EMPOWER YOURSELF. There are some things you can try if you have taken in a stray. First, remember that it is very possible that the animal’s family has lost track of it, and would love to have it back! Of course, Noah’s Ark is happy to take in strays if we have the space, but it is less stressful for a lost animal to go back to its loving home, if possible.
Here are some ideas for finding the animal’s original family:
- Post information on social media about the stray you’ve found. Facebook often has “Lost & Found Pets” groups in your local area. Take a picture of the animal you’ve found, locate a Facebook group in your area and post the animal’s picture, along with information about the animal and where you found it, etc. (This is the local —Fairfield, Iowa/Jefferson County—Facebook “Lost & Found” animals group.)
- Call vets in the area to let them know about the animal you’ve found – maybe it’s a patient of theirs and the owner is looking for it!
- Ask your local veterinarian to scan the animal for a possible microchip
- Call local shelters/humane societies, in case someone goes looking there for the lost animal
- Watch the newspaper and bulletin boards around town for “missing dog” or “missing cat” ads
- Talk to neighbors and see if they have any idea where the animal might belong
- Run “found” ads in the newspapers in your area
- Poster, poster, poster! Make up colorful “found” flyers and post them wherever you can – grocery, library, vet clinics, etc.! Remember, it’s best at this stage to be brief so that the person claiming to be the owner has to identify the animal to claim it
Finally, be honest with yourself in answering these questions: Are you willing to add them to your household? And will you be willing to return them to their original home if the owner turns up after you’ve started to form an attachment? If you answer “no” to these questions, your best option may be to contact your local shelter/rescue to see if they have an open kennel for the animal.