It’s a downright miserable sensation; that heart-stopping moment when you’ve realized that your cat or dog is missing. And since you’ve checked everywhere you can possibly think of, the only logical conclusion is that she’s simply not in the house. Somehow, someway, that Houdini managed to sneak out (now why would she go and do that when all the luxuries she could ever want are right in your home?). Ah ha! You’ve just spotted an open garden gate and now have your answer. Well, acting quickly is key to finding her because she can be far gone before long. So, if it’s happened within moments, grab a treat or her food bowl (it sometimes works to lure her back to you if she’s within hearing and sight distance) and call out the same command you use to call her for din-din. If that fails or you no longer see her, it’s time to get moving but you need to move like she does (no, not on all four legs, silly!). Think about this: is she likely to follow the sidewalk and manicured paths or is she likely to be off doing a little exploring? She’s most likely out gallivanting about in garages and gardens and so should you (yes, your neighbors may think you’re being nosy, but it’s a great ice-breaker!).
You may need to widen your net and take a slow walk around the neighborhood (be certain to have a leash, a toy and treats with you); you may spot her or cross paths with someone who has seen her. When and if you do see her, remain calm (despite your inner-jumping jacks) and resist the urge to chase after her (it only becomes a game). Instead, sit down and play with a stick, a toy or her treat; this will draw her attention and peak her curiosity. When she’s close, gently slip the leash around her neck (no sudden movements as you might freak her out!) and secure it. Now, give her lots and lots and LOTS of cuddles and praise (she needs to believe that coming to you was a very, very good thing!).
If these steps fail and you can bear to leave the search for just a little while and you live in a community with it’s own security, give them a call with her description. It’s an even better idea to drop off several copies of her photo (with your contact information) to the main security office to get the word out. And if your community has an online forum, post her missing status there, and contact the charities that are regularly dealing with lost animals and strays. We know the waiting and the worry is the WORST part, but with immediate action, we think your chances of finding her can be greater. Now, who left the flippin’ gate open!!!???
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