By Polly Keary, Editor
After New Year’s Eve, many Sky Valley pet owners posted appeals on social media sites for help locating lost pets distressed by fireworks, and other area residents posted pictures of pets they had found and hoped to return to their owners.
Many of those pets got safely back home; sadly, there were those that didn’t, including a large bulldog named Mike who was struck by a car while fleeing neighborhood fireworks Dec. 31.
When a pet is lost, the sooner it is found the better the odds that it will survive its adventure none the worse for wear.
Here are some ways to find your pet.
1. Understand your pet
When a pet runs away, it can help to understand why pets flee and where they typically hide. The most frequent reason for pet flight is boredom or curiosity.
Large dogs can run as far as five miles, but small dogs seldom get further than half a mile from home. Most dogs, regardless of size, are found within two miles of home.
Social, friendly dogs often seek other dogs or humans, making parks and area homes the best places to start. Skittish pets are best sought under cars and in bushes. If the pet isn’t found in its likeliest locations, then chances are good it’s been taken in to a home, and most of the time, people attempt to return found pets to their owners. That’s when a collar or microchip becomes important.
2. Use social media
Straying dogs and cats are often noticed, especially in populous areas. And people who recover pets are often seeking to get the pet back home.
Facebook has become a resource of choice for people trying to get a pet back home.
In the Monroe and Sultan areas, people often post information about lost pets on pages such as You Had Me At Monroe; Monroe, Washington; Let It Fly Monroe or Sultan, WA.
Another Facebook page that is helpful, especially for rural residents, is Lost Dogs Of Snohomish County. Despite the name of the page, there are places to post photos of cats, as well.
The page has five photo albums; Lost Cats, Lost Dogs, Found Cats, Found Dogs and Happy Endings.
A recent post about a found dog in Sultan reads: “For the past three days, a light brown pitbull with white on her neck and chest has been staying in my backyard. She seems full grown, although she seems to be very thin. Animal control was called Tuesday, and what they saw from her before she left, they said she looked like she was recently feeding babies but has stopped, and a back leg looks injured like she may have been hit…I’m trying to find her home.”
Response to a Facebook post can be enormous; when Mike the bulldog ran away, his owner Jennifer Johnston-Larsen said that dozens of people commented, offering to help, and one person even offered to help pay for a tracking dog.
There is another Facebook page for Washington residents called Lost Dogs Washington.
And searching Craigslist often yields results, as well.
3. Make and post signs where the dog or cat is likely to be
If the first search isn’t successful, placing signs around the neighborhood can work.
One Snohomish County woman said that the sign referenced when her cat was found was the one closest to her house.
Get a map of your neighborhood, draw a two-mile radius around your house for large dogs and a half-mile radius for small animals, and try to identify places within that circle that might appeal to your pets such as other homes, parks, or schools. Place signs near those areas, as well as high traffic areas such as shopping centers and busy intersections. Place them at eye-level, and in Spanish as well as English, if possible.
4. Call rescues
Search local pet shelters and pounds for your animal. Call animal control in Monroe at the Monroe Police Department, (360) 794-6300, and the Everett Animal Shelter, (425) 257-6000.