Lauren Chen, a volunteer with the Maine Lost Dog Recovery, weighs in with these tips on how to organize a search for a missing dog:

“We always say DO NOT CHASE. It can be hard to follow that advice, but that could cause the dog to run further away from home. We have a video on our Facebook page explaining the use of ‘calming signals’ — ways to change your body language to help calm a dog who is panicked and hopefully get them to come to you.  

“Smelly food and a blanket or pillow that has the scent from an owner still on it should be left out to help the dog sniff their way home.   

“Print and post flyers as soon as possible. Facebook is a great tool, but not everyone is on it, so putting up flyers locally will add to getting the word out. We also suggest putting the flyer into a clear plastic binder sleeve to keep it from getting wet. 

“If someone knows of a missing dog’s location or sees them, we ask that they call the number on the flyer as the owners don’t keep up with our page and may not see a comment left on the flyer. And again, do not chase.

Joanne Greenlaw, of Maine Lost Cat Recovery, offers suggestions on finding a missing cat. The first thing to keep in mind is the differences between indoor and outdoor cats. When indoor cats manage to slip outside, they often hide nearby, too afraid of the big, wide world to show themselves, Greenlaw says.

Outdoor cats, on the other hand, may have wandered into a neighbor’s garage and got stuck there. In both cases, printing flyers and hanging them up all over the neighborhood is a key to getting kitty back. And while you’re at it, Greenlaw says, don’t forget to mingle.

“When you’re out searching and putting up the flyers, talk to everyone you see,” she says. “Because when they meet you and they hear your story, it makes it much more likely that they’ll be interested in helping.”

Greenlaw also suggests three specific things for the cat-search arsenal: a can of tuna, a flashlight and a humane trap.

“If someone gets those three things, their chances of finding their cat is nearly a 100 %,” Greenlaw says.

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