Who can’t recall the story of “Lassie Come Home?” The age-old tragedy of a lost dog and its owner desperate to find her. Until recently, the only resources people had to turn to were the local police and county animal controls. And while, often, these resources were helpful, they were unable to provide adequate assistance and support to families searching for their beloved pet.
In the last two years, two sister organizations have emerged in the Midwest: Lost Dogs Illinois (LDI) and Lost Dogs of Wisconsin (LDOW). One hundred percent volunteer based, these non-profit organizations provide owners with the emotional and physical support needed to find their dogs.
Volunteers are on hand to educate owners of lost dogs on a myriad of things from where to call (vets, shelters, police departments, etc) to how to make an effective poster (make it visible, bright, waterproof, etc), where to hang them (every street corner, grocery store, and gas station) what to put on them (picture of the dog, date missing, CELL phone number) all while offering empathy to the owners on the loss of their pet.
One of the most amazing and effective tools the organizations have incorporated into their resources is the utilization of Facebook, a social networking site.
LDI and LDOW both have Facebook pages and on a daily basis list the information of current lost dogs. Due to the millions of members on Facebook, LDI and LDOW are able to provide a web of indirect volunteers who are actually on the lookout for lost dogs as well as the listings of found dogs. Between the two organizations there are almost 24,000 Facebook fans who watch the page and stay up to date on the latest of lost dogs. Facebook has been instrumental in reuniting HUNDREDS of dogs.
And hundreds of dogs is EXACTLY what LDI and LDOW have found. In 2011, LDI and LDOW helped find 1025 dogs (968 of them reunited with their owners and, sadly, 57 of them were found deceased but returned to owners.)
On June 13, Susan Taney, Founder and Director of LDI (Co-founder of LDOW) and Kathy Pobloskie, Co-founder and interim Director of LDOW, will present a FREE webinar detailing the organizations and sharing their successes.
“Reuniting Lost Dogs with Their Families” will be presented at 2pm CENTRAL time hosted by ASPCAPro. And, can be found at http://www.aspcapro.org/upcoming-webinars.php
Topics will include: utilizing social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist, developing relationships with local authorities, providing information to owners in a quick and effective manner and, of course, heartfelt stories of the lost AND found.
-Becky Monroe, www.tailsandtruths.blogspot.com