There’s nothing more stressful or traumatic than losing your beloved pooch to the great wide world. Fortunately, it’s 2014, so not only can you post flyers and go door to door trying to find a missing pup, technology is here to help shrink the world down to a more manageable size. Here are 5 tech hacks every dog parent needs to know to in case you ever need to track down a wandering fur baby.
You’d recognize that adorable face anywhere…and so does this software
Sci-fi just got real with facial recognition software that tracks not hooman mugs, but doge ones. And it has already worked IRL. Earlier this month, the San Diego County Animal Service was able to reunite Shiba Inu Roxy with her pup parents by employing the website FindingRover.com. The website and its app uses eight distinctive facial markers on dogs, plus a photo database, plus a large alert system with dog rescues and shelters to help every pup make it home. PiP, another Pet Facial Recognition app, works in a similar manner.
Going full NSA on your doge with your phone is totally fine
Speaking of apps, there are a number of them out there to help you locate a lost pooch. In addition to Finding Rover, there’s Tagg, which allows you to track dogs via GPS. Tractive works much the same way. Plus, the ASPCA also has an app to help in rover recovery.
Not only that, but sometimes a reunion can be as simple as sending a text. Post Hurricane Sandy, a rescue worker texted the O’Donovan family about a dog in their care: turns out, it was the family dog, Buster.
Posting all those embarrassing puppy pictures to Facebook is actually helpful
The Internet is the best virtual flyer that you can put out. Scratch that, it’s the best FLYER, period. There’s no better way to alert your friends, family, neighborhood (really, the entire world) than posting about an MIA doge on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat: basically, there’s a wealth of tools a click away. Many social media networks and online communities allow you to set alerts to find pets. Posting a pic on your timeline assures people will see it and it won’t get torn down, muddied, or otherwise rendered less than visible. There are whole Facebook pages devoted to missing pets. Plus, depending on the shelter and/or rescue organization, not only is reaching out to the important networks easier than ever, you may be able to post your missing pet or find them via their newest intake pics.
When Ryan Pierson’s Italian Greyhound Apollo went on a solo exploratory mission, one post to Facebook resulted in 2,500 shares in 48 hours, calls every hour with possible sightings, and ultimately, the safe return of Apollo. Similarly, when Abby, the blind pup of Mark May went missing during a snowstorm, he successfully used social media to track her down and get her home.
Microchipping isn’t just for androids or electric sheep
Microchips are not only super freaking cool, but a lost doge’s best friend (other than a kindly hooman). A serial number and a scan can result in the quick ID of your dog by any vet, shelter or rescue. A study by the ASPCA found that fifteen percent of lost pets were returned solely due to their microchip ID. Plus, the return rate for microchipped dogs is two-and-a-half times higher than those without. Lastly, many of those GPS tracking and locating apps mentioned above rely on microchipping to help them with their location software. So, get that pup chipped!
Your pup’s face on a milk carton just got taken to the next level
Much like the people Amber Alert, the Pet Amber Alert is a database of lost and/or missing pets. By entering your pooch’s info into the database, they allow you to reach multiple police stations, vet offices, shelters and rescue groups. They also will help to design a physical poster and will alert via phone and social media channels, all to help your wayward pup find its paws home.