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Plan For the Worst and Get Your Lost Dog Back Faster

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May 02, 2011

Plan For the Worst and Get Your Lost Dog Back Faster

By Chad Love

Desperately looking for a lost dog is a situation no owner, ever, ever wants to be in. I've been there a few times, and that helpless feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you realize you may never see your dog again is beyond terrible. But when I got the following e-mail from my friend James Card about his dog Radar, that feeling came back in a rush.


We lost Radar yesterday. Gone. My wife was baking some cookies and the oven was giving off some heat so she cracked the kitchen door for some fresh air. Radar slipped through and maybe five or ten minutes passed before the house seemed more quiet than usual. "Where's Radar?" we asked at once. I whistled out in the street and there was no sign of him. My wife and I took turns cruising the neighborhood. No luck. Did that all afternoon. And then the tornado sirens started and the sky grew black. Another deluge. Radar left wearing his rabies vaccination tags and a getmehome.com tag. He was covered in that respect. By evening, no sign of Radar. I left the garage door open and set out his mat, one of my stinky shirts, some food and water. In the morning, no Radar.

I've hunted with Radar (above), a supremely cool, friendly, high-energy, high prey-drive little American water spaniel, and when I read that he'd gone missing, I feared the worst. Thankfully, Radar was tagged and when he was eventually found the next day, dirty, wet and a few miles from home, he was quickly reunited with his family. But it drove home the extremely important point of always having your dogs tagged, either with collar tags or microchipping so if the unthinkable does occur - and it will - you're prepared as well as you can be.

Have you ever lost a dog? Did you find him/her? Was it just about the most miserable experience you ever had? What do you do to help make sure a lost dog makes it back to you?

Comments (9)

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from VAHunter540 wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

I’ve thankfully not lost a dog.... and hope that I never will.

My grandfather used to tell me a story about one of his old Brittany’s named Sam. They where grouse hunting down in southwest Va and the dog got separated from him and disappeared. My grandfather said he did everything he could the rest of that day, fired shots, yelled till he was hoarse (part of the reason why I carry a whistle now) drove up and down the logging roads till well after dark. He continued this routine for a week straight going before and after work. He even left some of his hunting shirts out along the roads hoping that Sam would find them and sit tight. Well a week turned into 2 and finally 3 and my grandfather said he had pretty much written Sam off, figuring the weather or something may have gotten him. Well into the fourth week my grandfather goes trout fishing not far from the spot he lost Sam and he fished for awhile that morning and as he returned to his truck out from underneath it shot this blur of brambles and mud and ran into him so hard it knocked him over. He told me he was scared at first because he had no idea what was going on then he realized the dog was Sam no worse for wear except for being dirty and covered in brambles. Go figure… he told me this story more than once and my grandmother backed it up. He said it was once of the happiest moments of his life getting Sam back, and that he felt like he had lost one of his own kids when Sam had gone missing.
If something happens to one of my dogs I hope it has as happy of an ending.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from lovetohunt wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

Yeah, lost my golden retriever. I ended up tracking him 1.2 miles through the mud and snow. I found him on a busy road, scared me to death.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

Thanks for a good and timely post. It amazes me how many folks have dogs loose around their homes with no collar and no name tag and then wail and moan when the dog disappears and can't be found, or conversely how many dogs are found that can't be returned home for the same reason. When our bear gang puts a hound on the ground, it is usually wearing at least two name tagged collars.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

Thankfully, no I haven't. The last time I hunted my Brittany, Penny, she had lost most of her hearing. I went over a creek bank and she couldn't see me and I had to go back and get her. I got home and told the little lady that she couldn't go anymore. I couldn't take the chance on losing her.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

I lost my Brittany once in the back woods. It turned out that he lost me. At least thats the look he gave me when I finally came up on him 5 miles later.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hillbilly Hunter wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

I lost my male beagle for 9 days. I didn't think I'd ever see him again. He got out of his pen when I wasn't home. He had his rabies tag and ID tag on his collar. My dad and I looked for him for days but couldn't find him. Another hunter found him and called me, he was about 4 miles from home. He was definitely skinnier than when he left. I can't tell you how important it is to have good ID tags on your dogs. I am glad they found Radar, I know what they felt like.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bbainbridge wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

For a split second there I thought that was Pritchard in the picture...

Ours each are microchipped and have name plates/phone numbers rivetted to their collars. The plates can't break off in heavy brush like the tags can.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere39 wrote 2 years 49 weeks ago

My Brittany (seems to be a theme) walks/runs with me every day for at least an hour in the woods behind my house. He is very easy to keep under voice control. And in strange territory we both seem more vigilant. But at home, he runs a wider circle around me, and knows our irregular circuit well enough that I get sloppy and expect to find him at the next trail or log cross. Works for us 99+% of the time. But once last winter he disappeared. I hiked and re-hiked our woods till 3:00 am. I left garage open and my coat there. Temp dropped to 7°F over night and I slept fitfully till 6:00 am when the nearest neighbor, only about a mile away called to let me know he found my very cold dog on his porch when he woke up. My Brittany carries a license, rabies tag, name tag, and notice of id implant, but the thing that works best is a collar with my cell phone number embroidered in ½" high numbers on it. Cell is always with me, and 90% of our hunting, hiking, canoeing is wthin cell tower coverage.

Now I am confident my dog could have heard me calling in the middle of the night, not sure why he didn't come?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 49 weeks ago

thankfully my dog hunts close and never goes anywhere without me. i don't know what i would do if i lost him.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from VAHunter540 wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

I’ve thankfully not lost a dog.... and hope that I never will.

My grandfather used to tell me a story about one of his old Brittany’s named Sam. They where grouse hunting down in southwest Va and the dog got separated from him and disappeared. My grandfather said he did everything he could the rest of that day, fired shots, yelled till he was hoarse (part of the reason why I carry a whistle now) drove up and down the logging roads till well after dark. He continued this routine for a week straight going before and after work. He even left some of his hunting shirts out along the roads hoping that Sam would find them and sit tight. Well a week turned into 2 and finally 3 and my grandfather said he had pretty much written Sam off, figuring the weather or something may have gotten him. Well into the fourth week my grandfather goes trout fishing not far from the spot he lost Sam and he fished for awhile that morning and as he returned to his truck out from underneath it shot this blur of brambles and mud and ran into him so hard it knocked him over. He told me he was scared at first because he had no idea what was going on then he realized the dog was Sam no worse for wear except for being dirty and covered in brambles. Go figure… he told me this story more than once and my grandmother backed it up. He said it was once of the happiest moments of his life getting Sam back, and that he felt like he had lost one of his own kids when Sam had gone missing.
If something happens to one of my dogs I hope it has as happy of an ending.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from lovetohunt wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

Yeah, lost my golden retriever. I ended up tracking him 1.2 miles through the mud and snow. I found him on a busy road, scared me to death.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

I lost my Brittany once in the back woods. It turned out that he lost me. At least thats the look he gave me when I finally came up on him 5 miles later.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

Thanks for a good and timely post. It amazes me how many folks have dogs loose around their homes with no collar and no name tag and then wail and moan when the dog disappears and can't be found, or conversely how many dogs are found that can't be returned home for the same reason. When our bear gang puts a hound on the ground, it is usually wearing at least two name tagged collars.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

Thankfully, no I haven't. The last time I hunted my Brittany, Penny, she had lost most of her hearing. I went over a creek bank and she couldn't see me and I had to go back and get her. I got home and told the little lady that she couldn't go anymore. I couldn't take the chance on losing her.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hillbilly Hunter wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

I lost my male beagle for 9 days. I didn't think I'd ever see him again. He got out of his pen when I wasn't home. He had his rabies tag and ID tag on his collar. My dad and I looked for him for days but couldn't find him. Another hunter found him and called me, he was about 4 miles from home. He was definitely skinnier than when he left. I can't tell you how important it is to have good ID tags on your dogs. I am glad they found Radar, I know what they felt like.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bbainbridge wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

For a split second there I thought that was Pritchard in the picture...

Ours each are microchipped and have name plates/phone numbers rivetted to their collars. The plates can't break off in heavy brush like the tags can.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere39 wrote 2 years 49 weeks ago

My Brittany (seems to be a theme) walks/runs with me every day for at least an hour in the woods behind my house. He is very easy to keep under voice control. And in strange territory we both seem more vigilant. But at home, he runs a wider circle around me, and knows our irregular circuit well enough that I get sloppy and expect to find him at the next trail or log cross. Works for us 99+% of the time. But once last winter he disappeared. I hiked and re-hiked our woods till 3:00 am. I left garage open and my coat there. Temp dropped to 7°F over night and I slept fitfully till 6:00 am when the nearest neighbor, only about a mile away called to let me know he found my very cold dog on his porch when he woke up. My Brittany carries a license, rabies tag, name tag, and notice of id implant, but the thing that works best is a collar with my cell phone number embroidered in ½" high numbers on it. Cell is always with me, and 90% of our hunting, hiking, canoeing is wthin cell tower coverage.

Now I am confident my dog could have heard me calling in the middle of the night, not sure why he didn't come?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 49 weeks ago

thankfully my dog hunts close and never goes anywhere without me. i don't know what i would do if i lost him.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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