Vol 3 No 3

Summer 2001

Front Page

Features in this Issue:

Vet Specialists

Low Cost Spay & Neuter

Finding Your Lost Pet

Happy News

Letters to GRRI

On-line GRRI News Archives --

GRRI News Index Page


Finding Your Lost Pet

First, you panic.  Your beloved cat or dog is gone.  Your stomach is in knots.  You don't know what to do -- or what to do first. 

The purpose of this article is to help you zero in on those things that are MOST likely to help you recover your lost pet.

Start Now --  Most lost pets who are successfully recovered are found with the first 36 hours of their disappearance.

Work Smart  -- Enlist help from friends and neighbors and solicit help from community members who are MOST likely to come across your pet -- other pet owners, vets, police, school kids, mail carriers, and animal control officers.

Search in a 2 Mile Radius -- Most lost pets who are successfully recovered are found within two miles of where they were reported missing. 

Use ALL Media at Your Disposal -- Flyers, websites, ads, etc.

What to do First

Call your neighbors and friends and ask them to help you. 

Dispatch people who know your pet on the 2 mile radius search.  Have them search by car and on foot.  Have each of them bring treats, leashes &  collars.

Dig up a great photo of your pet and make a colorful, informational REWARD flyer.  Here is an example:

Get the flyer OUT THERE.

Hand deliver it to vet's offices, post offices, every kid you know or run into, animal shelters and police stations.

Post it to street lights, telephone poles, and in parks on benches and in playgrounds.

Ask school principals to post it on school bulletin boards, and local store owners to post it in their windows.

When posting the flyers, especially outdoors, use strong tape and/or staples, and be sure to post some at pedestrian eye level and some at drive by height (about 4 feet off the ground).

If your pet is pure bred, contact the breed clubs and rescue groups in your area and make sure they have the same information.

If your dog was adopted from GRRI, contact us immediately.

What to Do Next

Visit area shelters every other day and walk through the facility personally.  Also be sure to check areas where injured or quarantined strays are kept.  And sadly, also check their dead animals list ... 

Check FOUND PET ads in your local daily and weekly newspapers, and at Petfinder.

Run a LOST PET ad in your local daily and weekly newspaper and at Petfinder.

Follow up on all leads that sound like your pet -- even if they report differences in gender, breed, description, or location found.  Surprisingly, people DO mistake gender ... and your pet may also look different when he is found -- he may be thinner, dirty, his coat may be matted or have been cut, he may have been injured and lost a section of ear, tail, etc.   

Increasing the Effectiveness of Flyers

Photos and bright colors are key.  Use the BEST photo of your pet that you have, and make it BIG.  Use color to emphasize the reward.

Personalize the pet.  Include the pet's name and a message that evokes your feelings of loss.

Be brief.  Focus on capturing attention, and giving out only the most essential details. 

Increasing the Effectiveness of Rewards

Rewards are attention getters AND motivators.  Use them accordingly.

Determine the maximum reward   you are willing to pay up-front and stick to it.

If you pet is pure bred, intact, or if you suspect he or she was stolen, a large reward may be necessary. 

If the reward is $150 or more, post the exact amount. 

If the reward is under $150, it is more effective to be ambiguous and simply say REWARD.

Increasing the Effectiveness of Classifieds

Daily papers typically work best, as they tend to have the largest readership and are more timely than weeklies.

Run the ad EVERY DAY, for as long as your budget permits.

Check the ad EVERY DAY, to be sure there are no omissions or mistakes.

Keep the location where your pet was lost fairly general.  For example, don't say Ridgedale Avenue in Morris Township ... say Morris Township ... or Morris Township/Morris Plains.  Remember: you are intending to reach a broad geography and population of potential pet finders through this method.

The Importance of IDs

If your pet was tattooed and/or microchipped , contact the registry(ies) and make sure they have your current contact information and know that your pet has been lost.  Also, retrieve the tattoo and/or microchip numbers ... you can use them to check against tattoos or chips a found animal might have.

If your pet was wearing a rabies tag, contact the issuing vet and make sure they have your flyer and current contact information.  Also retrieve the number ... you can use it to check against any rabies tags a found animal might have.

If a Stranger Says they Have Your Pet

Ask the person to give you a detailed description of the animal.  Use opened ended questions.  For example, don't ask *Does he have floppy ears?*, instead ask *What kind of ears does he have?*

Use common sense and ALWAYS consider your own safety.  Do NOT go alone, never have the stranger come to your home, consider meeting in a public place, and always have the pet in your physical custody before issuing the reward.