Community

VIPP can help owners of pets lost and found

By TERRI and GEOFF FLETCHER

For The Beachcomber

Have you lost a pet? Or maybe you have seen a cat or dog wandering near your house and it looks like it is lost. What do you do? There are some things you can do immediately, and Vashon Island Pet Protectors can help you as well.

If you have found a cat or dog, and have a neighborhood e-mail list or phone tree, use it to determine if the cat or dog that you have found belongs to a neighbor.

Post signs in the neighborhood and even go door-to-door if possible to find out if the lost pet has strayed from home.

If you cannot find the owner with these simple yet effective methods, here is where VIPP can really help: Contact VIPP — by phone at (206) 389-1085 or online at VIPP’s Web site, www.vipp.org — to help lost pets and their owners get reunited.

The Web site is really easy to use. Just go to www.vipp.org and click on “lost and found.” For found animals, VIPP volunteers have taken a photo, written a brief description of the animal and posted that information.

Look to see if your lost pet has been posted. If you do not see your pet on the site, you can fill out a form on the site and submit a digital photo of your pet, which will be posted by our webmaster.

There also is a map of the Island with the location where each of the animals has been lost or found. We have noticed, however, that dogs and cats have been known to roam far from their homes and even hitched a ride in an unsuspecting human’s car or truck, so don’t rely solely on the map.

VIPP takes other steps to reunite pets and owners. In addition to our Web site, for found animals we post the information in The Beachcomber, and we make signs to post in the area where the pet has been found.

Why do we take these extraordinary steps to reunite owners with their pets? The obvious answer is that we know the angst of a lost pet, and we have taken in hundreds of lost animals over the years.

The joy of seeing a reunion is priceless. Our experience is that dogs are usually returned to their owners quickly, but this is not the case for many cats.

Of the nearly 40 found, friendly, adult cats turned over to VIPP in 2009, only 10 were claimed by their owners.

We are asking for your assistance in helping VIPP make sure that each and every lost and found pet can be returned to its owner.

Pass the word by telling your friends and neighbors about www.vipp.org. Our Web site is an invaluable source for a community that cares about its pets like Vashon does. Let’s get everyone to use it.

— Terri and Geoff Fletcher are VIPP volunteers.

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