By Chris Pitts, RVT, of Broadway Animal Hospital.
You wonderful person, you found a lost dog and now you want to find this lost dog's human. If the dog has a collar and a tag, locating the human is usually a no-brainer. But what about when the phone number on the tag is out of order or there is no collar or tag to refer to? Don't worry, there are options.
Most local humane societies or animal shelters have the ability to take a “found report.” You can call in and leave a description of the dog you found, where you found it and your phone number. This way if the owner calls the humane society looking for their dog, even though the dog is not actually at the physical humane society, they can cross reference found reports with lost reports and make connections for people and pets.
You can also take the dog to a local shelter or veterinarian to have the dog scanned for a microchip. The chip itself does not hold the dog's phone number or owner information, but there is a database that holds all that info, and it can be accessed if the dog has a microchip.
With the advent of the internet, you will find plenty of neighborhood chat groups where you can post that you found a dog, local Facebook pages that are dedicated to reuniting lost pets with their people, and websites dedicated to specific geographic regions that are just for getting lost pets home. Post a picture of the dog and your phone number, and several shares later, the dog is home.
If you cannot find the owner, please consider taking the dog to a shelter or dog rescue. With unknown vaccine histories, and unknown behavior issues, it may be the safest thing for you and the dog, particularly if you have a dog at home already, or if you have children.
These days, the internet and microchips really do seem to have the highest success rate of getting a lost dog home again. So make those found dog reports and get that lovely dog back to his folks. And thank you in advance for taking the time to care about somebody else's wayward hound.