I love it when I find cool stories on the Internet — and I love to share good news. So I was definitely excited when I came across a heartwarming article about Patty Richardson.
Richardson is a North Carolina-based private investigator who “specializes in animal cases.” Right now she’s focused on catching the (alleged) scumbags who swipe and sell dogs.
Now that may come as a surprise to you. Frankly it surprised me, too. But given what I’ve learned about “dognapping” and related scams recently, I’m glad to hear there’s someone out there who’s willing to help people whose dogs have disappeared.
Of course, you might not be lucky enough to have a PI like Richardson where you live. And even if you do, there are steps you can take to find your dog before you summon reinforcements. The website fidofinder.com offers a comprehensive plan of action to follow when panic over a missing sets in. You should:
- Calm down, take a breath and start with the obvious. Thoroughly check the house, yard and immediate area to make sure your dog is really “gone.”
- Try to figure out how the dog got out of the house or yard and how long it might have been gone. That will give you clues about where it went and how far to look.
- Designate someone to stay at home and man the phone when you start the search. That way someone will be available if anyone calls to report finding your dog, or brings it directly back to the house.
- Be prepared to conduct a thorough preliminary search of the neighborhood by bringing a flashlight and photos of the dog with you.
- Re-canvas your neighborhood on foot and by car if the initial search was not successful. You should also plaster the area with “missing dog” posters; and contact local veterinarians, animal shelters and animal control.
- Use all available resources to spread the word, including social media and newspaper ads.
- Remember the power of word-of-mouth. Tell your family, friends and neighbors about your missing pet.
To end on a personal note, here’s a little advice from yours truly. Don’t be afraid to call the authorities if you have reason to believe someone has stolen your pet. After all, the police are here to protect and serve.