WHAT DO I DO IF MY GREYHOUND GETS LOOSE?!
A step-by-step Plan
Something we all hate to think about…but yes, it can happen to anyone – no matter how careful we are, accidents or the unexpected can happen. The most important thing is to have a clear plan in mind.
Prevention – is always easier than the cure –we recommend the following:
In the blink of an eye a greyhound can go from 0 mph to 45 mph and be gone in a flash, below is a list of ways you can help keep your dog safe and prevent him from getting lost.
1. ALWAYS keep a collar and ID tags on your greyhound. Many a lost dog has gotten out via the backyard gate or front door without identification. We provide you with a group identification tag at time of adoption. Jingling tags the reason you take Fido’s collar off? No problem, you can buy dog collars with pockets for tags or simply rubber band the tags together to keep them from “clinking” against each other.
2. PREPARE your “Lost Greyhound Kit” Put together a lost dog kit the day you get the dog. Like an Earthquake survival kit or a Hurricane survival kit, have a kit for your lost grey before you ever lose him or her. The kit should include:
- Favorite photo — not the most attractive of the athlete, but the most compelling
- Have a handout sheet prepared with your phone numbers, and pertinent information about the missing Greyhound, such as tag numbers, tattoo numbers, etc. While the owner is freaked out and crying, he/she can reach in the ER kit and hand over the photo and phone numbers to a printer. (Some printers, like Kinko’s, will make color copies for free.) Note: Your dog’s ear tattoo numbers provide a great way to identify the dog if the tags are missing. Your dog’s ear tattoo numbers are provided to you at adoption. If you want to verify the numbers, place a flashlight behind the dog’s ear and flash the light through the ear (the light beam going from outside of the ear to the inside) this will clearly illuminate the numbers and make them easier to read.
- Squawker (get at sporting goods store), storm-whistle (get at a dive shop) – teach your dog that when you use it, she or he is to come to you.
- A printout of “Lost Greyhound Help.”
- Phone numbers of your friends, neighbors, and adoption group to call for help in the search party. Time is of the essence, and you don’t want to waste precious time looking up phone numbers.
3. MICROCHIP – always keep the information up-to-date with your microchip company. If you move or change phone numbers, make them aware of it. If your Greyhound is found and the information associated with the microchip company is outdated or incorrect, the chances of you reuniting with him or her is diminished.
4. CLOSE the garage door. When unloading groceries or returning from trips, make sure the garage door is completely closed behind you before opening doors that access your house. Your greyhound can easily slip past you when you open the door (the door from the garage to the house should be kept closed) and out through the garage.
5. CLOSE the front door. If you live in a townhouse, condo or apartment, place your dog in his crate or a secured room before bringing in packages. Front doors opening and closing frequently increase the chances of your dog getting out.
6. WHEN you have company. If you have children who are having friends over or if you are entertaining (especially during the holidays) make sure the dog is in a secure place (the crate is perfect) to ensure that he will not get out through the front door in all the excitement. Your guests are not necessarily greyhound/dog savvy and may not think twice about leaving the front door open while waiting for someone to come up the walk.
7. SECURE your backyard gate. Make sure that your yard is secured. Your children, their friends, the meter reader, anyone with access to your backyard can accidentally leave the gate unlatched or worse, completely open, and your dog can get out. If you are expecting people and/or children to be in and out of the yard, keep your dog inside to ensure he won’t get loose.
8. KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH AT ALL TIMES. This is the cardinal rule for all dog owners. Whether you own a greyhound or a poodle, statistics show that most lost dogs were “off-leash” in an unsecured area when lost. Always wrap the loop of the leash around your hand at least twice before heading out; it only takes a split second for them to pull loose. A dog is no match for traffic, the elements, and wildlife – PLEASE protect your dog in the easiest way possible, keep him leashed – it is for his life.
What to do if he does escape – an action plan!
Ø STAY CALM!
Ø Do a quick search of the area – 5 minutes.
Ø Call your Greyhound Adoption group to let them know they may be getting a call and, if they have offered to help, they can start to assist by calling members and coordinate a search plan.
Who to Call:
- Your adoption group
- All animal shelters
- All Vet hospitals in the area
- Radio stations
- Microchip company (ex. AVID) – some companies will fax lost dog flyers to veterinary hospitals and shelters in the area as soon as you inform them your pet is missing.
Coordinating the search: (whether it is the adoption group or friends)
Everyone in the search should call the coordinator with any sightings and as many people as possible should have cell phones so that the coordinator can call them to keep them updated on his location.
Keep all calls short & to the point.
Have all sightings mapped with the times and places.
Send “teams” to different areas of the search area.
Have the searchers circle the area of the sightings and if possible block him from crossing a busy road or highway. Have the owner(s) right in the “midst” calling his name often – “always in a cheerful voice.” Others should call his name as well and use the squawker or storm-whistle. Use bicycles in your search, as appropriate, as you can cover more ground than by foot.
They should have some peanut butter and favorite treats to lure the dog to them. When the dog gets close – stay calm, crouch down and don’t alarm the dog – reach out slowly for his collar or give him a secure hug so you can slip one onto him.
What to bring:
Pen & paper for writing phone numbers
Leash already attached to a Collar – even if the dog was wearing a collar when lost. It is easier to slip the entire set over the dog’s head than hold onto the dog while trying to attach the lead to the collar.
Peanut butter and or favorite treats
Water and bowl
First Aid kit
Flashlight (if dark or getting dark soon)
A squawker, storm-whistle, squeaky toy
Ø Set up a crate with some food in it on your front step, he may come home & go into it for security.
Ø If you find your dog but he won’t come to you and starts to run or move away, try runningaway from the dog. This may sound strange but your Grey may just start to chase afteryou, and we know how they love to chase; and I believe he can catch you! Some greyhounds will come to you if you sit or lie down on the ground.
Ø If he is not found within 5-6 hours, have posters placed all over the neighborhood (remember to take them back down once you’ve found your dog). See end of document for more details on this.
Ø You want to cover the area as much as possible with information about your lost Grey. The better your coverage, the greater the possibility that someone will recognize him and help in the search. While you are out searching, talk to people walking or who are out and about. Sightings are very important and will help to keep you on the right track.
Ø Be prepared that the longer the greyhound is lost, the more likely he is to have some injuries, become dehydrated, or suffer from malnutrition. The temperature also counts. The colder the weather, the more important a quick recovery is. Hot weather is also a great concern.
Ø Don’t give up! Never assume your dog has been picked up by someone just because you haven’t had any sightings in awhile. Greys can be very good at hiding out.
Ø Stay positive: A long search can be discouraging. Just keep in mind your Greyhound is still out there somewhere searching for you too, and you can still find him even after a very long period of time. So keep looking. Don’t give up. Your precious grey is counting on you.
Ø Keep in mind that your Greyhound can travel quite a distance in a short period of time. One of our own RDRP dogs traveled 19.2 miles within 36 hours in July 2010. Her route, though not known for certain, took her across an Interstate and many very busy 6 lane roads.
Include the following when posting flyers of your Greyhound:
Location: City or Town/ Street/ with nearby cross Streets.
Date: When was your hound last seen?
Description: Male/Female and Colour, was he wearing any identification?
Picture: if possible
Is he friendly and outgoing, or shy and spooky?
Contact Information: Name, phone numbers of owners & adoption group.
When he is FOUND!
If your dog has been lost for more than 24 hours (or less depending on extreme weather conditions) or shows visible signs of illness or injury, take him/her to a vet ASAP to be examined.
Check for signs of heat stroke or hypothermia.
Check the pads of his feet for cuts or damage.
Check for dehydration by lifting the scruff of his neck and watch to see if it goes immediately back in place; if it does not, he is dehydrated and should see a vet at once.
Check his body all over for cuts or wounds and clean and treat as required.
Watch him for a few days to be sure he is acting like he good old self and eating and eliminating normally.
DO NOT SCOLD! LOVE!