what to do if your greyhound is lost

BEFORE YOUR GREY IS EVER LOST
Your adoption agreement with GPA-CT requires that you keep a current GPA-CT identification tag* on your greyhound, as well as an ID tag that contains your name, current address and current phone number. If you need a current GPA-CT ID tag, please call Placement Coordinator Donna Seago at 748-0843 or email placement@gpacentraltexas.org.

(*How do you know if your GPA-CT tag is current? It should have two phone numbers: 301-8236 and 964-3429. If it doesn't, you need a new tag today!)

Put together an emergency kit to use just in case you ever need it. Things to include are a martingale collar and leash, a squawker to call the grey, some yummy treats and water.

Consider having your greyhound microchipped so he can be easily identified by a shelter or vet. Collars are often lost when a dog is loose.

CALL GPA-CENTRAL TEXAS IMMEDIATELY!
Start with Placement Coordinator Donna Seago at 748-0843 (cell), making sure you leave a message if you get no answer. Feel free to call anyone on the board if you can't reach Donna. GPA-CT will mobilize a network of volunteers who have agreed to search for lost greyhounds.

CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
Although this can be difficult, stop checking every street and backyard yourself and start recruiting an army of volunteers to do it for you. (See above.) Most greyhounds are found within a mile or two of where they were lost, but a two-mile radius is nearly 13 square miles! Stop looking for your dog and start looking for people to help. With every hour that passes, your chances of finding your greyhound on your own diminishes. Ask everyone you know -- friends, co-workers, and your adoption group -- to help. Don't wait until later, do it now.

GET THE WORD OUT WITH FLYERS
As you and your volunteers search, post flyers on every available space you can find -- telephone poles, grocery stores, drug stores, schools, churches, police and fire stations, vet offices -- in the search area. Ninety percent of lost dogs who are found were found because someone saw a flyer. Print flyers on the brightest, most attention grabbing paper available. The words "LOST GREYHOUND" and your phone number "(555) 555-5555" should be in huge letters. A silhouette of a greyhound is also a good idea. 500 flyers is a good start, but you may need more. The area needs to be so saturated with flyers that you can't turn around without seeing one. Don't expand your search area until you've totally covered the area where the greyhound was last seen.

PRINT MAPS OF YOUR AREA TO GIVE TO THE VOLUNTEERS
Make notations of areas that have been well posted with flyers. Set up grids and utilize them to cover all the locations in your search area. Send teams to each grid area. Get some heavy-duty staple guns or tape and use those for putting up your posters. If possible, try to keep in touch with your search teams with cell phones or walkie talkies so that when you get a sighting of your greyhound, you can send someone immediately to the site. Keep in mind, too, that a live trap can be used for a greyhound that is repeatedly sighted in the same area, but won't approach a volunteer searcher.

MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE AVAILABLE AT THE PHONE NUMBER ON YOUR FLYER
You don't want people to call with a sighting of your greyhound, only to hang up because they got an answering machine or voice mail.

KNOCK ON DOORS AND TALK TO EVERYONE YOU SEE
Talk to neighbors, the postal carrier, the UPS or FedEx delivery person, the yard workers, and anyone else you see. Any of these people may see your dog and now they will know that he is lost. Give everyone you talk to a flyer. Talk to the principals of area schools and ask that an announcement be made to the students. Kids see everything in the neighborhood but will ignore a dog running loose unless asked to look. Make sure you leave lots of flyers at the school for the students. Don't ignore the little kids either. They tell their parents everything.

CALL EVERY VET'S OFFICE, ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER AND POLICE STATION...
within two or three miles from where your greyhound was lost. Follow up with flyers. Faxing them might save you time, but it's important that these people see you rather than just a piece of paper. If you show people how concerned you are, they will want to help you. Don't just call them once, call them every few days and in the case of the police, during every shift to make sure all the officers know about your dog.

RUN NEWSPAPER ADS...
in the local papers, and ask a reporter to see if she will run a local interest story on your lost greyhound. Local cable access stations often will run your lost dog ad for free and local radio stations and TV stations will often run the story on a slow news night. Also check newspapers for "found" ads; the Austin American-Statesman will run these ads for free.

CHECK THE LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTERS...
every few days, in person. Your greyhound could be hanging out at a local shelter, awaiting adoption, because the workers didn't realize he was a greyhound, but thought he was a whippet or even a doberman mix.

GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT, OR HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT
Sadly, they often pick up an animal's body from the road and if there is no idenitifcation, the owner will never know. Collars often fall off when a dog is loose or struck by a car.

DON'T ASSUME YOUR DOG HAS BEEN PICKED UP BY SOMEONE
It's the trap that everyone seems to fall into: "There hasn't been a sighting, so someone must have picked up my greyhound." Greyhounds are notorious for disappearing "into the woodwork." A person can walk right by a brindle greyhound laying in a pile of leaves and never even see him. Some greys go for months or even years without being found, because people assume they have been picked up or are dead.

DON'T ASSUME THAT THE CALL YOU RECEIVE ABOUT A DOG MILES AWAY IS YOUR DOG
Do follow up with every caller, but ask questions: What color was the dog you saw? How big? Which way was it heading? Have you ever seen this dog before? You don't want to be running out of your search area just to find that someone called you about a beagle they saw running through their yard. These false leads are actually a positive sign -- they mean your efforts are working and people are looking for your dog, but they just don't know the difference between a greyhound and a Jack Russell terrier.

There have been reports of scam artists who try to get money from people who have lost dogs. These unscrupulous types will call owners of lost dogs, claiming to be in another town and that the dog somehow found its way to them -- "I found your dog. I don't know how it got here, but I don't have money to bring him back to you. If you send me money for expenses, I'll bring him to you." You may want to exercise caution regarding the details that you publish in an ad or flyer -- some information should be withheld to be used as an identifier and guard against these types of scams.

DON'T LOSE HOPE
A few days or weeks of searching can be discouraging. A lack of sightings can be tough on a positive attitude. Just remember that your hound is still out there and someone has seen him. You just have to find that person. It's only natural to start thinking the worst but as non-street savvy as greyhounds are, they are survivors. Keep looking. Don't give up; your greyhound is counting on you.

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