Successfully Negotiating the Return of Your Lost Dog from a Rescue

Your missing dog has turned up at a rescue and is now available for adoption. How does this happen?

  1. A microchipped dog who is scanned may be backtracked to a rescue or may have a rescue as a secondary contact. If you were unable to be reached, the microchip company may have called the rescue who reclaimed the dog from the finder or shelter.
  2. In an attempt to prevent dogs from being put down in overcrowded shelters a rescue may “pull” dogs to adopt them into new homes. Some animal control facilities even allow rescues to pull dogs before the official stray hold has ended on medical grounds.
  3. A Good Samaritan who picks up a lost dog may take the dog to a rescue because they either don’t know where the correct stray holding facility for the area is or they are fearful that the dog will be put down at a publicly funded shelter.

To prevent problems: If your dog is microchipped, immediately contact the microchip company to “red flag” your dog as missing and make sure all of your contact information is up to date.  This should prevent a rescue or new adopter from being able to transfer the microchip records without you being notified. If your dog has been lost for a long time, remember to stay in touch with the microchip company to remind them that your dog is still missing. 

If you find your dog at a local rescue here are some tips to help successfully reclaim your dog.

  1. BE POLITE!  Keep your tone respectful and appreciative. Get your facts straight and don’t make accusations or assumptions.   Rescues are often volunteer-run and usually have a mission to protect animals and save lives. Abusive or disrespectful language will not endear you to them.  They may even misconstrue your bad temper as proof that you are not a fit pet parent. Remember, your conversations may be recorded and your text messages will be retained.  Keep a cool head and stay professional.
  2. BE ORGANIZED! Most rescues want the best outcome for an animal.  They may mistakenly think your dog was abandoned and/or abused. Provide photos, microchip records, veterinary records and proof of licensing to show that your dog is a loved and well cared for family member.
  3. BE PREPARED! Rescues may have invested money into your dog for grooming and veterinary care.  Be prepared to offer to reimburse them for some of their costs. Be polite as you negotiate these details with them. Be prepared to set up a payment plan if necessary.
  4. BE DISCREET!  These situations often take a bad turn when an owner, or the friends or family of an owner, blast the rescue on social media.  This can be damaging for a rescue’s reputation and they may resort to digging in their heels and defending their decision to keep your pet from you. Remember, bad behavior from you or your supporters never looks good.  Private negotiations will yield the best results.
  5. BE PERSISTENT! You may need to take your case to civil court.  If you have followed our tips above you will look much more credible in the eyes of the judge and you will have a greater chance of success.  Contact an attorney if you need assistance.

It is our hope that your dog is home soon!  Returning dogs to their family means that shelters and rescues can focus their resources and energy on helping truly homeless dogs.  Stay calm, cool and professional for the best chance of a happy reunion.

Posted in Friendly Lost Dog Strategies, Microchips, Rescues and Shelters | Tagged ,

A Dog’s Appearance Can Change Over Time

Don’t be too hasty to dismiss a possible match! As shown below, a dog’s appearance can change over time It is always best to go in person to confirm. Many thanks to our volunteer, Tracie, for sharing these photos of her dog Maisie.

Posted in Photo Tips | Tagged

How Are We Doing? Year to Date August 2019


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How Are We Doing? Year to Date July 2019

July 2019 stats

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Use This Flyer When Your Lost Dog is Staying Reliably in One Area But is Difficult to Trap

Is your missing dog staying in one area but reluctant to enter a humane trap? “Helpful” neighbors may be overfeeding your dog and undermining your efforts to successfully catch him. Lost dogs in survival mode need to be hungry enough to take the risk to enter a humane trap. An overfed dog has little incentive to enter the trap and may contentedly live for months or even years in a neighborhood without ever letting anyone catch them. Cutting off the other food sources will greatly increase your chances of catching him.

If you suspect your dog is being overfed or is being chased by neighbors, we suggest printing and distributing the flyer below. Of course, you will need to edit the text to suit your situation. Use a word program to retype the flyer with text and add a photo.

We have found that educating and informing the neighborhood that a recovery effort is in progress will help get them onboard with your plans. You may only need to print ten or twenty of these – just enough to distribute in the immediate area where your dog is hanging around. Just to clarify: this flyer should NOT be distributed via social media, only by hand to the surrounding neighbors. Otherwise you risk attracting too many curiousity seekers and wanna-be heroes to the location. To create a flyer to distribute via social media please visit our software partner at

And a happy update – Raven the dog pictured in our flyer was successfully caught once they used the flyer to cut off the other food sources and inform the neighbors of their plan. Remember, never give out the exact location of the trap or feeding station. You don’t want curiousity seekers to drive your dog out of the area. Don’t forget to update the neighbors when your dog is caught! Your success will motivate them to educate others on how to successfully capture a shy, lost dog.

For more articles on Humane Trapping please click this link:


Posted in Shy Lost Dog Strategies | Tagged , , ,

Did Your Dog Go Missing From Fireworks? Don’t Panic!

Immediately file a report with us at so that we can make a flyer and share it to our Facebook page which has over 85,000 fans in Wisconsin.  Different formats of your flyer will be emailed to you so that you can print and distribute them in the neighborhood where your dog was last seen. This is the Number One way that lost dogs are found.  We will also assign a volunteer caseworker to offer advice and support. Our services are entirely free.

Dogs lost from stressful situations like fireworks will usually bolt, but usually don’t go very far unless they are being chased or pressured.  Many times they will hide and may remain in hiding for several hours or days.  Once they feel safe and things have quieted down, these dogs may try to return to the area where they went missing.

If your dog went missing last night- don’t panic.  Immediately put out your dog’s favorite blanket or bed, some smelly food and fresh water, and something that smells like the person the dog is most bonded to (like a dirty sock, t-shirt or pillowcase).  Remind everyone who wants to help you that they should not chase, call or whistle to your dog.

See more tips in our handout below:

Posted in Fireworks | Tagged , ,

Hayward, Sawyer County Free Microchip Clinic

Lost Dogs of Wisconsin provided free microchips at the Northwood’s Humane Society BBQ in the Bark Park on Sunday, June 9.  Our Sawyer County volunteer, Esther Maina, organized the microchip clinic and had several people helping her.  Thanks to their hard work, many more dogs and cats in the community are microchipped!


Posted in Events, Microchips, Our Organization | Tagged , ,

How Are We Doing? Year to Date May 2019

May 2019 Statistics

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Eagle River Free Microchip Clinic

What do 78 dogs and 7 cats now have in common? They are all microchipped!

This was made possible by Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, who donated all the chips, and DR. John Cheslak and his amazing staff at Dr. John’s Dog and Cat Repair in Eagle River, WI. Not only did they donate their time and expertise, but they also share the same passion as LDOW for helping lost pets get back to their owners.

And a huge ‘Thank You’ to the volunteers from Northern Flyers Agility who helped checked owners and theirs pets in, pre-scanned them for chips and provided assistance through out the event.

Most of the attendees were from Vilas and Oneida Counties, but we did have some who traveled over an hour to get their pet chipped.

This was the first Free Microchip Event that LDOW has done in the area and we’re hoping to do another one again next year!

Tracie Van Houten Senicka, LDOW Volunteer

Posted in Events, Our Organization

Lost Dogs of Wisconsin Donates Microchip Scanner to the Genoa City Police Department

Microchip scanner presentation

Thank you to our volunteers, Wendy Siedschlag and Carol Long  for being such  great ambassadors in Walworth County. They saw the need for a microchip scanner and put in the request to have one sent to the Genoa City Police Department. We were very happy to purchase one for them!

Thank you to everyone who believes in our mission! You are saving lives and making families whole again.

Posted in Our Organization | Tagged