Lost 312

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About the Program

Finding Lost Pets

Few things are as stressful for owners as a lost dog or cat. It's stressful and scary and you may not know where to turn. Fortunately, Lost 312 can help.

Simple and effective, this community-minded program gives families the tools they need to look for their lost pup or kitty, and make sure no stone goes unturned.

 

If you find yourself searching for a pet that's gone missing, we urge you to explore this collection of free resources. There's guidance and help out there - just keep at it and your furry family member will be home before you know it!

How it Works

We're Here For You

Text LOST to 
1 (855) LOST - 312
Receive up to 15 messages of steps to follow to help find your lost pet.
Text STOP to cancel support.
Reunite with your lost pet

Come, Heel, Stay

  Tips for Finding Your Dog  

1. Get Help & Search


Recruit your family and friends to start step 2 & 3, while you search the nearby areas.
If your dog went missing within the last hour, canvas the area. Use a 2-3-mile radius to start. Ask people outside in the area if they have seen your dog and the direction it was going. Use a map to record the sightings of the dog. Record the date, time, and location. Keep an eye out for Found Signs DOG SIGHTINGS: Do not chase or shout at the dog if seen. A dog’s behavior changes when they’re scared and they may not recognize you initially. Resist the urge to clap, whistle, or call. Sit or lie down, look away from the dog, and toss treats to the side (not directly at the dog) or you can crinkle a treat bag and pretend to eat the food. The dog will see you as a potential source of food. If you did not find your lost dog during your first search, it’s time to get more organized and start a more thorough search. Move forward to steps 2-8.




2. Lost Dog Report


Gather current information about your lost dog: name, breed, size, age, gender, if they’re wearing a collar w/ tags, microchipped, demeanor (if they’re friendly or timid/fearful), current picture, contact information, date & time missing, location your dog went missing, etc. Go to Helping Lost Pets (HeLP) and complete a Lost Dog Report. https://www.helpinglostpets.com/ HeLP will email you a flyer. Print about 200 of them to distribute within a 2-3-mile radius of where you lost your dog. (Expand search area if no sightings). Lost Dogs Illinois has partnered with HeLP and will also post your lost dog. Make sure to check out their website and facebook. They have a large network of volunteers and fans dedicated to helping you find your lost dog so be sure to utilize this resource! https://lostdogsillinois.org/ https://www.facebook.com/LostDogsIllinois




3. Flyers & Posters


Purchase – Bold Colored Markers, Letter Sized Sheet Protectors (2 for each poster), Fluorescent Poster Paper, 2 stakes to make a yard sign, and Neo-markers for your car windows. Using the flyer created in Step 2, distribute the flyers:

  • Door-to-door and to delivery drivers (mail, UPS, FedEx, Bus Drivers). Please note, it’s illegal to put flyers in and on mailboxes.
  • Local shelters and rescues
  • Animal Control
  • Microchip company
  • Veterinarians
  • Highway Public Works Dept.
  • Local Public Places – dog parks or town squares
  • Put up a poster in your front yard
  • Animal Service Businesses – such as groomers, pet supply stores, etc
  • Other Local BusinessesPolice/Sheriff Stations
Turn your car into an advertisement. Put a flyer on your car, and write on your car windows with Neo-markers (they withstand the rain). Include the appearance of the dog, general location missing, phone number, and tape a picture of your dog to the back window too. Posters are much more noticeable than flyers so be sure to place them at busy intersections where they will be seen. Using one sheet of paper print out a clear photo. Using another sheet of paper type out the description of dog and number to call if seen. Use large font. Hand write on the poster LOST DOG with the date missing. Fluorescent poster paper is recommended and sheet protectors can be used in case of rain. Check your posters often and update them the with current date and note that they’re still missing. Replace flyers and posters as needed.




4. Network Your Lost Dog


Look for your pet on social media outlets and use these sites to post about your lost dog (remember to check these sites and repost at least every 3 days):

Animal Control Facebook pages Local neighborhood and Lost & Found Facebook pages Post on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter pages and make the posts public.




5. Update Microchip


If your dog is microchipped, call your microchip company and let them know your dog is lost. Make sure your information is updated. If your dog is brought to a vet or shelter, the dog will be scanned and they will get in touch with you. If your dog is not microchipped, be sure to get them microchipped when you find them. Dogs are 5 times more likely to be returned home to their owner if they have a collar and tag or microchip. Where can you get your Microchip at a low cost? Right at our city shelter! CACC offers low cost vaccine clinics every month where they provide microchips for $15 as well as dog tags for as little as $5. For information and upcoming dates: Click Here View other options for licensing, vaccinating, and microchipping: Click Here




6. Visit Shelters


Go in person to your local animal shelter. You need to check the shelter ASAP, and at the very latest, the third day after you lose your dog because dogs who arrive at our shelter without a tag, microchip, or other form of identification will be made available for adoption and transfer to rescue agencies after 3 full viewing days at the shelter. Continue to check your local shelter at least once every 3 days. You can check pictures of lost pets online, but you should also go to the shelters and request a lost pet tour. Especially because not all shelter pictures are clear online. At the shelter, make sure you look in every cage and ask staff to view or be informed of medical/injured/deceased animals who aren’t available for public viewing. Remember to post a flyer while you’re there and check the found flyers too!
The dog intake facilities for the City of Chicago are: Animal Care and Control
2741 S. Western | 312-747-1406 Chicago Ridge Animal Welfare League
10305 SW Hwy | 708-636-8586 Animal Welfare League
6224 S. Wabash | 773-667-0088 Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation
Call for Info 773-416-4111




7. Don't Give Up


This is the most important step. Don’t give up. It can take time. Follow these steps and you have a great chance to finding your dog. If there have been no sightings, start from the beginning and expand your search area. Continue to check petharbor and local shelters every 3 days. Only 1/4 stray dogs are picked up by their owners. This is likely because owners give up too soon. You must keep looking!




8. Home at Last


Take your dog to the vet for an exam as dogs can pick up anything while wandering the streets. Ask your vet about a microchip and updating vaccines. We strongly recommend you microchip your dog and get a collar and tag to wear at all times. Low cost microchip options are available and can help you get your dog returned sooner, should this ever happen again. Dogs are 5 times more likely to be returned home to their owner if they have a collar and tag or microchip. Options for microchipping your pet: Click Here Take down your flyers, posters, online postings, and mark your dog as found on all resources above that you used to find your dog. Make sure you update the status to “home” on Helping Lost Pets at https://www.helpinglostpets.com/v2/Login.aspx





For Dog Owners

Four Mistakes to Avoid

1. Waiting for their dog to come home –The sooner you start looking the higher your chance of finding your lost dog. Dogs rarely just show up back at home.

 

2. Not checking local shelters – You can check local shelters by viewing online photos, but it’s highly recommended that you go to the shelter and request a Lost Pet Tour. Local shelters should be checked online or in person at least once every 3 days. Dogs can show up in shelters weeks or months after being lost.

3. Not using all resources available to you. The more resources you use the better chances you have of finding your dog.

4. Giving up too soon. Be persistent. Plan on it taking weeks and possibly months. Owners often give up due to grief fatigue, where they want to stress to be over, so they give up. Do not give up.

Here, Kitty Kitty

  Tips for Finding Your Cat  

1. Be Certain


Check around your home. If a cat gets scared it can hide in closets, cabinets, furniture, and in upholstery. Check around your property. Cats can hide in small spaces for days. A cat is unlikely to meow if it is scared, so just because you don’t see or hear your cat, doesn’t mean it’s not close to home. Cats are more likely to come out at night when it’s quiet, so check around your property, under the deck, in trees and bushes, between fences, under storage buildings, in sewers, or anywhere else a cat could hide, and look with a flashlight for the reflection of their eyes. There is no place too small for a cat to hide. Leave the door or window the cat escaped from open, so it can get back in. Put your clothes, bedding, blankets, near the door or window so there’s a scent they will recognize should they find their way home.




2. Get Help & Search


Recruit friends and family to help search the neighborhood. Indoor cats are usually just a few houses away, whereas outdoor access cats can be about a block away. Look for Found signs around the neighborhood too. Go to your neighbors and ask if you can look around, and if not, ask if they can look around in likely hiding spots. It’s important that you ask if YOU can search their yard so you can thoroughly check underneath decks and furniture rather than your neighbor doing a quick scan of their yard. If you see your cat, stay quiet and calm. Don’t chase them. Offer food and approach slowly if they don’t come to you.




3. Lost Cat Report


Gather current information about your lost cat: name, breed, size, age, gender, if they’re wearing a collar w/ tags, microchipped, demeanor (if they’re friendly or timid/fearful), current picture, contact information, date & time missing, location your cat went missing, etc. Go to Helping Lost Pets (HeLP) and complete a Lost Cat Report. https://www.helpinglostpets.com/ HeLP will email you a flyer. Print about 100 of them to distribute within a 3-block radius of where your cat went missing. (Expand search area if no sightings). Lost Cats Illinois will post your flyer on their facebook page. Be sure to go to their Facebook page and review their posts and comments to see if anyone has found your cat. https://www.facebook.com/LostCatsIllinois/




4. Flyers & Posters


Purchase – Bold Colored Markers, Letter Sized Sheet Protectors (2 for each poster), Fluorescent Poster Paper, 2 stakes to make a yard sign, and Neo-markers for your car windows. Using the flyer created in Step 3, distribute the flyers:

  • Door-to-door and to delivery drivers (mail, UPS, FedEx, Bus Drivers). Please note, it’s illegal to put flyers in and on mailboxes.
  • Local shelters and rescues
  • Animal Control
  • Microchip company
  • Veterinarians
  • Animal Service Businesses – such as groomers, pet supply stores, etc.
  • Other Local Businesses
  • Police/Sheriff Stations
  • Put up a poster in your front yard
  • Highway Public Works Dept.
  • Local Public Places – town squares
Turn your car into an advertisement. Put a flyer on your car, and write on your car windows with Neo-markers (they withstand the rain). Include the appearance of the cat, general location missing, phone number, and tape a picture of your cat to the back window too. Posters are much more noticeable than flyers so be sure to place them at busy intersections where they will be seen. Using one sheet of paper print out a clear photo. Using another sheet of paper type out the description of cat and number to call if seen. Use large font. Hand write on the poster LOST CAT with the date missing. Fluorescent poster paper is recommended and sheet protectors can be used in case of rain. Check your posters often and update them the with current date and note that they’re still missing. Replace flyers and posters as needed.




5. Network Your Cat


Look for your cat on social media outlets and use these sites to post about your lost cat (remember to check these sites and repost at least every 3 days):

Animal Control Facebook pages Local neighborhood and Lost & Found Facebook pages Post on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter pages and make the posts public.




6. Visit Shelters


Go in person to your local animal shelter. You need to check the shelter ASAP. It’s important you check right away because cats impounded without tags, microchip or other form of identification will simultaneously be marketed for redemption to owner, adoption, and transfer to rescue as soon as they arrive at the shelter. Continue to check your local shelter at least once every 3 days. You can check pictures of lost pets online, but you should also go to the shelters and request a lost pet tour. Especially because not all shelter pictures are clear online. At the shelter, make sure you look in every cage and ask staff about medical/injured/deceased animals who aren’t available for public viewing. Remember to post a flyer while you’re there and check the found flyers too! The cat intake facilities for the City of Chicago are: Animal Care and Control
2741 S. Western | 312-747-1406 Animal Welfare League
6224 S. Wabash | 773-667-0088 Tree House (cats only)
1212 W. Carmen | 773-784-5488 Tree House (cats only)
1629 N. Ashland | 773-784-5488 Harmony House (cats only)
2914 N. Elston | 773-293-6103 Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation
Call for Info | 773-416-4111




7. Update Microchip


If your cat is microchipped, call your microchip company and let them know your cat is lost. Make sure your information is updated. If your cat is brought to a vet or shelter, the cat will be scanned and they will get in touch with you. If your cat is not microchipped, be sure to get them microchipped when you find them. Cats that get lost are 9 times more likely to be reunited to their home if they arrive at a shelter with a collar and tag or microchip. Where can you get your Microchip at a low cost? Right at our city shelter! CACC offers low cost vaccine clinics every month where they provide microchips for $15 as well as tags for as little as $5. For information and upcoming dates: CLICK HERE View other options for vaccinating, and microchipping: CLICK HERE




8. Set a Humane Trap


You can set a humane trap for your cat. It’s very important to begin trapping as soon as possible. It’s recommended you set at least 2 traps, with bait (tuna works great), and set nightly for at least 4 weeks. You can rent feral cat traps from PAWS Chicago and they provide a tutorial on how to use them. CLICK HERE You can also buy humane traps from local hardware stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, Harbor Freight Tools, Walmart, Menards, etc. Buying could be cheaper than renting, as rentals are only for a couple weeks at a time.




9. Don't Give Up


This is the most important step. Don’t give up. It can take time. Follow these steps and you have a great chance to finding your cat. If there have been no sightings, start from the beginning and expand your search area. Continue to check petharbor and local shelters every 3 days. Sadly only 2% of stray cats who enter the city shelter are reunited with their owners. This is likely because owners give up too soon and often times it takes a long time for cats to be found and brought in by a member of the community.




10. Home at Last


Take your cat to the vet for a wellness exam. Ask your vet about a microchip and updating vaccines. We strongly recommend you microchip your cat and get a collar and tag to wear at all times. Low cost microchip options are available and can help you get your cat returned sooner, should this ever happen again. Cats are 9 times more likely to be returned home to their owner if they have a collar and tag or microchip. Options for microchipping your pet: CLICK HERE Take down your flyers, posters, online postings, and mark your cat as found on all resources above that you used to find your cat. Make sure you update the status to “home” on Helping Lost Pets at CLICK HERE





For Cat Owners

Four Mistakes to Avoid

1. Waiting for their cat to come home – The sooner you start looking the higher your chance of finding your lost cat.

2. Not checking local shelters – You can check local shelters by viewing online photos, but it’s highly recommended that you go to the shelter and request a Lost Pet Tour. Local shelters should be checked online or in person at least once every 3 days. Cats can show up in shelters weeks or months after being lost.

3. Not using all resources available to you. The more resources you use the better chances you have of finding your cat.

4. Giving up too soon. Be persistent. Plan on it taking weeks and possibly months. Owners often give up due to grief fatigue, where they want to stress to be over, so they give up. Do not give up.

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Fetching Tails enriches our community through a mix of rescue efforts and public programs. We are committed to saving animals from kill-shelters, to helping dogs find families who will ensure they enjoy vibrant, full lives.

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