Happy Tails

Tracing a Lost (or Found) Pet Online

 Lost or found a pet?
This post is about using online resources.

Here is an example of a narrowly missed reunion due to the multiplicity of online resources:

10:23  Woman with missing dog posts this on the Pet FBI Ohio Facebook page

lost dog

 

10:26  Teresa, a  devoted Pet FBI Facebook follower finds a matching Found Dog report on the comprehensive  searchable  database at petfbi.org and posts it to Facebook:.

found dog report matching

Comments follow: Pooch is quickly recovered

comments FB

Teresa is a self-appointed Pet FBI “special agent”  who makes it a daily endeavor to “connect the dots” . Without her vigilance, the people who lost their dog might not have recovered it – at least not so quickly. All the while, there was a link on our Facebook page for our web site and database. If the Facebook poster had used it, she would have found her pooch’s Found Dog report without further ado! But the petfbi.org link is easily overlooked, especially since people who lose a pet are generally in a state of panic. The good Sams, in their turn, might have come across the Facebook post, but generally good Sams tend to be less less motivated.  Once they have posted a found report they expect that the owner will find it.

OBJECT LESSON: To recover your lost pet using web based information, you must be thorough and use all possible resources. We are here to say that the best place to start is the database at PetFBI.org because it is arguably the most comprehensive and the easiest to use. If this sounds like self-promotion, or bragging, we invite you to compare. You will find links to the most helpful online resources on our web page Other Online Resources..

Say your pet goes missing. Your first impulse  – using web based resources – is probably to post on your Facebook page and ask your friends to “share”. But you must not stop there!

You could use a search engine like Google with search terms like “I lost my dog, what should I do?” Or “lost pet website”. Then you probably find yourself confronted with a zillion results. Information about lost pets is scattered everywhere, not just on dedicated web sites, like Pet FBI, but also on Facebook pages, Craigslist, neighborhood sites, shelter sites, etc.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a single, central source of information, just as there is a central registry for stolen cars? If everybody used the same database, lost pets could be recovered quickly and efficiently. This could avert the traumatic – and risky – stay at the pound.

Realistically there will always be multiple sources of information about lost pets. One reason is that there is profit potential in offering various types of assistance for locating a lost pet. Your online search will yield numerous web based businesses. They offer – for a fee – to contact shelters, or neighbors via flyers, faxes, robo-calls, postcard mailings, etc. (For an analysis of the relative merits of pet finding contact services go to our page Other Online Resources.)

Our vision at Pet FBI is to attract as many lost and found reports as possible to optimize the chances of “losers” and “finders” connecting with each other. In Ohio where, after 18 years we have reached a critical mass of users, our success rate is about 40%. Since we only went national in May of 2014, the overall success rate is about half that. But still we have the largest of all lost and found pet databases and all features are FREE!  Most importantly, our web site provides links to other national databases and educates people about how to identify the most helpful online resources for their area.

The bottom line is that your success in recovering your lost pet through online resources is determined by knowledge of where to look and how thorough and persistent you are. It is not enough to use only one resource.

 

Senior Dog Reunited With Senior Dad Via Pet FBI Ohio

Senior dog and Dad

Bear and his grateful Dad, happily reunited

Bear went missing in Ohio and was found by Good Sam Kait who posted on our Pet FBI Ohio Facebook page.

Nikki, one of our numerous followers, remembered that her uncle had helped a senior citizen search for a lost dog the day before. She informed her uncle who fortunately had made note of the Dad’s phone number.

Bear’s Dad had never heard of Facebook and did not understand how  “the FBI” was involved. Hehe! But thanks to the wonders of modern technology and our dedicated Admin, Char, Bear and his Dad are back together again.

Miracle Reunion For Lost Ferret

ferret and family

Stella the ferret, happily reunited thanks to Pet FBI Ohio Facebook!

As reported by our Pet FBI Ohio Facebook admin, Char:

“HOORAY for Stella from the Columbus area!!

Please file this under MIRACLE along with the importance of posting your lost or found pet on our page yourself.

Stella’s Mom posted her lost ferret on the side of our page yesterday. Good Sam Kathleen posted this morning that she spotted a ferret in her yard and was wondering if anyone was missing it.

A magical reunion eventually transpired thanks to both the pet finder and the pet owner posting on the Visitor Posts area of our page!

Good Sam’s family and Stella’s Mom searched 3 acres of wooded area for 2 hours. Everyone searching was astonished to receive word from a kiddo indoors that Stella showed up on the deck and he snagged her. Yay Kiddo!”

“Baby” is Home From the Vet

Girl and emaciated dog

Baby and Bri – on the first day of his new life

A few posts back we reported on a poor emaciated pooch with what looked like a huge tumor on his side. Thanks to the compassion and generosity of a good Sam, a 16 year old girl with a big heart and the “kindness of strangers” – the many Pet FBI Ohio Facebook friends who donated to help him get proper vet care, “Baby” has begun the rest of his new, transformed life with a caring, loving family.

The big mass on his side was an abscess not a tumor, it has been drained and Baby is much younger than he appears, about three years of age. Here are some exchanges from our Facebook page:

From the Mom of his the 16 year old gal who rescued him:

“Baby is home with us. Brianna and Jordan pick him up this evening. He has a lot of recovering to do, but we made a promise to him to have the best life from this point on. God chose us to care for him by sending him to Bri. She loves him completely. He is such a sweet, gentle, and loving little guy. They are curled up sleeping together now.”

A concerned comment from Julie, a Pet FBI Ohio Facebook friend:
So glad he is safe and loved by your family! I hope the vet gave you instructions on how to feed him and put weight back on in a very controlled manor. These emaciated dogs are very prone to bloating/torsion of the stomach. It happens if they eat too fast or too much at once. It can kill a dog within a hour. Please Google symptoms of bloat so you know what to look for. The symptoms are not obvious. It sounds like he is in good hands with you all.”

From Bri’s Mom: “Julie, ty so much for the info. Bri wrote down everything the vet told her to make sure she wouldn’t hurt him in the process of trying to help him. She has a food/calorie intake set up on her phone so she can keep track of it.”

From Bri: “The vet went over feeding schedule with me and informed me how many kcal to feed him, when to increase it, how much to increase it, etc.

Our hearts and prayers go out to Baby, to Bri and to their whole family.

A WARNING TO GOOD SAMS:
If you find a companion animal that is obviously starving, please seek vet care immediately as Bri did. Do not give feed it too much too quickly. You can harm a starving animal with only the best of intentions. It is OK to give water in small amounts at intervals.

Persistence Pays – The Story of Recovering a Lost Cat

Today we received a thank you message from a woman named Rosanna. She used our cat attracting tips and sheer dogged (why don’t people say”catted”?) persistence to recover her lost cat. Here is the story in her own words:

I lost my cat in Astoria Oregon on May 6th at 6pm at the Astoria Oregon Co-op grocery store.

cat in repose

Stella

I am from Seattle Washington but I have a vacation home in Gearhart Oregon, about 25 minutes away from the co-op where  I stopped  to buy groceries. I did not notice it at the time, but my cat Stella jumped from my car when I was loading the groceries.

When I got to my home in Gearhart, I was horrified to discover that Stella was missing from my car! I immediately went back to Astoria with my friends and looked everywhere for Stella.

The neighborhood around the co-op helped a great deal as did the employees of the grocery store.The local public radio station KMUN 91.9 began broadcasting announcements about Stella being lost.

In the meantime I was given your website from my daughter who lost her cat in Columbus Ohio.  I followed your advice and began doing all the things you recommended.

I got up at dawn,  went to Astoria and began searching for Stella and looking everywhere in the vicinity of the co-op. I scoured the community and put flyers everywhere and talked to many people. They were so helpful. I went to the area dawn and dusk. I printed flyers, put them up with her photo and posted on local FB pages.

I went every night to the co-op. I parked in the same place where I had lost her. I put out her scratch pad, cushion and a towel with my scent on it. I put out sardines and smelly tuna fish, to lure her back to the front of the store. I did this every day!

Items to lure a cat back

Items left to lure Stella out of hiding: her scratch pad, tuna, towel with Rosanna’s scent

I did not sleep at night. I was pretty exhausted and depressed. Stella is like a member of our family. She is very important to my youngest daughter who is a freshman in college. I had to find her!

I did this for four days and nights. On the fourth night I got a call from the Clatsop County Animal Shelter saying they had a sighting of her. I went to the spot, talked to the people and left photos and food.

I thought to swing by the co-op to see if there was any activity. There were sightings of Stella at night around 9:30. Then I saw two employees by the dumpster. They recognized me. They said they had heard a cat meow…they closed the gates of the fenced garbage area  and Stella came came out!!!!! We could not believe it!

woman and lost cat after recovery

Stella and Rosanna, happily reunited

I followed your advice and even went further and tried to be there waiting for her. The lesson I learned was not to give up – you were right – cats do not go far from where they are lost.

Thank you for your helpful advice. It worked!  I reached out to the community and they helped so much!  But it was by being tenacious that I found Stella.

Thank you, PET FBI!

Warmly,

Rosanna

About Microchips

It is not unusual to come across a news item about a cat or a dog that has been reunited after five, seven, or even ten years. Usually, as in the case of Boozer shown in our previous post, it is because the owner was traced through a microchip that had been previously overlooked.  A microchip is a tiny identification device, about the size of a grain of rice, that is implanted beneath the skin of your pet. Each chip contains a unique identification number. When a pet is found, it can be scanned at an animal shelter or veterinary clinic. The owners contact information is associated with that number recorded in a registry.

Unlike ID tags, microchips are permanent yet even they are not foolproof. Sometimes they migrate from the spot where usually implanted and are missed. Occasionally at a busy

Sheldon: Traced through microchip to the shelter where he was adopted

Sheldon: Traced through microchip to the shelter where he was adopted

shelter, the scanning protocol may be overlooked. Also, there are multiple microchip registries and that leads to confusion Another drawback is that pet parents forget to update their contact information with the registry and then it is no longer possible to trace them easily. Also some people do not know about microchips and if they rescue a stray they may not know to have it scanned by a vet or a shelter which is usually a courtesy service, that is – no charge.

Many companies now offer microchips for pets. They are not terribly expensive. Often humane societies offer low-cost microchipping, so ask your local humane society or consult your vet. Remember, having some form of ID for your pet, especially a microchip, will greatly increase its chances of recovery.

How Long Does It Take To Recover a Lost Pet?

Dog with family after 10 yrs lost

Boozer was lost almost 10 years ago, when his family was in the process of moving. They never expected to see him again after so long but Boozer was eventually surrendered to a shelter that scanned him and found the microchip that lead to this remarkable reunion.

Dog Recovered Quickly

Mikey was back home within 24 hours thanks to 254 “shares” on the Pet FBI Ohio Facebook page.

Statistics indicate that most lost pets are recovered within 30 days. But the time varies greatly depending on whether it is a cat or a dog. Most people will notice a stray dog and even try to help it. Lost cats are inclined to be furtive and they are harder to spot. Also people just ignore them because free-roaming cats are not unusual. A lot of cat owners disregard the dangers to free-roaming cats and let their cats outside. Another reason people don’t bother with a stray cat is the myth that a cat can “fend for itself”. Consequently, it may be many weeks or months before a lost cat “surfaces” and allows itself to be taken in or trapped.

Pet FBI has had many cases where cats or dogs were reunited months after they went missing.  Do not give up too soon! If you have not recovered your lost pet after 30 days, you should renew your efforts: extend the area where you put up your flyers; continue to  check the shelters and online resources like the Pet FBI database, Facebook and Craigslist, etc.

Deaf Foster Dog Recovered Thanks To Alert Animal Control Officer

Dog w distinctive markings

Jeorgia

Tina, an alert Animal Control officer in Columbus Ohio follows our lost and found Ohio pet Facebook page. While looking over the new posts she remembered a phone call from a new foster parent about a missing dog that was deaf. It happened that this pooch had distinctive markings in addition to being deaf, so it was a pretty solid match. In fact, within 30 minutes a happy reunion took place.jeorgia2

Pet FBI Ohio Facebook Page Scores 80 Reunions In April With 10 Days To Go!

Never underestimate the power of Facebook! When there is a conscientious admin and a huge faithful following, successful reunions soon abound. Over the years Pet FBI Ohio’s Facebook page has achieved 36,000 likes and growing. An army of faithful friends share posts,  research other sources of information for possible matches, and sometimes even pound the pavement in an effort to find a lost pet. So far this month (April 20) there have been 80 happy reunions through Facebook and there are still many days to go! Thanks to all our devoted friends  for helping Pet FBI fulfill its mission of reuniting lost pets and their families.

HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE EIGHTY LUCKY DOGS!

Wet Dog Rescued, Relocated, Reunited!

man and dog reunited

Lost dog from Columbus ends up in Cleveland

This darling dog was spotted shivering and soaking wet at the side of the road by a Good Sam in Columbus, Ohio. Since he was on his way home to Cleveland he stopped to pick up the poor pooch and brought him home with him.  Meanwhile her anguished Dad posted  a lost report on the Pet FBI Ohio Facebook page. Hundreds of shares later, the item reached the news feed of the Good Sam who immediately contacted the owner. Here is is happily reunited.

OBJECT LESSON: Lost pets often end up far from home either on their own, or because they were rescued through circumstances that led to them ending up far far away. While most pets are found close to home, especially cats, always extend your search to shelters and media  farther away,