I've found a stray...

I’ve found a stray. What do I do?

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

NOT RECLAIMED? LET’S REHOME! If you’re not able to find the animal’s family in about a week, then you’ll want to switch to “rehoming” mode! Some thoughts on how to find a new loving family:

  • Find a spay/neuter program in your area, and get the animal altered. This often makes it much easier to rehome!
  • Run ads in the newspapers in your area – many are low- or no-cost for free animals
  • Again, poster, poster, poster! Make up a new batch of cute flyers, this time with a photo. Be as specific as you can in describing demeanor and behavior, and post them anywhere you can find a corkboard!
  • Get the animal onto local TV and radio websites which have Classifieds sections
  • Talk her up! Talk to friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, everybody – you never know who might be looking for a cat or dog just like her!

YOU CAN DO THIS! Nervous that you won’t know how to find a good home? Come up with a list of things to look for in a potential home. Decide what’s important to you, and include what you’ve learned about the animal. Some things you might think about:

  • Does everyone in the home agree to bringing in this animal?
  • Does the potential adopter have a veterinarian lined up?
  • If there are current pets, call the veterinarian to see if those pets are well cared for!
  • Is the person or family familiar with the care and feeding of this type of animal?
  • The animal’s personality;
    • Does the animal seem happiest inside or outside?
    • Does she seem to get along with other dogs or cats?
    • Have you seen her around children?
    • Is the animal full of energy and zip? Or perfectly content to curl up and sleep most of the day?
  • If the animal isn’t spayed or neutered, you might think about charging a deposit that they’ll get back once this critical piece has been taken care of (CCSNAP is our local Spay/Neuter Assistance Program: 641-472-6080)