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Internet Reunites Lost Pets and Owners

Everyone loves the amazing stories of dogs and cats who travel long distances to find their way back home or even locate their owners in a new city.  Unfortunately, these happy tales are the rare exception to the rule.  For every pet that makes it back after leaving, there are tens of thousands who never live to see home again!

Humane groups and pet industry experts estimate that more than 5 million pets will be lost this year.  One pet in every three will be lost at some point in his or her lifetime.  According to the American Humane Association (www.americanhumane.org), of those that roam away from home, less than 17% of the dogs and only 2% of the cats ever make it back to their owners.  Sadly, most of the rest will be euthanized in over-crowded animal shelters.  Newspapers and on-line ads still tell the sad story of some youngster's lost pet every day.  Why do we see a continuation of this problem year after year?

First, despite leash laws and other ordinances, many families are reluctant to chain their dogs or attempt to keep their cats from roaming.  This is especially true in rural areas.  Compounding the issue is that there are more than 200 million pets in North America and only a very small percentage has some form of permanent identification.  ID tags and collars are easily removed by unscrupulous individuals or even by the pet in some instances.  Microchips help to insure that the pet has some means of identification, but even these implants aren't foolproof.

In fact, it is a rare pet that actually has a microchip.    According to industry data, only about 5% of all pets in North America actually have a microchip.  And, even the pets with chips aren't necessarily any safer.    When owners fail to register their pet properly, reunions are delayed or even prevented in many instances.  Again, experts from all major microchip companies state that less than 50% of chipped pets are registered with correct and current information.

Other forms of identification, such as tattooing, are very rare and obscure.    This fact means that a shelter employee or veterinary office may not even note the presence of a tattoo.Finally, even though they have good intentions, shelters and rescues are often overwhelmed with pets.  A microchip could be missed during a hurried exam or a description of your lost pet might not match what the employee sees in front of him. 

In spite of these overwhelming odds, you can proactively help insure that your pet will make it safely home.  First, like so many things, prevention and preparation go a long way.    Neuter your pet to decrease his roaming urges and consider using both ID tags and a microchip.  Obey local leash laws and don't allow your pet to wander the neighborhood.

Next, if your pet does become lost, act fast!  Don't delay in the hopes that he will simply find his way back.  The faster you respond to his disappearance, the better your odds are of finding him safely.  Visit local shelters daily.

We all want our family members to stay close to home and to heart.  But, like all children, our pets love exploration and adventure too.  Work with your veterinarian to make sure all your pets are properly identified with tags and/or microchips.    Now, you also have the option to use the power of the Internet in case your pet decides to wander off.

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Pets Found on the Web

A new online service, HelpMeFindMyPet.com has recently made headlines across the country for their success rate in finding pets.  This pet recovery service offers a nationwide alert system for lost pets.

If you are enrolled at their website and your pet is lost, one call sets a flurry of activity into motion.  First, all veterinary offices, groomers, shelters, pet stores, and HelpMeFindMyPet members within a 50 mile radius of your pet's last known location receive notification via email or fax of your pet's disappearance. 

This communication contains a flyer with a picture or description of your pet and any other identifying features or ID numbers.  Additionally, using the power of the social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter, announcements are made to help increase the number of searchers for your pet.

According to Jessica Staton of HelpMeFindMyPet, more than 87% of pets reported through their system make it home.  Additionally, this service continues to broadcast alerts until the pet is found!  Ms. Staton describes numerous incidents of stolen pets being returned because of intense publicity.
Other organizations, such as Amber Alert for Pets and FindToto.com also have web based recovery services.


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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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