So you found a dog. Now what?
There you are heading to work, or to pick up the kids and out of nowhere you see a scared dog wandering around the neighborhood or busy street. While everyone else turned a blind eye, you decided to stop and help. First, we’d like to say THANK YOU! I’m sure you’re wondering what to do next, and hopefully these tips will help you reunite your found dog with their owner or a rescue that can help the pup make a new start.
Check the dog for tags! If the dog has tags, call the number and follow up with a text.
Check the dog for a micro-chip! Most vets will scan the micro-chip for free. You can also walk into any PetsMart and have your lost dog scanned free of charge during business hours in the Banfield section, usually located at the back of the store.
If the pet has a chip, CONGRATULATIONS!! The micro-chip company will help you contact the home to hopefully reunite your lost dog within the hours.
If the pet has no chip, or the chip isn’t registered, don’t get discouraged! The owner could still be out there looking for their fur baby.
Make a Flier. By far the fastest way to reunite a dog with their owner is by POSTING FLIERS ALL AROUND THE AREAS YOU FOUND THE DOG. Yes, the dog could have traveled far, however they could also live right up the road. If you can’t post the fliers yourself, then contact a local rescue group and see if they can help. CLICK HERE TO CREATE & PRINT A FLIER FOR FREE: http://www.helpinglostpets.com/petdetail/postpet.aspx?rc=o1208
POST THE FLIER’S ALL AROUND THE AREA YOU FOUND THE DOG & EVEN ON YOUR CAR IF POSSIBLE!! You can grab a ton of attention by taping the flier to the outside of your window. This is a very effective tool, because it’s so eye catching. Almost everyone driving by will make an effort to see what the flier says. Some other great places to post fliers are vet offices, gas stations, schools, libraries and grocery stores.
Take the dog to the local animal shelter to sit out its stray hold. We know it’s tempting to take the dogs into your home. However, the first place people usually look to find their pet is the local animal shelter.
We recommend getting 3 clear photos of the dog before taking them to the shelter and make sure to get the animal’s kennel number when you sign the surrender form. Most municipal shelters require a 5 day stray hold before euthanizing or adopting out animals in their care. This gives families plenty of time to come looking for their lost pet.
If you are worried that the pet might get euthanized due to space, or that there is no owner looking, then gather those clear pictures and as much info as you have about the dog and start calling local rescues to help.
You can find a list of rescues by visiting www.petfinder.com and typing in your city and state. Rescues are more likely to help if you are willing to foster the dog or cat. If fostering isn’t an option, then a monetary donation is always helpful. Rescues depend on foster homes and donations to survive so offering one or both will increase your chances of the rescues responding to your plea.
If you just can’t bring yourself to drop the dog off at the shelter then best practice is to take a flier into the shelter. This way if the owner comes looking for their pet, the shelter will be able to identify the dog and contact you directly. Or if the shelter is really nice they’ll post the flier front and center.
Next it’s time to post an ad on www.Craigslist.Org under COMMUNITY/LOST AND FOUND. When posting the ad be sure not to mention the sex, or too many details. Just write, “WHITE DOG FOUND 32nd & LINCOLN, MISSES FAMILY.” You don’t need to list the sex, because that is one of the things you’ll need the family to verify to ensure they are the true owners.
If you are holding the dog at your home vs the shelter, then it’s always a good idea to require the owners to show medical records or photos proving that the dog truly belongs to them. Most people are more than happy to oblige. Sometimes you’ll locate an owner only to realize that they don’t want the dog back. At that point we would recommend reaching out to local rescues as mentioned above.
Remember that not all dogs get along! If you bring a new pet into your home, please keep them separate from the resident dogs until you know they are healthy and friendly!
Another great resource for reuniting pets are Facebook community pages. They usually have Lost and Found Pets in the title. For example in New Orleans it’s NOLA Pets Lost and Found. Look for these groups and reach out to local rescues to share the images of your lost pet so that they get as much exposure as possible. WE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT THE FLIERS ARE! They are your best bet for reuniting the found pet with their owner.
We hope that this page has been a useful resources for reuniting pets with their owners! If you have suggestions, we welcome you to contact us anytime.