When pets run away

For those among us with active, if not dramatically bent imaginations, when pets run away it can easily present an associative panic attack. The very thought of our beloved little friend cold, wet, hungry, or injured can lead to sleepless nights, trigger a moderate depressive state, and make the human mind spin irrationally.

When pets run away there is always hope of reunion, but as hours turn to days, the need for proactive and aggressive owner involvement mounts. The confusion of what exactly one can do considered, and depending upon the level of affection between pet and owner, steps are taken to locate the pet. From a personal perspective, our pet Cat ran away several years ago, and these are the measures I took in the search.

Before continuing, let me state that I was, and still am, extremely close to our pet Cat. More than a pet, she is a cherished member of our family, a confidant, and a wonderful, gentle soul. To people who have never felt this affection with an animal, it is of no great concern when pets run away, they just get another. To our family, it was as though we had lost a child, and no measure in finding her was too extraordinary, in terms of time, effort, or financial expense.

When pets run away, it is only logical to begin the search in the immediate area of the disappearance, on foot, with help from friends or family. People searching should take a photo or printed flyer containing contact information of the owner with them, and talk casually with as many local residents as possible. Offer a reward if you can afford to, monetary gain has a way of helping lubricate the human memory. Posting flyers on utility poles, at convenience stores, post offices, and bus stops is a good initial step. Remember, your pet who ran away can’t telephone you, so unless it comes home on it’s own, you need to find them.

Search local animal shelters at least every other day, as they often have a constant turnover. Place a short, inexpensive advertisement in your local newspaper, to run for at least the first week after the pets disappearance. This may sound insane, but if you live in a small town, talk to the local police patrolmen. They usually make rounds 24 hours a day, so there is a reasonably good chance if your missing pet is still outdoors, they may have seen it.

My “when pets run away” story has a happy ending. After progressing through all of the aforementioned steps, I found our cat 48 hours later safe and sound, but a little frightened. She climbed into an old smokehouse on our property and could not figure out how to escape.

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