Although we never say never, about 90% of the dogs that are still missing will fall into one of these three categories. A great deal will depend on the breed, appearance and personality of the dog. Is he large or small? Shy or friendly? Common-looking or distinctive-looking?
The three categories are:
1. The lost dog is still out there. These are the lost, confused, shy dogs that are living on their own. They may live out indefinitely. Or they may end up at a farm or eventually be captured and kept; rehomed or taken to a shelter or animal control facility; perhaps months or even years after they went missing. They may be very close to where they went missing from or they may have traveled far and wide, looking for food.
2. The lost dog was picked up by an animal control officer or Good Samaritan and taken to an animal control facility, shelter or rescue. They may have been adopted out or euthanized after the official stray hold period has passed.
3. The lost dog has been kept or re-homed by a Good Samaritan who either did not know that it is illegal to keep an animal you have found; or were reluctant to take the dog to a shelter. These people may have initially tried to find the owner on their own.
Knowing these three outcomes can help you tailor your search, although you always want to make sure you have covered all the bases. If your dog was a friendly small dog; it is very likely that he has fallen into the third category. If he is a friendly large dog; you may want to concentrate your efforts on number two. If he was a shy or wary dog, he is probably in category one, evading people and using all of his instincts to find food and shelter to stay alive.
Regardless of which category your lost dog falls into, theses two elements will greatly increase your chance for success:
1. generating sightings through flyers and signs;
2. the determination of the owner or guardian to find their dog
Never give up hope. Lost dogs can be recovered weeks, months and even years after they have gone missing. Your dog is depending on you to find him.