So, what do you do if you find a lost dog in Marinette or Menominee? It always concerns me to see a loose dog walking around unattended. My first reaction is to want to coax the dog into my car to keep him safe. While others may feel the same, please make sure you aren’t actually dognapping a pup from his own yard! My rule of thumb is to watch the dog cross two yards (meaning the yards of two different homes) before I will intervene. Here are some steps you can take if you find a lost dog.
Use Caution in Your Approach
Never run up to an unknown dog in any situation. Pay attention to body language, and if it looks safe, call the dog to you. Many dogs love going for a car ride. You could throw open the hatch back or the door to the back seat of your vehicle and say in a playful tone “want to go for a ride”? It may not be as easy as this, so fashioning a leash into a slip lead may be less intrusive for the pup than trying to grab for his collar.
A dog on the lam may be stressed, anxious, or even injured so if you see body language indicating any of these things (barred teeth, raised hackles, intense staring with wide eyes and overall stiff body), you may want to contact the police or animal control and leave it to the professionals.
One thing you NEVER want to do is chase a loose/lost dog. You will only make them run from you and possibly push them further away from the targeted area their family is searching.
Keep Them Safe
If you have assessed the dog is not a treat to your own safety, you are going to want to get the pet out of harm’s way. One great way to do this is by turning a leash into a slip lead. By doing this, you do not have to grab the dog’s collar (or maybe he isn’t wearing one). Grabbing or pulling a dog by the collar/neck can feel very menacing especially when done by a stranger. Using a slip lead to get ahold of the lost dog will make you and the dog more comfortable.
Now that you have them ‘contained’, spend a minute making friends. Be still, speak in a soft calm voice, avoid direct eye-contact, and offer the dog the side of your body rather than a frontal approach which can seem threatening. Let the dog do what dogs do – sniff you. If the dog playfully touches you, or nudges you, this may be a signal that they are comfortable enough for you to touch them. If you go for the collar and see a few tongue flicks or yawns, these are signs that the dog is stressed! Be careful, and go slowly. The dog may need more time before you ty to touch his collar and read his ID tags.
Check for ID
Finding where this lost dog belongs may be as simple as reading a phone number or address off a collar or ID tag. You can call the number or head straight to the address and take the lost pup home. If that’s a dead end, or the pup is without identification, try knocking on a few doors in the neighborhood where you found the lost dog to see if anyone recognizes him and knows where he lives. No luck? Next, you could take him to the Menominee Animal Shelter or any of the vets in town to see if he is microchipped.
Alert the Masses
If the dog you found has no ID tags, take a couple of good pics with your phone, and share on social media sites. The local classified sites and those specifically for lost pets are best. Post the best photos along with date, time, and exact location you found the lost dog. While you’re at it, look to see if there are any posts about lost dogs matching the description of the one you found. You may get lucky and find his hoomans that way.
Call for Help
Contact the Menominee Animal Shelter and the area vet clinics to see if anyone has reported a dog missing. If so, get the description to see if it matches the dog you found. If not, alert them to the dog you found, give a description and your contact information. While you’re at it, see if they have a number where you can text them a photo of the dog you found. Ask if they could post the photo on their social media page. Please also notify the police. The owner of the lost dog may have contacted them.
If you have time, you can give the lost dog a lift to the shelter. He will be safe there until his owner is found. You could also see if animal control or the police can come get the dog from you and they can transport the dog you found to the animal shelter. Also, if you were unable to get the dog to come to you, please notify the police that there is a dog “at large”. In this case, if you can get some photos to post on social media, the owner may be able to retrieve their dog before the authorities get involved.
If the pup is super sweet, or if you find the dog in your own yard and want to hold onto him a bit longer so the owner has a chance to connect with you, don’t co-mingle this pup with your own pets. You don’t know anything about this dog you found and you don’t want to inadvertently expose your pets to any illness or disease the stray may have. The whole encounter could be stressful for your pets or the lost dog. Not all dogs enjoy the company of other pets.
Pat yourself on the back for possibly saving the life of the dog you found. Even if not yet reunited with his family, you got him to safety and he’s no longer at risk of being hit by a car, being attacked by other animals, or being dognapped by someone who has ulterior motives. Even if your attempt to capture the lost dog was unsuccessful, maybe you were able to post pics on social media and having notified animal control or the police will have others looking out for the wellbeing of this lost dog too!
DOG Nanny Group clients are welcome to include us as an emergency contact if their pets ever become lost or are found. We are always here to help!