A Facebook group for lost and found pets in Hampton Roads, Virginia, has gained over 23,000 members and shows how strong our bond to pets really is.

Any pet owner knows losing your companion is one of the worst things that could happen. Even the most vigilant pet owner can lose their pet in an instant. Take this Florida man who lost his cat during the commotion of a hurricane. He was miraculously reunited with his cat 14 years later, but not every pet owner is so lucky! A Facebook group for lost and found pets in Hampton Roads, Virginia, is helping to facilitate reunions like this. The group, called Lost & Found Pets - Hampton Roads, Virginia, has over 23,000 members and has had 842 posts in the last 30 days alone. Members of the group post photos of pets they have lost or animals they have found outside in hopes that these animals will be brought back to their loving homes. Posts are not exclusive to cats and dogs -- people have also posted about searching for their lost bird or finding wandering turtles outside. [caption id="attachment_8261" align="aligncenter" width="650"]lost and found pets Lost & Found Pets, Hampton Roads, VA[/caption]
A love for animals seems to be unifying the members of the group. According to the 2017-2018 American Pet Products Association survey, 48 percent of Americans own a dog and 38 percent own a cat. Many of these Americans consider the animals not only to be pets but members of their family. The Facebook group gives these pet owners a way to find their beloved friend before it is too late. Animals in the group have been found as quickly as a few hours, but sadly some owners have searched for months with no luck. [caption id="attachment_8262" align="aligncenter" width="665"]lost and found pets Courtesy of Omlet[/caption] If you lose your pet, posting on social media is a great way to start! It's basically the new version of printing out flyers and stapling them to telephone poles. Lost and found pets groups exist all over the country, and you can also find community pages for your town or city and post there. Veterinarians and animal rescue groups also recommend microchipping your pet. Microchipping your pet is a simple and effective method for ensuring your cat can be traced back to you. A microchip is put into your pet through a simple needle prick that hurts the pet as much as a shot would. The potential for short-term pain, however, is worth a lifetime of security. If your pet gets lost after being microchipped and is brought into a veterinarian’s office, shelter, or rescue group, they can scan the pet, and if the pet is microchipped, the group will receive the owner’s information to contact them.
These simple steps can help you reunite with your pet. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that less than 5 percent of lost cats are found. This is often because when people see a cat outside they do not automatically assume the cat is lost. By posting photos of your lost cats on social media pages, you can help increase the odds your cat is found. Even if you do not have a lost pet you can join the Facebook page and know what animals to be on the look-out for! Who wouldn't want to be part of a reunion with a heartbroken family and their scared and confused pet? The group is very supportive, and members even donate to each other to help raise funds for surgeries and go out into the field and catch on-the-loose animals! What do you think? Have you ever been reunited with a lost pet? Let us know in the comments below!

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