Frequently asked questions
My pet has just gone missing. What do I do now?
Call a scent professional for an initial phone consultation to assess your case. The steps to take can vary depending on a number of factors including: where the pet ran away from, age, temperament, health, wearing harness or dragging a leash, the terrain of the area, and the general environment (city, suburban, rural), and others.
Do not immediately post signs offering a reward. This is a strategy that should only be employed once the case has been assessed and isn’t appropriate for most situations.
From the moment your pet is lost, the only concrete link between you and them is the scent trail they are leaving as they travel. If this trail is contaminated – or ruined completely, then you will have to rely on posters and the chance that others see these and call in sightings.
Are there differences between finding a pet in rural environments, suburbs and cities?
The tools are the same, but the methods, strategy and execution of the search process will vary based on these varying environments.
How could this have happened? My pet loves me!
Yes, your pet loves you! Pets run away for a variety of reasons. The typical reasons a pet runs away or disappears:
- Chased after wild game. This usually means that something caught it’s attention – a chipmunk, rabbit, bird, deer, fox, coyote, etc. Most dogs are not Lassie and may not find their way back home depending on many factors – how far it ran, how well it knows the area, etc.
- Something scared your pet and it fled. This is most commonly thunder, fireworks or other loud noises such as motorized equipment, trucks, buses or other vehicles.
- Frolic and curiosity. This is the desire to leave the yard and explore other scents, sounds and animals – such as domestic pets in heat.
- Predators nearby. Even in more suburban areas, these days there is no shortage of owls, hawks, fisher cats, foxes, coyotes and even coy wolves.
My dog is lost and it has recently rained/snowed. Is all hope lost?
No! Snow is 90% air and our dogs can smell scent through snow cover. As for rain, moisture typically holds scent (which is mostly bacteria) and thrives in moist, damp areas. This means rain typically does NOT wash away the scent trail unless it’s been very heavy over an extended period.
I’m hearing a lot of different suggestions from a lot of people. How do I sort through the noise?
There are a lot of animal and pet lovers out there and whenever they see a post for a missing pet, their heart goes out to the pet and the owner, and they are genuinely worried for them both. Unfortunately, good intentions does not always mean good advice and inaccurate or misguided information can spread quickly, it is best to contact an expert for clear guidance and recommendations.
Don’t be surprised if some of the information provided by professional pet trackers is counterintuitive to what you, as an owner wants to do or thinks is best. Finding a lost pet can be difficult, that is why it is best to seek guidance from trained experts.
I’ve heard that sometimes you tell lost pet owners not to go out and look for their dogs. That seems ridiculous. How will my pet ever be found if we aren’t out looking for her?
Surprisingly for many pet owners, a lot of the techniques recommended and employed by professionals run counterintuitive to what the owner wants, or their heart tells them, to do.
Volunteers have contacted me to assist me with finding my dog. They seem sincere in wanting to help and have experience finding lost pets. What’s the best way to use their help?
Hanging posters and getting word out that your pet is missing can take a lot of time, effort and resources. This can be a lot for one person or family to undertake, especially at this very stressful and overwhelming time. If people are offering to help with these efforts, you should certainly take advantage of this help. We would still suggest utilizing a professional pet tracker in order to bolster the efforts and increase the opportunity for success.
My dog got lost with a leash/harness/collar on. If he is hurt or stuck somewhere, how will I ever locate him?
Our scent specific trailing dogs are trained to follow the scent trail of the scent that is given to them – this is done via a scent article. The scent article is something that smells like the lost pet – their collar, bedding, toys, food dish, for example.
Does it cost anything to have a consultation with you, and have you assess our missing dog's case?
No. Having an initial consultation with a scent and tracking professional is an important step to determine how we might be able to help. We encourage you to call and get all of the information so you can make an informed decision for you, your family, and your pet.
Feel free to contact us here: (401) 787-7432
Can posters alone and a social media awareness campaign get my dog back?
They certainly can, though it may not work in every case. When used at the outset, scent dogs can be a very useful tool to help narrow down the pet’s location, allowing you to work smarter and not harder to get your pet back by better focusing your efforts in a particular area. The longer a pet is missing, the more difficult it may be to locate them, and the longer they are exposed to potential risks and dangers.
I have a dog, what can I do to help track the missing pet?
We do not recommend using dogs from the same home or untrained search dogs to seek out your lost pet. Remember your dog and your friend/neighbor’s dog aren’t trained to follow a specific scent. So if you take them out to “search” for the missing pet, you can’t be certain what scent it is they’re following. Doing this can also contaminate the search area, making it more difficult for the search dog to pick up the missing pet’s scent trail.