“My dog/cat is missing.” For pet lovers like ourselves, that is probably our worst nightmare. Our minds would be filled with questions… Where is he? Is he hurt? Is he scared? Is he hungry… and so on… It’s just unthinkable. Our first response would be to panic. It’s difficult to think in panic mode, so we’ve put together this checklist of things to do should your pet go missing. Tuck this away somewhere that you’ll remember, but we hope that you’ll never have to refer to it.
• Immediately begin walking and/or driving through the neighborhood (and adjacent neighborhoods), and recruit friends and neighbors in the search. Call the dog’s name and listen/wait/look for him to appear. Plan on doing this several times daily until your pet is found.
• Familiarize yourself with the closest Animal Control Shelters to your home. Save their phone number and address so that you can contact them if needed. Our local Richmond Animal Care and Control number is (804)646-5573. Other Animal Control shelters in our immediate area include Henrico County: (804)727-8800, Chesterfield County: (804)748-1683, Hanover County: (804)365-6485, and Goochland County: (804)556-5302. File a lost pet report with each of them. The best course of action would be to visit them and take a picture of your pet, complete with all your contact information affixed thereto.
• If your pet is microchipped, call the Microchipping company and let them know your pet is missing. “Home Again”, one of the largest microchipping companies, has a procedure in place to help you find your pet. They can be reached at 1(888)HOMEAGAIN. If your pet was adopted from the Richmond SPCA, please contact 24PetWatch.
• Have flyers made showing a good picture of your pet, accompanied by a description: sex, breed, weight, markings. Mention any peculiarities about your pet (i.e., is shy around men; walks with a slight limp; etc..). Knock on doors in your neighborhood and leave a flyer with them. Post flyers in all local businesses.
• Contact all animal shelters within at least 25 miles of your home. There are too many to list here, but you can google “Richmond Animal Shelters” for their locations and phone numbers. Take them some flyers, but don’t expect them to find your dog. It is your responsibility to check the shelters daily.
• Contact your vet and other vets in the area. Most veterinary offices have bulletin boards for which to post your flyer.
• Use social media: Post a picture on facebook and ask that it be shared. Follow this link to a listing of Virginia facebook lost and found sites. Tweet a picture and information at least twice daily. Additionally, #RVALostDogs is a great Twitter service to help you find your lost pet.
• Let your mailman know, the newspaper carrier, the lawn-care worker, anyone who might be familiar with your dog and who works in your neighborhood. Tell the kids who play in the neighborhood.
• Some local radio stations are kind enough to broadcast lost pets. lite98 is one. Their phone number is (804) 345-9898.
• Run an ad in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and any other local newspapers. Some television news sites, such as NBC12, will put the word out for you. The number for NBC12 is (804)230-1212. You may also try CBS6, WTVR. Their number is (804) 254-3600.
• Some people have had luck posting their lost pet on Craigslist: https://richmond.craigslist.org/search/laf.
We sincerely hope and pray that your pet will returned home to you safely… and soon.