Tail of Woe: When A Dog Goes Missing

tobyWe’ve all passed those missing pet posters taped to street signs, faded and fluttering in the wind. Some of us have felt a momentary stab of empathy, imagining our despair if it was OUR pet’s image greeting morning commuters. Others made mental notes to be on the look out for “gray cat with white paws named Mittens.” But, the reality is most of us glanced at the signs while clearing traffic without registering any of the details.

Up until this past week, I was one of those blissfully unaware people. That is, until our dog Toby went missing. Then I joined the fellowship of frantic pet owners who post signs, pass out fliers, send out emails, drive slowly calling out “Here, boy!”, and pray that someone, somewhere will see my dog and care enough to do something.

During this ordeal, I discovered there are legions of people who do care. We received a call from Toby’s former dog sitter (“I saw the sign and hoped it wasn’t YOUR Toby.”) We had a message from a random person who had not seen Toby, but wanted to let us know she felt our pain having lost a pet in recent years. A few others called to say they THOUGHT they saw our dog racing the woods, but could not catch him. Two complete strangers volunteered to join an organized search of the woods, if needed.

In the end, it was the kindness of strangers combined with 21st century technology that brought Toby back to us in less than a day.

My boss was the one who told me about FindToto.com; it’s an emergency phone alert system that notifies anywhere from 500 to 1,500 of your neighbors about your missing pet. Living in a semi-rural area, we chose the $100 option of sending messages to 500 people in our community. In less than an hour, we received THE call that led us to Toby. (He was trapped in a nearby garden that had an electric fence designed to keep critters out. Somehow Toby made his way in, but was zapped trying to get out. We found him still cowering in the middle of the garden almost 18 hours after he had wandered in.)

Fortunately, our tail tale of woe was relatively short-lived. Hopefully, if more people know about sites like FindToto.com, there can be more happy endings.


  • Cathy O. Says:
    4-7-2009 09:58:36

    Thank you for the information about FindToto…what a great idea. I would be heartbroken if my dog was lost, and I’m so glad you found Toby.

  • Cindy L Says:
    4-7-2009 10:53:45

    What a great idea for locating lost pets. A few years ago, a stray cat camped out on our porch, and we tried for several weeks to locate his owner. We ended up taking him in, and keeping him until he died … but it would have been great to have had access to a site like FindToto.com! Glad your story had a happy ending.

  • Sharon Says:
    4-10-2009 11:37:28

    So glad to hear Toby returned to you safe and sound. When I was a girl, our family’s dog was a Toby and we would have been devastated to lose him.

  • Barb Says:
    4-14-2009 10:43:49

    The service of findtoto.com sounds amazing. I’m so glad that you found Toby so quickly!

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