Sunday, January 23, 2011
Lily is a family pet. This means she lives inside the house with us like she is supposed to. She gets two walks a day, hikes on the weekends, but she still loves her yard time. She loves nothing more than to stretch out in a patch of sunlight during the day or curl up on her blanket at night and wait for her daddy to get home from work.
Last week, Lily found a way out of the yard. When she is outside, I check on her frequently. I noticed within a few minutes of her getting out that she was gone. However, that didn't make it easy to find her. She followed her nose quite a distance from the house. It gave me a good scare.
Even when you are a responsible owner, accidents happen. The gardeners hadn't latched the gate. Lily was sniffing around the yard, pushed it open and followed the scent. In the dark shadows, I didn't see her. I went the opposite way looking for her. I was lucky enough to find her a few blocks away having the time of her life in someone's front yard sprinklers.
Had I not found her, it would have been a long night. It made me think of all the things we have to do as pet owners to insure that our pets find their way back home. Even if you have a resident dog (lives in the yard 24/7) that frequently gets out of the yard, just because he has managed to find his way home before does not mean that will always happen. If he gets hit by a car, he can't walk home. If someone sees him wandering, they may decide that they have a new dog.
Lily always has her collar on in the yard. It has her ID tag and her registration on it. She's also microchipped. Both will help her make it back home should something happen to her if she gets out. But you can't just sit back and wait. You have to be active.
Start your search as soon as you realize your pet is gone. If I had been unable to locate Lily, I would have come home to make flyers for the neighborhood while waiting for my husband and friends to arrive and help with the search.
You can create flyers for FREE here. When you click the link, it will say "Adopt Me." Click and scroll down to LOST. Don't forget to attach a current picture. My suggestion would be to attach them to BRIGHT colored posterboard. The brighter the better! Put them up all over your neighborhood and major streets. Cover at least a five mile radius. You never know how far your pet will travel.
If we had no luck locating her that evening, I would have checked our local shelter first thing in the morning. Then I would have checked other shelters (again, you never how far your pet will travel).
There are other services to help as well. If you click on our article here, there are links and phone numbers of Pet Lost and Found services. They will call houses in your area with a description of your pet, asking people to call them if they have seen him/her.
Your pet is relying on you to be sure that they get home safely. Start with microchipping your pet and being sure they always have their collar on with tags. Should something happen and they get out of your house or yard when you aren't looking, follow the tips in our article above. Never give up. Your pet needs you to make it home.