The very thought of losing your greyhound friend is enough to send chills down your spine. It can never happen to you, right? After all, you are SO careful.
Reality is that it will happen to you at some point during your pet's life. The best defense you can have for such an occurrence is a good offense, complete with a little pre-planning. We here at Grey-Save certainly do not have all of the answers. What we intend to do here is to share with you what we have learned from our experiences in the hope that this will prevent your pet from escaping, or will help you to recover him if he does.
Does your greyhound have a good identification tag with your ownership information on it? If not, he should. If he came with an identification tag from your adoption group, it is a good idea to leave that tag attached as well. But do not rely on that tag as your sole identification tag. The reality of adoption groups is that they do not always stay in business. Members sometimes also drop out. Check the telephone numbers on the tag from time to time to make sure that they are still good. If you find that they are not, remove the tag immediately.
Micro-chipping your dog is also a way to identify it. Using this procedure, a small computer chip is inserted just under your dog's skin. The chip can be read by a scanner. It provides an identification number that can then be matched to you. There are a couple of concerns about this procedure. First, there are a number of different systems that are not compatible. Not every chip can be read by every scanner. Thus, you still need a good identification tag. Second, although considered as safe, this is a relatively new procedure. If you are uncomfortable with this process, don't use it. Be aware, however, that many humane societies and animal shelters may require the micro-chipping of any dog that they recover and return or adopt out as a part of their adoption process.
Is your yard fenced? If so, do you use padlocks on your gates? There have been so many cases where someone entered the yard unknown to the owner and left a gate open, allowing a dog to escape. A padlock makes that impossible. You may also be able to purchase an automatic closing mechanism for your gate to prevent you or your children from accidentally leaving the gate open while working or playing in the yard. You can also purchase automatic closing hinges for doors in your home. These can be useful for keeping your greyhound out of places where you do not want them in addition to preventing an escape. These hinges are often adjustable, so you can make them close as quickly/forcibly or as slowly and safely as you choose. Just remember that fast and forceful increases the risk of catching a snout or tail in the door as it closes. While we're talking about doors in the home, make sure that your screen doors latch securely so that a curious snout cannot push them open.
When is the last time that you walked your fence line to check for any weak spots or signs of a dog digging its way out? Are your fence posts secure, or can they be pushed over by a large dog? Trust us, it happens!
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What If My Greyhound Escapes?
Begin the search at once. The initial search area for your greyhound will be relatively small. Within 12 hours, you will have to expand it dramatically. Expand your search by at least one mile in every direction for every day that your greyhound is missing. Do not assume that he will keep moving in the same direction as when he was last seen unless you receive a number of reports that support this. We have had greyhounds double back in the opposite direction. Many adoption groups offer to help in the event of an escaped greyhound. If your group has made the offer, call them at once. Those of us who have gone through this would much rather get up at 2 AM and find the dog quickly than spend days or weeks looking for it.
Remember to carry a spare collar and leash with you while searching. Other recommended items include field glasses, a squawker, a map of the search area, a first aid kit, and a cell phone or Citizen's Band radio. Try to coordinate your searches to insure that all directions are being covered. And remember your own safety as well. If you are going to be driving slowly in a rural area where speeds are normally fast, use your emergency flashers or a warning beacon if you have one.
If you do not find the greyhound within the first 6-12 hours, you should consider placing as many flyers as possible at local stores. Be sure to get the manager's permission first, and remember to take them back down and thank the manager once you've recovered your dog.
Call as many vets, animal shelters, and boarding facilities as possible. Don't limit yourself to the immediate area, as your grey could turn up anywhere or be taken anywhere. Notify nearby adoption groups. They may be willing to help you search. You can even use internet bulletin boards or message servers to get the word out. Simply put, you want to blanket the area with information about your lost dog. The better your coverage, the better the possibility that someone will recognize him. While you are out searching, stop and talk to people walking or doing yard work. Hand out flyers or business cards.
We believe that information coverage is very important if you do not immediately recover your greyhound. All of the greyhounds that Grey-Save has searched for were recovered by good samaritans who recognized him from flyers or took him to a location that identified him from our contact with them.
Don't give up! We have recovered greyhounds that were on their own for three weeks. Obviously, the longer the greyhound is loose, the more likely he is to sustain injuries, become dehydrated, or suffer from malnutrition. You must be prepared for these possibilities when you do find your greyhound. The temperature also counts. The colder the weather, the more imperative a quick recovery becomes.
We hope that this information will help you to prevent an escape, or to give you some guidance should your greyhound become lost. Feel free to contact Grey-Save at any time if we can be of assistance to you.
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