Missing Dog Recovery Tips

When a beloved companion animal strays from home it can be a traumatic experience for both you and your missing friend. The Whatcom Humane Society receives many lost cats, dogs, and other animals daily and we make every attempt to contact the owner if a pet is wearing identification. We want to reunite as many stray pets as possible with their guardians.

Please note: Due to the large volume of animals the Whatcom Humane Society receives each day, we cannot identify lost pets via phone, social media, or e-mail communication. You must visit the shelter and look for your missing pet.

Social Dogs:

  • Social dogs are usually easy to approach or willing to come to any person who calls them, so they are often taken in to someone’s home or brought to a shelter.
  • If your social dog has a favorite noisy toy, bring it with you on your search of the neighborhood. After using the toy to make noise, remember to pause and give your pet a chance to respond.

Shy and Fearful Dogs:

  • Distance traveled from home will depend on if he/she has been chased by anyone attempting to catch him/her.
  • If you have more than one dog, bring your other dog(s) with you as you search the area.
  • When hanging lost dog posters/flyers or online lost ads, be sure to include something to the effect of “Fearful, do not chase!” and be sure to include your phone number.

General Tips:

  • Go to the Whatcom Humane Society and complete a Lost Dog Report. Check the shelter frequently, each day during business hours if possible. If the pet has ID, the shelter will attempt to contact you, but collars can fall off and some microchips cannot be read by all scanners, so visiting the shelter frequently is important.
  • Dogs that escape due to opportunity (A gate/door left open, habitual diggers or climbers, etc.) are more likely to be closer to home than a dog who is running due to panic or extreme fear.
  • Search the neighborhood and go door-to-door talking to as many people face-to-face as possible.
  • Post lost ads on Bellingham Craigslist and social media pages like Lost Pets of Whatcom County (Facebook page).
  • Hang lost dog posters at highly trafficked areas.
  • Consider tagging your car with paint markers and posting copies of lost dog flyers in the windows.