missing pet posterFor the second time this summer, a missing pet ended up in my neck of the woods - literally. I live in a forest, and this summer, had the pleasure of restoring a pair of mischievous little escapees to their owner.

The Yorkies had somehow got through one of those invisible dog fences, and ended up making a beeline for my poor Siamese cat.

After I rescued my traumatized kitty, it took some ingenuity on my part to get the tag off the quieter pup's collar - but the phone number engraved on it turned out to be so worn, there was no tracing the owner. Fortunately, as I sat in my front yard with my two little "guests" tied beside me, he happened to trawl slowly by in his car with a neighbor, who spotted the two escapees.

I don't know who was happier about this unexpected resolution - me or their owner.

The second missing pet wasn't so lucky. The tiny Jack Russell arrived, covered in skunk spray and shaking like a leaf. He had a collar - but no tag.

After neighborhood enquiries failed to turn up anything in our tiny rural spot on the map, a neighbor took him to the pound.

I don't know what happened to the little guy. I hope his owner found him. But these two incidents brought something home to me, and I'd like to share it with you...

If you have a beloved dog, it doesn't matter whether it "never goes outside the yard" or not. Invisible dog fences fail, doors get opened by mistake.

Please, please - make sure your pet is wearing an up-to-date tag... with your phone number on it. Not the vet's; not some Animal Location Service - the first incident happened at the start of a holiday weekend, and all vets and animal hospitals in my area were closed. (I know. I phoned.) Your phone number. Wouldn't it be much nicer to get your missing pet back instantly... instead of putting up those sad little posters?