Lost and Found

What to do if You've Lost a Pet

Losing a pet can be a very frantic and emotional time.  What do you do?  Where do you start?  How can you increase your chances of being reunited with your dearly loved pet?   These suggestions may help you plan a comprehensive strategy for recovering your beloved family member.

1. Organize a search party by foot, bike, or car.  Station someone in the last place you saw your pet.    Search by making a progressively wider spiral around area you lost the animal.   Drive or walk around the area at night (as well as day).  Call & whislte.   Bring his favorite squeaky toy and/or a favorite smelly treat.   Lost pets somtimes hide during the day.  Remember, cats are usually more nocturnal, while dogs will be out in the early morning to afternoon and sleeping at night.   Be safe.   Bring a relative or friend to help you look and take a flashlight.

2. Call AlterPet 330-321-6243 and the SPCA 330-723-7722 & all local shelters (Medina 330-725-9121)   Give them a description of the pet, where the pet was last seen, and your name and phone number.

3.  Make flyers and posters    which include: your pet's picture, name, size, sex, coat, color, age, weight, ears up (like a Collie) or down ( like a Lab), and other identifiable marks.
-date pet became missing
-Where and when last seen
-Your phone #, pager #, cell phone# with a note saying to call ANYTIME  ASAP
-A note saying REWARD (but one that does not specify what or how much)  Rewards can be anything from gift certificates, flowers, cash, etc.  The flyers should not look crowded.  Make sure they are easily readable from a distance.  Use large, bold, black lettering to emphasize important parts such as your phone number.  Make sure the picture of your pet comes out clear and is large enough to get an idea of what it looks like.

4. Check with local vets,    including neighboring towns.  Give them a complete description and leave your name and phone number.

5.  Ask mail carriers, children, neighbors, paper deliverers, utility workers, construction workers, and delivery people.  These people are outside where your lost pet is.  Each town is divided into different sections and has a different postal worker.  Try to reach all of them to give them a flyer.

6.  Distribute fliers to homes in the area where you lost your pet.  Put up signs, where permitted, at intersections, shopping centers, laundromats, vet offices, pet stores, grooming parlors, or anywhere where groups of people frequent. If you receive calls of sightings, extend your flyer distribution to those areas.

7.  Call all nearby park workers, and cemeteries to alert them in case your pet runs there.    These usually quiet places are inviting to a scared pet.

8.  Call all surrounding town police departments.  Give them a full description of your pet.    Give your name and phone number in case they hear anything.  They won't actively look for your pet.  They will usually only call and let you know if someone calls the station and reports a stray matching your pet's description.

9.  Advertise in all local newspapers.  Watch the "Found" ads.

10.  Make sure you have an answering machine  "ON" AT ALL TIMES!  If possible, have someone who can always respond to these calls.

 11. Respond immedieately to any phone calls  regarding sightings.  Bring pictures of your pet with you.  Some people may call and say they saw the animal "2 hours ago".    Though the animal may have moved on, check that area anyway.  It is a clue to where he/she might be.

12.  Don't give up!    Your pet's life is depending on it. 

One  final note, don't forget to thank all those who helped reunite you with your pet.  A heartfelt thank-you note (in addition to any reward) is a nice gesture to someone who cared enought to take the time to help you and your lost pet.

Prevention is the BEST plan

You can help increase your chances of finding your pet if it becomes lost by fitting it with a collar and ID tag.  For your dog, make sure it has a secure fence, is never left outside unattended, and never leave your pet tied up outside a store.  Make sure you have a few "ID" photos (front and side view) of your pet that clearly show its markings.

Ad/Flyer Example(don't forget the picture!)

Long-haried Collie, B&W, female,
45 pounds, brown eyes, fluffy tail,
pointed ears, white chest.
Last seen May 25, 2000
on N. Main St, Medina
If you have seen our beloved
family member,
Please Call ASAP: (330) 555-5555

What to do if  you FIND a lost pet

What do you do when you find a stray animal?  You are sure somewhere someone is certainly missing his or her beloved pet.    How can you make this a happy ending and reunite owner and animal.

1.  Check for a tag.    This may be all you need to do.  Sometimes the only tag may be a license of rabies tag.  The license will give the county it was issued in.  The rabies tag may include the number of the animal's veterinarian. 

2.  Ask around the neighborhood.  Children are especially knowledgeable.  Postal workers, paper delivery and pizza delivery people also may be helpful in recognizing the animal. 

3.  Call   all the local veterninarian offices, groomers, police stations, and emergency clinics to see if someone has called searching for a pet matching the one you've found.    If not, be sure to leave a description of the animal and your name and number in case someone does call.

4.  Check the lost/found ads in all the local newspapers (local to where you found the animal)  Place a "found" ad in these papers.

5.  Make up flyers    and place them in the vicinity where the animal was found.  When making up the flyers, include:  Found: Describe the animal, but leave out some characteristics about the animal so that when a person calls you can verify their ownership.  (For example, you could leave out infomration concerning gender, white feet, etc.)  Don't forget your phone number and times you can be reached.  Make sure flyers don't look crowded.  Make sure they are easily redable from a distance.   Use large, bold, black lettering to emphasize important parts such as your phone number.  Place these flyers in the neighborhood and at the intersections where the pet was found.

6.  Beware of dishonest callers.  Some people falsely claim ownership only to turn around and sell the animal to a research laboratory or such.

7.  Ask caller to bring a photo of the animal to meeting place.

8. Ask for their vet's phone number and make a follow up call to that vet to verify.  Note how the animal reacts to the caller in person.  If you are not satisfied, ask for more proof.    Make sure to get the owner's phone number and address.

9.    Contact AlterPet, the SPCA & local shelters.  Give them a complete description of the animal, your name and phone number and foster it until an owner is found.  If you cannot do this, you can take it to the shelter.  Shelters  only keep animals for a short length of time, then they are euthanized.  If you wish to obtain the animal (if it is not claimed by its owner), let the shelter know you are v ery interested in the welfare of the animal and want to adopt it.  They will telll you when the animal will be made available for adoption.

Ad/Flyer Example:

Large Black and White Longhaired Cat
Found at the corner of Main St. and
North Court St. in Medina on Friday May 26
No collar or tags
Please call Betty at 330-555-5555 after 4

This can be a scary time for both pet and owner.  Doing all that you can do to reunite a scared, lost pet with it's worried, and many times frantic owner, is a rewarding and heartwarming experience.


Call the SPCA at 330-723-7722 and they will send a qualified person to get the animal veterinary care.

An injured animal should not be moved unless absolutely necessary.  If it must be moved, it should be on a  hard surface, like a board, to prevent further injury.