Giving Back / How to search for and find a lost dog or cat
In the winter of 2020, I (Robert Kothe), lost one of our dogs from the back yard. It was a scary and stressful day. I do not wish that level of anxiety on anyone. After four hours, the dog was safe at home again. We learned a lot during the ordeal.
I have plans to produce other community videos and due to the urgency of this subject matter decided this topic should jump to the front of the line.
Following is the Entire Video.
(Don’t lose your dog. Don't lose your cat)
(I lost my dog. Now What? I Lost my cat, Now what?)
(How to avoid losing a dog. How to avoid losing a cat.)
Perhaps you found your way to this web page because you came across one of 14 short videos that was cut out of this project.
Be sure to print out and complete the work-sheet and check-list referenced in the video. Click Here to get the download.
Below is an outline complete with the time stamp of each section in the event you would like to read the outline.
Please pay close attention to the preventative portions of this video so you do not have to go through the anxiety of missing an animal.
Here is the link if you wish to copy the video and share it with others who can benefit.
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Worksheet and Check-List Download
As referenced in the video, here is a downloadable work-sheet and check-list that may help in the prevention and search of a lost animal. At the time of an incident, time is valuable and prior preparation is essential. More importantly, preventing a stressful loss of an animal is even more valuable.
Script and outline of video
The following is the outline used to record my talking points. It is not exactly word-for word but both the video and the script communicate the exact same information. Some people prefer to read over watching videos so it is provided here.
Each section has a time stamp of the starting time in the event you want to jump t that spot in the video.
<0 min 0 sec …Section I: Part 1: Introduction (Video 1 of 14>
Hi. I’m Robert Kothe, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Signature Premier Properties with an important video.
Recently, my wife and I were living the nightmare scenario of having our dog escape from our yard and to make matters worse it was on the coldest day of the year. I do not wish this experience on anyone. Spoiler alert… We got her back safely after a few panicked hours.
The reason for this video is to help others mostly avoid the scenario but at best if it does happen … I want to give you a roadmap on best practices on how to handle the search effort.
So why is a Realtor making a pet video?
First off it happen to me so I have firsthand knowledge of the subject and secondly Real estate sales is about community and I would Like to pay it forward since a small army of friends and businesses and residents played a part in our dogs’ recovery.
One person driving around in a car is a start but dozens of people aware the dog is missing is better.
This video is for everybody but if you live in Huntington New York it will be more specific with details and resources.
<1 min 14 sec … Section 1: Part 2: Mindset (2 of 14)>
Mindset is important.
The first mindset is that this can happen to anyone at any time so be prepared.
The Law of attraction:
If you believe in the law of attraction that loosely states that whatever you manifest in your mind can come true, then it is important to keep focused on the thoughts that your animals are safe, and you are prepared.
Do not reverse the thoughts and dwell on … Oh My God my animal can escape, and I am powerless.
This video is not intended to switch people into positive thinking, but I can tell you that once I started thinking clearly and realized that the dog is gone and the best hope to get her back was working smarter and not harder, our whole situation turned around for the better.
< 2 min 15 sec … Section 1: Part 3 – Prevention (3 of 14)>
Step 1: Avoidance and prevention
Among other things, I am rescue certified as a Master Scuba Diver. In the certification program we learned that if the US coast Guard is showing up with a rescue helicopter to medivac a victim, somebody probably missed something.
The best rescues in the world are the ones that never happen. It is better to look at your dive buddy and say, “You look a little green, why don’t we sit this next one out? Than to have something bad happen underwater.
The same holds true with your animals.
Preventative Yard Check
Be vigilant with the fence, holes, latches. In our case. The wind actually blew open a 6-foot metal gate.
The day of the incident I was distracted. Not to name names but a continuation of negotiations with a top-tier cell phone company whose customer service policies are morally bankrupt and their record keeping is worse. I was going on day two, hour 10 of some pretty rough calls and online chats so …. “What are the dogs up to” was the last thing on my mind.
Know your animals
The same dog who escaped is the dog who tries to run out the front door every time we leave the house, and she is crafty. We have a double door and with the one door at a time policy we put in place she does not make it out the front.
Our dog sitter must use a gate around the front door, or she leaves her home from the back door so at least the farthest our dog can go is in the back yard.
< 4 min 15 sec …Section 1 : Part 4: Identification (4 of 14)>
Step 2: Identification
Prior to the incident, we had a no collar at home policy. We are not completely reckless since both of our dogs have a tracking chip.
A tracking chip is a tiny device that a vet puts under an animal’s skin. If that animal is found anywhere the animal is scanned with a receiver and if a chip is detected there is a central database that reveals who the owner is.
It is even easier to find the owner without a scanner if the animal is wearing a collar or a harness with the owners contact information on it, you don’t even need a scanner.
GPS VS Wi-Fi Tracker
These days there are all sorts of Wi-Fi, cellular and even satellite trackers that can give either a live track of your animals whereabout or a ping of the last time they passes public Wi-Fi.
It did cross my mind during the search that our dog license was not up-to date so one scenario could have been penalties and fees and fines if she was brought to a town owned shelter. I researched it afterwards and in the case of Huntington NY, during the time of making this video Article 78-3 “Running at large” carries a first-time offense fine of between $500 up to $5,000. It goes up from there.
<6 min 13 sec … Section 1 : Part 5: Be Prepared (5 of 14)>
Step 3: Be Prepared. It can happen to anyone.
I made a check list for you to download to help with preparation. Have photos of your dog ready to send out to social networking. Have the phone numbers of local shelters and vets in the immediate area they are the most likely place for people to bring a found animal. The worksheet and list can be found at www.robertkothe.com Fill out the worksheet before anything happens because if something does happen, I guarantee you will not be thinking so clearly.
<6 min 52 sec … Section II: The search and safe Return (6 of 14)>
Section II: The safe Return
SO, if it happens and you did some or all the preparation that I discussed there are logical steps to take.
Step 1: Immediate neighborhood first.
Time is of the essence the first few minutes means the animal is closer, as time goes on, the animal can spread out. Take the first few minutes to check with neighbors and scour the immediate area. Do not get in the car yet because the animal can be in your garden.
Step 2: Quick drive around.
Next assume they may not have gone far, get in the car and check a few blocks in every direction. Important tip. Have business cards on you with your cell phone and contact information. You are going to ask ever walker, ever person taking in their garbage pail and everybody you can talk to of they say your animal. If they did not, give them a card and ask them to call you if they see anything. This is the first example of leveraging your time.
When Driving around
Take a squeaky toy if your animal is toy motivated. Bring food for the scent and to entice the animal to you if they are spotted. Perhaps a blanket or something with a familiar scent. Animals have a great sense of smell.
< 8 min 24 sec … Section 2: Part 2 Time leverage (7 of 14)>
Step 3: Leverage your time
At this point you have been searching for under an hour and you do not feel like you have gotten anywhere. The animal might have gone beyond the normal search area.
In my case, my wife and some neighbors took over driving around and I re-grouped to leverage our time.
First call animal control and leave your phone number and a description of the pet. They are the first to be contacted when people find a loose animal.
I personally called the local police precinct non-emergency line and also left my information. Do NOT call 911. It is upsetting to you but 911 should be left open to real emergencies like care accidents and heart attacks.
Notify the nearest vets in your area.
nearby vets are often asked to treat a hurt found animal or perhaps scan for a chip. In our case the second vet I called had already seen our dog and the person who found her was bringing her to a friend who pet sits. It was a relief to know that our dog was safe. 20 minutes later the persons friend called because she got my number from animal control who I called first.
On the downloadable check-list I left space for you to write in the nearest vets and their address and phone numbers.
< 9 min 41 sec … Section 2: Part 3 Social Networking (8 of 14)>
Local is better. Do you subscribe to town level groups, or community groups? I actually subscribe to lost pets groups. My entire Facebook home page is filled with lost pet announcements and some lost children or seniors. If 60 people see my post and 60 people see their post, there could be thousands of new eyeballs reading about a lost animal in the area.
<10 min 13 sec … Section 2: Part 4: Back at home (9 of 14)>
Try to leave somebody home
If you have spare people helping such as a teenage child, it might pay to keep them home or close to the house in the event the animal finds her way back.
Leave the fence open
You have heard the expression, “Its like closing the barn doors after the horse escaped”. The animal might go Back into your yard because it is familiar.
<Section 2: Part 5 Driving Around (10 of 14)>
Check familiar places
If your animal has a predictable walking route or local animal friends you might walk them too, be sure to check these places first. Our first dog would always go a block away and play with her corgi friends. We would get a call from our friends to say she got out and is in their yard with their dogs.
Personality of animal
What’s dog personality hide or run? Flee or fight? Friendly or timid? If the animal is timid and shy you might need to look in bushes. Friendly animals run right up to strangers. That is how we got our dog back within 3 hours.
<11 min 31 sec … Section 2: Part 3 more tips (11 of 14)>
I watched more videos
after the incident and I knew I was going to make this video, I watched more videos from other people and they had more helpful ideas also. and here are more tips from helpful people:
Make posters and signs
Put up posters where legally allowed.
Write on your car back window with removable glass markers with information about the lost animal. Include your cell phone number.
As I said earlier, have a pocket full of business cards with your cell phone number and talk to everyone who is walking their dog or pulling in their garbage can.
<12 min 47 sec … Section 2: Part 7: Don’t give up (12 of 14)>
Lastly don’t give up
Keep checking animal control it could be a while until the animal is turned in.
Don’t give up often animals are found after weeks or even months, but they are returned. Keep checking local found dog resources and animal shelters until your little friend is home.
<13 min 28 sec … Section 2: Part 8: Huntington NY Note (13 of 14)>
A final Huntington Note. I have a good friend who does computer repair for a living but as a community service she helps people find lost animals in the Huntington New York area. She has a network of people who help drive around and a Facebook network that shares the word locally.
Since the incident, I too am part of her drive around team, please give me a call and we can help you with your lost pet.
<14 min 21 sec … Section 2: Part 9: Prevention now (14 of 14)>
Remember prevention is better so get out there and check your fences.
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