- First, always keep a collar with the GFFL tag and your personal information tag on your greyhound. Microchipping is also a great idea – if your lost dog looses its collar, vets and animal shelters will still be able to contact you if they have the dog.
- Second, introduce your dog to your neighbors – not just the people next door, but people within a several block radius of your home. Encourage people to come up and pet your greyhound. Take your greyhound to obedience class for the basic behaviors (“come”, “stay”, etc.) and additional socialization.
If the worst happens and your greyhound gets loose:
- First, get organized. Unless you are extremely lucky, you won’t be able to recover your dog by yourself. Time is of the essence, so notify GFFL IMMEDIATELY so that we can help organize volunteers.
- Second, decide on a team leader or co-leader. This person(s) will direct the search. This person will have a map of the area and will be provided with a list of places where postings should be made –veterinary offices, grocery stores, post offices, schools, other community gathering places, etc. This person will also let volunteers know what streets still need to be posted.
Three kinds of flyers will be used in the search:
- One is for posting on telephone poles, fences, etc that can be viewed from a car. These will have a silhouette of a greyhound, the GFFL phone number (800-4HOUNDS), and if requested, the adopters phone number. These should be printed on neon yellow or bright yellow posterboard for maximum visibility. These should be posted on as many telephone poles, fences, etc that you can (in clear plastic sheet protectors if the weather is bad). If you have 10 people out searching, you have 10 sets of eyes looking for the dog. If you post flyers on poles, fences, etc, you will now have hundreds of eyes searching. Bicycle and walking trails near the latest sightings are great. The easiest way to flyer is with 2 people – a driver and a poster. The driver stays in the car, while the poster gets out and quickly posts flyers on anything that can be posted. While driving to the next pole, the poster can put tape on the next flyer so it’s ready to post as soon as they get out of the vehicle.
- The second 8.5 x 11 flyer will have a color photo of the lost dog. These can be posted in areas where people are walking and can stop and look. Great places for these flyers are schools, post offices, front windows of storefronts, gas stations, grocery stores, community centers, churches, parks, vet offices, police stations, walking and bicycle trails, etc.
- The third kind of flyer is a 4 x 6 handout with a color photo – a reduced version of the 8.5 x 11 color flyer. These will be handed out to mail carriers, neighbors, landscapers, UPS and Fedex drivers, and people at grocery stores or other community gathering places. Knock on doors – make sure that the community knows that you’re looking for your dog and what he or she looks like. Most people don’t know greyhounds, so a good photo is important.
Here are some great tips from Michael McCann, President of the Greyhound Project, greyhound adopter, and lost greyhound search expert
Change your mindset: This is most important, and most difficult step. You have to stop checking every street and back yard yourself, and start recruiting an army to do it for you. Most greyhounds are found within a mile or two of where they were lost, but a two mile radius is nearly 13 square miles, an impossible area to search adequately alone. You have to stop looking for your dog, and start looking for people. Everything that follows depends on it. With every hour that goes by, your chances of finding your dog, on your own, diminish. You now have to find someone who has seen your dog. You need a sighting and in order to get a sighting , you need help! Ask everyone you know, including your friends, co workers, adoption group and son’s cub scout pack to help you. Don’t wait until tomorrow, do it now.
- Knock on doors and talk to everyone you see; the mail person, the UPS driver, the local landscaper. Any of these people may see your dog, and if they do, now they won’t just think it’s some dog on his way home, they’ll know he’s lost. Give everyone you talk to a flyer.
- Schools are a great resource for search help. Ask the principal to make announcements about the lost dog and leave flyers to pass out and post on bulletin boards.. Kids see everything in the neighborhood but will ignore dogs running around unless asked to look. If you hand one kid a flyer, five more will have seen it by the end of the day. Don’t ignore the little kids either. They tell their folks everything.
- Call every veterinarian’s office, animal control officer and police department within two or three miles from where he was last seen. In rural areas, expand your calling to every nearby town. Follow up with a flyer or several. Faxing them will save you some time but it is important that they see you, rather than just a piece of paper. If you show people how concerned you are, they’ll want to help you. Don’t just call them once, call them every few days and in the case of the police, during every shift, to make sure everyone knows about your dog.
- Run newspaper ads in the local papers, and while you’re at it, talk to a reporter and see if she’ll run a local interest story on the lost greyhound. Local cable access stations often will run your lost dog ad for free and local radio stations and TV stations will often run the story on a slow news night
- Check your local animal shelters every few days, in person. It is amazing how many folks who work in these places don’t know dog breeds. Your greyhound could be hanging out at a local shelter, up for adoption, because they think he’s a Whippet or a Doberman mix.
- Get in touch with your local Department of Public Works, or Highway Department. Sadly, they often will pick up an animal’s body from the road, and if there is no identification, the owner will never know. Collars often fall off when a dog is loose or struck by a car.
- Make sure that there is always someone available at the phone number you posted. You don’t want people to call with a sighting, then hang up because they got a message service.
Don’t assume anything: Don’t assume your dog has been picked up, it’s the trap that everyone seems to fall into: “No sighting, someone must have picked up my dog!”. Greyhounds are notorious for disappearing in the woodwork. A person can walk right by a brindle Greyhound laying in a pile of leaves and never even see him. Some go for months or even years without being found, because people assume they have been picked up or are dead.
Don’t assume that the call you got about a dog five miles away is yours. Follow it up, yes, but when you start getting calls about dogs, ask questions: What color was the dog you saw? How big? Which way was it heading? What time and on what day did you see him? Have you ever seen him before? You don’t want to be running out of your search area just to find that someone called you about a beagle they saw running through the yard. These false leads are actually a positive sign, they mean your efforts are working; people are looking out for your dog. It’s just that they don’t know the difference between a Greyhound and a Jack Russell terrorist.
Don’t lose hope: A few days or a week of searching can be discouraging. A lack of sightings, or no word at all can be tough on a positive attitude. Just remember, your hound is still out there, and someone has seen him. All you have to do, is to find that person. It’s only natural to start thinking the worst. But, as non-street savvy as greyhounds are, they are survivors. Keep looking. Don’t give up, your Greyhound is counting on you.
Be aware that many people will not want to take a dog to the shelter for fear that it will be euthanized. If your dog has no tags or has lost its tag collar, these people will look for an ad in the paper or for flyers posted in the neighborhood. Don’t give up and keep GFFL informed.