My Dog Is Lost!

Click on the links to download a sample and big-sized words to make up your posters -- just add your own pictures, and write in your breed and phone number.

When Val was about 10, he managed to get out of our backyard. We searched and put up posters and let animal control and all the vets know -- but he was gone, gone gone.

Then ten days later a lady called me.

"Are you missing a dog?" she said.


"Well my boy found a dog today trotting down the middle of the street and I've seen your posters around so I thought I might give you a call."

She described the dog her boy had found and it sure sounded like Val.

And it was Val, happy to see me and none the worse for wear but for a big scrape on his belly. I asked the lady's boy what he wanted as a reward.

He looked a bit confused. "No, that's okay."

"No really. Anything you want."

"Could I have a really good Walkman?"

And that's what I got him.

Val lived for another five years after this, but I don't think any of us ever forgot his ten days of "walkabout".

It can happen so quickly.

The door is left ajar and your dog is gone. He is micro-chipped and has his collar on, including his rabies tags, but of course now is not the time to sit back and hope you will get lucky.

Time is of the essence. If you notice your dog is gone within a couple of minutes, he probably hasn't gotten that far. Get out there and call for him.

Plan A

1. Think like a dog. He's gotten farther away, by himself, than he's ever been. He's not so sure of himself. So if your dog sees you and you pounce for him, you will probably freak him out. He may run, and even a small dog can get away in a fashion that no human can follow.

2. Tell your dog calmly to "STAY!" and go over and pick him up. If you've had enough presence of mind to pick up some food as you pelted out of the house, show him what you have and approach slowly.

3. If you have nerves of steel, make sure your dog can see you, then YOU run away. Very often, he will follow you.

When we lost Val, we ran out and called and called and called and he was no where to be found. We moved to Plan B.

Plan B:

Every owner should have at least 40 Lost Dog posters made up and ready to go. The posters should be on 22" by 28" neon poster board -- nice and big, so passing motorists can read them. You can get a pack of poster boards here. 

Here is a model of the poster you'll do -- click here. If you have a Silky Terrier and have a means of blowing up the sample to poster board size, you can use it as is, glued to the board for stiffness.

1.  You'll attach large picture -- or even several -- of your dog breed with a very large LOST DOG headline (click on the words to download them) to your poster board.  Remember that most people will see the poster from their car. Click on SILKY and TERRIER to download those words, if that's your breed. Otherwise write your dog's breed large, using the biggest and fattest black marker you can find.

2. Next, you'll add the fact that your dog is microchipped, needs medication and where to call. Click on NEEDS and MEDS for the first words. Then click on and download MICROCHIPPED. This lets anyone who might have picked up your dog that you can positively identify the dog as yours' and that he may need extensive and expensive medical care. (They don't need to know that the “medication” is your dog's monthly heartworm preventative.)

The microchip word comes with the word "call" --  write your phone number after it in BIG black numerals using the fattest marker you can find.

The simpler, clearer, and bigger you can make your poster, the better. The picture doesn't have to be your lost dog, as long as it's a really clear picture.

If your dog is lost during the day, try to get these posters out within the hour. If lost at night, try to have them out by first daylight.

Then fax 8" by 11" copies of your poster (if you have a Silky, you can use the sample here) to all the local vets in your area. Call your local animal control, let them know and follow their instructions -- at some Pounds you'll need to go and check out the dogs yourselves on a regular basis. Call your police as well, some will accept lost dog data. Follow up every several days.

We found Val again using the above system.

There can be nothing more heart-stopping than discovering that your dog is missing. Maybe, like us with our Val, you can use the simple steps above to help your dog find his way home.


I recently heard about another great idea that hunters use when they lose a dog. You can check out the link: How To Find a Lost Dog but the basics are the following:

Plan C

1. Take a well worn article of your clothing and take it to the last place you saw your dog.

2. You can also leave a bowl of water and an open crate (with a note of why you are leaving it there) at the the same location. Do not leave food as that may attract wild animals.

3. Check back frequently. According to the article, your dog will recognise your scent and wait for you at this "known" location.

I have never tried this, but it sounds promising. If it works for you, please let us know!

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