Saturday, April 22, 2017

What To Do When Your Pet Is Still Missing | Animal Recovery Tips, Part II

When the search for your missing pet drags can be draining, heartbreaking and exhausting. This is the next stage and follow up to "13 Steps for Missing Pet Recovery" post. You've all seen us encourage, repeat advice, post information and search tips over and over, reminding you not to waste any time. Often launching your search efforts IMMEDIATELY is your best option at a successful recovery and that's why we push you to do all that you can. Sometimes, even the best efforts aren't enough. Sometimes we don't see the results we are all hoping for....and sometimes, searches drag on. They drain resources and emotions; become exhausting and overwhelming; and as more time passes it can become difficult to stay motivated and positive.

But you have look at this process from a point of growth and expansion; reaching out to new people, connecting with other organizations for missing pets, contacting HOA's in another community or neighborhood. Do not fall into the trap of complacency and just give up or stop posting! Many pets go into hiding or turn to survival mode to keep themselves safe, which can mean few sightings and not the same behavior you would expect from your normal, happy animal. Here are some of the tips to read, understand and use to increase awareness for your search.

Create a Facebook page to reach other people and offer frequent updates on your efforts.

Saturate the area - expand your search area from a two-mile radius to five or ten.

Have your flyers faded or become wet and unreadable? Update and repost, laminating or placing them in one gallon ZipLoc bags.
If you don't have a flyer and are still re-sharing the same blurry screenshot of your Facebook post from six weeks ago....fix that. Don't take the easy way out and continue to share that original crappy picture - it's fine to do so initially, when your animal is first missing, but many of you are still using that weeks and months later.

Need help with making a flyer or unsure what to put on there or how to create one? Check this post for resources and tips.

Read some good advice for lost cats and dogs at the Center For Lost Pets

Pull up your location on Google maps, take a screenshot to showing the exact location where your pet is missing. Try to include a nearby landmark or business or intersection for reference.

It's easy to assume someone will just see your pet trotting down the street and bring it home to you. But unless you have plastered the area with fliers, will they know who you are? Did you put a sign in your yard saying you have lost a pet?

Don't contact just one shelter, contact several in the surrounding areas. Animals can be picked up or travel further than you might think, so do your homework on nearby facilities and reach out to other locations with updated flyers and info.

Many folks DO NOT FILE A MISSING PET REPORT. We hate hearing this, but a lot of you just assume that your animal will "return home soon". Don't leave anything up to chance - follow the steps that are needed in this process.

Go look at the shelters in person or delegate a family member or friend (who knows the dog as well as you do). Someone may look at your pet and think of a different breed, color or age. Perhaps they didn't notice a flyer that you dropped off six weeks ago and these places have many different people - staff members, volunteers, etc. Keep going to check and stay on their radar.

Did you ask for volunteers to help? This is a lot of work; gathering a team, delegating, mapping out streets to go door to door, etc. Call people organize an "Awareness Event".

We continue to stress that tagging your vehicle is a great way to spread the word. Buy markers and turn your vehicle and anyone else's into a mobile bill board by following these instructions.

Change your Facebook profile picture to the flier to shares the message about your lost pet to everyone. Ask friends to do the same.

Check out some information on trapping a lost pet; especially useful to read if you have a skittish or fearful animal you are working with.

Keep in touch with lost pet pages. We all have a lot happening on our sites with many animals and owners and details and may not remember to re-share your animal if you don't keep circling back to our page to provide updates, news of sightings, etc. We want to help but if we don't hear from you we can't know what's going on.

REMEMBER: we are here to help you get your pet home, not to pussyfoot around and worry about hurting feelings. If you aren't launching an active search you may not get your furkid back home. Trust us, many people are completely unaware what exactly TO DO - we get that! It's a lot of work! However, a full-scale search and recovery effort is generally just "a post on Facebook" and then waiting for someone to knock on your door with Fluffy. Our posts are TO HELP YOU understand and do what is needed. Active search + volunteer effort + owners who understand what is necessary = REUNIONS. That's the goal here.

Lost Pet PR | Delmarva's Largest Missing Pet Network
Covering the Eastern Shore areas of Maryland
and Virginia and the state of Delaware