Get Help From Your Community

  • Call your local Animal Control Facility.
  • Notify your neighbors. Put your ego aside and knock on their door!
  • Use social media. Create a Facebook page so people can easily communicate with one another and you.
  • Make a HIGHLY VISIBLE & EASY TO READ poster to put on telephone poles, trees, and local businesses. People driving in their cars can’t read small print.
  • Notify all nearby veterinarians (even if it is not your vet.) Someone may pick up your dog, and bring it to the closest vet.
  • Click on this link

A Dog’s Nose Knows

  • Dogs “view” the world through their nose, ears, then eyes.
  • Grab all dog blankets, towels, and beds and put them outside.
  • Put a dirty shirt, sweat pants, socks or something that smells like YOU, outside.
  • If you have another dog or a cat, rub them down with a towel and put it outside.
  • The goal is to bring the familiar smells of “home” outside to give them a landmark.
  • If you have another dog, bring your dog with you when searching for lost dog.


  • Dogs on the run are going to eat quickly. They don’t know when they will eat again.
  • Dogs will also eat and run. They will always want an easy escape route if trouble comes.
  • Therefore, putting food in a stranger’s back yard is a better idea than putting it on the back deck of their home.
  • Dogs are creatures of habit and love routines. They will return to where they found food before.
  • Keep putting food out. You want to reduce the distance they will travel to find food. Create a routine.
  • They will likely develop a territory and not stray very far from it (within a couple of miles.)

Using Instincts

  • We can’t hope to understand why a dog took off, or why it won’t come back.
  • Don’t waste time beating yourself up trying to figure out “why?”
  • As time passes, your dog’s natural instincts will kick in. It may begin to lose its domestic habits. The friendliest dog may  growl and act aggressive towards strangers. It may turn and run away from you.
  • It may be in survival mode. It may behave with pure instinct, where everything is a competitor and a potential predator.

When Spotted

  • Do not look directly at dog (eye contact can be threatening.)
  • Do not take a direct approach toward the dog (predators take a straight line.)
  • Drop your head and shoulders – a sign of peace (predators keep their heads up and forward with confidence)
  • Do not talk to the dog or encourage it to come to you. Your excited, high pitch voice will show nervous/excited/and anxious energy.
  • A scared and hungry dog will NOT trust you. It will run the other way.
  • Turn your body perpindicular to theirs. (Dog language – I mean no harm.)
  • Drop down to the ground if you have too, even lay on ground. (I am no threat. Humans don’t usually lie on ground. It may invite curiosity.)
  • If it comes close, be slow and deliberate in your actions. Quick, snatching type behavior will fail. Dogs are faster than we are and they will run.

Building Trust (with food)

  • You may not have an opportunity to get the dog to come to you at first.
  • Be patient. Keep following these directions.
  • You want the dog to trust you, not fear you.
  • I like to use pepperoni slices to help lure a dog. It is a high value reward that most dogs (even if fed table scraps) don’t often get. They are also small enough to keep a dog’s interest without making it full.
  • Toss a slice towards the dog. Again, do NOT look at it or encourage it. Just give it food.
  • It may not take it right away as it is fearful. Give it time.
  • Toss another piece and another. Let the dog think. Let the smell wander up to its nose. Let it eat quietly.
  • Toss more pieces, however, make the distance shorter, making it come closer to you.
  • Take your time and be patient if the dog is eating. Don’t break the trust by moving too fast.

Final Thoughts:

  • Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Don’t stop trying.
  • I have experienced the joy of bringing 2 dogs “home” that were not my own.
  • The dogs were on the run for 6 weeks and 3 weeks, before they were ready to come home.
  • It is emotionally difficult. There are highs of a sighting, and lows with no sightings.
  • You may need to use a Save-A-Heart trap (similar to those for raccoons and other critters.)
  • I don’t care what your religious beliefs are, but have faith in something bigger to help bring your family member home.
  • Be grateful and thankful to the volunteers and strangers who are helping you. A simple thank you can go a very long way to having an entire community help you.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns. I will do the best I can to help.

Contact Me

  • If you have questions or need me to clarify a direction, please feel free to contact me.

Shadow was on the run for 6-weeks, during a brutal Fall in Connecticut. I was fortunate to have rescued him and reunited him with his family shortly after this picture was taken.