Lost and Found

"I've been there...."

The unspeakable has happened... You were late for work. The electrician was supposed to check a faulty wiring problem and you asked him to please lock the gate when he was done. He didn’t. Now “Fluffy” is missing.

Or, perhaps this rings a bell... “Tiger” always comes in for dinner at 7pm. It’s 10pm and he still hasn’t shown.

Maybe you’ve experienced this... It’s 4th of July. You’re at the fireworks display in the park. You come home and “Beau” is gone. The gate was locked and there’s no sign of him.

Wishful thinking tells you that your cat or dog could find the way home if he or she got out by accident. But a frightened pet is just as confused as a frightened child, and there are many obstacles that can impede his homing abilities.

Of course, prevention is the easiest way to avoid — or at least alleviate — some of these mishaps.          — by Natalie

Things you can do: Pet ID

First, make sure your pet can be identified if it is found. Pet I.D. tags are inexpensive and available in a variety of colors and shapes to fit any pet’s style and personality. Please make sure you keep a current phone number on the tag. It may be easier to find “Stubby” than it is to return her to her owner.

I.D. tag order forms and temporary tags can be found at Midtown Animal Clinic or your favorite pet store. Make sure the collar you choose is one that is neither too loose nor too tight and cats should always wear a break away or stretch collar. Some tag order forms even offer collars with sewn on identification. Choices, choices!

For those rebel pets, tattoos may be the way to go. This is a permanent identification usually placed in a discreet area on the animal, such as the inner thigh. It can match your driver’s license or social security number. Tattooing usually requires anesthesia, and therefore, is a little more expensive. If your choice is to tattoo “Tutti”, it is advisable to combine this with another procedure requiring anesthesia, such as spaying or neutering.

Is “Picard” a cyber-loving cat? She may think a microchip is the cat’s pajamas. This form of identification is injected under her skin in the shoulder region. Every veterinary office in Yolo County is equipped with a microchip scanner to identify lost pets. The SPCA and Animal Control shelter, as well as the UCD Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, also have scanners. Microchips are especially helpful to those pets that slip out of their collars! Your microchips can be registered with the American Kennel Club to provide interstate identification whenever you travel with “Thelma” & “Louise”.

Things you can do: Searching

Okay, you’ve tattoed, microchipped and I.D. tagged “Waldo” and you still can’t find him. Here are some steps you can take to locate the missing loved one (and here are some useful phone numbers):

Call every veterinary hospital in your area. Each clinic should have a "Lost & Found" book in which your missing pet’s information can be entered. Details are important. What street do you live on? What are nearby cross streets? Is “Jo-Jo” a dog, cat, bird? A list of all the veterinary hospitals is available in the yellow pages of your phone book. Don’t forget to call the UCD Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital! They also have a "Lost & Found" list!

Report your missing pet to the SPCA! Even if you don’t speak to someone directly, do leave a detailed message about “Baby Jane”. The SPCA can be a valuable ally on your search, since they station staff at the pet stores in town as well as at Animal Control in Woodland.

Make a trip — that’s right, don’t just call — out to the Yolo County Animal Services Shelter in Woodland. It is located on Gibson Road right off of Road 102 (Pole Line Road). As a fellow finder of lost pets, I can not emphasize this enough. The shelter is as busy as Times Square sometimes, and the person at the front desk often doesn’t have a chance to see every animal that comes through. Consequently, when you call to file a missing report on “Hoffa”, the gray and white domestic short hair, the receptionist may see files on a black and white cat and assure you that your cat isn’t there. Get out there and look for yourself!

File "Lost" ads with the local newspapers, and, if you live in Davis, this means the California Aggie too. Remember, students new to the area don’t know of any other paper. While you’re at it, remember to check the "Found" ads. Trust your intuition. If you think “Snorkel” could be described as a Pomeranian mixed with a field mouse when really she’s a longhaired Chihuahua, then follow that lead. Pets can be described very creatively, so think creatively!

Do you have photos of “Elvis”? Put them on posters and display them everywhere! Most veterinary hospitals and pet stores have bulletin boards. And don’t forget your neighbors. “Josie” might have been chasing the pussycats down the block and ended up in a neighbor’s garage. A flyer with a photo and a number could get her home again. Once again, if you live in Davis, it is important that you put flyers up at the University. Students love to look at posters while they wait for their next class to begin, and they could know the whereabouts of your pet!

Most importantly, be persistent and don’t give up. The more you do to bring “Lassie” home, the more likely she’ll find her way. Don’t assume she’ll show up when she’s hungry. She might not be able to, if she’s hurt, or if she fell down a well trying to help Timmy.

If you have any questions on how to find your lost pet or reunite a found pet with its owner, feel free to call Midtown Animal Clinic at 530-758-5650.