My husband and I were in the car in a few minutes, heading back to Connecticut. It wasn’t going to be a good scene when we got there. Jenny had slipped out of the door and bolted, and had disappeared. I suspected she wouldn’t come to anyone but me, and worried that she would be so scared that she wouldn’t come to me either. When we finally arrived, I walked around and called for her for an hour, but she didn’t come. She was gone.
Jenny was gone for four days before we got her back. This is what we did:
- Called professionals. We went to Missing Pet Partnership and looked at their directory to find a local non-profit that specializes in finding lost pets. We called SMART because they were located nearby, and they were incredibly helpful. They came out with their tracker dog and got us a lot of information about where Jenny had been, which helped us figure out where to put our posters. They gave excellent advice and provided emotional support when I felt that I was starting to crumble.
- Postered. SMART emphasized that posters should be visible from cars, should be big (bigger than 8.5 x 11!), and brightly colored. They provide detailed instructions.
- Used Facebook. The local Animal Control Officer posted a photo of Jenny on Facebook, and we let the neighborhood group for the place where we were staying know so that they could share it.
- Stayed in close touch with local Animal Control Officers. I was very lucky to be staying with a friend who is the medical director at a local shelter, so she had relationships with them already.
In perhaps the most amazing part of the entire story, Jenny, the dog who is so afraid of men, came when my husband called, walking right up to him and licking his hand. I was a block away at the time.
The next day, as we were walking around taking down posters, someone opened her window and called down to me from a second story room: “I’m so glad you got your dog back! I saw it on Facebook.” The Facebook post about our reunion got over 250 likes. Jenny was a local celebrity.
The most important advice we got from SMART was to use all the options you have to communicate to the community that your dog is missing: social media, traditional posters, calling ACOs, walking the street and talking to people. Get the word out any way you can! That is how we got her back: from the incredibly supportive community that looked for her, found her, and told us where she was.
I am deeply, deeply grateful to
- The West Hartford, Hartford, and Simsbury Animal Control departments. Many of them worked during their time off to help us find Jenny. They went above and beyond.
- The West Hartford and Hartford communities who were so supportive and friendly. We got zero crank calls, and we got Jenny back because these people really cared and really wanted to help.
- My dear friend Katy and her boyfriend Zach, who tirelessly helped us poster and field calls.
- SMART, who provided excellent advice and support; it was a privilege to watch their tracker dog at work.
- Jenny herself, for not losing her cool and coming when we called!
|About twenty seconds after Jenny and I were reunited.|