Despite our great intentions to find our lost pets, sometimes we, as owners and rescuers, get in our own way and make matters worse. Human animals can cause problems when it comes to retrieving their pets! Here are some behaviors that owners and rescuers exhibit that hinder their progress…
Owner behaviors that create problems Owners often ruin their chances of recovering their lost dogs by behaving in the wrong way. Some develop “wait and see” tactics and by the time they start looking the critical first few hours to locate the dog are gone. Others become laser focused on bad theories. For example, it might be hasty to think that a lost dog was “sold to research” when in actuality it was rescued and put up for adoption through a local adoption event. In believing they’ll never see their dog again, they go through grief avoidance and give up their search efforts. When feeling helpless and alone they become the victims of others who rebuke them and tell them “it was just a dog” or “you’ll never find your dog.” In addition, the level of human-animal bond will influence the recovery efforts of a lost dog. People with a strong human-animal bond will go to extremes to find their lost pet. They’ll post flyers, visit shelters, and contact rescue groups while holding full-time job and family responsibilities. On the other hand, people with a weak human-animal bond, assuming they’ll never see their dog again, stop searching after becoming discouraged.
Rescuer behaviors that create problems
People who find stray dogs often mistake their behavior. They assume that a fearful dog was mistreated when in reality the dog has a naturally fearful personality and has been shy and fearful since it was a very young. Dogs found in “far out” country areas are often believed to be homeless after being dumped by a terrible owner. Believe it or not, many rescuers never believe a dog found wandering in a country area could be lost. If a dog doesn’t have a collar, some people think it’s homeless and will stop trying to find the dog’s owner and start working to place the dog in a shelter. Well-meaning people also avoid placing dogs in shelters because they fear a shelter will euthanize a dog after a given number of days. This is unfortunate because the first place an owner of a lost dog will search is indeed a shelter. The point is to stop over-thinking and go with a gut instinct. Don’t get in your own way or anyone else’s when it comes to finding lost pets.