Finding Paws: Bay Area Pet Detective

In the San Francisco Chronicle today there is an article about a local pet detective, Donna Holsten, who launched a pet recovery service called Finding Paws. The article Lost Pet? Hire a Pet Detective describes a day in the life of Donna as she hunts down a lost Jack Russell terrier mix named Wesley that’s been missing for two weeks.

What really struck me about the article is that Wesley’s grieving owner admitted that Wesley is a serial escape artist.  He likes to burrow underneath the fence and run around the grassy hills around the house which happens to be prime coyote territory.  An ounce of prevention really goes a long way in keeping your pets safe.  If you know your dog has a tendency to burrow underneath a fence, the responsible thing to do is to make sure the dog is not in a position to do so.  Whether that is reinforcing the fence, containing the dog in a separate area of the yard or keeping the dog in the house, the first priority is the dog’s safety. 

These are the kind of things I discuss with my clients when they are considering buying a home.  It must be safe for all members of the family.  Although a pet detective is a valuable service, it is a last ditch effort.  There are many preventative steps that can be taken before getting to that point.

Some of the steps I recommend to my clients are as follows:

  1. Buy a home in a dog friendly neighborhood where there are neighbors who will help you locate your dog if your dog goes missing.
  2. Participate in a neighborhood watch program for missing pets such as PetAlertz.
  3. Microchip your pet.
  4. If your dog has a tendency to bolt, buy a GPS collar for your pet.  They are pricey but the peace of mind is priceless.  There are many products to choose from.  One popular GPS leash is RoamEO GPS Pet Location System, Medium Collar.
  5. Create a safe space for your dog in your home where you can leave the dog when you are not home.  This can be inside or outside the house.  It just needs to be completely contained.

Five Ways to Protect Your Pet

A dog friendly neighborhood is not just one that is close to a dog park.  It is a neighborhood where the neighbors consider your dog a member of the family.  Like children it takes a village to care for a dog.  If for any reason your pet ever escapes or gets lost, you need to be connected to your community in order to get help. 

When a pet goes missing, the first moments are the most crucial in getting them back safely. If at all possible, you want as much support in place to ensure they can be returned before they become traumatized or taken to an establishment where traditional identification methods take time to process.

I recently discovered a wonderful service for pet owners called My Pet Street.  The My Pet Street PetAlertz community is a free neighborhood watch service to help prevent lost or stolen pets.  Connie Weiss, CEO and Founder of My Pet Street, suggests the following five tips for keeping your pets safe. 

  1. Always have identification tags attached to collars and harnesses. Use split rings or snap hooks so they stay on securely. “S” and “O” rings open easily and tags fall off.
  2. If you are in pursuit of a dog, don’t run after it – instead, get into their view and squat down – calling them to you.
  3. Carry a squeaky toy, ball, or treats – whatever will be the most attractive to the dog.
  4. Pet theft is on the rise. Keep your animals indoors if you are not at home, and don’t tether them in public areas unless you have a clear line of sight at all times.
  5. If your pet is lost, never give up! We have stories of pets coming home long after most people feared for the worst. Your drive and energy will keep hope alive for the rest of the community and they will help you!

Connie reminds us that as a community, we know that if you agree to help me, and I agree to help you, we significantly increase the chances of reuniting lost pets quickly. She and her team look forward to seeing you in the neighborhood!

Thanks, Connie.