H-CENTRAL COAST

May 7, 2012 8:46 PM by Kathy Kuretich

What to do if your pet goes missing

If your pet has ever gone missing, you know it can be a devastating time.
The constant worry if they're hungry, hurt or even worse.
But humane groups say, it's fairly common - one in three pets will go missing at one point in their lives.

In late April, Roseanne Alwen was running along Stenner Creek in San Luis Obispo, with her chocolate lab, Finn... when they passed some mountain bikers.
Finn, a nervous, special needs dog... panicked when he saw them.
"He just took off and he ran, and I have no idea how far he ran, he was probably miles before he was able to stop himself and get a grip," said Roseanne.

The Alwen family rescued Finn from a homeless couple
as a puppy, and he's always been an extremely fearful dog.
"He's come a long way. This was a puppy that was afraid to step on grass, he's afraid of plastic bags rattling, he's afraid of the dark, this is a dog that wouldn't go through a doorway," she said.

And he won't come to anyone but Roseanne. She quickly put up flyers everywhere and started getting calls... but Finn kept his distance from everyone.

A lost pet is unfortunately common for most pet owners.
"There are a lot of resources out there, you just need to put in the energy to make it happen," said Dona Wruck of EdnaValley Veterinary Clinic.
And know where to look.

The first step, experts say, call your county shelter. In San Luis Obispo, that's Animal Services... and physically check the shelter, everyday.

Second, put up flyers with detailed information.
"A lot of flyers that we get faxed over here don't have where the dog was last seen, so put up flyers with all the information," said Dona.

Next, put an ad in the paper and on Craigslist -- and look under both "lost and found", and the "pets" section.

Then, if your pet's microchipped, call the company and make sure they have updated information.

And new on the market, GPS tracking systems.
Through your smartphone, they'll track your pets from a device on their collar, so you can watch their every move.
But, the best line of defense can sometimes be the most obvious.
"It's important that dogs have collars, tags, all the information for contacting the pet owner," said Dona.

This story does have a happy ending for Finn.
Has was reunited with the Alwen family. He was gone for ten days, but he's back home... safe and healthy.

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