It’s the feeling that chills every pet owner. You call your dog’s name and she doesn’t come. You might face an empty backyard, a slipped leash, a left-open front door. Your dog could be anywhere, but the one thing you know is she’s not where she belongs—home with you. The important thing is not to panic. Take a deep breath and start going through the steps below. If you’re calm, methodical, and thorough, you’ll be reunited with your pet in no time.
Phase I: As soon as you notice your pet is gone
As anyone who’s a fan of crime shows on TV can tell you, the most critical time in a missing-persons case is the first 24 hours. The same goes for missing dogs. If your dog has decided to go on an off-leash adventure, the sooner you start looking, the sooner you’ll find him. The longer your dog has to go free, the larger the perimeter you’re going to have to search will be. So as soon as you ascertain that the dog truly is gone (not sleeping behind the couch or hiding in the basement), it’s time to set the wheels in motion.
I rescued my Daisy Mae through Badrap.org back in 2006. She had a history as a fighting bait dog and then once her backyard breeder was done with her, put her out on the streets. Taken to the shelter at a year and a half old, 37 pounds and described as “severely emaciated”, she cowered in a corner and did not know human or dog friendliness. She shook with fear at contact from either. Something in me clicked and I just vowed that she would never have another bad day. She chose not to come out of her unlocked crate for the first few days, but I slowly let her adjust to her new life of companionship, structure and tons of love. I brought calm, well socialized dogs around her and eventually, she was able to walk on a leash and interact. Occassionally a barking dog behind a fence or a loud noise would cause her to slump the ground or pee pee on her tail, which spent a lot of time fervently forced under her legs in a fearful position. What a miracle love can do though! Within 4 months, she blossomed. She passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen test like a champ and we geared up for the far more rigorous Certified Therapy Dog test, which she ace handily. Now, if you google, “Daisy Mae” and “Santa Barbara”, you will see photographic evidence of her joyous years spent with me, a responsible owner. We visit our local hospital along with schools, hospice centers and preschools. She is the pittie kissing booth at our three major annual dog festivals and we both work hard to show the world that any dog is a mere reflection of its current owner. From a dog who only knew distress to a dog who now only knows pure kindness and love (along with rules, treats, tricks and now a rescued brother to follow her around), Daisy Mae is a shining breed ambassador. She’s been featured in the 2011 (cover girl!), 2012 and 2013 American Pit Bull Terrier calendars and we are both featured as October covergirls in the pinupsforpitbull.org calendar, which is no easy feat. We both had to submit bios and be active in the rescue community. We work very hard on a daily basis to change people’s minds, one person at a time and we’ve been very successful. Google her now if you want to enjoy some very large and often, upside down, pittie smiles. Until the shelters have none, please rescue one!