Coping when your dog gets lost – from the perspective of one owner

SUKI – My beloved Doggie, who was missing for 5 weeks, and is now home
 
The truth is I don’t know how I coped with Suki being missing for five weeks, but somehow I did.
From my brave, but skittish little dog I’ve learnt so much; that I have inner resilience, that I’m lucky to have a creative life that keeps me going during sad times (and there was MUCH sadness when Suki was missing),that feeling sad is natural sometimes, that dogs have their wildness and sometimes struggle to be pets, that some dogs need to take things very slowly indeed, and so much more.
 
Suki has had a complex life to date. She was a breeding dog up until May, when I re-homed her. She seemed to love her home straight away, and settled in well. But I didn’t realise how much Shiba Inu’s bond with just one person(me in this case, because I was caring for her), so when looked after by someone she didn’t know that well she ran away on Primrose Hill, and had an accident which involved lots of injuries.
 
Slowly, gradually, with lots of care she recovered well. And for that I’m deeply thankful to the Well Animal Clinic, my Mum and friends.
 
All seemed to be going smoothly for Suki this Autumn, but there was more adventure to come. I was directing a play, so was not at home as much as usual, and for two days a week employed a dog walker. Suki seemed to be really coming out of her shell, getting friendlier with other dogs, and generally bolder at this time. Unfortunately she spooked at a loud noise on West Heath and ran away in early October.
 
The things that kept me going were: My Mum’s support and help, the huge efforts the dog-walker put in to try andfind her, my imagination, Steph at Dogs Lost (who gave great advice), Sue at Tip Top who checked in with me,and put the word out to so many people (even though we’d only met her once), and some great friends Yael, Sasha and Andrew who helped me look on the Heath.
 
Before Suki was found I have to admit I was beginning to give up hope, and wondering whether I should try to move on from the loss, but I resolved to keep going with a few things: to respond to any sightings ASAP and to keep advertising for Suki. I also (probably for myself more than Suki) talked and sang to her which I know sounds a bit mad, but anything that helps I say do it!
 
I was trying to accept and hope that she was somehow okay, and being looked after, whether that was by me, herself or a stranger.
 
Myself, Mum and the dog walker did a lot of looking, postering, advertised Suki’s loss in the papers, phoned every dog charity, vets, rivers, the railways, police, hampstead heath constabulary – everything we could think of. We did some scenting for a while (see Dogslost website for further details) We even consulted an animal communicator (which I’m still not sure about…) but basically it felt better to do something rather than just wait.
 
I managed to keep working (only took one day off), directed a successful play and set up another project in that time – which I still find slightly incredible.
 
The morning I spoke to Terri, who found her, it was like a miracle.I could hear from her voice that she was genuine, and when she said Suki was wearing her collar with her tag with her name on I was pretty sure. She and her lovely rescue dogs had found her in a thicket, near Golders Hill Park, and lured her out with some sausage.
 
Suki is now safe and well and snoozing on a new blanket.
 
Thank you to everybody who helped bring her back! My advice to anyone who loses a beloved dog. Do everythingyou can to find them, but be gentle on yourself and try to keep the rest of your life going. If you do find them its a combination of luck and looking, and life is short – so don’t drive yourself mad if you don’t succeed. Dogs are pets but they also have a wildness – that’s just their nature.
 
Titania Krimpas.November 2011
What do do if you loose your dog
Go to http://www.DogLost.co.uk where you will ge all the help you will need.You can organise posters from there but you will need to be signed in.
Contact Dog Wardens’, rescues,some contact numbers of London rescues are listed below, vets and leave a poster . For contact details of vets in your area click on the light green logo “Find any UK Vet” on our website.
Dogs can be rehomed after 7 days, try and visit rescues do not rely on phone calls alone. If your dog is Chipped do contact the Chip Co and report him missing and check your details are up to date.
Please update us on who has been contacted i.e. DW’s etc and if you have started postering. You can leave a comment by typing in the Comments box.
Posters can be printed by selecting View Poster just below the dog’s details (you must be registered and logged in).
Suggestions for places to poster : –
Direct area of loss – veterinary surgeries – local pounds, and rescue centres – dog walking areas – dog bins – park entrances and exits – boarding kennels and catteries – re-cycling areas- petrol stations – pubs, and pub car parks – railway stations – bus stations – bus stops – post offices – newsagents – supermarkets and their car parks – pet shops, and animal food stores – corner shops – off licences – take away food shops – library’s – mobile library – schools, inside and out if poss, and school gates – inside rear side windows of car – taxi drivers – taxi offices – garden centres and nurseries – doctors surgeries – clinics – community centres – village halls – telephone boxes – riding centres and stables – dog groomers – town, village, and church notice boards – works notice boards and canteens etc etc .
Flyers :- Hand to dog walkers who will always spread the word – Postmen, plus a poster for the sorting office – bin men – street cleaners – milk men – paperboys – children and parents outside schools – pubs, ask to leave a pile on bar, and place on tables (dogs get sold on in pub car parks) – same with markets, fairs and boot sales, hand out flyers and poster the entrances (dogs get sold here too ) – hand out flyers at gatherings such as sports matches, fetes and concerts – post through letter boxes of neighbouring properties and business’s – pay to get flyers into the local newspaper , magazines and free publications.
LONDON RESCUES
Animal Rescue & Care (ARC)
PO Box 46, Twickenham, TW11WG
Tel: 020 8607 9902 Email: arc@animalrescueandcare.org.uk
Battersea Dogs Home
4 Battersea Park Road, London, SW8 4AA
Tel: 020 7622 3626 Fax: 020 7622 6451.
Battersea at Old Windsor
Priest Hill, Old Windsor, Berks SL4 2JN
Tel: 01784 432929 Fax: 01784 471538.
Dogs Trust – West London
Highway Farm, Harvil Road, Harefield, Uxbridge UB9 6JW
Tel: 0845 076 3647
Enfield Dog Rescue
Palmers Green, London N13
Tel: 020 8886 4117 (before 8 pm)or 020 8376 2363 (after 8 pm)
Harmsworth Animal Hospital(RSPCA)
22 Sonderburg Road
Holloway
LONDON
N7 7QD
Telephone: 0300 123 0712
Hounslow Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 234, Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 2QG
Tel: 020 8560 5443
Mayhew Animal Home
Trenmar Gardens, Kensal Green, London NW10 4RE
Tel: 020 8969 0178. Fax: 0208 969 3221
Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals
Hendon Veterinary Centre
4 Church Terrace
Church End
Hendon
London NW4 4JU
0208 203 2090
Putney Animal Hospital (RSPCA)
Clarendon Dr, Wandsworth, London SW15 1AA, UK
Phone: 0300 123 0716 24 Hour emergency service
RSPCA Hillingdon, Slough, Windsor and District Branch
Hillingdon Clinic, 123 Uxbridge Road, Hillingdon, Middx, UB10 0LQ
Tel: 01895 833417 Fax: 01895 834461
National Animal Welfare Trust Rescue Centre
Tylers Way, Watford By Pass, Watford, Herts WD25 8HQ
Tel: 020 8950 1320 (10am to 4pm)
Steph (Aunt Stef) Volunteer
Since Dog Lost began in 2003 over 13000 missing and stolen dogs that have been registered on the site have been reunited. Dog Lost is run by volunteers but your donations are essential to keep the web site running.
Help us to help others. Please make a donation today
0844 800 3220
Admin 0844 800 3220
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