Finding Lost Dogs: How Canine Friends Can Help Find Your Dog


This week's Lost Dog Tip is really personal to me and worked, for lack of better words, like a miracle.

Several years ago, my partner and I were up in Bolinas, CA with our old dog Bonanza staying at a friend's beach house for the weekend. Bonanza was pretty old by then (around twelve), her eyesight was deteriorating, and had developed a habit of wandering off by herself. When we were in the city, we would always keep her on-leash to be safe, but at the beach, we let her roam around and do as she pleased as long as we could see her.

One night that weekend, we were all in the house cooking dinner when we realized that Bonanza wasn't scavenging around the kitchen for food. After calling to her several times to no avail, we started to get worried. The tide up in Bolinas rises very high at night and we were afraid that she had somehow gotten down to the beach by herself in the dark.

Immediately, all eight of our friends went around the property and down to the beach with heavy duty flashlights calling for her, but in the near pitch black on the beach, it was impossible to see a small white Labrador. An hour into the search, we were all panicked, anxious, and dreading the worst. For some reason that I can't explain, I suddenly got the idea in my head that maybe another dog would be able to smell Bonanza out. 

Enter Bonanza's best dog friend, Sierra. Sierra is the opposite of Bonanza (a grumpy, mildly anti-social white Lab) - Sierra is the friendliest, gentlest, most fun-loving chocolate Lab I've ever met, and also the only dog Bonanza ever took a liking to. In this situation, we got incredibly lucky because Sierra also happens to have the best recall I've ever seen in a dog, so we let Sierra off-leash and told her to "Go find Bonanza".  

Sure enough, five minutes later, Sierra came happily bouncing back up the hill with a soaked, sand-drenched, sad little Bonanza, who besides being terrified, was physically fine.

To this day, I don't know what miraculous scientific phenomena explains why Sierra was able to find our lost dog, but I now really believe that dogs can 1) feel when their humans are highly distressed and understand why, 2) know where their pack members are most of the time, and 3) have an uncanny sense for the unseen (I mean, have you seen a dog when the mail comes by?). 

The takeaway from this story is that if you do unfortunately end up losing your dog, try to take a canine friend of theirs with you on your search - they could very well sense your distress and sniff out exactly where your lost pup is.  And don't forget - technology is also helpful in finding your lost dog - post your pooch as 'Lost' on the Finding Rover app as soon as you lose your dog to help spread the word and expand the search for you pup!


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Published on by Beatrix Chan.

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