When your pet goes missing
We lived in a row house in a very lovely neighborhood with a small fenced in back yard. Behind us were BU buildings, and next door were very fancy and expensive homes. We lived 2 houses down from John Silber, for all you BU grads. Believe me when I tell you that this is an area that is very well protected by the town police, the BU police, and a neighborhood private police force. We were very safe and we knew it.
One day I put the dogs in the back yard for a little R&R, and went inside to do some work. When I came out, Kelev Adom, my male setter was gone. Ginge, the female was still there, but Kelev was missing. He was on a run, and there was no way he could have escaped on his own. Besides being chained to the overhead run, there was a high chain link fence that he could not leap over.
Someone had stolen him.
Now Kelev was a roamer. We use to say that he had a funky-smelling woman in Kansas and he was trying to get there. If you gave him an opportunity to run, he was gone in a flash. He ran far and he ran free. But again, no way could he have escaped from the yard.
I was hysterical with worry. I didn't have any idea of who would have stolen him and I was worried that he would not be cared for or loved. Or that he might end up in some lab as a test subject. So I did what was available in those days if you lost a pet. I put up fliers with his photo and his contact information on every post and mailbox for miles. I contacted every vet's office, every shelter, and even the big MSPCA shelter in downtown Boston. I called over and over again, but nobody ever saw him.
Weeks went by and I was giving up hope day by day. I missed him terribly. I had raised him from a tiny puppy and he was the first dog I had ever owned that wasn't a family dog. I kept calling the MSPCA and about 3 weeks into his departure they said they had an Irish setter that matched his description but the dog had a collar and tags with a different owner name and address.
About 3 days after that call, I was at school when one of the local students brought in a chicken. I know. This was in downtown Everett, a very industrial area, and not a place where a chicken would ever be found. We had no clue what to do with the chicken, so I called the MSPCA and they told me to bring the chicken down.
I rode in the car with a friend driving, holding this ridiculous chicken. When we got to the MSPCA, we handed over the chicken, and just as an aside I asked if they had an Irish Setter. They did, the same dog with the different tags. I asked to see him, and it was Kelev Adom. He was happy to see me, and I was in tears I was so happy to see him. But the MSPCA needed proof that he was my dog because of the tags. I had to go home, pick up his vet records and a bunch of photos of him, plus his papers, and bring them back to the MSPCA to prove my ownership.
I took Kelev home that night, and the MSPCA prosecuted the guy whose names were on the tags for stealing a dog. That's illegal in MA. Who knew?
This was a terrible point in my life, although Kelev certainly achieved more notariety as he got older and less capable of finding his way home after a romp. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out yesterday about the web site Find Toto.
Find Toto provides, for a fee, a really interesting service. Using your town's reverse 911 directory they will call all the neighbors with a message about your missing pet. It isn't cheap, but this has got to be better than putting up fliers that are ignored. Or at least a decent adjunct to the other methods of finding your pet.
I don't have any affiliation with this company other than to think it's an interesting new technology that could help people to find their missing pets. Stumble It! JBlog Me