Monday, January 30, 2012
There's nothing worse than suddenly discovering your pet is missing. I know from experience how hard it is to search for a lost pet when you have no idea which way they went or where on earth they could be. In the past, all you could do was hang posters, talk to neighbors, walk the area around your home, and worry. It may not take the worry away, but there is a newly launched network that may be able to help. The Lost Pet Alert Network may be your best hope if you're searching for a lost pet.
You can find animal shelters in every community across the country, in rural and city locations. Some are small and others are quite large. Over the last several years, pet populations in shelters have increased because of the slow economy. The Lost Pet Alert Network was launched on December 5, 2011 in an effort to help pet owners find lost pets that have made it into a shelter or rescue organization.
The best tool we have as pet owners that can assure a lost pet's return is the microchip. Other than a tattoo that can help you identify your pet, a microchip contains pertinent information someone scanning you pet needs in order to return him to you. It has become a practice for animal shelters and rescue organizations to scan pets entering their facilities to see if there is an implanted chip. After all, it's to their advantage if they can quickly return a pet to his family. Shelters depend on donations to operate and the slow economy has also slowed donations to many shelters across the country, leaving a lot of them struggling with their budgets.
The Lost Pet Alert Network is a sharing community made up of animal shelters, rescue organizations, veterinary clinics and pet owners who opt into the network and share any information they have about lost pets under their care. Their goal is to educate pet owners about the importance of microchips in pets and have an organized and responsible network where shelters, vets, pet owners and rescue organizations can launch a search nationwide, if need be, for a lost pet.
It's quick and easy to opt into the network, and it's free. As a pet owner, if you have registered with the Lost Pet Alert Network, it gives you a place where you can distribute your personal posters about your pet. You have a nationwide community of pet professionals in local shelters and vet clinics who are dedicated to aiding you in your search. You can also alert friends on your Facebook page, Twitter followers and to other pet owners who are also in the network system. The more eyes you have searching for your pet, the more likely you are they will be found and safely returned to you.
Enrolling is easy and only takes a few minutes. All you need to do to become a member of the Lost Pet Alert Network is fill out an online application. Pet owners can sign up here and animal shelters and vet clinics can sign up here. This network of pet lovers and pet professionals already has more than 10,000 animal shelters and rescue groups registered.
Anyone who has ever lost a pet understands that frantic, helpless feeling of not knowing where your pet could be or even where to start looking. No matter how hard we try to protect a pet, there's always a chance he could be spooked by something that causes him to run away. Inside pets that escape outside can disappear in the blink of an eye. For most pet owners, the traditional way of searching for a lost pet is frustrating and in many cases, won't bring a lost pet home. If a pet ends up in a shelter and has no identification, they run the risk of not being reunited with their owner.
Microchips are inexpensive, are not painful to the pet, and provide proper identification that can't be lost. The harsh reality for most lost pets that end up in a shelter is that only 22 percent of dogs and 1.8 percent of cats are able to be traced back to their owner, but the percentages get better when you factor in lost pets that have a microchip. The numbers go up to 52.2 percent for dogs and 38.5 percent for cats.
A microchip won't guarantee your lost pet is returned to you, but it will increase his chances if he's found and taken to a shelter or vet clinic and scanned for a chip. The Lost Pet Alert Network gives your pet a better chance of finding his way back home with the help of other pet lovers who understand a pet's importance to his worried owner.
Photo by Adam Lisagor
Read more articles by Linda Cole