Last Summer, When I Lost My Pet

Saint Francis Lost Pets Statue at Tinley Park's St. Stephens Church
Instagram Story I posted on July 16, 2018. My mother-in-law recommended we pray to St. Francis to help us find Samantha.

It’s hard to believe but as of today it’s been exactly one year ago since Samantha (Sammie), our trusty puppy, came back to us.

It was July 16, 2017—I was 3 weeks pregnant and my husband, dog, and I were hit by a driver who was texting, in Tinley Park near our home. Our car was just behind a line of other cars, not even moving. Our car was totaled and our then almost two-year old dog Samantha jumped out one of the windows out of fear; gone missing for almost a day.

We were very blessed that she found her way back to us after the terrible scare we all experienced being in that car accident. Looking back you can’t help but think of all the memories and life events she would have missed with us and we would’ve missed with her. I don’t want to get sad again and relive those sixteen odd hours, but I think when July 16th and July 17th come and go my family and I will be always be extra mindful of how precious life is and count our blessings.

Tinley Park Mom Stephanie Pyrzynski, baby daughter, husband Geoffrey and puppy Samanatha, Family on Cover of July 2018 Trader Magazine
Our family on the cover of local coupon magazine Trader Magazine, July 2018.

For instance, two weeks ago we made the cover of Trader Magazine with Sammiea and our new born baby Eileah with us. Can’t imagine her not being in our lives ever. Like Eileah, our dog Sammie is pure love and joy.

Although Sammie was able to find her way back to us in less than a day, that is not to say that our efforts in trying to find her were for nothing.

Our car was totalled by the driver who hit us. Without a car that makes searching the neighborhood yourself a challenge. Luckily in our situation we had Geoffrey’s parents nearby so we split up in their two cars and drove around all day. But we didn’t just rely on the old-school methods to find our dog.

How To Find A Lost Pet, What I Did

1. Made Calls

Who I called:

It never hurts to ask people to help spread the word about your lost pet. Also, make sharing information easy for them. Provide them with flyers and/or links to your pet’s online profile or pages where your pet is listed as lost as well. You want to get the information to spread like wildfire and time is of the essense.

2. Made A Lost Dog Profile Online

Samantha's PetLink Profile

Make sure that if your dog or other pet has a tracking chip that you create or put more details on the profile for your pet on the tracking company’s website. When we adopted Samantha I made sure to take care of completing her profile on her tracking chip brand’s website, PetLink. Having created a profile that was pretty well filled out, all I had to change when we lost her was her listed weight.

I also made sure to create a profile and listing on the Lost Dogs Illinois website as well.

A bonus for Tinley Park residents: The new Lost and Found Pets page that was added to the the Village of Tinley Park’s website in March of 2018 is like having another profile of your dog online, always updated so that others can check back to see if your pet was found.
Here’s a thorough guide on every aspect of Dog Microchipping from experts from Fluent Woof.

3. Created Flyers

PetLink Lost Dog Flyer for Samantha July 16 2017

PetLink offers a free flyer maker when you create your alert so does Helping Lost Pets.

Alternatively, you can use tempaltes in Microsoft’s Publisher program or, for Mac users, Apple’s Pages program to create your own custom flyer with tear away strips at the bottom.

4. Posted and Advertised on Social Media

Help Find Sammie Facebook Ads Manager Setup Preview

As a digital marketer, I also made sure to leverage social media so that as many people as possible would be on the look out for her.

First I posted organically in the local Tinley Park and Southwest Chicago Suburbs Facebook Groups and then I launched ad campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

As a digital marketer I know organic is limited and going viral is not easy. So to bolster our social media efforts and feel better, I spared no expense and launched an ad campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram target at people who lived in or near Tinley Park too. You can read more in depth about how I ran the ad campaigns for my lost dog on my digital marketing agency’s website.

5. Drove Around Town Throughout The Day

Don’t be afraid to ask people you drove or walk past for help. Hand them a flyer, tell them how she looks…you’ll be surprised how willing people are to help. Remember to take breaks and stay hydrated. It’ll be midnight and you’ll find yourself squeaking one of your pet’s favorite toys, but don’t let yourself faint from exhaustion and deprivation. Taking care of yourself ensures your stamina. Time is of the essence, but don’t hurt herself in the process because that delays you more than a quick snack will.

When Samantha came home the following day I was happy to notify the people and places that I had contacted that she was ok. I also made a point to update people online, take down her lost pet profiles, and stop the ad campaigns that were running. There are many people who care when something bad happens, so don’t discount the importantance of keeping people updated.

I hope you may never experience a pet going missing, but remember that you are living in an age in which technology can help you reach more people who can help you find your pet. Use all the resources you have available and remember to not be hard on yourself. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have, who we know, and what we can do.

One last thing..

Thank you to all of those who helped our family find Samantha. Whether it was through spreading the word or actively searching on your own in the neighborhood, we want to thank you again. You didn’t know us, but like us, when someone needed your help you helped!

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