on any other suitable platforms.
Once you’ve found your pet, give him some water and have him checked out by a vet. You need to figure out how he managed to get out and make the changes necessary to ensure it does not happen again. Thank everyone who helped you to search and on all the platforms you used to send out the messages that he was missing.