If Ranger digs under the fence and takes off to seek his fortune or if Fluffy runs out the door past the kids and disappears, don't lose hope. Most dogs will come home within 24 hours if at all possible.
Your best bet to get your pet back is to make sure he's easily identified with license tags or a microchip. If he's found by a good Samaritan or picked up by a dog warden, the license or chip number is his ticket home. Counties keep records of all license numbers, and chips are registered with local or national databases. Most shelters have scanners that can read the chip; the staff can then call the company's 24-hour hotline to get your name and phone number.
If Fluffy's not identified, there are still several steps you can take.
If you find Ranger at the shelter, pay the fine and the license fee and thank the shelter folks for their trouble. If he's returned by Mrs. Smith from the next subdivision, give her a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers and go buy Ranger a license or make arrangements for microchip implantation. And don't forget to cancel the ad and take down the posters.
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