Using technology to find a lost pet


Greetings pet lovers! Brigid here with
First Street Pets and today we’re going to talk about using technology to find a
missing pet. Security cameras used to be very expensive and very complicated. You’ve all seen the old grainy footage on the news of bank robbers or
shoplifters and it was ridiculous. Despite the fact that these systems cost
thousands of dollars you could barely even tell who that person was. Well in
today’s world these items are cheap and easily available. You can purchase a
security camera online for as little as 35 or 40 dollars and it will do the
trick. You can also buy systems that are a
little more expensive maybe a couple hundred dollars maybe requiring a
subscription but they are still a lot more affordable than the cameras of the
past and they can really help you in finding your missing pet. Now you may
already have a security camera. You may have a doorbell camera or something by
your front door or back door just to make sure that it’s safe around your
house or to see if someone is stealing your packages or something like that. If
you already have that system in place that’s great. Most of those cameras have
motion detectors so they will ping you when there is some kind of a motion or
they will automatically take a picture or video or they may be recording
picture and video all the time. Just depends on what your settings are of the
camera so they can really help you because what we see very often is that
sometimes pets are trying to get back home, they’re actually trying to get back
into the house but you’re not there when they’re there or you’re sleeping. Especially with cats they’re nocturnal sometimes they try to come back in the
middle of the night and I’ve actually seen camera footage where they’re coming
up to the door and pawing at the door but they can’t get in because the owners
are sleeping and the owners wouldn’t see this if they didn’t see the
camera footage. So those cameras right around your house can be super helpful
in determining if your pet in fact hasn’t gone far and needs to just get
back into the house or back onto your property. Now if you’ve expanded your
search a little further outside of your home you can set up these cameras pretty
much anywhere where there have been sightings, where you think that you may
see your pet where you want to get some verification that they’re there. You may
have set up a feeding station with some food and water and maybe some blankets
to hopefully attract them to an area where they are easier to catch so this
is another good place to set up one of these cameras. Now a couple things to
consider: you usually need electricity. There may be some battery operated ones
I’m not sure but if there are then they will definitely need to be charged
frequently especially if they’re recording high-quality video. You will
also need an internet connection because these cameras communicate with you
usually through an app on your phone so if it’s near your house you can probably
hook into your own Wi-Fi or let’s say if it’s in your condo community or
something like that maybe one of your neighbors will let you hook into their
Wi-Fi to use the camera so that it will work there if it’s closer to
their house than your house. If the location where you want to set up your
camera is a little more remote the more modern security cameras may not work. Please let me know if there are some models out there that will work under
those conditions I don’t know. What does work a tried-and-true tool that’s been
used by folks looking for missing pets for years before we had these security
cameras is the trail camera and these are ones that people use generally for
hunting and they can be set up anywhere outside. They run on a battery they’re
very basic so the battery lasts quite a long time. You put a memory card in them
and then you’ll remove the memory card whenever you check on the camera, plug it
into your computer and see what you get, so it’s a lot lower tech but it works in
remote areas if you’re nowhere near electricity Internet and it’s going to
be too difficult to set up a regular security camera the trail camera can be
a good tool. They’re also pretty inexpensive the basic model you can get
from maybe fifty dollars or less if it’s on sale at a sporting goods store. Be
aware when you set these up that there are laws around security cameras. Now
generally you’re okay if you’re pointing at a public area. Unfortunately in
today’s world we don’t have an expectation of privacy in a whole lot of
places. We know that there are cameras everywhere and there are cameras with
facial recognition software everywhere outside of stores at intersections at
traffic lights there are lots of cameras outside so we don’t really have an
expectation of privacy there. So if you’re setting a camera out in front of
your house to the street the sidewalk your front yard on your own property
your back yard you should be fine. Beware if the camera is pointing at someone
else’s house where you may see in the window, in their yard, on their private
property, or just any place where people might have an expectation of privacy. So
you don’t want to violate someone else’s privacy and you don’t want to break the
law. GPS is an amazing tool that can help you
find your missing pet. Now this is more of a prevention thing. If your pet is
already missing, buying a GPS collar won’t help you, but I felt that it was
important to discuss that in today’s video because it is such an accessible
tool today. The prices have gone down, the quality has gone up, I have seen these
tools in action and I think they work really well so it’s definitely something
to look into when you get your pet back or for your other pets. Now there are a
variety of companies making collars for both dogs and cats. I have seen them work
really well. The prices are as low as maybe $30 for a really basic tag that
you can put on a collar to maybe $125 or $150 for a more extensive collar with longer life batteries and bells and whistles like that. Now these
collars are typically managed through an app on your phone. You can set a
perimeter around your house so for example if your dog is an escape artist
and gets off your property it will ping you if your dog goes past that boundary
line that you have set so that can be very helpful in knowing right away if
your pet has gotten out of the area where he’s supposed to be and of course
if your pet is missing you come home and you can’t find your pet you don’t know
where they are you can go ahead and log into that app and it should be able to
ping them right on a map so that’s gonna be a great tool for you to get your pet
back. But again this is more of a prevention method, definitely something
to look into today since they’re working really well and they’re a lot more
affordable. I hope you already know this but microchips are not GPS! You would be
amazed at how often people ask me about that. I wish they were wouldn’t that be
awesome the technology is not there because GPS requires an energy source
and the microchip doesn’t really have an energy source so maybe that’s a
technology that will exist in the future but for now the microchip is not a GPS. So there’s this amazing thing called the Internet and it can be a great tool in
finding your missing pet. So social media is one of the first places where you can
start looking for a missing pet. This tends to be more effective for dogs than
for cats for a few reasons mostly because dogs are more visible when
they’re out wandering around. If a cat is sitting outside people may not notice or
the cat may be hiding so it’s not seen by anybody else but I have seen both
cats and dogs and other pets … there was a tortoise in my area that recently took
himself for a walk and tortoises are a lot stronger and faster than you may
think. He was found a little distance from his home. These animals were all
found thanks to the Nextdoor app so I highly recommend
using Nextdoor if you don’t already. I know there are other versions in other
countries of basically the same type of app and it’s kind of like a Facebook but
it’s just for your neighborhood so often you’ll see on there like yard sales and
furniture for sale or someone looking for babysitting or yard work or etc. This
is a great tool because it’s generally people within a very small area close to
your house and I’ll give you an example. One time my neighbor was missing his cat
so he posted “My black hat with no tail is missing.” The lady across the street
posted and said “He’s sleeping in my yard, he’s been here for a couple days just
hanging out.” So the mystery was solved immediately. So that’s how it can be
super helpful so I highly recommend using Nextdoor
both posting lost reports and also checking to see if anyone says that they
have found or seen your pet. Now Facebook can be a good tool as well
but it can also be not so good because Facebook covers the whole world and you
may have hundreds of friends and hundreds of pages you follow and other
people may have the same that it’s not like you’re gonna get the right people
looking at your post so you certainly can post on Facebook, you can create a
page for your lost pet, I’ve seen people have some success with that but just
make sure that you’re engaging people in your local area. What I see a lot is
people sharing sharing sharing and I’m seeing posts getting shared for pets
that are missing in other states or maybe someone does a screenshot and I
don’t even see the original information so a lot of that sharing stuff isn’t
super helpful especially if it’s over a really really broad area. Sometimes pets
are found far from home but most of the time they’re not. They’re either very
close to home or they’ve wandered a mile or two from home or they’re at the local
shelter. This is where most pets are found, not in other counties and other
states you know hundreds of miles away. That’s very uncommon so that’s not going
to help you. Finding Rover is a newer and innovative service that is free
to the user. You may have seen it. It involves using facial recognition for
dogs. Now I have seen many recoveries through this app not necessarily from
the facial recognition but just from people seeing the pictures so I would
recommend that you download this app and it helps if your pet is not lost you can
take their picture and upload it and save it so that there’s a good picture
in there for the facial recognition but even if not, if your pet is already lost,
you can go ahead and use a picture that you have. Just try to get the best
picture that you have and you can also look at pictures of found pets in the
area through Finding Rover whether they were found by individuals or if they’re
in a foster home or at a shelter so Finding Rover is another tool that may
help you and it’s also free. There are a number of paid services online like Pawboos,t Amber Alert, Find Toto, and any number of others. I have not used these
services myself so I don’t know if they are helpful. I would caution you before
spending money on these kinds of services. Certainly look into them. A lot
of these companies pay for ad placement online so when you do a Google search
the paid services are usually going to be the first ones that pop up so if
you’re looking for free information you’re probably going to need to scroll
down a little further. It’s nothing wrong with checking out these companies to see
what they offer and what the costs are but the reason I say be cautious is from
what I see a lot of the services are things that you could do yourself like
posting on Facebook, boosting posts on Facebook, doing mailers, all of these are
things you can do yourself and so you have to look at that and see
if the cost is worth it for you and if it isn’t something that you could do
yourself. There are nonprofit organizations out there that will
provide information on finding lost pets one of them is Mission Reunite that is
the nonprofit that I am involved in and on
our website www.missionreunite org we have a lot of information on tips and I
share these videos on the website, information about finding lost pets, how
to search at shelters and etc. Lost Dogs of America is another nonprofit
organization that also offers a lot of free information on their website that’s
www.lostdogsofamerica.org. They also have state chapters so you can search for
lost dogs whatever your state is in the United States. They partner with another
company called Helping Lost Pets which is also a free service it’s an online
database and there’s also another one called pet FBI. So these are some of the
websites you can go to that are free where there are registries and
information. Just a word of caution about using these kinds of registries. While
they’re very helpful and they have helped many people find their pets, these
are national registries, so definitely check them out but I would also focus
more of your energy on local searches like Nextdoor. I hope this information
has been helpful to you and that you have your missing pet back home soon. If
you have any questions, if you have any experience with these kinds of websites
or services please post them in the comments. I’d love to hear about it and
to share it with those watching this video. Please like and subscribe to our
channel. We will upload content on lost pet recovery and other important pet
topics every week.

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