What to do if your dog gets lost
Sometimes, and especially if your buddy is a restless puppy, a minimum oversight can give you a good scare. It all depends on the personality of your dog. If it is a dog that does not go very far from you, you will not have any big fuss, but if it is a very independent dog you can sometimes lose sight of it. That is why it is very important, first of all, that your dog is obedient and listen to you. Cocaí is a super independent dog, she goes and explore territories that are a hell out of sight... But she always comes back when I call her.
Prevention. There are several tips you can follow to avoid this kind of scares:
Be a responsible mother/father. Watch him/her. This applies especially if you are in a wide area, if there are lots of people, and if your dog is naughty and hyperactive. After all, dogs are like kids and you have to keep an eye on them always.
Put him/her on the leash in areas with crowds, especially if there are festivities. Many of you will have dogs that are afraid of firecrackers and loud noises and you will be familiar with this situation.
Dog with collar and phone on plate (or on collar). In addition to being able to be called if somebody find him/her, usually nobody will take him/her because they know it belongs to someone.
Bacalar's Lagoon, México; the board reads: "Take care of me to have me tomorrow".
To cure. What to do when you lose sight of your dog. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] In our travels we had a couple of little scares (or rather, great scares). One of them was because I got distracted when she was about 4 months old and was not quiet for a minute. She slipped into some family's garden. The other one has been more recent, when she was already 2 years old, and was because she got scared with the fireworks and firecrackers that were throwing in a costume parade.
The first thing to do is trying to stay calm and not panic, because you will not do you any good getting nervous. Wait a few minutes to see if he/she appears, because could be close and if you move maybe you get away from him/her.
Wait for someone to call you on the phone (if you do not have battery, charge it as soon as you can). I assume your dog carries a plate with your number, it is very important. In fact, if you are going to spend a long season in that country, the best would be having a local number.
Ask people around you if they have seen a dog (colour, breed, size...). This can improve or worsen the situation, as sometimes they indicate the direction that another dog has followed (this could happen in places where there are lots of street dogs).
Talk to the police, give them a picture of your dog if you have one. They could organize search patrols.
Ask if there is any type of public address service (speakers) if you are in a small town. I had the "luck" to lose Cocaí in a town in Ecuador called Olón, which had a public address throughout the town. Thanks to this the family whose garden had slipped Cocaí into, listened the message I have for them and brought her to the main square.
If none of that worked, you have two options. 1) Wait in the same place where you lost sight of your dog with the hope that he/she will return; 2) Think carefully about where he/she might have gone. Many times they do not get lost, they just flee from something (as in the case I have told with the firecrackers, but it could be by other noises or events). And dogs are very smart, they will go to a place where they feel safe or where they believe you can find them. When Cocaí fled that day from the parade, I saw her crossing the square where we were and ascend in the direction we had come. No matter how much I called her, she ignored me, fear did not let her do anything but run. We had just arrived at the village (Bacalar, Mexico) and we knew practically nothing about the place... I asked the locals if they had seen my dog, I talked to the police (I gave them a photo and they said they would do anything). But nothing, no trace of Coqui. After almost two hours I was desperate. The worst thing is to imagine that some car may have run over your dog... And suddenly, I had a glimmer of hope: there was a place we knew. I went back the same way we had come to the village, about 20 blocks away, and arrived at the store where we had stopped to ask a question. There she was! At the pet store, tied to a pole. The owner had tied her and was waiting for me. I almost cried. I think Cocaí went there because she was safe from the noise (and quite far). But also because she knew I would find her there.
What a better place than this to celebrate the reunion!