Lost dogs generally fall into one of two categories. They were either “Opportunistic” or “Lost from a Stressful Situation”. Click on the links above to read more about these definitions.
Sometimes you will see the phrase “my dog ran away”. We find these words to be problematic and even detrimental to the safe recovery of the dog. Implying that a dog made a conscious decision to leave can conjure up all sorts of scenarios in the minds of the public. “If your dog ran away, perhaps he had a reason? Perhaps he didn’t like the food or his bed wasn’t fluffy enough?” Of course, we are just kidding, but hopefully you can see that putting thoughts in the minds of the less dog-savvy members of the population might reduce your sightings and the chance that you will get your dog home. It may also encourage someone to keep your dog because they have assumed that you must be a bad owner if your dog ran away.
Dogs lost from less than ideal situations (eg. animal shelters, commercial breeding facilities, vet clinics) are frequently recovered very close to where they went missing from or may even return back to the place where they were lost from. Do not assume that a dog “ran away” from somewhere and left the area. Familiar smells and routine may keep them near.
Never Give Up! Your dog is relying on YOU to bring him safely home. Be very careful with your words! Remove “my dog ran away” from your vocabulary and ask people helping you to do the same. Focus on how your dog went missing by reading this article and generate sightings based on that information.