Lost Dogs Sighting Calls.doc
First, get a street map of the town where the dog was
lost. (Office supply or drugstore). The map should include all border towns.
Mark the streets where you posted flyers or went “door to door” with a
It is very important to keep a record of every call
from the beginning & keep it until the search is over. You will actually be
“tracking” the dog’s movements. Get as much information as possible from
every call and write everything down – no exceptions. You need the date,
time, street and nearest cross street, or with luck, exact location that the
dog was seen. Be forgiving of callers with their descriptions. It is not
easy to see details while driving or on a dog that’s running. At night,
it’s even harder to see & colors get distorted. They can see a dog, not the
collar, but they may hear license tags clinking. Gently question them and
ask them to tell you what they saw without putting words in their mouth.
It’s hard to accurately guess a dog’s weight but they can estimate the body
size in relation to another breed they are familiar with. Key on easily
seen markings that the dog may have.
Many calls are vague and left on answering machines. Be
advised that two people can see the same dog and give two entirely different
descriptions. One may see the leash attached that the other doesn’t.
Never dismiss a sighting because the caller’s description isn’t a
perfect match. Talk with the residents who live in the area as soon as
possible after receiving a call. They are usually familiar with the
neighborhood dogs and their information may help you dismiss a call or mark
it on the map as a valid sighting. It may well be a local dog that looks
like yours and is allowed to run loose. A “stray” could also be in the area
and be mistaken for yours. If you think it’s a stray, call the local ACO.
It could be a lost dog belonging to someone else.
Dogs can go great distances in a short amount of time.
They take shortcuts (that you can’t) to get to other streets. It seems
there might be a pattern if a dog is not familiar with the area from where
they bolted. Many seem to stay in a 3-mile radius from the exact spot where
they bolted. They may travel a great deal within this “circle” and even
return several times to pass the spot where they bolted. This is a general
observation, not a rule. Some dogs have made a smaller circle while others
go just beyond. A few bolt straight down a road for a mile or two, stop and
then establish a “home range.”
Never be discouraged by lack of calls. Think!
Flyers could be in the wrong areas, not enough distributed or you didn’t
personally talk to enough people yet. You get a lot of good information
when you get out and talk to people. They also remember you and are more
apt to make the call once you have made it a “personal” thing. It is
time-consuming work. It is emotionally & physically draining. Do not rely
solely on an Animal Control Officer. They are usually very busy and cannot
devote all their time to your lost dog.
The best advice: Be focused, be organized and be strong
until you find your dog. They are dependent on you to be smarter than they
are. If your dog is a repeat visitor in an area, do not hesitate. Talk with
Animal Control or Animal Rescue League & see if they can set up a humane
cage trap in an appropriate place. If not, try to find a person who will
let you leave a “scent” item as well as food and water in their yard. You
should visit the area frequently & try to spot your dog. If seen, be calm,
kneel/lay down, talk in soft & reassuring tones. Lure it to you with bits
of food and be very patient.
Trapping-Humane Cage Traps