Minutes, hours, days … they get longer the longer your pet is missing. What do you do? What’s the first step? What’s the next step? You ARE going to feel overwhelmed. So, take a beat … Take it one step at a time and … Calm down. Breathe.
*** Pet Just Went Missing? – within 24 hours …. underlined words are links to click on.
1st: Follow these steps set up by our team and other organizations experienced in finding missing dogs. Be sure to click the links for the details of that task! There is a lot to consider. We have it all right here for you.
- Get your pet’s favorite blanket, crate, bed, and/or your unwashed clothing (socks, underwear, or pajamas are best) outside on the porch or patio. Hang a blanket or pajamas on the porch or fence. Put some toys or other favorite things out there too. Favorite smelly food and water. Put all of this on your porch or just inside your fenced yard. If you call out from home for your pet, do so in a fun or sweet voice. This is not the time to get stern. You want your dog to WANT to come home, not be afraid of being in trouble.
- File a report on the LostDogsofWisconsin.org national organization and database site. Decide on who is the easiest and best to reach for the contact phone for authorities, flyers, signs, and tips. You will find valuable resources, tips, create a flyer you can save in several formats, and gain a case worker. You will be saving these flyers so be sure to do so in a full page and 2×2 (4 to a page) formats (both in .jpg and .pdf formats for the full page flyer, and .pdf for the 2×2.)
- Report – you need to let the authorities know you have a lost dog. They may already have a lead to reunite you. You always want to call your county’s non-emergency dispatch. Then call the local agencies listed on the page linked to here.
- Flyers – Crucial to helping people get a picture of your dog and your number if they see your dog! See options and instructions here.
- Search – you need to get out there. Gather as many friends and family as you can to help you search. You want smelly treats or meats, a leash, and a calm voice. NOT TO CHASE the dog! Always call and/or run the other way playfully. Act like there’s something amazing he/she needs to follow you to see. And then reward if this works!
- Post – there’s a LOT of places to post online. Think of any local communities you’re a part of online.
2nd: Sites to watch online …
- Visit the Wisconsin Humane Society site and watch their Racine County Stray Hold FB page and their website stray page.
- The local Craigslist Lost & Found dog search and Pets dog search.
- Watch the LostDogsofWisconsin FB page (search found and for your dog’s flyer here. Click on Posts on the left side of the page and then type in the search box on the top right of the page, just below the donate button.)
- Safe Harbor Shelter of Kenosha County does not have a stray hold page on FB. They do have a FOUND page on their site.
3rd: Other valuable reporting services are:
- LostMyDoggie.com. File a report there for vets and shelters to be notified on your behalf. Also another flyer generator.
- MyLostPetAlert.com. They are a bit costly but I’ve received a recommendation and it appears to be a good value for any paid alert and social media service/pkgs.
4th: Request Our Help – if you need us, we are here. We are your manpower. We are trained and experienced. Whether you just need more people to help online or on foot, or need our guidance and cousel, we are here for you and your pet.
Please call! 262-833-7480 (24/7)
*** If it’s been a few days, you have no leads, or a MEDICAL SITUATION …
Do all the above and then …
5th: Using your local paper can help you reach the hundreds of people who won’t see your report online.
Racine County: You can put an ad in the Journal Times – Place an Ad. This will reach a much broader audience in one shot. It’s very cost effective, 6 lines and a photo are $29 for 28 days in print and unlimited text and up to 50 images online! Here’s the options available:
Kenosha County: Kenosha News does not charge for a three line lost or found ad that will be in the paper for seven days.
6th: Unless you’ve had sightings to help pinpoint where your dog could be, or the direction your dog is going, there is also a great service from the USPS. It’s called Every Door Direct Mail. It’s 14.5c per household the flyer is given to. Cost will be determined by how many households are in the area targeted. Not everyone can afford that. But if you can, do it! It’s done by an area. Try to only do the area leads have led your search towards.
Has it been a while since your pet went missing? A week? Two weeks? A month? Longer?
Still, do all the above and then read on …
There is still hope! Trust us, there is! At this point, your search should be reaching farther away from the last sighting and revisiting that last known area to let people know you’re still looking. Your pup may circle around back. You need to keep reaching out by adding miles in every direction for flyers in businesses, calls to businesses, and going door to door in the last known direction.
It gets daunting, we know. But don’t give up. There are stories shared all the time online about dogs being found and reunited with their family months and even several years after going missing. Your pet may not know where ‘home’ is now. Did he go missing on a trip, did you move in the last year, is he a new adoptee and do you know where he came from? You may have heard those stories of dogs traveling across the country to what they know to be ‘home’. How long have you had your dog? Follow that trail that your dog traveled to get to where he belongs or knows to be ‘home’.
There are some amazing stories that have proven dogs can be more resilient than you could ever imagine. Truly. Our favorite story is: Princessa lived in the brutal Wisconsin winter FOUR months, from Nov to Feb, and she’s a chihuahua! She found dumpsters to eat by, one by a steak house where they fed her well. Another safe area she found was in a condo community where she was being taken care of really well, and eventually captured in their tennis court enclosure. The whole community was in on getting her safe. And they are all truly amazing!
And please don’t presume your dog is stolen, only consider him LOST. If you use Stolen, or REWARD, on flyers when you’re not sure and someone good intentioned has your dog, you’ve now instilled fear in them about reaching out to you. You’ve also called out people to look for your dog that just want the reward and they are not well intentioned people and do not have your dog’s interest in mind. Don’t presume stolen! We have recovered dogs being held by people who thought a dog was abandoned, that have decided they wanted to keep the found dog, and dogs that have even already been flipped. There is a right and wrong way to recover your dog. Doing it wrong can put your dog in jeapardy. CALL US TO GUIDE YOU and help you get your dog back safely and quickly. Do NOT offer a reward or buy your dog back alone! CALL US or the Police to be with you. And NEVER approach a thief yourself! They WILL move your dog on you and make it more difficult.
So, don’t give up. He hasn’t. He’s counting on you to find him. And we will help or get you in touch with who can help if we can’t.