This month’s blog written by Lauri Julian (Cheyenne Animal Shelter Board Member and Chair of the Education Committee) focuses on the many actions you can take should your pet go missing; next time we will cover what you can do to help one in need of finding its way home.

First, we want to thank all of the seven Lost & Found (after hours) volunteers who provide this wonderful service to the Shelter; each taking one day of the week to be on call, helping to reunite families with their beloved pets. They’ve even been known to go the extra mile(s) to take a lost dog to meet a family that was just passing through Cheyenne. Their efforts make such a difference!

What if your pet goes missing?

There are many avenues you can take in trying to find your pet as quickly as possible:

  1. Circle the area the pet went missing, take a familiar squeaky toy or shake a treat bag.
  2. Place something with the pet’s scent on it such as its bed or blanket outside. Add something with your scent.
  3. If it’s a cat, put its litterbox outside.
  4. Knock on neighbors’ doors to find out if they’ve seen your pet or might have him and not know he lives right down the street!
  5. Post a picture and details on the Animal Shelter’s Lost & Found Facebook page:
  6. If after hours, call the Shelter’s Lost & Found number (307) 214-5779 and a nice volunteer will be happy to help.
  7. Post on community websites (for example):
  1. Flyers – take a flyer with the pet’s picture on it to the Animal Shelter and fill out a lost report.
  2. Post flyers in the area the pet went missing and take some to local vet clinics. Be sure to include their photo, name, and any additional information about their temperament, etc. You may want to offer a small reward as incentive.
  3. Remain hopeful.

Importantly, if you microchip your pet or provide an ID tag on its collar, you can get your pet home even faster. Both of these services are available at the Shelter for minimal cost.

Tips to prevent your dog from going missing

Just as important as getting your dog home safely and quickly, here are 10 things you can do to prevent them from being lost in the first place:

  1. Keep locks on gates so they cannot easily be left open and check gates from time to time to make sure they are closed.
  2. Inform service providers, maintenance workers, gardeners, etc. about your dogs (keep them inside) and remind workers to keep gates closed.
  3. Check the fence line to see that no boards are loose and/or that digging hasn’t started.
  4. Make sure the height of the fence is adequate for the breed of your dog. Know the breed’s “quirks” – are they jumpers, diggers, etc.?
  5. Be sure your dog can’t push doors open to get outside on their own.
  6. Train dogs to stay “back” when you open the front door or car door. Make sure the garage door hasn’t been left open.
  7. Teach kids not to let the pet run out or leave gates or doors open.
  8. Don’t leave your dog tied up outside your favorite coffee shop – they can slip their collar, chew through their leash or be stolen.
  9. Don’t leave your dog in an unlocked car or with the windows halfway down, they could jump out or be taken; better to leave them safely at home.
  10. Keep your dog on a leash (it’s the law) and that way they can’t run off when they “see a squirrel!”

In all cases, safety comes first. It’s important to be diligent in preventing our pets from getting lost and also important to know what to do should this happen.  And remember there are many options these days; all well worth exploring to achieve that happy reunion!

I want to thank Shelter Lost & Found volunteers, Patty Runyan and Mary Jo Douthit for their additional and valuable input to this blog.

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