When pets go missing, it is devastating for the pet owner’s family. As time passes, we worry that our adored pets have been hit by a car or will roam so far that they will not get back to us. As a child, I can remember tacking up signs in the neighborhood when my first dog escaped from our yard. Today I am part of an online forum that helps neighbors get pets back home, and it has a good success rate, but it only works when both the pet owner and the pet finder are part of the forum. In my hope to find something similar but bigger, I began to look into ways to protect my own pets from being lost forever. I was surprised to find that our neighborhood forum was too limited, but worked better than some of the popular options for protection.
Dogs and cats can wear a collar with some identification, and many pets have microchips. A microchip has to be up to date, and even when the pet is found, it could take days for a finder to find somewhere to have the animal scanned if it ever happens. The key seems to be to find a way to get the community involved and make it very easy for pets and owners to reunite. There are good Samaritans all around us, so our ideal strategy is to utilize community “armies” of good people!
There are new services on the market today that could make that happen. Custom tags are provided for pets to wear, but these tags are different. They don’t expose the owner’s private information to anyone on the street, and they don’t require a trip to the vet to use. With these tags, any community member who finds a pet can use a basic smartphone to scan the tag. The moment that tag is scanned, the pet owner gets a text message displaying the pet’s current location. Pet owners and pet finders can choose to share contact information if desired, allowing a growing global community to keep pets and families together. There are no safety or health risks for pets or people. In the rare chance that the pet finder doesn’t have a smartphone, they can use internet anywhere to go to a website to enter the tag ID number and get that pet back home.
This type of technology allows pet lovers everywhere to help each other. It takes the old-fashioned lost pet ads and the small-town neighborhood forums to a whole new level. It is the only way to engage the community and share only desired information to keep pets safe.