Having your favorite furry friend go missing can make you feel helpless and extremely anxious. Lost Pets of Western NC is a non-profit, free service intended to provide information and resources that will shorten the time between loss and reunion. The website lostpetswnc.org has helped facilitate reunions between pets and their owners since its inception in 2005.
Founder Connie Morris envisioned a service that would help reunite missing pets with their owners after a friendly cat wandered up to her door. Speck became a beloved pet and was with Connie until he was 21 years old.
“In 1989, a little cat showed up at my house. He was very affectionate and seemed to be comfortable snuggling with people. I felt like he must have lived with someone who loved him, but I could never find his home. I quickly became attached and often wondered if someone was missing him. We had a lot of years together.
I have dreamed of having a lost/found animal service since then. I even bought business cards back then. That was well before the internet so it would all have to be done by telephone. I didn’t want to charge people and I couldn’t afford the phone expense so the idea fell by the wayside.”
Flash forward to 2005, the internet was in full swing, and Connie’s husband, Kurt, had learned to build websites. Kurt had created a searchable online database for their company Festival Network Online, and the website rekindled Connie’s interest in starting a service. Kurt created Lost Pets of WNC as a birthday gift for Connie.
Today the website covers 18 counties in Western NC. Approximately 4,000 listings have been posted since its inception and there are usually around 250 active listings on a given day.
It is free to post a listing and upload a photo, whether you have lost your pet or found a possibly missing animal. There’s even a section for sightings, in the event that a person can’t catch an animal, but it seems clearly lost – this feature was added in hopes that the searcher may at least be able to narrow down where the pet was recently seen. The site features a Google map with pinpoints detailing the lost or found address. After all your info is entered, the site automatically creates a printable flyer with the information so you can get busy plastering the neighborhood with signs. Other helpful features include a Resource page containing contact info for vets, shelters, publications, etc. so a person can quickly get the word out throughout Western NC. Different categories are searchable by county. While actual homecoming numbers are not known, Connie says, “It’s so wonderful when the listing results in a reunion, but I think even if it doesn’t, a value of the site is the comfort it brings to have one more real time place to get the word out. I get e-mails all the time from truly grateful people with a little more hope that someone in the area will see the listing.”
Visit lostpetswnc.org for more info and area listings. by carrie harder
TIP Sometimes a lost cat can become disoriented. To help your pet find her way home, grab some used scoops of litter from inside her litterbox and spread it in your yard. You want her to smell her scent and come home.
DID YOU KNOW? If you are welcoming a new dog to the family but have yet to pick a name, you might want to consider “Max.” Max has been a popular name for male dogs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia on and off for years, many times topping the list as the most popular male dog name. Although names that described dog’s traits, such as Spotty or Dusty, were popular more than 50 years ago, today’s dogs (and cats) have decidedly human names. Dogs named Max have starred in movies (think Max in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,”) and have also broken records – a dog named Max lived to be the oldest dog at age 26. Max has been a name given to pampered Yorkies as well as rough-and-tumble mutts. If Max is not the name for you, Buddy, Jake and Rocky are a few of the other most popular dog names.
Lost Pets of WNC founder Connie Morris and Speck, the found pet who inspired the website.