Creature Thoughts: September 2016
Is Your Pet Lost?
Although I have been unable to take on missing pet cases for many years, due to health limitations, my heart still breaks for every person who is searching for an animal companion, and for every animal who cannot find their way back home.
I hope the following tips and suggestions … both from an energy standpoint, and physical one … are helpful to those in such painful situations.
Do note that these suggestions assume the missing pet is a dog or cat. Other pets, especially birds, are unique situations and far more difficult. One caution there: please, please, please don’t bring your bird outside unless in a very securely closed cage.
Energy and Spiritual Help
- We all have loved ones in spirit. There are often animals (and humans) on the other side who knew the missing pet personally. Get into a quiet, meditative place, a place of peace. Reach out to your spirit-guides, your angels, and ask them to help lead the pet back home — or at least to safety. Ask for assistance in bringing in sightings and clues to the lost animal’s whereabouts.
- Try to spend time every day sending out life-lines to your pet. One good way to do this is to imagine your home like a lighthouse, with a warm, loving beacon that the pet can see from wherever it is. Encourage your friend to follow that beacon back home.
- End the above visualization with a scene or two of the pet home, safe, in your arms, in your lap, sleeping in her bed, playing with her toys, or eating her yummy food. Ask other family members to do this as well. Children are especially good at these exercises. Keep your emotions positive, loving, and hopeful.
- Penelope Smith, on her AnimalTalk.net website, has a directory of animal communicators who advertise with her. Many of them mention, in their listings, whether or not they take missing pet cases.
Although animal communication, spirit guides, and visualizations can be very helpful in bringing a pet back home, most of the work that needs to be done will be legwork. Here is a checklist of things that will increase your chances of finding your friend. Employ as many as possible.
- Printed Posters and Flyers: of course, this is where everyone starts.
- Be sure to include the following information:
- A clear photo of the pet, preferably one that clearly shows the whole body and any unique markings. Include two, if one is not enough. If you do not have a photo, find one online of a pet who looks similar, and specify in the caption that this is not the animal in question, but he looks very much like this picture.
- A written description, even though you have a photo. Size, age, etc, are not always obvious in pictures.
- A note that it is important not to chase the animal, but to call with sighting information.
- A phone number where you or your representative can be reached 24/7. Cell phone numbers are good for this. If you have a friend willing to man a second line, include that, too.
- The date, time, and specific place where the animal went missing, as well as where it was last seen if there was a sighting before you printed the posters.
- “Reward” in large letters. You don’t have to include an amount, but you want to set aside something to thank the person who provides the solid information that has brought your pet home.
- Print smaller versions, even business cards, with the most pertinent information, which you can personally hand to people. People are more likely to call with sightings if they can quickly pull the number out of their wallet. For the same reason, you may want to include tear-off strips on printed posters with a thumbnail of the photo, and the phone number.
- Posters should be placed in as many areas as possible. Include towns adjacent to your own. The obvious places are community bulletin boards in:
- post offices
- schools — with permission, and leave a stack of flyers at the school offices, as well
- All animal-centered locations such as veterinarians, feed and pet supply stores, groomers, boarding kennels
- Places many people don’t think of can be:
- The rear window of your car, and the cars of friends and family members. This puts your pet’s picture in every parking lot in the area, and moves it around.
- Hand flyers out door to door! This is so important. The more people who know about your missing animal, the more eyes you have watching out for him. Don’t forget to leave the business card sized copies, too.
- Personally hand a stack to the mail carrier, delivery truck drivers, trash collector, and other service workers.
- Children. Everywhere. With their parents’ consent, of course.
- Call every veterinarian, shelter, and rescue group in your area and in surrounding areas. Lost pets have often been found miles from home, so don’t just assume the pet couldn’t have gotten far. Ask if you can fax or email them copies of your poster. Visit as many of these places (especially shelters) personally as you can, and do so repeatedly. I know of several people who called to be told their pet had not been turned into a shelter, only to visit and find the animal there. This is not a put-down of shelter workers — these places are often understaffed and manned by kind volunteers, and a verbal description over the phone may not be interpreted as intended. Keep a checklist of places and numbers, and make note of each time you call or visit. Check in with them several times a week.
- If your pet is microchipped or tattooed, contact the registry immediately to report the pet missing. These groups often offer online posters and templates, and many call shelters and vets for you with official reports. (Be sure to contact them again when your friend is found, of course, to let them know.)
- Utilize online resources such as Craig’s List, PetFinder, and FindToto.com. The latter has a fee, but it’s well worth it, as they make phone calls to homes in your area with a description of the missing pet. There are now many other sites that list missing pets, as well. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing, as there is no telling which ones the person who finds your animal might check. Try one or two from the top of the Google search results page, as it’s likely that others will check those first.
- Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. As annoying as it can be at times, Facebook is great for getting the word out, and for organizing local help in searching for your pet. Many communities now have a local “bulletin board” type Facebook page in addition to the network of your own friends. And that leads to:
- Build a team. Don’t try to do this alone. There will be many hours of making phone calls, distributing posters, visiting shelters, driving back roads and wandering through country woods or city alleys. You will need help. In addition to asking on Facebook, if you are short on personal help, try contacting local dog or cat clubs. The local dog organizations (even if you are missing a cat) may even have contact information for tracking dog services. If you have a local tracking club in the area, call them. They may be able to help. I have even known of someone who contacted the local Boy Scouts, who helped distribute posters, and one dog who was found because the searchers talked to some local prostitutes! (True story, I swear!)
- Let your team help. Designate responsibilities. Take time to rest, eat well, and cry. Your little friend will need you in one piece once you find them.
- If you do have a local tracking club who can help, remember that scents fade. Don’t wait too long to call.
Once you have sightings:
- Do not chase your animal, or let any of your search team do so.
- Do not feel discouraged if your dog or cat looks right at you and runs away. The vast majority of the time, animals shift to “survival mode” once they are lost. Their minds are focused only on their own safety, their hunger, their fear. They often do not even recognize their beloved owners, or their owners’ voices.
- Stay down low if you have eyes on your pet; sit on the ground if possible.
- Use your pet’s favorite “happy words” in a light, up-beat voice (it may be a good idea to start working on an emergency recall word now, in fact, while your pets are home and safe — one they always, 100% of the time, get a special treat for responding to) that might break through the animal’s fear and trigger recognition. I’ve also heard of animals who respond to the sound of weeping, so if happy words don’t receive a positive reaction, try crying softly.
- Also, if your pet is in sight but staying at a distance, make a show of eating food the animal has enjoyed sharing with you in the past.
- Don’t shower before you search — you want to smell familiar from a distance. Your friends will forgive you. (Do ask them to shower, though — the scent of strangers may backfire.)
- Bring the animal’s own scents with you — dirty cat litter, blankets, toys. You want to lay down scent trails in a central location. If your dog has a buddy, let them pee in the area. For a male dog, is there a female in season you can borrow? You can even leave your own urine scent in the area.
- If the animal is a dog and he has a best canine friend, bring them along as long as they are on a very secure leash and collar/harness. Do NOT do this if your missing pet’s friend is a cat! I will never forget the several times, when I was still doing lost pet cases, that I wound up looking for two lost cats instead of one due to this error!
- Set up a home base with a bed, food, water, and the above scents. Park your car there with a door open and sleep in it, if possible. Include really smelly food and odors your animal will associate with home. If you have to leave the area, leave some of your own well-worn clothing behind as well.
- If the above fails, or if your animal comes around and will not let you catch her, borrow an appropriately sized live trap. Use very strong-smelling food and make sure there is no food available other than what is in the trap.
- Consider hiring a professional pet search service if there is one local to you.
Once you have him back in your arms, your first stop is going to be to his trusted veterinarian (or at least at the first opportunity, and keep the pet isolated from your other animals until then). Even if he appears to be okay and uninjured, you’ll want to get him checked out for anything that can’t be easily seen. Why take chances?
And the most important tip of all? Don’t lose hope; don’t stop looking. I have seen animals returned to their homes after weeks, even months. There are stories out there of animals missing for years who were reunited with their owners. My own Pree was gone for an entire month, and friends and family were telling me to give up and move on, when we found her alive. She was five years old when she came home, and almost eighteen when she finally passed away.
I truly hope you will never have to use any of these suggestions, but if you ever do, I hope they help you bring your dear one back home, safe and sound.
Do you have any other tips, tricks, or suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment below this post on gazehound.com.