“ An online service to help owners locate lost dogs. „
Those of you who have pets will know the heartbreak that goes with it when you lose them, no matter how that loss occurred. To us owners, our pets are more then simply animals, they are a part of our family. I know people say that dogs can be replacement children but, all joking aside, pets are a part of our lives, they are as much a part of our family as the 2 legged members!
Two years ago I had two dogs, a Rottweiler and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (strange combination I know!) I loved them both. I was going to spend the day up at the stables and so took both my dogs with me. They loved the horses and the horses loved them, although it was only mine in that one area as I rented a field off a farmer, I still never let my dogs out my sight and never EVER off the lead around the horses. This particular day I spent 4 hours with the horses and then wanted to take one of the horses out on a hack. My dogs were at home in the stables as much as they were in the house and so I left them both in the tackroom with food and water, bolted the door shut, locked the gate to the yard behind me and went for a hack. Two hours later I returned, it was still daylight (about 3PM) but the yard had been broken into, several saddles, my car and other smaller things had been stolen but I didn't really mind about all of that considering my dogs had also been taken. Yes the material possessions bothered me but not near as much as having lost my two dogs.
I had recently heard of a story about a dog in our area being reunited with its owner because of Dogs Lost, therefore (after the police and the farmer) they were my first port of call.
I called the number given on their website and I'm happy to admit I was almost hysterical by this point but the lady I spoke to on the other end was amazing. She was exactly the calming influence I needed and explained what they could do and how they worked. She asked for my details and registered on their site for me and put up a dog lost notice on their forum. She asked if I had any photos (which, needless to say, I did) and said they would make up posters and forward them to me to stick around the area and they would also put up some in vets and other contact areas around the area the dogs were lost. She asked if they were microchipped and tagged (they were) and then asked for the chip number to circulate in case they were found and scanned.
She also asked if I would be happy for the press to contact me in relation to this story, I was, so she said that she would also contact the local press to see if they would be happy to print a story and ask for help. Just two days later I had a phone call from a local newspaper asking me for details and a picture. This was the first of three, all of which printed the story.
I cannot recommend this service highly enough. They helped me to no end when my dogs went missing and I couldn't have asked for more from them, especially since they rely solely on donations and therefore the whole service they provided to me was completely free.
Unfortunately I still have not found my dogs and as so much time has passed I've accepted that I probably never will but this is not through lack of trying either by me or by dogslost.co.uk. I realize that, unfortunately, not every dog that goes missing will be found again but having a service like this that will go that extra mile to help you find your dogs when they do go missing makes all the difference in the world.
Many dog owners out there know the fear of loosing their beloved companion, whether it is through death, straying or theft. Conversely many owners also believe "it won't happen to me, I'm far to responsible an owner to allow that to happen."
I work for a local constabulary and can tell of numerous tales where home owners have reported their pet stolen from the garden or scared into bolting by a loud noise or smell when out on a walk.
Happily the advent of micro-chipping has lead to many animals being reunited with their owners after only a very short time but this, of course, requires your pet to be chipped, with up to date information held and also caught in order to be reunited. With 7903 lost and abandoned canines entering the care of the RSPCA alone during 2008 and numerous more into the care of independent rescue organizations this clearly doesn't happen on every occasion.
I first came across the "dog lost" website when dealing with an exceptionally distressed owner who's beloved staffie had been stolen from her garden whilst on a shopping trip. Desperate to help I took her number and said I'd help as much as I could.
A quick google reveals the "doglost" website, an exceptionally simple and easy to navigate site that allows you to report missing and found dogs, print posters and provides information on laying a scent to encourage your dog to stay in the area.
So what is unusual about this site then? Surely there are numerous sites that do this? Well, yes they are. But the unique selling point with Doglost is the sheer passion and effort that the area co-ordinators put into reuniting canine and owner. No effort is too much to locate your dog with adverts frequently placed in "Countryman's Weekly" and local press by the site to enhance your chances of locating your pet. The Co-ordinators are in frequent contact with the animal's owner via e-mail and telephone both in and out of working hours. It is evident from the site that all people working for the site genuinely care about getting the dog home. Doglost also boasts a massive register of helpers across the nation, all of whom check the site regularly and offer any assistance as is necessary whether this be distributing posters in the local area, placing traps or simply spreading the word.
If you are unfortunate enough to have lost your dog a very quick and simple registration allows you to place your dog as "lost" on the site.
Following registration a click on the red lost tab followed by a click on "add a missing dog" will bring up a form allowing you to input all of your dogs details, location, markings, microchip details and photographs. Once this has been submitted to the site the co-ordinators quickly contact you and sort out posters etc for free distribution. The Forum facility underneath each lost dog provides testament to the amount of effort that goes in to reuniting dog and owner and you will quickly find offers of help from local members to find your dog along with other helpful numbers to call.
The found dog section of the site just goes to demonstrate how vital identification for your dog can be and this is something that I could not support highly enough. This section of the site is awash with dogs lucky enough to be found by a caring member of public but not able to be reunited due to no one knowing whom they are!
Found dogs that enter local authority care are subject to a holding period of a minimum of 7 days to be claimed. Beyond this the local authority kennels do not have any legal obligation to take care of your dog further and are at liberty to re-home or destroy your pet, sadly in the case of elderly dogs, those requiring medication or breeds that are less easy to re-home, the latter is often the case. Please please people, for the cost of about £20 or less, save yourselves this heartache and get your dog chipped!
Definitely a section of the site to move you to tears. Here you can find tales of dogs that have been reunited with their loving owners and read the forums that show how much teamwork goes in to the site. Occasionally there are dogs reunited via "Rainbow Bridge" and these are dogs that sadly didn't make it back home. Again the support that the owners get from the site in these circumstances is amazing.
So, to conclude, if you've suffered the loss or theft of your dog, check out the site. If you care about animals and think you may be able to assist with distributing posters or even just keeping your eye out for dogs that are missing in your area, check out the site. Maybe, if everyone works together more pets will be reunited with their loving but frantic owners.