Social media helped to find my lost dog
September 30, 2019
It’s every dog owner’s worst nightmare when their dog goes missing. As Kerry shares in this story, getting the word out on social media can be a powerful way to find a lost dog.
Three-year-old Flo is a Spanish Podenco, rescued and brought to the UK by an animal rescue charity. Little is known about her background, other than she’d had a litter of puppies and an old injury to her leg. This little waif of a fox-like creature arrived in our lives traumatised and terrified.
We had been briefed by the rescue organisation, although I was surprised at just how traumatised Flo was. Whatever happened in her early life has left her extremely distrusting of people. One year on, and she’s much more settled at home now – thanks in part to our other dog, Ruby, also a rescue dog from Portugal. They adore each other, and Ruby has become Flo’s rock.
Fearing the worst
Sadly, Flo still has a propensity to run if she is feeling stressed, and this is something we have to be mindful of all the time. In a split second she can be gone and, as the panic sets in, she will just run and run. As she is so nervous, she can be difficult to catch.
“By the following morning…news of her disappearance had been shared hundreds of times and people were reaching out wanting to help look for her and offer advice.”
Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened. In a split second, she slipped out of the front door of my mum’s house where the dogs were spending the day, and ran off. Within seconds, she had literally vanished without a trace. We spent the next few hours walking with Ruby, whistling and calling for Flo. And as night started to set in, so did our fears that something terrible had happened.
We made contact with local vets, the dog warden and the RSPCA, created a missing profile on DogLost, and then turned our attention to social media. By the following morning – still with no sign of Flo – news of her disappearance had been shared hundreds of times and people were reaching out wanting to help look for her and offer advice.
On the second night, my partner and I parked our camper van on my mum’s drive, taking it in turn to watch out for Flo. We’d been advised that she might try to return under the cover of darkness, and had set up a makeshift bolt-hole with her blanket and toys.
As the hours went by, I was feeling desperate. I’d not slept, and hardly eaten for getting on for 36 hours, and my imagination was running wild. I couldn’t bear the thought of Flo being out there alone and terrified.
Then, late in the night I received a call from someone who had spotted a dog matching Flo’s description. They had posted the sighting to the village Facebook group and to their own Facebook profile which was soon spotted and responded to by people who believed it to be Flo.
We jumped in the van and drove as fast as we legally could to meet Hannah, the person who had spotted Flo. This was about six miles away from my mum’s house, which meant Flo would have crossed a number of busy roads to get there. It doesn’t bear thinking about. Frustratingly, there was no sign of our little dog by the time we got there. Undeterred, and now with the help of a local farmer, we drove around in the dark looking and listening for any signs.
Ruby to the rescue
Just then we spotted her. A pair of eyes glowing in the road ahead. We stopped the van and jumped out and, crouching down, tried to coax her over. But she was very guarded and wouldn’t come close. Then I had an idea. “Get Ruby,” I called to my partner. “Quick, bring Ruby out.” With that we let her off the lead and the two dogs ran to greet each other, licking and whimpering their pleasure at being reunited. With no time to waste, we scooped them both up and returned to the safety of the van.
Apart from being very tired and limping from her old injury, Flo is none the worse for her ordeal. She slept, cuddled up to Ruby, for most of the following day, and eventually managed a little walk – although she was happy to be picked up and carried for most of it.
Having Flo in our lives is definitely challenging at times – she has such special needs. But that’s what we signed up to when we took her on, with all her unique and peculiar ways. However, we don’t want to risk being in this situation again. As well as being even more vigilant with opening and closing doors when Flo’s around, we’ve decided to invest in a GPS tracker. That way, if she runs off, we will know where to look. And we’ll be sure to have Ruby on hand to help catch her!