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Posts Tagged ‘lost dog’

Last week I received a distressing email from a friend of mine who wrote to tell me that her friend’s dog was missing. “Lucy”, a 10 year-old American Husky mix, had disappeared from a boarding facility. Her “Mom” Ann was in Texas, when she received the call that no pet guardian ever wants to receive.

I immediately posted the alert on Tiny Growl’s Facebook page and hoped that the power of social networking would help spread the word.  Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.  Ann recounts the traumatic sequence of events on her beautifully written blog with such detail and includes such of a wealth of information, that I encourage everyone to read Lucy and Ann’s story.

An Emotional Reunion

I also encourage everyone to support The Missing Pet Partnership, an organization that I have blogged about a couple of times before. They do amazing work, have a wonderful website with specific and effective information on how to find lost pets (which Ann used in creating her plan to find Lucy) and are always struggling financially.

One piece of proactive information that I would like to add here is to remind everyone to follow the Missing Pet Partnership’s advice about keeping a sample of your dog’s scent and DNA on hand, just in case you ever need to hire one of their tracker teams to search for your dog. Here’s what they recommend:

Wearing a pair of rubber gloves, wipe your pet’s body with a sterile gauze pad – wipe its back, tummy, and mouth. Place in a ziplock bag. Write the date and your pet’s name on the bag. Along with the scent, you should collect a sample of DNA, in case it is needed for making a positive ID. Collect a whisker, some toenail clippings, and a few hairs that you have pulled from your pet, including the root. Shed hairs alone are no good, as you need the root, which contains the DNA. Add these to the ziplock bag and put it in your freezer. (If you have multiple pets, you will need separate bags for each.)  Recollect scent and DNA samples once a year.

And finally, make sure you have a really good picture of your buddy ready for copying, in case you ever need to post “Lost” posters, you don’t want to spend time searching for pictures, when you need to be searching for your dog. Let’s hope that you never have to go through what Lucy and Ann experienced.  But if you do, having learned what to do in advance will save time, help you to focus on putting together an action plan and help bring your Lucy home as quickly as possible.

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We’ve all seen the signs posted at busy intersections.  “Lost dog”, “Reward”, “Have you seen Buddy?”.  It’s heartbreaking to think of someone’s beloved dog lost and frightened, possibly in harm’s way. I can imagine the anguish that the pet’s owner is going through. Posting signs and calling the local shelters are the first steps that most people will take, but is there anything more that can be done?

The Missing Pet Partnership can provide help. MPP is a national, nonprofit organization that can help owners find their lost companion animals.  Founded by Kat Albrecht, a former police officer and crime scene investigator and a pioneer in the proper application of search dogs for lost pet investigations. The MPP also manages the first-ever pet detective academy, training and certifying Missing Animal Response Technicians and search dogs to track lost pets.

While some animal advocates like myself have created a business as a means to generate donations to help animals in need, others like The Missing Pet Partnership are are working and volunteering in neighborhoods across the country to reunite people and their pets, making a difference to the numbers of dogs winding up in shelters, but most importantly, producing positive results with very happy endings.

The Missing Pet Partnership’s website lists the National Network of Pet Detectives across the United States.  Anyone interested in finding out if their dog might make a good pet detective can contact partnership members in their area. Good candidates must then be tested for certification as a MAR (missing animal response) dog. There are different techniques involved when looking for lost dogs and cats. MAR certified dogs can become MAR Cat Detection dogs, MAR Trailing dogs, or MAR Dual Purpose dogs.

Volunteers are also needed as “mobile billboards”, which simply means placing a message on your car’s rear window to help spread the word about missing pets.

The Missing Pet Partnership’s lost pet search is a fee-based service, but their website has lots of free information that can provide you with tips on finding your lost pet as well as information on training events and volunteering.

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