This past weekend, an Alabama family reunited with their dog, Boozer, nine years after he went missing during their move from Tennessee to Alabama.

After Boozer got away during the move, a man adopted him. He recently relocated to Denver and surrendered him at a Colorado animal shelter. The shelter discovered the Boxer had a microchip — and found the original family. They drove to 18 hours to see their pooch again.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Related: How to Choose the Right Dog for Your Lifestyle

Keep the furry ones safe and calm

Moving is complicated and chaotic. Sometimes pets literally get lost in the shuffle. Here’s how to look after them during the transition.

Start to pack early. Bringing in and packing boxes in the weeks leading up to the move may help your pet adjust to the commotion.

Keep them safe on moving day. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) advises keeping your pets in a quiet room with the door closed while the movers do their work,This way your pet is less likely to get scared and bolt while the truck is being loaded. Clear the room of any boxes the movers need to access, says D.C. Paw Rescue. Put a sign on the door that says, “Do Not Open.” 

Or drop your pets off at a friend’s house (just don’t forget to pick them up before you pull away).

Consider boarding. If you’re moving within the same city or area of the state, consider boarding your pet for the day if he is anxious, says D.C. Paw Rescue.

Microchip all pets. During your last vet visit, make sure to microchip all of your animals if they aren’t chipped already. Remember to update the chip contact information with every move, says the Humane Society of the United States.

Have ID tags accessible. On move-out day, have all ID tags, collars and leashes accessible to put on your pet, advises D.C. Paw Rescue. Keep their food, toys and bed accessible as well so you can quickly set them up once you arrive at the new house. Along with checking for anything you left behind in the house, make sure you count heads, including children and pets, before you leave.

At the new house, introduce your pet to one room at a time. You may be tempted to let your dog or cat roam the new house to get familiar with the space, but, the ASPCA advises against it. Instead, set up a food and water station in one room and let your pet explore that room first. Unfamiliar spaces can add more anxiety to an already stressful move.

Maintain a routine. Many pets find moving emotionally draining and stressful (just like you). Be sure to give them some extra attention, and be consistent with their feeding and walking times to help them feel settled.

Related: Is Your Dog Stressed Out?

If you find a lost pet

If it was your dog who escaped, you’d hope the person who found him would do the right thing. If you find a lost pet:

  • Take the pet to the nearest vet office to see if it has a microchip.
  • If no microchip is found, contact local animal shelters with the pet’s information and description to see if anyone is looking for it.
  • The Humane Society suggests using Find Toto to find missing pet alerts in your area.
  • Put fliers up around your neighborhood to see if anyone recognizes the lost pet. If you’re part of an online neighborhood group, post the lost pet information there.

Related: The Safe Way to Travel With Your Dog in the Car

Muriel Vega is a writer with a passion for budget travel and staying safe while abroad. A Georgia State University graduate, she has over 6 years of editorial experience and has written for The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Billfold, among other outlets. In her free time, you can find her baking pies, playing with her two dogs and cat, or planning her next vacation. She spends way too much time on Twitter, one of her favorite social media channels. Her favorite safety tip: Make sure you have all the necessary shots before you go abroad.