Here’s hoping that everyone and their dog made it through the 4th festivities without getting lost (I mean you or your dog). Dinah did, as predicted, spend part of the evening under the knees that were under the desk in the office, but damp weather here meant that there were fewer thunderous explosions than there are in some years. A few miles north, I had a quiet evening with my friends’ dog, who, except for a few scary moments when some little squibs going off next door turned her into my very best, ear scratching, pat-giving friend for ten minutes, was fine. Our biggest dilemma was deciding whether Shanghai Noon or That Mitchell and Webb Look made the best distracting viewing.

It occurred to me this morning, though, that it always helps to know what you would do in a crisis before the crisis hits, so I’ve been Googling around for a good lost dog game plan. There’s good advice to be had here, here, and here, but most of them boil down to:

  • getting the word out, not just to neighbors, the local police, your local animal control officer, and all the neighborhood kids.*
  • Making and distributing eye-catching posters with a recent photo of your lost dog (I am rather proud of the one in yesterday’s post that I made for Dinah, and it occurs to me that it’s probably a good idea for you to make one up right NOW and put it on your computer in case you ever need it).
  • One of the best pieces of advice, I think, is to give posters to your mail carrier and to any UPS or FedEx delivery folks that work your neighborhood.

This reminds me that my friend Stephen has a lovely little border collie mix who likes to ride shotgun with the FedEx man, who has several times discovered–sometimes hours later–that the dog hopped into his truck while he was delivering a package at Stephen’s house, and now he and the dog are buddies and Stephen is no longer taken aback when the delivery guy makes a second stop at his home to bring the dog back after they’ve had a nice ride together. Small town life, you know?

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* The writer of one of these advice lists is apparently unaware that most of “the neighborhood kids” now spend their daylight hours in darkened rooms playing with their Game Boys until repetitive motion injuries make them stop, playing Guitar Hero until their parents make them stop, sending catty IMs to each other, and taking meticulous care of virtual pets, unaware that some real pets out there might need their help, and that they are not out building forts and climbing trees and practicing double-dutch and playing kick-the-can.

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