Be Prepared: Dealing With a Lost Pet

It's only one of those funny things after the fact; also because it turned out okay.
Like the time I left my man-purse in a grocery cart in the supermarket parking lot, but recovered it when a Good Samaritan brought it to the customer service.
Like when I left my wallet at The Piggly Wiggly take-out counter. Another Good Samaritan picked it up, tracked me down and returned it.
Or the  time I lost my dog when he slipped out the back door during a delivery. Yet another Good Samaritan tracked me down from DJ’s dog license and brought him back.
All this happened just last year.
Lucky for me that Montreal is teeming with Good Samaritans, so I can now laugh at those misadventures.
While the man-purse and the wallet are easily replaced, your pet is not. It’s terrifying when you realize that your cat or dog is gone. I was shaking like a leaf.
And I'm gonna come clean with you - it wasn't the first or second or even the third time I lost DJ, the escape artist. I even considered leaving him home, but I can't do that to him. He loves hanging out at the store - cozying up to women, nipping the pants of tradesmen and barking at dogs outside, his raison d'etre for over ten years.
But still.
Last week I got so fed up after he slipped out the door and rode the elevator up and down, (a fellow passenger recognized him and brought him back), that I attached a luggage tag around his neck. Now he looks like such a dork. 
The thing is, I can't really blame DJ for his mad dashes, he's a dog, a notorious terrier born with the wanderlust of his wild canine cousins.  A wolf travels about 30 miles a day; there's still gotta be some of that left in him.

I have no doubt that if a pack of wolves invited DJ to join the pack for a long weekend, he could keep up with them, (maybe even catch a little action on the side). 
And as much as I try to stay vigilant, I know that he will find a way to slip out again and ride the elevators. As long as he doesn't push all the buttons.
Ergo, I prepare for the inevitable and you should too.
Here’s some tips I learned the hard way:
  1. Make sure your dog has a license, it’s a godsend. Once…or maybe twice, the city called me when someone picked him up and reported it.
  2. Add an extra identifier like a dorky luggage tag or an engraved keychain with your name and cell number on it. Sometimes the license medallion falls off, (happened to me), so it’s good to have a back up.
  3. I’m not a huge fan of microchipping the dog. My vet doesn’t like it either, he says that it irritates the dog. Maybe, but it’s a foolproof identifier
  4. Put up baby gates at your entrance/exit doors.
  5. If your dog is around a busy place where doors open and close all day, leave a leash on him. It makes it easier to catch the speedy varmint.
  6. Get a GPS tracker that attaches to his collar. I’ve never tried one so I can’t comment on their effectiveness, but I’ve read many good reviews.
But if he still escapes:
  1. Call the city to report it. Trust me, they'll get back to you pronto.
  2. Check nearby homes with dogs, they're runaway magnets. 
  3. One more thing: if you have a power breed understand that there’s no margin for error. You’ve read some of the horror stories – enough said.