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Website helps owners find lost furry friends

Cody Luk
Assistant Arts Editor

Many people lose their pets, however, there may still be hope through LostMyDoggie.com, a national lost pet recovery system.

The website’s goal is to get the word out about a lost pet to many people quickly and to reunite lost pets with families.

“LostMyDoggie.com was started by one person, a man who lost a dog and discovered how difficult and time consuming it was to go door-to-door and notify his many neighbors within a several block radius,” said Donna Lewis, LostMyDoggie’s customer service supervisor. “He realized there had to be a better way, which led him to create LostMyDoggie.com.”

Since it started six years ago, LostMyDoggie.com has helped tens of thousands pet owners find lost pets. The most useful tool is a lost animal alert that is similar to the Amber Alert for kidnapped, children and it is included in the paid services, which range from $49.95 to $89.95.

The website sends phone blasts with the pet owners’ contact information to thousands of neighbors and mails information about lost pets to shelters, vets, rescue groups, animal hospitals and pet stores.

There is also a service option, which includes creating professional flyers and sending them to shelters or vets in a 20-mile radius through email and fax. The user can also upload a lost pet listing, receive alerts of matching lost pets and more.

The website also has a lost pet database with information such as breed, size, location and pet images. People can add to it if they lost or found a pet. Reward amounts can also be set.

Group forums are also available for members to discuss lost and found pet stories, pet caring tips or anything in general.

The website posted almost 2,000 stories by pet owners who found it helpful in the process of finding lost pets.

Among the stories posted are testimony by people in small towns, who had been skeptical of using media and Internet, but once they did, they found their pets and were delighted with the service.

Lewis said sometimes no matter how carefully pet owners are, pets just get out.

“During times when there are loud noises such as fireworks and thunderstorms, animals will scale fences, dig under fences,” she said. “Dogs without a leash often will take off running after a cat, a rabbit, squirrel, a deer and eventually find themselves lost.”

Animals not spayed or neutered would also stray away to look for mates. Some also leave their homes to look for companions due to loneliness.

“Dogs who are lonely or bored should be given a companion, a human and or (an) animal, because dogs are pack animals and most of them are not happy being alone,” Lewis said. “They need company just as importantly as they need food.”

For some, they are rather lucky if their dog returns home after leaving home.

“Personally, my dog Bubbles is super smart and intuitive,” La Verne sophomore chemistry major Katherine Bay said. “Sometimes he’ll escape through the front door without us knowing and he’ll roam around the neighborhood for hours, and then all of a sudden, we’ll hear him barking so when we open the front door, he just traipses back in. He knows where he lives so I’m not worried about him getting lost. I trust that he’d come back eventually.”

Neighbors are very important when it comes to searching for a lost pet, because there is a high chance the pet is still around the neighborhood, trying to find a way home, Lewis said. By calling neighbors, this increases the chances of sending the information directly to people that can potentially find the lost pets.

For lost cats, there is also a sister site, LostMyKitty.com. But it is harder to find a cat.

“On a regular day, about two to three people would come in to the animal shelter to find their lost pets,” Upland Animal Shelter Kennel Attendant Olar Viurquez said. “Dogs are usually found more than cats.”

Lost pet orders are processed within an hour and alert messages are sent immediately during business hours.

Cody Luk can be reached at cody.luk@laverne.edu.

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