“Master where are you? Where am I? One minute we’re together and the next you are gone. I can’t pick up your scent. I can’t hear your calls. I don’t know where to go. I’m lost.” – one lost dog
On any given day, one can go to an animal shelter and see dogs, cats, and other precious creatures who have been lost, abandoned, or displaced from their homes due to disasters and other external factors. Each of these animals is in need of being returned to their home or in need of a new one. As responsible pet parents, how can we ensure the best outcome for our pets?
The unfortunate reality is that too many pets never make it out of the shelter. Statistics indicate that roughly half of them are euthanized for a variety of reasons, one being that they are deemed “unadoptable.”
There are many sad and unfortunate consequences to these decisions. Perhaps, one of the most heartbreaking is that many animals who are euthanized are not mean or a threat to anyone — they are simply scared. In larger cities, the countdown clock can be looming for an unsocialized pet whose owner can’t find them soon enough.
September is National Preparedness Month, it’s the perfect time to talk about what to do to keep companion animals from getting lost and ending up in situations where even the most responsible pet owners may have trouble finding or protecting them. If disaster strikes, and you are separated from your pet, everything you do now can make a difference.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to keep the animal you love safe in every situation:
The Emergency Plan for Your Pet
National Preparedness Month is the perfect time to put together a plan to keep your pet safe should natural disasters or other unforeseen circumstances arise that split your pet away from the family. The preparation you do now will improve the chances of reuniting you with your pet should it go missing.
In previous posts, we’ve talked about how to put together a pet emergency kit listing all the essentials needed should the family be required to pick up and go. The article also lists numbers and information you’ll want to have handy in your pet’s emergency kit. The fire safety article addresses fire prevention and steps to take that will help in case of fire in your home. Most pets are lost during the 4th of July holiday. We put together some helpful tips to help you help your pet reduce their anxiety. Download our emergency preparation checklist.
- Pets often get lost during family vacations. Make sure to pack extra leashes in case one should break, to prevent your pet from running free, as well as ensure your pet’s carrier is able to withstand travel and/or an excited animal. Have pet photos handy and an accessible flyer just in case. Time is of the essence.
- Since the vast majority of pets go missing while their owners are away, if leaving your pet behind, always ensure their collars and tags are up to date and alert multiple family and friend “caregivers” to keep an eye on your pet. While only fifteen percent of animals that go missing are never returned to their owners, eighty percent of those pets are never returned simply because their ID tags are out of date.
- To further protect your pet, the ASPCA also encourages pet owners to have a permanent “rescue alert” sticker on their door to notify rescue workers and disaster cleanup crews to the presence of a pet in the event of an emergency. This not only notifies workers to search for your pet after the event, but documents your pet’s description in case the missing pet is found elsewhere.
Taking the time to have an emergency plan in place can make all the difference in ensuring your pet is found and returned to you quickly, no matter the circumstance. KirinGie.Me pet profiles will allow you to keep all of your pet’s records in one single location. Plans for GPS tracking and instant digital profile access will make it easy to get instant community support to retrieve your lost pet.
Socialize Your Animal Companion
In a perfect world, our animal friends would never become separated from us. But, even when we’ve planned for every situation imaginable, sometimes our little companions end up missing and taken to a shelter. As we’ve touched on, until you can find and reach your missing pet, the animals who are socialized to get along with humans and other animals have a much greater chance at survival both in shelters and in evacuations in the event of an emergency.
Socializing your pet when they’re young is one thing, but socializing adult pets, especially those who are rescued, can be more challenging, but is necessary to help them manage an emergency calmly. It may take time and patience but the benefits for your dog can make the difference between life and death if it ever ends up in a shelter.
Exposing animals to different kinds of environments, people, and other animals is crucial for socialization and their survival should they end up missing or in a shelter situation. The Red Cross accepts animals of all kinds during disaster emergencies, but for their safety and that of those around them, every animal needs to know how to avoid biting, lunging, and even growling in an aggressive manner at strangers who try to help them.
To socialize your pet, consider taking him or her to classes that teach behavioral skills. Often, veterinarian offices, pet stores, parks and recreation programs, and private organizations offer this type of instruction. If you have a dog companion, think about spending regular days in the park so your doggie can learn how to cope with loud noises, kids, and other animals. KirinGie.Me wants to incorporate into our program offering, community gatherings and events to bring pet owners together for the safety and protection of all of our pets.
Additionally, making together time a regular occurrence for your animal friends and the human members of your family only strengthens your bond and encourages positive socialization behaviors. It can also be beneficial to work continuously on building trust between your pets and the people you know, including friends and extended family members who come into your home. Both for their comfort level and yours, maintaining and honing your animal’s lifelong social skills with humans outside of those they see on a daily basis is especially important when it comes to their safety outside the home.
Keeping animals out of shelters and other situations where they’re lost from you for good is often as easy as embracing technology. There are a number of different pet ID methods available, but nowadays, most shelters include microchipping as part of the regular adoption process.
Microchips are super-tiny traceable pieces of technology that can safely be implanted under an animal’s skin. They’re just about the size of a grain of rice, and they contain information that helps identify the animal’s home and human companions, which can become invaluable in the event that they go missing.
When lost pets arrive at shelters, an intake officer typically uses a special scanner to scan a dog or cat for a microchip. If a chip is found, it usually produces information for the chip registry company. This company can give your name and phone number to shelter workers, so that you can be notified of your found animal friend.
Microchips are a great addition to a comprehensive, preemptive plan to keep animals from being lost permanently, but they should never be relied on as the sole source of identification. Ideally, microchip technology in combination with an old-school ID tag is best to make a reunion with a lost pet possible.
However, during a disaster or other emergency, a large influx of displaced animals can disrupt the otherwise smooth pet-return system. That’s where KirinGie.Me can come in handy! By creating your pet’s profile and documenting your pet’s unique story and personality, animal lovers throughout the community can learn to recognize your pet and notify you should they be found on the streets or in a shelter. The GPS tracking device we are working on will make recovering your pet even easier.
Call on Your Community
Under ordinary circumstances, when a pet goes missing, responsible pet parents will turn to their community for help, often utilizing photos, ads, and signs to seek assistance from neighbors and family alike. With KirinGie.Me, bringing the community together is taken to a whole new level with advanced features that help you alert, locate, and communicate with other pet owners who can help you find and safely return your pet.
With a pet profile in place, searchers will have all of the information they need to recognize your pet, as well as be armed with additional knowledge on behaviors to avoid, such as if your pet is adverse to being patted on the head, for instance or other quirks strangers should know about for the protection of your pet.
At KirinGie.Me, our goal is to keep every animal in a safe and loving home. Our unique platform is designed with the pet-loving community in mind, allowing users to view, interact with, and capture the lives of beloved companions of every species. And when the unexpected happens, the KirinGie.Me community is able to band together to protect your precious family members, or even send out emergency requests digitally for a wider response, all with the goal of keeping your pet — well cared for in every circumstance.