Resources: Dealing With Sightings

Your team of volunteers has worked hard at flyering and posting signs and now you’re getting some sightings! Now what?

The point person should keep a sighting journal. It is hard to remember all of the details from a phone call. Something that may seem insignificant at first may become very significant as time goes on. So most importantly, get the name and phone number of the caller, so that you can call back with any extra questions! Here are some useful questions you can ask:

1. Where did you see the dog? Ask them to be specific. For example: the dog was going north on Shelbourne toward Mount Douglas Park. She was on the opposite side of the street from the Starbucks.

2. When did you see the dog? What was the weather like? Again, ask for specifics. Example: The dog was seen at 10 a.m. on Monday, August 5th. It was raining at the time.

3. Can you describe the dog? Make sure the description matches. Was he wearing a collar? Did he seem okay and uninjured?

4. What was he doing? Was he trotting, running, darting in and out of traffic, sleeping, playing with other dogs, walking calmly, etc?

5. How was he carrying his body and tail? Was he low to the ground, almost crawling? Was his tail up or down or wagging?

Record all of these details in your journal and then mark your sightings on a map. You can use an old-fashioned paper map, or use a tool like Google Maps that will create a map you can share online with your volunteers. This link will help you create a custom map:

Be careful when you send people to sighting locations! You do not want your dog to panic and run into traffic or leave the area. You want to encourage him to settle in one place. Then you can implement a plan to catch him. You and your team need to change your focus from searching for the dog to luring him in.