Lost dogs – Good photos are key
Last week, I saw an image pop up on my Facebook page that sent me back four years. It was the image of a Lost Sheltie flyer, Cupcake’s Lost Sheltie flyer to be precise. It was from when she was missing in November 2011.
Cupcake was lost and found after 12 long days, and it was only because of many, many wonderful volunteers and a handy little thing called a flyer, that I got her back.
Cupcake’s lost dog flyer was placed everywhere – on grocery store walls and convenience store windows, in newspaper boxes and inside neighbor’s screen doors, on cars in a church and shopping store parking lots. Her image was seen by hundreds of people all over Eagan.
I remember thinking how lucky I was to have taken so many photos of her. She may not have been my dog at the time (she was my foster dog), but I loved taking pictures of her, and that turned out to be a fortunate thing, because I was able to use so many of those pictures to make sure people knew it was her when they spotted her.
Seeing the flyer again made me realize that perhaps in all the educating being done on micro-chipping your pet, handing out flyers and getting the word out, we may have forgotten to mention that having a few good, current photos are essential too.
Too often, I see photos on the Lost Dogs Facebook pages that are too dark, out of focus, or don’t give viewers a full and complete image of their dog. These are the photos someone will use to (hopefully) identify their dog. A bad photo can make the difference between a dog that gets seen, and reported, and one that does not.
This is not to say that someone is a bad owner if they do not have a good photo of their dog (we all have bad photos of our pets), but it is a call for dog owners to start taking better photos of their pets “in case” they ever need to use it in a lost dog search.
I recognize that most people never expect their dog to go missing, but being prepared for the “what if” situation is easier than saying “if only I had…” So here are some tips on how to capture some great photos of your dog that you can use in a lost dog flyer, if you should ever need it:
- Take pictures of your dog in natural light or in a well-lit area. It not only gives people a better idea of what your dog looks like, but it can also show off any unusual features they may have, such as unusual colorations in their coat or face.
- Shoot pictures of your dog from all different angles – you want to get photos that show their front, back and sides, it gives people a better sense of their size, coloring, and length.
- Get a close up of your dog’s face – A close up shows searchers and shelters more of their facial features and makes it easier for them to make a positive identification.
- Take a selfie with your pet – Almost everyone has a cell phone on them these days. Why not take advantage of a moment when you are out with your dog to take a selfie? It will help people make a connection with you and your dog and it almost guarantees that you will have a more current photo with you, if you should ever need it in an emergency.
- Take an action shot of your pet – It will give a potential finder a better sense of how your dog stands or moves. This is especially helpful in the case of a sighting of your missing dog.
I hope you will never need to use one of these photos in a lost dog flyer, but if you ever do you will be much better prepared to provide one that will help searchers make a positive identification.
Note: If you find a lost dog, please do your best to take a really good photo that is in a well-lit area. It will help the owner find their dog so much more quickly.