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What to do if your pet goes missing

Buddha is microchipped and neutered; two ways to keep your pet safer.

Information provided by the Dumb Friends League; photos by Krysta Parr

The metro area’s population explosion does not only include people but pets too. Many pets have relocated with their families, and while most live here full-time, others have traveled to Colorado for a fun vacation.

Did you know that animals are less secure and more apt to become a flight risk when their routines are interrupted, particularly when they are away from familiar surroundings?

One dog on a cross-country trip slipped away in Denver, possibly intent on returning home. She wasn’t on the loose for long when a person spotted her and called the cell number on her tag. The key to this dog’s quick return was an all-important ID tag.

A microchip implant is another important identification tool. A tiny chip the size of a grain of rice is inserted under the animal’s skin and can be read at any shelter or veterinarian’s office. Even if a pet is chipped, however, he or she needs to wear an ID tag.

The ID tag, rabies tag and microchip information attached to Buddha’s collar is the best way to find him if he should ever roam too far from home.

If your pet happens to wander away from home, here are some tips to help get it back safely:

– Act fast! Walk or drive your neighborhood and tell everyone you see. Be sure to give your phone/text number.
– Hang (and date) posters wherever permitted. Include your pet’s photo and name and offer a reward if you are able.
– Utilize social media sites like Nextdoor, Craigslist, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to post photos and information.
– Check the shelters closest to where your pet was lost. Visit in person to file a report and take along a photo. Check outlying shelters, too. Shelter locations can be found on the Metro Denver Animal Welfare Alliance website at

On the flip side, when you see a stray pet, be a good neighbor and help connect the pet with the owners:
If there are ID tags, call the phone number listed.

If no tags, immediately take the animal to the nearest shelter. The shelter staff will scan it for a microchip and provide a safe haven while they work to reunite it with its owner.
– If taking the pet to a shelter is not an option or you need to keep it temporarily at your home, you should still have it checked for a microchip and file a “found” report with the shelter.

Important safety note: If you distribute fliers and post a “found pet” notice on internet and social media sites, be cautious. Don’t include a photo, and be sure to withhold some key information so you can be certain anyone who contacts you is the actual owner.



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