Lost and Found
Reuniting missing pets and their owners
July was a tough month for area pets. Between the annual Independence Day celebrations (which, in many places, lasted a whole week long), and the hot summer storms that blew through the area, leaving a wake of destruction and downed trees, many animals managed to lose their way from home. Dogs and cats, frightened by noise, wind, and flashing light, may run in their panic quite a ways from their place of residence, leaving owners frantic with worry.
When it comes to pets, this is an area of good samaritans, and most animals will be picked up and cared for by a loving human until they find their way home. But how is it we can help those animals actually find their way home.
The shelter (in Bonner County, it’s the Panhandle Animal Shelter), is always an option, but they’re not open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they’re not open on holidays. But if you can’t foster a found pet at home yourself, that’s the first place you should call. In fact, you should call them even if you can foster a misplaced animal, because that’s also often the first place a frantic owner will call, to see if their pet has been found. In fact, it’s the first place a frantic owner should call, as regardless whether you keep a found pet or take it to the shelter, PAS maintains a list of animals both lost and found in an effort to reunite pets and owners.
If you happen to be ‘wired,’ then head on over to Facebook, and check out Sandpoint Pets Lost and Found. This is always worth a try, regardless of whether you have lost a pet or found one. It is an ‘open’ group, so you don’t have to join in order to post.
Given that word of mouth is often your best bet, don’t limit your Facebook post to just the Lost Pets page—go ahead and post information on your own timeline with a request that the information be shared. Make sure your settings for that particular post, however, are set to “public” in order to ensure the widest range of people possible have a chance to match a pet with its rightful owner.
As pets slowly are reunited with owners after this last storm, now is a good time for pet owners to consider what they will do if their pet is ever lost. At minimum, a collar with the animal’s name and your home phone number, particularly for dogs, would be beneficial. For safety, a cat should be fitted with a breakaway collar, given their propensity for sticking their heads into places where they shouldn’t go, so don’t count on this method to return your wayward cat. If you can afford it, consider microchip implantation for both dogs and cats. Anyone who finds an animal can take it to an area vet, or to the Animal Shelter, and the animal can be scanned to see if a microchip containing its owner’s contact information has been implanted.
At the very least, make sure you have a good photo of your pet that can be shared in the event they become lost. The photo should be clear, and show any special identification marks the animal may have. With a dog, it can also be helpful to include some type of scale item, to indicate the dog’s size.
If you find a lost pet—and a huge thank you to the hundreds of people who do so all the time and work to return those pets to their owners—bear in mind that an animal lost from its home may well be frightened, and behave accordingly. Keep any found pet separate from your own animals at home, and from young children. If you have a crate available, the animal may find confinement in the crate to feel safer than being left loose in an unfamiliar room, house or yard.
(The little princess pictured above - the dog, not the baby - has managed to let herself out of an improperly latched gate twice. Thank you to the unknown samaritans who helped ensure her return home.)