PHOENIX - It’s a scary feeling when you first realize your pet has gone missing, but don’t resign yourself to the panic just yet. There are several steps you can take to find your four-legged friend.
First, check your own home thoroughly. According to the Arizona Humane Society, curious pets often wander onto the roof or into appliances, attics, cabinets, closets, crawl spaces, drain pipes, drawers, gutters, sheds and vehicles — and they may get stuck.
If that search yields nothing, it’s time to talk to your neighbors and post fliers within several miles of your home. Maricopa County Animal Care and Control has a sample flyer you can use.
MCACC suggests you ask elementary schools in your area if you can post a flyer, as kids often notice animals.
Here are the places you should go to check for your lost pet. Remember to bring a photo or flyer with you:
• Visit the both MCACC shelters. Animals are held for 72 hours unless they have a current pet license; then they are held for five days.Their shelters are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
MCACC also has an interactive map on its website that shows where stray dogs have been impounded within the past three days.
• Call veterinary offices and emergency animal clinics near your home. The Arizona Humane Society says to visit the office in person if they have a description that remotely sounds like your pet.
• Visit the Arizona Humane Society’s Sunnyslope Campus Admissions Department and ask to see the lost pets in the Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital. The admissions department is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The most important thing is to keep looking for at least 10 days, because people who find pets may not bring the animal to the shelter for several days, according to MCACC.
There are online resources as well. Here are some pages you should check for your lost pal:
Another tip from the Arizona Humane Society is to leave one of your old shirts or your pet’s bedding and toys out on the patio. Your pet’s strong sense of smell could help guide them back home.
To prevent losing your pet, MCACC says to consider having it micro-chipped. A microchip acts as a permanent ID and can be updated with any change of address or phone number.
You can also purchase a dog license at any MCACC facility and attach it to your dog's collar. For cats, you can buy an ID tag and attach it to their collar.