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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.