Who knows why they decide to venture past the gate or dash quickly out the door without turning back once. Either way, your dog has left home and whether intentional or not, you want to find him and bring him back safely. In this post, I will cover my personal story with trying to bring my dog home and the 5 things you can do to help bring him home faster!
NOTE: If you would like to see the five tips to find your dog quickly skip the section below on how our dog came home after a WEEK of being gone.
HOW MY DOG CAME HOME:
We adopted our dog Leo from a local German shepherd rescue in Phoenix called ” Saving Paws Rescue”. One of the volunteers said they had the perfect dog for us.
We went to meet him, and I fell in love. He was gentle with the kids and had the kindest eyes. He had been abandoned in an apartment for a month before he came to the rescue. He was just about a year old when we adopted him. He really was perfect for us. Even though he wasn’t the lap dog I was looking for, he was just what we needed. Easy to train, friendly, great with the kids and listened to commands.
Fast forward 6 months later, it’s the middle of an Arizona summer averaging about 110 degrees outside. One afternoon I let Leo out to do his business and he got out our side gate. I’m not sure if he jumped it our dug under. He is such a big dog both seem impossible. The fence is 7 feet high, and there’s barely enough room under the gate for him to squeeze through.
However he did it, he got out. When I went to let him back in I was astonished to see he wasn’t in our backyard rolling in the grass like he normally does. Immediately I started looking for him outside and after 10 minutes, I went home. You may think I didn’t search long enough for him. Well at the time we had a stroller with one seat and I had two small children. So that ten minutes consisted of carrying my baby while pushing my oldest and shouting my dog’s name….in 110-degree heat.
I decided to let my husband go look again once he got home. In the meantime, I hopped online and searched for ways to find my dog. There was a ton of information and it was hard to digest it all. There are even scammers out there with fake ads you can buy that they “send” to locals in the area to help you find your dog.
After reading a few articles I decided to use the internet to find my missing baby. I found a picture of him and posted it to a few local facebook groups we have for missing pets. I also posted on craigslist and called all the pounds in my area letting them know I was looking for him. They asked for his information so if any new dogs matching the description came in they could call me. I put up fliers like this one below.
It’s HIGHLY recommended that you make fliers to find your dog. The one above is a great example of what information to provide. A clear picture of your dog that shows his face and markings will help volunteers contact you if they find a dog similar.
The two biggest tips I can give you about fliers is:
- Don’t put all their information on there. I’ve heard of stories of people using your fliers information to claim a someone else’s pet at the pound.
- put your flier on a bright background so it stands out.
Here is a wonderful article on the Do’s and Dont’s of Dog Fliers From Dogster
My Husband’s Brilliant But Disgusting Idea!:
So after making fliers and using all the methods I could, our dog Leo was still missing after a week! Finally, after trying everything, my husband had an idea. A brilliantly yet disgusting idea! You see, our dog loved dirty diapers. Since we have babies he would sometimes get into the trash and try and eat them…G.R.O.S.S I know!
So from one of the facebook groups, we had a dog spotter call us and say they saw our dog about a mile from our house. My husband decided to take that day’s dirty diapers and walk to the location leaving a dirty diaper hidden somewhere along the way. Basically making a scent trail.
I thought he was crazy BUT, the next day I heard scratching at the back door. I ran to open it, and to my surprise there was Leo. Rushing in like nothing ever happened and lapping up water like his thirst would never end. I captured a sweet photo of my son running over and hugging him.
Because of the extreme heat Leo had very red and sore paws from the hot pavement. think I took about 2-3 days for him to fully recover from the traumatizing experience.
We were so thankful he was finally home. When my husband saw him he was so excited that his idea worked! Then he went and picked up his diaper trail.
8 TIPS TO FIND YOUR DOG QUICK
1. MAKE A SCENT TRAIL! It doesn’t have to be diapers, it could be pieces of a shirt with your scent on it or his favorite dog treats or anything familiar. I don’t advise littering, so if you don’t plan to pick up your trail after this isn’t the best idea for you.
2. POST EYE CATCHING FLIERS! You can save money by printing fliers yourself (you can use canvas to make them). Then buy neon poster board from the dollar store and cut it down. You can tape your printed flier on it to make a border so it stands out to people and gets attention.
3. MAKE A MOVING BILLBOARD! Turn your vehicle into a moving billboard. Tagging your car is very effective in finding your dog. You can buy window markers and really catch the attention of your neighbors!
4. OFFER A REWARD! People are motivated by money. If they know you are really serious about finding your dog they will really keep an eye out. But if you can’t afford to offer a reward don’t be discouraged. Just follow the other ideas in this post. You’ll still have a larger chance of bringing your dog home versus the person who offers one.
5. CHECK SHELTERS! Check shelters daily to see what animals have been brought in. They won’t always find a chip when they look, even if your dog has one. It’s your job to check and call daily.
6. USE YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER! Put an ad in the paper. If you live in an area where people still read the paper this is very helpful.
7. CALL DEAD ANIMAL CONTROL. Hard to do, but call dead animal control to ask if any dog has been found with your description. It’s not what you’ll want to hear if they have picked up your missing dog but at least you’ll know what happened to him and can stop searching
8. SEARCH THROUGH LOST DOG LISTINGS. Here are some great sites that serve all areas and a few specifically for Phoenix, AZ (If you don’t see a site below that I should add please let me know in the comments.)
LOST DOG LISTINGS AND OTHER RESOURCES:
- Pet Harbor.com
- OfferUp (Search For Found Dogs)
- Craigslist (Lost / Found Section & Pets Section)
RESOURCES SPECIFICALLY FOR PHOENIX, AZ:
VERY HELPFUL!—-> Lost and Found Pets On A Map: Maricopa.gov
A wonderful facebook community with nearly 50,000 members called Straydar
These are all things that I found helpful. I hope if you have lost your dog you find him or her quickly. I know how worriesome that can be. If there is a resource or tip I missed in this post, please leave a comment. I will gladly update this post so it can be helpful to people in the future.
Thanks for reading this. I hope it hels your find your dear pet.