Lost and found: A guide for pet guardians — Animal Chronicles

Josh Grassi of Clifton Park Pet Search at work.
Josh Grassi of Clifton Park Pet Search at work.
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Losing a beloved pet is a heart-wrenching experience. They are family, and when they go missing the pain can be overwhelming. In preparation for these challenging moments, you can take steps to increase the chances of reuniting with your companion.

Perhaps the first step is to get your pets microchipped. The Animal Protective Foundation provides low-cost microchips by appointment or your veterinarian can provide this service.

We asked Josh Grassi, who operates Clifton Park Pet Search (and has found hundreds of pets over the years) for advice for pet owners if their pet does escape.

One notable case was Autumn, a Lab mix from South Glens Falls who was missing for nine months. Autumn’s incredible 15-mile journey found a happy ending thanks to Grassi’s unwavering commitment.

“There’s no better feeling than uniting an owner with a pet,” Grassi said. “Our pets tend to go into survival mode and depend on their instincts, which may lead them to act differently than they do at home. Sometimes this happens within 24 hours and sometimes it takes a week. But the important thing is that you don’t give up.”

  • Act fast: Time is crucial — start searching immediately. Don’t wait in hopes that they’ll return on their own.
  • Search your home: Begin your search at home, checking every nook and cranny.
  • Try to lure them back: Slow-roasting bacon outside is one of the most effective ways to help a wayward dog find its way back home. Likewise, cats will often come back to an open can of tuna or another strong-smelling food.
  • Contact your local animal control: They may already have your pet or have received calls from people who have seen your pet. If they do find them, they will know to contact you.
  • Notify neighbors: Let neighbors know your pet is missing. They can help keep an eye out and provide valuable insights.
  • Create flyers: Design simple, eye-catching flyers with a clear photo and your contact information. Distribute them in your neighborhood, at local businesses, parks and pet-friendly places within a half-mile of your home.
  • Utilize social media: The largest site with the most exposure in the Capital Region for lost pets is Steve Caporizzo’s Pet Connection Facebook page. Also share your pet’s information on platforms such as Facebook, Nextdoor and others.
  • Contact local shelters: Reach out to animal shelters and rescue organizations. Provide a pet description and photo. Visit shelters regularly.
  • Use online resources: Post on dedicated lost-pet websites and apps like Petfinder, LostMyDoggie or PawBoost. You can also report your lost or found pet on our website at animalprotective.org by navigating to Animal Services and selecting Lost & Found from the dropdown menu.
  • Set traps and food: If your pet is skittish or hiding nearby, set traps with their favorite food. Check them regularly.
  • Be prepared: Carry treats and a leash with you at all times so you can attract and secure them if you do find them.
  • Stay positive: Maintain a positive outlook and believe your pet will come back. Your determination, persistence, and positivity matter.

When your pet goes missing, also remember Grassi is a great resource for those in need. He embodies selflessness and serves as a reminder that there are people who will go to great lengths to bring your furry family member back home.

You can follow him at facebook.com/cliftonparkpetsearch.

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