We read a lot of articles about pet travel and have come across more than a few handfuls where a dog involved in a car accident runs away from the scene and is lost for days. We’ve also followed up with many of these articles and have learned the situations where the dog is found. Most of these reunions have elements in common that can help you if your dog escapes from a terrifying situation.
Return to the Scene
Believe it or not, in most cases where a dog runs away after being in a car accident, he is found within less than a mile of the scene. In some cases, he is actually found at or near the area where the wreck took place. If the accident is on a busy roadway, he is probably going to stay some distance back. Look in nearby areas with lots of foliage or other places to hide.
Trauma Makes Dogs Wary
A dog involved in a traumatic situation is very likely to be skittish with strangers, even normally friendly dogs. If you are helping to locate someone’s lost dog, make sure you have their number handy. If the dog moves away from you when you approach, stop approaching them and call for help.
Since traumatized dogs tend to be shy, putting live traps in areas where there have been sightings can help you catch him when you’re not around. A shy dog may also avoid broad daylight. He may hide during the day, and then seek food and water in darker hours. A live trap will help attract the dog and hopefully catch him when people aren’t able to be out searching.
Alert nearby neighbors, notify the local animal shelter and animal control, let the police know, and contact local rescue groups for help. Perhaps even call the local news stations. More than any of the others, individuals from dog rescue groups seem to be the people who most often answer the call to help. They can also be a great resource for getting live traps. Contacting local vet clinics is also a good idea for in case someone brings in a dog that needs medical attention.
Social Media Helps
There are a number of Facebook pages dedicated to finding lost pets. Sometimes pages are created by a family attempting to locate their own lost pet. The people who come together to help are amazing. They share posts, thereby spreading the word about a lost pet, they offer personal assistance with looking for the pet, or they may even have other ways to help. If your dog is missing, post it on CraigsList, Facebook, G+, Twitter, community classifieds, and anything else you can think of.
Protect Yourself from Scammers
Because you are posting the information about your dog publicly, there is a chance you will be contacted by scammers claiming to have found your dog but are wanting money before they return him. The most common scam is from people claiming they were traveling when they found your dog and they want money before they make the long drive back. Don’t fall for it. It is a good idea to withhold a very specific trait about your dog when posting public lost ads. Perhaps your dog has a scar somewhere or a specific mark that is not noticeable in photographs. If a person claiming to have your dog is unwilling to verify specific marks, then they probably don’t really have your dog. A person with the heart enough to pick up an abandoned dog is not likely to ask you for money or be difficult about getting the dog back to you. However, if you are convinced that such a person may, in fact, have your dog, insist on meeting them in person and in a public place before giving them money and see if the police will escort you.
Many of these tips can help in other situations, not just a car accident. If you have any additional tips that might help, please comment below.
(This is not an official study. It is merely an observation we’ve made based on online reports. There are probably a number of situations that were not reported and may not fit in these scenarios. If you’ve lost your pet, consider all options and don’t give up.)