If you’ve ever lost a pet you know how heart-wrenching it is. When I was a young boy our loving pet cat Cupcake went missing. She got outside through an open kitchen window and we were never able to recover her. I mourned her loss for a very long time.

I can’t imagine losing my cockapoo, Albion. It doesn’t bear thinking about. We take every precaution to make sure he doesn’t slip off the leash and chase some squirrel into the bushes, or get out of the yard when he is playing, and he even has a microchip to scan if he shows up at some shelter. Still, the possibility of a beloved dog wandering off and getting lost is real. I see fliers around our town, put up by people searching for their lost dog, cat, or even parrot!

Often they say something like, “Beloved family cat missing, reward if found.” With a printed out photo. I always immediately think of some poor child suffering that loss, the same way I missed Cupcake. And the pet that is lost, if she is even still alive, wondering when she will be found by her family.

Truly heartbreaking.

Of course, when I was young there were less methods of disseminating information quickly. Our pets weren’t chipped, there was no Internet, no smart phones, no online databases of found pets, no GPS tracking, no Craigslist…the list goes on. Now, the chances of recovering a lost pet are much higher, thanks to these innovations.

In order to be pro-active, it can pay to look into services that utilize these and other methods to locate lost pets. So here are two services that help with lost pets.

1) The first service is called Pet Amber Alert. This service seems quite expensive at a glance, but I think the price is for a lifetime of coverage. If that is true, it may be a much better deal than some of the others out there. also seems to be the full montly in terms of what it offers. They do everything from create professional “lost pet” posters, to using phones, faxes, and social media technology to alert people, shelters, veterinarians, and businesses in your area to be on the watch for your pet. Worth a look, and they offer several packages, the cheapest starts at $79.95.

2) The second service, and one that is very popular, is HomeAgain. HomeAgain is about pet micro-chipping, but they back that up with a service that includes 24/7 counseling for those with lost pets, a medical assistance hotline, and pet transport services that cover up to $500 in transportation fees for found pets that need to be shipped home. The service charges an annual fee, starting at $17.99 per year. You need to make sure your pet is micro-chipped to use the program.

Whether we, as Cockapoo owners, decide to buy into a “lost pet” service or not, we should at least look into them and make an informed decision.

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