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How To Find A Lost Dog In A Cell Phone Dead Zone

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?

How To Find A Lost Pet In A Cell Phone Dead Zone | GoPetFriendly.com

How To Keep Your Dog From Getting Lost On Vacation

Tips for Staying Together When Traveling with Pets | GoPetFriendly.comObviously, the best thing to do is to keep your pet from going missing in the first place.

  • Fit them with a sturdy harness or collar they can’t wriggle out of if they get excited or frightened.
  • Buckle them up in a safety harness or keep them in a secured carrier in the car.
  • Use a travel crate to keep them safe when you can’t supervise them.

And, if the worst happens and you still get separated despite your best efforts, be prepared to do everything to get them back!

  • Microchip your pet, so if they end up in a veterinarian’s office or animal shelter the chip provider can contact you – and keep your information up to date with them.
  • Attach tags to your pet’s collars with your current contact information.
  • Pack hard copies of flyers with your pet’s picture so you have them ready to post quickly if you do get separated.

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!

Build A Lost Dog Website

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?

How To Find A Lost Pet In A Cell Phone Dead Zone | GoPetFriendly.comHow To Set Up Your Lost Pet Website

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.)

  • Sign into your preferred Google account. If you don’t already have a Google account (this includes Gmail), you can open one here.
  • After you’ve signed in, visit Google Drive.
  • Click the “New” button on the left side of the page. When it opens, choose “more” at the bottom of the page for additional options.
  • Click “Google Sites.”
  • Use the tool bar to create your page. You can add links, pictures, formatting, etc. Google saves your work as you go.
  • When you’ve finished creating your site, choose your sharing options. You’ll find them under an icon that looks like a person with a plus sign. Choose “make file readable by anyone with the link” to make the page available only to those who type in the URL.

Blogger (Blogger is also owned by Google.)

  • Sign into your preferred Google account. If you don’t already have a Google account (this includes Gmail), you can open one here.
  • After you’ve signed in, click on the “square” symbol on the upper right side of the page to open your options.
  • Click on “Blogger.” You may need to scroll down to see it.
  • Once on the Blogger page, click the link “create your blog.”
  • On the next page, you’ll be prompted to enter the password associated with your Google account.
  • After you sign in, a window will pop-up asking you to name your blog and create an address. You will also choose a theme (you can change this later) before clicking “create blog.”
  • If you choose a blog name that is unavailable, you will be asked to try again.
  • Once you have successfully created your blog, you will see the dashboard where you can create your site. The Help button will share basic information about creating your site.

WordPress.com (WordPress has free and paid options. Free is fine for this purpose.)

  • Visit wordpress.com.
  • Click “Get Started.”
  • You will be prompted to answer a few questions about how you want to use your site and what you’d like to name it. Once done, click “continue.”
  • On the next screen, you’ll be asked for keywords so you can find a website address. WordPress will generate some options for you. The free version of your preferred website name may have a lot of numbers in it. If you want a clean website address, you may have to pay for an account.
  • On the next page, select the kind of account you want and hit continue. If you choose a premium account, you will have to enter payment information.
  • Finally, you’ll be asked for your email address and password.
  • Once you have your site, WordPress will help you choose a theme. They will also prompt you with instructions on how to set up your website.

Wix

  • Visit wix.com and click “get started.”
  • On the next page, choose “sign up.” You will be asked for your email address and a password.
  • Once you’ve created your account, you will be asked what kind of website you want to create. Choose one to be taken to the next page.
  • You will be asked if you want to let Wix create a website for you or if you’d like to choose a template and create your own.
  • If you choose “let Wix create,” you will be asked a series of questions before Wix creates your site. You can also pick a template and create a site yourself using tools that are similar to those on Blogger or WordPress.
  • Which ever method you use, when you like the look of your site, click “Publish” in the upper right corner.

Whichever method you chose to create your website, you’re now ready for the next step.

Link Your Lost Pet Page To Your Pet

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.

Help The People Who Find Your Dog Find You

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.

Pamela Douglas Webster from Something Wagging This Way Comes

Photo Credit: Alice G Patterson Photography

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!

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  • For good reason, Janet – losing one of the boys is my worse nightmare!

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