Updated: Sep 24, 2022
In 2014, I was reminded of an important lesson. It was a lesson I'm constantly preaching to clients and friends, and it came and hit home at my doorstep. Of course, I am happy to say the story has a happy ending, but it so easily could not have had such a quick and happy ending.
Working with rescues, I often see/hear about dogs not only that are abandoned or surrendered….but also many more who are simply .. lost.
Connecting owners and their furkids can sometimes be tricky, whether it is a pet taking off or a natural disaster. However, there are two things I always try to encourage all the pet owners I meet that help make this connection that little bit easier in an emergency.
The first thing is always to have up-to-date ID tags or, better still…a microchip. The catch with both is that they need to be kept up to date constantly…so if you change your phone number or move – you need to let them know or change the tag. The other is one not many think of, but as a pet photographer – I think of it every time I hear about a pet gone missing. And it's simple.
One good photo.
One good photograph. It doesn't have to be by a professional like myself. It can be taken with a point-and-shoot or your cell phone. One good CLEAR photo that you can clearly see the face as well as a second image of your furkid's body as well) so that people can quickly identify the animal if it is found.
My uncle has been staying with us while recovering from a work injury where he injured both his ankles (one broken and one fractured); because of this, he stayed with us mostly on bed rest. While he was here with his furbaby, I took a few quick shots of his senior pup Blue playing on our balcony one afternoon as a surprise for him as he had no photographs of her. As a pet photographer and niece, I wanted to ensure he had some sort of keepsake in case anything happened to her.
Needless to say, I was beyond thankful I had taken that brief moment to take a few photos of the elderly Blue. Not because she had passed away, but because we got a text from his girlfriend that she had gone missing.
His girlfriend cared for Blue in her home and told us one night that Blue had been missing for 24 hours. I quickly got her photo on a poster and spread it around social media with a plea to all my friends, family & friends. I also emailed all my local rescue contacts via social media.
In this case, we were lucky. I worked with local rescues and got ahold of them to be on the lookout. I knew from my work with local rescues to contact Missing Pets BC and Petsearchers IMMEDIATELY.
With Blue being a senior dog with thyroid medication, we were praying hard for a fast reunion to get her medicine asap because she can't regulate her body temperature and can go into seizures without it.
One of the first places I contacted was Missing Pets BC & Petsearchers. If you're a pet owner and haven't checked them out, please remember to share these missing pet photos! You never know who might have seen them! And you never know when you might need their help too! Consider it good karma!
These fantastic people took one look at my photo and realized that they had a FOUND pet identical to the picture I had shared with them.
All thanks to that, one quick moment I took to snap a few quick photos of his furkid. Blue was found within 3 hours, thanks to Petsearchers & Missing Pets BC.
We also found out that Blue had been taken to a local emergency vet clinic within blocks of our home. She had been found within moments of going missing by an anonymous good Samaritan who had brought her to them – and whoever you are, THANK YOU! – within hours of her going missing.
That morning my uncle, a man I've rarely seen cry…. was crying a flood of tears that his baby was found and wasn't hurt or worse. Finally, he could pick up his beloved Blue and finally get a good night's sleep.
Not unlike many of us Fur-parents, Blue was his entire world, and he was lost without her. But, thanks to Petsearchers & Missing Pets BC, those were tears of joy tonight, not tears of sorrow. All thanks to one good photo, they quickly matched the FOUND poster and the LOST photo.
Words cannot express how grateful we are to Petsearchers & Missing Pets BC, to all our friends and family for getting the word out about Blue so quickly, and to the good Samaritan who found her to start with. We are forever in their debt!
With all that shared, I am begging all of you are reading to do a few simple tasks to ensure you too can be reunited quickly with your furbabies should they go MIA. One is to make sure you have at least one form of ID on your pet (A collar or a microchip with up-to-date contact information). The other is to go right now and take ONE GOOD PHOTO of them. Make sure it is clear, easy-to-see photographs of your pet and one that can be easily blown up for posters or online use if needed!
And if you don't have those things – please make sure you do it IMMEDIATELY.
You never know if there will be an emergency (flood, fire, quake, etc.)or a situation where they run away for whatever reason, and those two little things can make all the difference in finding them QUICKLY.
So I'm going to wrap this up by saying simply, please go now and hug your pets, give them some extra love and snuggles, hold them extra close tonight, and remember to take one good photo asap.