Plan For the Worst and Get Your Lost Dog Back Faster

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.

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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?