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Lost Pet? Try Searching Social Media

Updated: 05/18/2014 10:23 PM
Created: 05/18/2014 6:24 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Dropping a leash or an unlatched gate can lead to a lost pet, but forget posting fliers to find a four-legged friend. Veterinarians and animal rescue professionals say logging into Facebook can make for a quicker reunion.

Chana Stocke said her three curly haired pups are part of the family.

“I do love dogs. You know, three is a bit much, but I would never give up any of them,” Stocke said.

When Bella, the littlest of the three, slipped under the fence earlier this month Stocke searched the streets of her Duluth neighborhood.

“Yeah I was pretty frantic, and then late that night I just talked myself into the fact that she's been found and we just had to find her,” Stocke said.

When her search came up empty a friend suggested posting a picture and plea for help on Facebook. Stocke said friends and neighbors shared the post to spread the word.

A few UMD students found Bella without a collar and posted a picture on Facebook. An online web of friends helped connect the dots and Bella was back home just a day later.

“Years ago we would have put little posters up and they would have just gotten around this block. Now it's just incredible how we can reach, you know, so many other areas by Facebook,” Stocke said.

There is a page on Facebook dedicated to making those furry reunions run volunteers of Lost Dogs Minnesota. Followers post pictures or descriptions of lost dogs daily, and volunteers keep it all organized.

“We take a couple of shifts that we volunteer for a week online where we are trying to match up dogs that have been lost with dogs that have been found,” Betsy Bode said.

Bode said more than 37,000 people follow the page, but she hopes more will adopt the digital search.

“The more fans that we have watching the more likely it is we're going to make reunions so every eye that we can get out there in the community watching for these dogs is a tremendous help,” Bode said.

There is a Lost Dogs Wisconsin as well, and the group runs a separate Facebook page. Bode said both are important to check with a lost dog in the Twin Ports because man's best friend doesn't worry about crossing state lines.

The group's Facebook page helps make thousands of reunions every month according to Bode, but there is another efficient way to attach contact information to your pet.

Veterinary Technician Jodi Carlson said a rice-sized microchip does the trick. She said every month a handful of lost dogs get brought in to scan for the ID chip at the Duluth Veterinary Hospital.

“We get a lot of phone calls for people coming down here to see if we can scan it for a chip, and if it has a chip then we can reunite it with the owner,” Carlson said.

She recommends the easily implanted microchip, and she said most owners are surprised at the low cost. A quick needle prick and about $20 is all it takes at her office, but there are additional fees to register your contact information.

Carlson said the cost is worth it because it takes just minutes to get back in touch with the pet's owner after scanning a microchip.

Whether it is the chip or a click on social media, technology is helping make these furry families whole again.

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