When we started cruising the eastern United States on our sailboat, my biggest shock was discovering cell phone dead zones. Many parts of coastal North Carolina and even parts of the Chesapeake Bay, not far from Washington DC, have spotty or no cell service—on any network.
Normally, I wouldn’t mind being disconnected. But what if we lost our dog, Honey, in one of those areas? How would we be reunited?
Obviously, the best thing to do is to keep your pet from going missing in the first place.
And, if the worst happens and you still get separated despite your best efforts, be prepared to do everything to get them back!
But what if you’re backpacking in a remote area like the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia, boondocking near Lake Mead in Nevada, or snowshoeing in Acadia when your pet goes missing? How will you get the call that some kind person has found your dog in a cell phone dead zone?
If Honey goes missing, we have an easy way for anyone who finds her to bring her home, even without cell phone coverage. And you can do it, too!
In addition to our names and phone number, Honey’s collar tag has a website URL. Anyone who types it into their internet browser will be taken to a simple web page attached to my blog. I update the page while we have internet coverage to show where we are anchored, or our location in a specific marina, and our current GPS coordinates. There’s also a picture of our boat and of us (with Honey) so the Good Samaritan can be sure they are returning Honey to her rightful owners.
If you live, travel, or hike in places with spotty cell service, you can easily create your own “lost pet” web page, including information about your rig and itinerary. Head to a coffee shop, or take advantage of your campground’s wireless network to set up the page before your next adventure! This page can be published privately, so only the person who finds your pet and types in the exact URL will be able to see it. And, if you’re reluctant to post specific personal information online, you can just use the page to inform the person who finds your pet to contact park rangers or local law enforcement, who will get in touch with you.
This is a sample pet finder page similar to the actual private link I created on my blog, Something Wagging This Way Comes. Are you ready to set up one of your own?
I think every traveler should have some kind of web page. It’s a great way to share your travels with friends and family, and it’s a convenient way to store and retrieve memories of your journeys. If you don’t already have a website, it’s easy to set one up … and it’s free!
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to set up your own lost pet web page on some of the most popular sites:
Google Sites (You must use the Chrome or Firefox browsers to set up a Google website.)
Blogger (Blogger is also owned by Google.)
WordPress.com (WordPress has free and paid options. Free is fine for this purpose.)
Whichever method you chose to create your website, you’re now ready for the next step.
Once you’ve created your website, you need to order collar tags for your pets that include the website address. Make sure you have the URL written somewhere safe, then type it into a website shortener so the address will fit on the tag. Before placing your order, make sure the company you get your tags from can print capitals and small letters, because URLs are case sensitive.
Anyone who finds your pet will check her tags for your contact information, and if you’re in a cell phone dead zone (or even if your phone is out of battery juice), your pet’s rescuer will still be able to find you based on the information you provide on your web page.
When I see lost pet signs on telephone poles, I take note. I’ve used Honey to attract loose dogs that are wandering the streets, and I’ve put ads on Craigslist to reunite dogs without identification with their people.
I know I’m not the only animal lover who takes time to help lost pets. If the worst happens, and you get separated from your beloved pet, make it easy for helpful animal lovers to find you. Even if you find yourself in a cell phone dead zone.
About the Author: Pamela Douglas Webster explores the connections between humans and dogs with wit and wisdom at Something Wagging This Way Comes. She, her husband, Mike, and their Golden Retriever, Honey, live aboard a sailboat and cruise along the eastern coast of the United States.
Guest Posts on GoPetFriendly.com: We love sharing stories from people having fun traveling with their pets – especially when they do things a little differently than us! Sharing your pet travel experiences may be just the nudge someone else needs to pack up and head out with their own best friend. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for Take Paws, let us know!