What do you do if your Yorkie is lost? Here are some tips for you to help in your search and to help you prepare for the unthinkable.
I recently did an interview with Linsdsay over at That Mutt for an article she was writing about collar tags and what should be included on them. In the interview, I told her about my experience with Edward, our recently adopted foster, who went missing just days after going to his new home. After recounting that experience with her, I think it’s a great time to talk about it here on our blog and make sure our readers are prepared for the unthinkable.
We fostered Edward for almost a year. During his time with us, we got him an id tag like Catherine’s from PetHub. He was wearing the collar tag when he went to his forever home last month.
On Edward’s birthday, a week after going to his new home, Edward was in the car with his new family to drop off the kids at school before going to his birthday grooming appointment. In all the commotion while the kids were getting out of the car, somehow, Edward got excited and jumped out of the car and was gone in a flash before anyone could see which direction he went.
Edward’s new mom was beside herself. She spent the entire day searching for him, knocking on doors, calling shelters and vets, and making flyers. She contacted me for help, we posted all over facebook (in local garage sale groups and lost and found pets groups). I spent a few hours searching the neighborhood and talking to people who lived in the area. That night, there was no news, and it rained and none of us slept very well. The next day, Edward’s new family put up flyers and I enlisted friends to help in the search effort. There were occasional “sightings” of Edward reported from people on Facebook, but no one had stopped to pick him up. That afternoon, I got an email that brought more relief than you can imagine.
Edward had been found! He was still wearing his PetHub collar and, since the collar tag was still linked to all of my information, I got a phone call as soon as someone called the hotline! What a relief! I met with Charles immediately and we got Edward back home. Without that collar, there is no telling how long Edward would have been missing.
I learned a few lessons from this and previous experiences with missing pets, and I want to pass on what I’ve learned so that you can prevent some of the stress that can become overwhelming if ever your Yorkie goes missing.
Have a collar tag with updated information on your pet at all times.
A collar tag with a phone number is a must. Other information you can include: your pets name, your city or zip code, and your name. Personally, I move every few years and change my phone number from time to time. I have a cat that I’ve had for 17 years – her collar tag has my parent’s phone number on it – they’ve had the same number for 30 years and Lexi has had the same collar for 10 years. I recently got her a PetHub collar, too. With PetHub, you can update your information on their website at any time, so if your address or phone number change, you can have your information updated in a couple of clicks. Whenever you make a change in address or phone number, be sure to update your pet’s collar.
Make sure the collar is on at all times. I know that, after a bath, I sometimes forget to put the collar back on immediately. Sometimes a couple of days go by before I remember to put the collar back on. Make the collar a priority and put it back on immediately after a bath.
Have recent photos of your pet.
This may sound silly, but make a point of taking photos of your pet at least once a month. When Edward went missing, the first thing I did was go through my phone and try to find the best and most recent photo of him. Luckily, I take a lot of pictures and I had a few recent ones of the day Edward went to his new home.
Make sure microchip information is up to date.
Whenever you make a change in address or phone number, be sure to update the information with your microchip company. I once received a phone call that a dog had been found and was in a shelter in Texas and the microchip had been sold to me. I looked back at my files and found the foster dog that I’d registered with that chip number and contacted the new family. They had been searching for their Yorkie for 3 weeks. They had never registered the microchip, so the shelter had to contact the company that made the chip and find out where that specific chip had been sold, which led them to the company that sold the chip to me. If they had the information up to date, they would have gotten their baby back much sooner.
Be aware of situations that require extra vigilance.
Edward escaped the car during a lot of commotion. Many pets go missing on the 4th of July and Halloween. In situations that are out of the ordinary, be extra vigilant and take steps to ensure that your pets are safe.
Post on social media.
If your dog is ever lost, this is a big one. Post on your facebook page, in local online yard sale groups, in local “lost and found” pets groups – everywhere you can. This will help people keep an eye out for your pet and may help the person who finds your pet connect with you. Catherine once escaped our back yard without her collar. I posted everywhere. Within a few hours I got a call from a nice lady about 6 blocks away who had been working in her garage when Catherine appeared and came in to hang out with her. The lady took Catherine to a neighbor’s house to ask if she was their dog, but the neighbor had seen my post on a local garage sale group and she called me right then. Without facebook, who knows if I would have ever seen my baby again.
Make flyers to put up in local establishments. Many businesses have bulletin boards that allow you to post advertisements and flyers. Ask your local grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and other small businesses. Take these to local shelters and vets, too, so they can be on the lookout for your pet.
Call local shelters and vets.
If your lost Yorkie isn’t wearing a collar, someone who finds him will likely take him to your local animal control. If your Yorkie is injured while missing, someone who finds him may take him to a vet. Contact your local shelters and veterinarians, even groomers, and provide them with pictures of your pet.
If you have had a lost pet returned to you, leave us a comment with any tips you may have to help in locating a lost pet.