Many years ago, my beloved Pixie was actually stolen. I learned a lot about how well I handled the situation but I noticed that some people didn't think of all the things I did so I wanted to post something to help anyone now and in the future!
One day, your life is going smooth and just like it always does and then all Hell breaks loose when you realize your beloved dog is missing! What do you do?
1\\ Keep Calm
It's easy to get into a panic but once you do that, you can't think straight. Instead of freaking out, take action - RIGHT AWAY! Take a few deep breaths and sit down and make a plan of action.
2\\ Look Inside
Sometimes pets can freak out during a storm, a break-in, or any other weird situation. Before you assume your pet is lost - search high and low. I literally crawled around the house on my hands and knees looking for Pixie. Call their name, shake their toys, put food out, but whatever you do don't let them hear the panic in your voice. Look at all possible hiding spots you know of and even ones you never thought of before.
3\\ Look Outside
Sometimes dogs are just a few yards away so make sure you walk around the perimeter of your yard and through your neighbor's yards. Ring their bells and ask them if they saw anything. Drive up and down your street and all around your neighborhood calling your dog's name.
4\\ Make Some Calls
If you still haven't found your dog, it's time to make some phone calls. Notify the police and local animal shelters. Sometimes when someone spots a runaway pet they call the local police to notify them. Describe your pet in detail. Also call the local vet offices to let them know your dog is missing. That way, if someone finds your dog and brings them in to a vet's office (which they often do to scan for a microchip) they can call you.
5\\ Make a Poster
Whether you make one to print out or to share on social media - it's important that you have a one page information sheet with everything about your pet and you. Include name, description, a recent photo, any unique markings, the personality of your pet, instructions for people if they do spot your dog (don't approach, approach slowly, etc.), as well as a name and phone number to reach you at. Also, don't forget to include the area your pet was last seen.
6\\ Spread the Word
Get on Social Media and share that poster. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to start. Post on Craigslist and any local Facebook groups. Ask people to repost your photo.
7\\ Enlist Help
You may want to drive around constantly looking but what if your dog comes home and you aren't there? Enlist a friend or some neighbors to assist with foot patrol while you man the headquarters.
8\\ Entice Him at the Homefront
Set a bowl of food, water, a bed, toys, and some articles of your clothing or blankets from inside your house. Often, the smell can entice a pet to come back home. If you know your dog was spotted nearby in a field or park and he tends to run because he's nervous - then head to that area and put some of the above items. And then make sure someone is nearby so that if he comes over to them, you can start to call him over.
9\\ Be Patient
When you have exhausted all possible options, sometimes the only thing left to do is wait. Keep checking social media posts and answer any questions that people may have.
10\\ Notify When Found
When/If you find your baby, make sure you let everyone know the search is off. Delete your social media posts or update them to show that your dog is found. Take down any Craigslist or internet listings as well. And whatever you do - don't punish him. Dogs can't reason. They don't understand the dangers of the world like humans do. Just give him lots of love and be grateful because some people don't get so lucky.