Monday, July 6, 2009

The hard world of lost and found pets

The fireworks and 4th of July bring fun times to many, but the loud noises and "bombs bursting in air" chases many a scared pet away from their home. I should know - I found one and have been striving everyday since then to reunite the dog with it's owner.

Well before the article that came out in the Seattle Times today with it's story about the Federal Way based Missing Pet Partnership that happily helps people reunite with their pets, right here in Renton a little story of the same type has been taking place. Before even having looked at such types of websites, I had found myself doing all of the actions that are suggested ( here is a list on the above website) to help a lost pet find their way home, and then some. A friend suggested that I share some of my journey these last few days with you. Here are some of my best suggestions so far - and I am still trying.

1.Check to see if the pet has a license, name tag, or a chip. Take the pet to a vet and have them scan for the chip and the information that it may contain.

2. Put a listing on Craigslist. List in both the PET section and the LOST and FOUND. Then, religiously check everyday to see if there is a corresponding ad to yours that maybe the owner missed.
UPDATE: I know am also checking on TWITTER - social media can do this for you too!

3. and are also the second place I would consider listing on.

4. Walk the pet back in the area that it was found in the hopes that the owner maybe looking for the pet in the same spot that it was lost or last seen. See if the pet can "lead" you back home. Do that again. Hope.

5. Make posters and hang them up in the area and neighboring spots of where the pet was found.

6. Talk to people in the area the pet was found - does the pet look familiar to those walking their pets in the general vicinity? Are their condos/apt bldgs/complexes nearby that you can ask a manager if the pet looks like one the tenants there might own?

7. Call the Seattle King County Humane Society (425) 641 - 0080 that is located in Bellevue and handles Renton's animals, and ask whether anyone is known to be looking for the pet you have and leave your name and number. They were totally happy to let me keep the pet and continue to locate the owners after providing my contact info ( I think that after 3 days strays are - well, you get my drift here, don't you?). If you don't want to help find the owner yourself, you can take the pet to them (they don't have the resources to pick the animal up) and leave it in their care.

I also called the City of Renton Police Department's Animal Control (425) 430-7550 and let them know about the pet I found and my contact information in case they heard of anything through their office. Just dotting the "i's" and crossing the "t's" here.

8.Be careful about Scammers! Many people are looking to resell an animal that has any value to make a quick buck or score a pet that they can't afford by pretending that the pet you have is theirs. Make sure you withhold certain information about the pet so that only the true owner can provide a full description. Ask for size,weight, collar, special markings, medical issues that may be pertinent, name of the animal, where last seen and when lost.

I placed an ad with a photo that was then photoshopped/cropped so that someone could put up an ad that said they were looking for the same pet! Unbelievable! People with big hearts wrote to warn me, others took me to task for the "revealing" photo. I can't believe that it is now so bad out there that following standard procedures that we have used for years of helpful identification can be used so heartlessly against us. But I was not going to be so easily duped and thankfully, in the end, those who protected my efforts and applauded my diligence to find the owners overruled all other "bad elements" that I had to deal with and wade through.
9. Be Patient. The holiday weekend puts the whole world in a tailspin. People away for a holiday break, maybe completely unaware, as yet, that their beloved pet has gone missing. Maybe someone else was pet sitting and hadn't a clue of what to do. One woman on Craigslist within the last day was reunited with her pet after it being gone for 9 months. She was so happy, so was beside herself. Her message - keep the faith.
10. If you are buying a new pet, people - BE AWARE. That might be someone's stolen furry love one that you are getting at the wonderfully cheap "re homing" fee. Ask questions, see if the pet feels as if it is at home and comfortable with the people it is with. Has it ever been licensed? Chipped? Vet bills/information? Breeder contact sheet? Don't buy your new pet love off the back's of someone else's misfortune.

Lastly - to all of those people who are so graciously offering to take the little lost girl into your hearts - thank you for the offers, but please give room for the rightful owners to step forward. If the shoe was on the other foot, wouldn't you want that same courtesy extended to you? If you could only read the heart rending stories of owners still looking for pets that they considered to be valued members of their families that were lost and sometimes stolen, from their lives, you would not be so quick to nominate yourself as the new parents.

You would want a fairytale happy ending -
so that we could all still believe that good things happen
when the bad stuff hits

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