Lost & Found

GRR receives many calls on lost/found pets. We have provided the following information to help you keep your pets safe and help strays/foundlings find their owners.

GRR accepts dogs recognizable as Golden Retrievers into our program. We get numerous calls on found dogs. We generally ask the finding party to follow the checklist below in attempt to locate the dog's rightful owner.

General Tips to keep your pet safe and secure with you.

  1. ALWAYS keep a collar with tags on your pet. Make sure the collar is snug enough not to slip over the dog's head.

  2. Securely attach a tag with your name and phone number to the collar via a split ring (circular kind on your key ring. Available at hardware & crafts stores.) "S" type hooks that come with rabies tags do not stay on collars well and are easy to lose.

  3. Secure your yard and fencing.

    • Padlock your gates so meter readers, neighbor children, the wind, a jumping dog, etc, can't open them accidentally.

    • Check the entire fence area for loose boards/wire.

    • Watch the bottom edge of fence for holes that can be enlarged by bored dogs, providing an escape route. Use railroad ties, cement, blocks, etc. to secure edge to prevent digging under.

  4. Do not go on vacation and leave the dog unattended, assuming a pet sitter will be responsible for keeping the dog secure. When owners leave dogs become stressed. They try to get out and find their family. Even diligent pet sitters who check the dogs twice daily can't make up for your presence at home. If they find the dog gone, it may have been 12 to 24 hours since the escape. This greatly reduces your chances of finding the dog. Additionally, if the dog is found while you are gone and you are not home to answer the phone, you can't re-claim the dog. Local animal shelters have a minimum hold time for owners to reclaim their animals, even for tagged dogs. If you don't arrive home in the specified time, your dog may be placed for adoption or possibly even euthanized, depending on shelter space requirements. When you travel have someone stay at your home with the animals or board them in a reputable kennel or vet's office. It may be more expensive but your beloved pets' lives are worth it.

  5. Tattoo and/or microchip your pet. Qualified veterinarians insert microchips under the skin of animals. Dogs taken to many shelters are scanned for chips. The chip contains information on both the dog and owner. The problem with chips is that many people aren't aware of them. Tattooing is great except you have to tattoo something that won't change and that can be used to find the owner easily. Phone numbers frequently change. Social security numbers don't help, as the average person cannot call Social Security Administration and get your phone number. AKC numbers are not recognizable to the average person and neither are driver's license numbers. If you are going to Tattoo, use something like "microchip" and then chip the dog as well. Tattooing does have one advantage: Dogs with Tattoos cannot be used or sold for medical research purposes!

If you've lost your dog:

IF THIS IS A FOSTER DOG, CALL THE HOTLINE IMMEDIATELY TO NOTIFY US: (512) 659-4653 so we can all help with the search.

  1. Call the vets & shelters in town. Don't just call the close ones; call all of them as dogs can wander quite a ways. In addition, if a Good Samaritan picked them up they may be a distance away from you.

  2. Post signs as soon as possible in conspicuous places in about a five-mile radius.

  3. Place an ad in the lost and found section of the newspaper as soon as possible.

  4. Knock on doors, drive the neighborhood and ask if anyone has seen him/her. The sooner you get on the trail, the better your chances of success. Enlist neighbor children to help with the search.

  5. When calling about your dog, be prepared to give a detailed description of him/her. Expect the caller to want some proof of ownership like a photo, vet records, etc. Be glad they are so conscientious, since they could hand your dog over to anyone and you'd never see it again.

  6. If the Good Samaritan has had to incur expenses on behalf of your dog for illness, injury or vet work, be prepared to reimburse them the cost. Remember that they could have just left him/her out in the street, sick, injured and/or alone.

  7. Beware of scam artists, especially if you are offering a reward. They can search the classified ads of most every paper in the US by Internet.

Common scam: Someone calls collect, usually from a pay phone, saying they are a truck driver/were traveling through your area, etc. They found a dog, it sounds like yours, and they'd like to get it back to you but… They need money to take it to the vet, get it a health certificate, crate and then fly it back to you…. You believe all of this, as it sounds plausible, you are heartbroken and desperate to get Fluffy back… That's exactly what they are betting on and you throw your money away.

Basic search guide for helping you find your lost dog:

When searching for a lost dog WHAT TO DO ASAP , to create a flyer, hand it to pet food stores, vegetable stands, gas stations, animal control officers of surrounding towns, police department:




The below websites are user friendly.

POST your LOST pet here as well as view the FOUND pets section on each website.


(select appropriate state and be sure to view the Pets Category and Lost and Found Category)


http://www.Dogdetective.com w/ PICTURE



Leave food & water outside door normally used when walking the dog, as well as something with a familiar scent, such as the dog’s blanket, crate, toy, owner’s smelly shirt or used pillowcase. Try to keep items dry. Dogs may return to where they bolted from at any time, familiar place or not.

Create a FLYER with picture of dog. Post and distribute quickly (read: ASAP!)

Call surrounding towns’ ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER (ACO) immediately, no matter  what the hour. If necessary, leave a message.

You can call a town Police Department’s non-emergency number to get the name/phone number of each ACO. The ACO may be full or part time. Some towns share, big cities may have several. Ask who picks up dogs hit by cars. Get a flyer/picture to them ASAP. They need detailed descriptions.

Next, get flyers to police dispatch, veterinarians, shelters & rescue groups, kennels, dog groomers/walkers/sitters, feed and farm & pet supply stores in area.

Visit restaurants big/small, rubbish transfer stations or local “dump”.

Go to doughnut shops, convenience food stores, golf courses, amusement parks, airports, senior centers, churches, libraries, fire stations, athletic fields and junkyards.

Contact the managers of Dept. of Public Works, Highway, Parks & Recreation, School Grounds, Cable, Gas and Electric companies and give them a flyer for the employees to view.

Tape flyers on your vehicle while in area for maximum exposure & publicity 

A brief ad with picture in local newspaper is helpful. See if local “free” paper will run an ad for you.

Stay “ahead” of dog & go to homes within a 3-mile radius and hand out flyers. Skip around if necessary, but cover key areas. Be sure to post at intersections, school districts and athletic fields. If you have time & helpers, the search area can be expanded immediately or on an “as needed” basis. It is better to talk to people in the area than to stuff a mailbox (not legal). Leave flyers on windshields, under flowerpots, in newspaper bins, etc. The newspaper carriers might help by giving flyers to their customers. Give flyers to people walking dogs, joggers/walkers, mail delivery trucks, FED EX, UPS, landscapers, construction crews and rubbish/recycling trucks.

Smile, be polite, courteous & always on a positive note. Go to search areas with flyers at different times throughout the day/evening. Make people aware that they are vital to successful lost dog search efforts.

Reinforce “Do Not Chase - Call US”. Tell everyone if they see flyers posted, the dog is still missing. 

If you find a dog:

  1. Check for collar and tags; call any and all numbers you find.

  2. Look in the ear or inner thighs for a tattoo.

  3. Scan for a microchip, vets and shelters will do this for free.

  4. Post notices in prominent locations where you found the dog.

  5. Call the local paper. Most newspapers provide you with a free ad for found dogs.

  6. Call local Vet offices and the shelter. Ask them to post notices stating you have the dog.

  7. If you are concerned about the health or vaccination status of the dog, take it to your vet for a checkup. If the owner is found, it is perfectly reasonable to expect them to reimburse you for the vet costs you incurred while caring for their animal.

  8. Be prepared to screen callers to ensure this is really their animal. A great number of people will call a lost dog ad to try to get a free dog. Worse, especially in the case of Golden Retrievers, they will attempt to get them to sell them for unsavory purposes such as medical research, drug lab testing, breeding, etc. The following questionnaire will help guide you in this process. Remember, if it was your dog, you wouldn't want somebody to give it to just anybody.

Lost Dog Questionnaire

Callers Name                                                                                                   

Callers Phone Number                                                                                   

Callers Address                                                                                               

At this point tell them you’ll call them right back. This way you can establish that the phone number is valid. If you have caller ID and can verify that the name and number they gave is valid, there is no need to hang up and call them back.

After calling them back, ask the following questions. Do not tell them the correct answer, even after they have given their answer. This is important because they could then have someone else call back with the right answers.

Dog’s Name/Gender/Age                                                                       


Long or Short Coat                                                                                   


Identifying Marks                                                                                       


Neutered or Intact                                                                                       


Documentation that they can provide to prove ownership: (bill of sale, vet records, city license receipt, photos)

If you believe that they own the dog, be sure to have them bring the above documentation when they come to pick up the dog. If you are not sure whether the caller owns the dog, tell them that you need to take another look at the dog and will call them back. If you are convinced that the dog is not theirs, tell them so without revealing the answers to the questions.

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