Ever had a pet go missing? What a scary and horrible thing. While this cartoon is a funny one, losing a pet is no joke. To most of us, our pets are family. There are so many ways for our precious companions to become lost...and so it's difficult to get them back once they are gone. I have had it happen more than once in my life....once with a happy ending...once not. A family I am close to is going through it right now...their kitty got out last weekend and they are still looking. The not knowing and the worry is unbearable. Here are a few ideas to prevent this tragedy from happening to you....and some tips on what you can do if it does.
First of all, make sure your yard is secure. Holes under fences are a favorite for small dogs...especially diggers. We had a beagle when I was growing up that dug under the fence....a true escape artist he was!! Try adding some chicken wire type fencing deep in the ground on the inside of the regular fence as extra protection for the vulnerable spots.
A "beware of dog" sign can also let yard visitors know to look out for a dog and to remember to close the gate. Getting a gate that springs shut is a good idea too to ensure it doesn't get left open by accident. The front door can be a dangerous spot as well. Some dogs will charge the door when it opens. Try a baby gate to block the entry way as an extra barrier. This will also keep your dog from jumping on house guests!
In addition make sure the lead you use to walk your dog is a halter or harness kind....it is much more comfortable....doesn't pull on the dogs neck..and gives you more control. I can't tell you how many dogs I have seen over the years slip out of traditional collars to chase after something. Also if the leash is attached to the neck collar and you have a puppy who chews (like a young lab) he can easily weaken and chew though the leash. The harness types are on his back...he can't reach them there.
Of course...the number 1 reason animals run away is to look for a mate. If you fail to spay or neuter your pet there is a very good chance they will take off the first opportunity they get. Be real.....could you have been kept inside the house when YOU when went through puberty???? NO WAY!!! And neither can your pet. They are simply following their instincts. With all the millions of homeless animals in shelters, allowing your family pet to procreate is irresponsible. Spaying and neutering also eases their stress, reduces or eliminates many common behavioral problems, and helps them live longer, healthier lives.
If your pet does get out, look immediately and relentlessly. Tell all the neighbors. Go door to door with a picture of your pet. Make signs and post them everywhere. Call the local shelter and file a missing animal report. And most importantly....don't give up. My cat Suzie got out a few years back when a door was not shut all the way. She was gone for a whole week. I stayed home from work, walked the neighborhood with her picture and knocked on every door. I took my dog around the neighborhood for hours at a time asking her "where's Suzie???" . After a week I was just about to give up when I got a phone call from a man whom I had knocked on his door the day before. Suzie was in his shed. Turns out my dog had alerted me to that yard 2 days back but I didn't look hard enough. If it had not been for our efforts....we never would have gotten her back.
I hope this never happens to you and your furry buddies. Here is hoping and praying that my friends find their cat. Take care guys...and keep those animals safe! :)