My sister told me recently that her friend, Renee, had lost her cat, Dutchie. He got out of the house and was gone a few days. Renee was worried sick about her pet and took many avenues to find her pet. She paid for a service called PawBoost that sent information to local veterinarians and other people in her area through emails and social media. She soon received a phone call that a pet matching Dutchie’s description had been found hit on the road.
Renee went to the cat on the road, scooped him up and took him to be cremated. She was still greatly distraught when she received another phone call from someone saying her cat was on his porch. She knew this couldn’t be true but went to check it out. Sure enough, Dutchie responded to her when she came by. The first cat had many similar traits to Dutchie but considering his dirty coat, she clearly mis-identified him. Or maybe he truly does have 9 lives.
Here are some ways to avoid losing your pet and what to do if you cannot find your pet:
- Grafton Animal Hospital recommends a microchip for any pet that can potentially get outside. Even your housecat or caged bird could benefit from a microchip. Implanting a microchip is relatively inexpensive, and does not require anesthesia. We register your pet’s microchip so that if your pet is found by a shelter or animal control, they can find your information using the registry.
- If your pet is lost, contact local shelters. If animal control picks up your pet in Hampton, Newport News or York County, the pet is taken to the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter. Contact them at (757) 933-8900. Inform your veterinarian, and other animal hospitals and shelters in the area in case a Good Samaritan finds your pet and goes there.
- Use social media. When we were kids, if we lost a pet, we would make Lost Pet posters to hang around town. Today, we use Facebook, Twitter, etc. Check out pages such as York County 411 or Lost and Found Pets Hampton Roads on Facebook. Send a message to all of your social media friends in hope that they will share with all of their friends. If your apartment complex or homeowner’s association has a page, post on that. Also consider your town’s Facebook trash and treasure website, if applicable, or Craig’s List. This helps get the word out to many people in a short period of time.
- Consider an online service to help you find your lost pet. Renee used PawBoost, who charged her about $20 to send emails and Facebook posts out on her behalf. They claim to send information to shelters and local veterinarians. We do receive emails from this company frequently, but I don’t know much about them otherwise. In this case, except for the fact that she paid to cremate someone else’s cat, I think Renee would give this company a thumbs up.
I’m glad to report that this sad story had a happy ending. There are many pets lost each year and many are never returned to their owners. Take steps to ensure if your pet does get out, you will have the best chances of finding him or her. If you have any questions about microchips, or need help finding your lost pet, give any of our staff a call at (757) 898-8433.
(Photo: Renee and Dutchie together again. Used with permission).