If you have critters, you’ve doubtless faced the fear or the actuality of losing your pet. Either a gate or door gets left open or your beloved animal turns into Steve McQueen and pulls a Great Escape. No matter the scenario, the moment you realize your furry friend has vanished is gut wrenching. Hope and fear crash into each other and you have to act quickly.
As soon as you confirm your animal (be it dog, cat, or fluffy bunny) has gone AWOL (Away Without Official Leave), it’s time to act. Here is a list of steps you can take to increase the odds of your pet returning home.
1. Don’t Panic
2. Contact your local animal authorities
a. Stevens County
• Animal Control in Colville (509) 684-3131
• Stevens County Dispatch (509) 684-2555
b. Spokane County
• SCRAPS (Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service) (509) 477-2532
• Spokane County’s Lost Pet Hotline (509) 477-8100
3. Contact any nearby vet clinics and get your missing pet “on the books.”
4. Put up at least one huge poster in the area, preferably on a main road or intersection. Keep it simple and readable from the road. This is the oldest trick in the book, but still one of the most effective.
5. List your animal in Lost & Found Animal Facebook groups for your area. There are many for both Spokane and Stevens County, and likely any county in the country. Post and share pictures, and information about your pet that will help rescuers and community recognize him. When and where he disappeared is also important for the search.
Also post on Craigslist under the Lost and Found tab. You could even post there first, and then share the post to the Facebook groups.
6. Talk to and leave flyers with neighbors, mail carriers, and package delivery drivers. They are great resources as they drive or walk through your neighborhood on a daily basis.
Now that you’ve taken all the immediate steps, what’s next? Continue to follow up with the shelters and vet clinics. Check Craigslist frequently under Pets, as well as Lost and Found. Also keep tabs on the Pet Rehoming groups on Facebook, in case someone has found your pet and now is trying to sell or find him a home.
Please BEFORE your pets wander away: make sure you have ID on them. Collars and tags are great but sometimes slip off. Microchips are working miracles to return pets to their homes. In order for them to be effective, though, you must register your chip. There are many companies that do this. Talk to your local dog trainers or veterinarians to see who they recommend.
I sincerely hope you don’t ever need this information, but if you do, I hope that it helps bring a happy ever after to you and your furry friend.