You’d be surprised how often search and rescue dog handlers are approached by distraught pet owners, asking for help locating their beloved-but-missing pet.
To get our dogs to reliably find humans, we teach them to NOT alert on animals. We’d never get far searching the woods if our dogs followed every deer or rabbit that toddled through. In fact, a dog that won’t stop chasing deer or rabbits will likely be washed out as a SAR dog.
In this case, your best options develop before your pet ever goes missing. License and microchip them as soon as you get them. Make sure to keep both the license and the microchip numbers where you can find them perhaps years later. HomeAgain gives you a refrigerator magnet where you can write the animal’s name and microchip number. I keep Ruger’s on a desk organizer in my home office.
Finally, if you announce publicly that your dog is lost, be cautious of those who offer to find your dog for an up-front fee. You have no real way of knowing the person’s qualifications or success rate. When a human goes missing, the sheriff’s office makes sure that only qualified searchers are on the case. When your pet is missing, that level of protection is not in play.
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