As an animal communicator, one of the hardest jobs I have is finding lots pets. Let’s face it, when an animal is lost and frightened they are on the move. Even if I can get a clear picture of where they are, they could be miles from home, or by time we figure out where they may be they could be five miles away.
I don’t look for lost pets anymore. It is heart breaking work; it is hard to find lost animals for so many reasons. Animals move, animals get picked up by well-meaning people who keep them, they get killed by cars, wild animals, locked in other peoples garages for sometimes weeks at a time or they wander until they can’t and all of it is very sad..
I once found a dog that fled from a car accident. Her guardian hit black ice in the dead of a December night and crashed into the medium. When she got out of the car her dog took off into the wilderness. She called for her dog, but Shay was too frightened to come back, she kept on running into the night.
Her guardian, Jill, searched for days and the temperatures plummeted. Jill had sprained her ankle falling on the ice, but she would not stop looking. I would check in with Shay and I would get a mental picture of where she was and then sometimes within hours she would be spotted in the general location.
On the seventh day when all hope was diminishing Shay showed me a picture of a big pine tree where she could see 360 degrees. She was well hidden and sheltered from the wind by the pine boughs. She told me she could smell food being cooked nearby, she was very hungry. Jill thought she knew exactly where Shay was hiding. She had been back to that location many times. There was a house close by. She returned and called her dog, Shay appeared out from under the giant pine tree on top of a knoll. I had instructed Jillian to drop to the ground and to pop open a can of smelly cat food. Shay could not resist the food, she came running and then once again was a family pet.
This story had a happy ending. Many lost pet stories do not. Those are the ones that I tuck into bed with me at night. The animals that get lost by human error are the ones that pain me the most. We need to think before we release a dog off leash that has a history of taking off. Sadly many dogs leave when we are right there with them.
We all have intuition and one of the threads I hear most commonly is,” I had a weird feeling when I let Ralph out, but I let him out anyway.” Or,” Ginger was always so good off leash and then she took off, I had a bad feeling that day.” Or “I forgot to tell the boarding kennel that my dog was an escape artist.” I have read many dogs and cats that were out on a journey, they all intended to return home, but a few were hit by a car and never made it home.
I am writing this because it is our duty to keep our four legged family members safe. It’s a big world out there. Fences keep dogs safer when all the gates are closed and secure. When people tell me they are putting in an electric fence as a way of keeping their dog in, I let them know that they always have to put the sensor on their dog and that they always have to have a charge on the fence. Unfortunately sometimes dogs will brave the shock to get after something on the other side of the fence. Also, an electric fence doesn’t keep wildlife out.
Accidents happen and pets do get lost, but so many times we can avoid losing them. Please make sure your pets are wearing collars with name tags that have your phone number as well as their veterinarian’s phone number. I found a stray dog this winter and when no one picked up the phone at their house I was able to take the Alaskan Husky to his veterinarian’s office, instead of a shelter.
His owner’s response was he runs away all the time. You should have taken him to the pound, they know him there. You just cost me a bunch of money. I read her the riot act. Unfortunately at the time there were no laws to protect this big furry dog. It was January and in the middle of an arctic blast. She was out of town for a couple of days and had left him on a dog run in her yard. My heart still breaks knowing that this intact male dog lives with a human that thinks its okay to leave her dog out. There is now a tether law in Ulster County, New York. It’s not okay to leave your dog out 24/7, no matter what breed of dog.
Air on the side of safety and have your pets micro chipped. If your pet slips his collar, turns up missing and ends up in a shelter or a veterinarians office you stand a better chance of getting your beloved pet back. If you have a feeling that letting your cat roam freely is dangerous then keep them in. I have a client that just put a GPS device on her cat. This helps to locate lost animals but not protect them from danger.
Dogs can take off when off leash. Practice your recall and if your dog doesn’t respond hike with her/him on a leash. They will love their hikes just as much. My dog loves to help me over rocks by the tension on the leash. She saved me this winter when I slipped on ice she tugged and prevented me from falling.
In my neck of the woods there are coyotes that love preying on cats. I have seen mountain lions and our beautiful mountains go on for hundreds of miles. If you live in the city, cars and sometimes people are predators. A lost pet is a needle in a hay stack no matter where you live.
If you lose your pet, act immediately. Don’t sit and wait for them to come home. If they are near they may be able to hear you. Call all of the local shelters, veterinarian hospitals and local pet finder groups. Make posters with your pets picture on it, offer a reward and plaster them all over the area your pet was lost in as well as facebook, have your friends share your poster.
I teach people to show their animals the way home through imagery work. At night I imagine that I’m holding a flash light beaming it in front of them showing them the way home. This works great if the dog or cat is still nearby. Sometimes the animals are so frightened they can hear our calls, they are just too afraid to come out of hiding. These are the easy pets to find, because most often they walk right back to the house, sometimes hours later.
I also work with a map and a pendulum. I douse the map and where the pendulum swings is where we look. Unfortunately in a mountainous area or even in a city, dogs and cats can change there location by miles in minutes. Dogs and cats can navigate woods much better than we can. They can also hide. I worked with a sheltie that showed me a cave where he was living, near a dumpster for a grocery store. He said he wouldn’t come out because he lost his trust with people. He was a very shy rescue dog to begin with. He was lost in November just after Thanksgiving. He was found and trapped the following April.
Pet communicators can help, but avoiding the loss is the best preventative measure. Listen to the little voice in your head that says be careful. In almost every lost pet situation the people tell me that they had a feeling something wasn’t right before they released their beloved pets.