Have you lost your Berner? Here
are important steps to take:
• Act immediately! Don’t assume you will
walk down the street and find your dog. Don’t waste precious time
by not rounding up help in the first hours of searching. Gather as many
helpers as possible. Don’t be shy. Call the BMDCNV rescue hotline
(1-877-426-3268) which gets checked once daily (usually in the evening)
and/or post to the members list or club officials to get the word out.
• Contact local police, Animal Control Officers,
shelters in the town where the dog was lost as well as adjoining towns.
(Keep a list of who you spoke to and their phone numbers so that you
can call back.) Call the officials at various times of day to ensure
that different shifts are aware of your situation. Unfortunately this
type of information does not necessarily get passed on to the next person.
• Consider sending a flyer to the Cable Access folks in the area
where the dog was lost. In addition, most local papers post lost dog
ads for free.
• Use the Lost Dog Template (download editable
Word document or PDF) to create a flyer for your missing dog. Be sure that the
number(s) you post will reach a person (not a machine) 24/7. Print up 500
copies of the flyers. (They’re
cheaper in volume and you’ll need lots! Consider yourself lucky if
you find your dog before using them up!). The photo on the flyer does not
have to be a photo of the actual dog that was lost. The general public
doesn’t know the difference from one Berner to the next.
• Charge your cell phone and make sure your message provides instructions
as to what info to leave just in case you can’t be reached.
• Print maps of the area where the dog was lost to facilitate
searching by helpers. Google Maps is really good for this since you can
also get satellite shots with overlays of the streets (hybrid mode). Designate
specific streets or areas to each searcher.
• Have searchers post the flyers to telephone poles
(not trees) and to knock on every door. When going door-to-door it is
helpful to have a color photo of your dog (unless the photo on your flyer
is exceptionally good). If there is a shopping center nearby, have a
volunteer stand in front of stores and pass out flyers to anyone who
will take one. Most people are eager to help once they hear your story.
• Ask the owners if you can search their yards for the dog. Lost
dogs are often frightened and will hide under shrubs, decks, cars or sheds
or in barns and garages. Don’t just assume they will come running
when called. If the searchers do not know your dog, consider providing
them with a used article of your clothing (in a plastic bag) so that, if
found, the dog will recognize your scent and not run from them. If a searcher
does locate the dog, the best thing to do is to stay put and call the owner,
rather than try to catch the dog who may be frightened. The dog may even
run from its owner if approached to suddenly.
• If homeowner owners do not answer the door,
leave a flyer in the door or on the mailbox.
• Stop all passers-by: runners and bikers, UPS
and postal workers, parents at school bus stops, DPW and construction
• Have something familiar for the dog to come
back. If (s)he was lost from her home, be sure to leave the gate or garage
door open. If away from home, park a familiar car at the location where
she was lost, preferably with the door open. If you know that the dog
has been sited at a particular location, leave an article of your used
clothing at that location in case she returns.
• Establish a base of operations at the location
where the dog was lost. Someone should remain at the base of operations
(a) in case the dog returns and (b) for searchers to check in. (All searchers
should have cell phones, if possible, with a list of numbers kept at
the home base.)
• Once the dog has been found, be sure to go back
and remove any flyers that have been posted on any utility poles or at
businesses. (The maps you used for your search should be helpful here.)
This is a common courtesy that many folks never bother to follow up with.
• Send thank you notes to your searchers. If a reward was offered,
it should be given promptly to the people who took the time to call in
with information and who where critical in locating your dog. If they won’t
accept a monetary reward, consider a gift certificate or donation to a
charity in their name.
Lost Dog Tool Kit
• Cell phones (with list of numbers for all searchers)
• Staple guns with extra staples
• Clear tape
• Plastic sleeves for inserting flyers in inclement weather (large zip-locks
• Multiple copies of a map of the area
• Highlighters & pens for making maps
• Pens and paper
• Extra leashes
• Wet, smelly food to tempt frightened dog (small cans of cat food are
• Change of shoes and socks
• First aid kit
• Bug spray
• Owner’s used clothing in plastic bags
• Food and water for searchers
For additional support, suggestions, and lost dog found stories to give you hope, please visit LostDogSearch