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7 Dos and Don'ts for Making a Lost Dog Flyer

I've seen lots of lost-dog flyers in Brooklyn, some good and some bad; here's what I've learned.

 |  Mar 12th 2014  |   4 Contributions


The panic that comes with losing a dog can be insufferable. But once you've realized your canine has flown the roost, it's time to focus on taking the most effective steps to track down the errant pooch. Posting up an effective lost dog flyer is a key part of the rescue process.

Walking around Brooklyn, I see a lot of lost dog flyers. Some catch the eye, others are quite awful (in an at-times heartbreaking way). Here's what I've gleaned about creating a winning lost dog flyer.

1. Do add the right details

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This flyer for the sadly AWOL Jude works because it includes sensible details like the dog's color (not everyone is going to be able to identify a dog by breed alone), the type of collar she was wearing (super helpful), and the cross streets and date where she wandered off. Bonus points for a clear color picture of Jude, too, plus using pink tape helps the poster stand out to passersby.

2. Don't use grainy pictures

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I saw this flyer in a local vet's office. It was one of many using the same template, which unfortunately makes it look more like a sheet from a dog's medical records than an effective lost dog flyer. The photo used is just too small and grainy to be of much help in identifying him. Also, don't call your dog Michael Jackson!

3. Do play up the emotional angle

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When Chloe went missing, her owners put together a decent flyer, with the Yorkie's mug taking center stage as she pouts for the camera. They were also savvy enough to play up the emotional angle of Chloe being missed by four children. Tug on those heart strings if it helps get your dog back!

4. Don't sound negligent

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Mike may love his dog Luna, but the first real detail on his missing poster makes him sound partly culpable for the Bulldog's escape: "She ran out the house while door was open." It's an admission unlikely to drum up much sympathy, especially in a big city. Sadly, Luna's medical issues (she suffers from seizures without proper medication) are buried lower down in the blurb -- they'd have been a smarter way to grab people's attention.

5. Do time stamp!

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Adding the time you last saw your dog can be a really helpful addition to a missing flyer. Muffin here was hanging around outside a bakery on a Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. This helps jog the memory of people who may have seen her around the area during a similar time while running out for their weekend coffee and bagels.

6. Don't appear crazy (or still drunk from the night before)

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Paty lost this unnamed dog on Christmas Eve. The Maltese was "wearing clothing of Santa Claus." While there might be a second language issue at play here, the flyer in general gives off the vibe that Paty was still tipsy from a night of festive drinking, during which a dog may have been dressed up as Santa and possibly allowed to escape. From the pictures cobbled together at the top of the flyer, the dog might have also been an alien.

7. Actually...

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At first, this delicately handwritten flyer might appear to be the work of a burly drunkard. It reads: 

"I found yr dog. [Picture of dog] You know what your [blasphemous word] dog looks like. You where drunk or high and left him outside the store across from the Austrian place. I was drunk and high and saw cops poking your beast wondering if it came with sprinkles. I lied, said I know you, said don't take Scooter to the pound. Anyway, I have him. Call."

Bizarrely though, it worked, and Scooter avoided the pound. The flyer was the work of a friend who's a full-time cat owner. He seemed to know his audience (or at least the thinking process of someone losing their dog during the weekend reveling hours) and conjured up a flyer they apparently identified with. Success comes in mysterious ways.

Have you ever seen a lost-dog sign that rose above the rest? Tell is about it in the comments -- and tell us about the worst ones, too!

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About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world's foremost expert on rappers' cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it's not quite what you think it is.

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