Here are the best Volunteer search and rescue groups, on the web and Facebook, there’s no emergency search and rescue service for lost dogs, so if you lose your dog volunteer help is your only option. if the dog is located and recovery would put a human life at risk then the official rescue agency’s for people may at that point get involved, but you’re going to have to find the dog yourself.
People who have joined these groups will have indicated that they would be willing to join search party’s for your dog in the area’s indicated.
Remember these are all unpaid volunteers; most will be far more experienced than you in looking for a dog but it is still your responsibility to organise the search party.
For our registered list of “individual” volunteers and other help resources in your area then please see our map of resources here (coming soon)
Information Required From Dog Owners
Let’s make this clear; whatever the situation, it’s your dog or it was in your care when it went missing and you are responsible for it going missing.
Now that we have that out of the way – no one is judging you. We started this site after the experience of our own dog getting lost, one of 70,000 a year that do, so no one’s going to think badly of you, no matter what the circumstances; we’re all human and dogs are…well, they are dogs!
Tell the truth!
What happened, when, where and why? If it ran out of the back gate just say so. Did it go off chasing a rabbit? Let us know as this is important if it’s a terrier or other small dog, it may now be in an underground rabbit burrow, just tell the full circumstances so that our experienced search volunteers can get a feel for what situation they are dealing with and they won’t judge. Be warned however, if you’ve told a story to save your own embarrassment and get found out, then the community support will quickly disappear.
Give an idea of your dog’s behaviour in relation to;
- People – is it friendly, will it approach people tail wagging, be shy to approach or bark and run away?
- Other dogs – is it shy, scared or does it do aggressive barking etc
- Other animals – will it give chase to cats, rabbits, deer, sheep etc? This gives other clues to where it may have gone, but if it’s known to chase or worry sheep, then you need to call the closest farms as soon as possible and plead for them not to shoot your dog. Farmers are protecting their livelihood and their animal’s welfare and some have little patience for stray dogs.
- Health problems – does your dog have any problems that it’s on medication for or issues that might affect how far it’s likely to have roamed? How long it can survive on it’s own or the care it will need once found?
- Previous Escapes – has it done this before, is it a serial escape artist, will it habitually run miles in front on a walk and then lose sight of you and panic? What’s the dogs history?
This is the most important aspect – remember the people directing help to you have no idea where the “back of our shops” or “in the forestry” is. If you’re reading this on a smartphone (and google tell us 70% of you are) then download now one of the fitness tracking apps, we would recommend “Endomondo”, and make sure you have “Google maps” installed on your phone; they are both free so there’s no excuse.
Drop a Pin as soon as you realise that you’ve lost sight of the dog open the google maps app on your phone and drop a pin or mark the spot in some other easy to recognise way tie a piece of clothing to a stick or something – this will mark the spot where you lost the dog.
Start your Tracker this will record the area you’ve already searched yourself because we assume you’re going to spend a couple of hours looking for your dog before you start to panic and think you need help.
Take a screen shot of the google map location you dropped your pin, if you’re thought to start your tracker (and we would understand you might not initially remember to do this) then screen shot that too, or take photos of where you marked the spot and the surrounding area to help you navigate back there later on.
It’s your dog; take responsibility by giving out your contact details to those helping you. We won’t message you on Facebook. We won’t contact a friend. Provide a phone number that people can speak to YOU on. and preferably an email address too. Be responsive, keep an eye on your phone (I know it’s hard when you’re searching but we need to be able to contact you to help you.) If it’s going flat, message the lead Volunteer an alternative number of someone close by but don’t ignore messages and phone calls from people offering help or they might not offer again.
We have a full guide on this (coming soon) Share your doglost.com original poster on there. Make sure the images of the dog are clear. Keep your Facebook page constantly updated with a stream of information – where you are searching, the plan of action, the help required, where, when and how. Take photos and keep the story of your search alive and your followers well informed.You don’t need to be on Facebook constantly but an update in the morning, at lunch and at the end of the day, really helps you keep on top of things and keeps people engaged with your plight.
Unless you have experience, then take the lead from your most experienced volunteer; they will undoubtedly make themselves known, but if not, just ask for ideas or read our guide to planning your search here (coming soon)
Our Volunteers are the biggest hearted people in the country. Remember, they are helping you, a stranger, look for something that is precious to you mainly because of your relationship to it. The people helping you just love dogs and animals in general, they are amazing; never forgot that nor take it for granted, offer refreshments, buy coffees and sandwiches, be grateful whether the dog is found or not and remember to say thank you.
Facebook Volunteer Groups
|Area Covered||Group Name ||Header Image||Description|
|Wales||Dog Search Volunteers Wales||this group is for people who can offer to help search when searches have been organised or for people who wish to organise/advertise a search|