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Membership in Lookout Guardians is free.
Members volunteer as Lookouts for free.
Pets have a one-time, life-time registration fee of $25.
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History

 

The inspiration for Lookout Guardians Neighborhood Search Network for Lost Pets was my lost cat, Dickens. On May 9th, 2010, Dickens, went outside and never came home. As I began to realize the little guy was in some sort of trouble and needed my help, I began searching for him. I walked all over the neighborhood and searched the local ponds and woods where I lived. I waited, believing any day I would get a phone call from some nice person who found Dickens with his collar and ID tags. In the meantime, I figured I would use all of my forensic psychologist skills to find my cat.

I was confident that with determination and persistence I could bring my kitty home. I spent many hours posting signs, handing out posters, going door to door, talking to over 1000 neighbors, and following up on every lead.

I discovered many online services that will help you to find your pet, but most of them were passive. All you would do is post your information and wait. Further, Dickens was lost in my neighborhood and probably within a five mile radius of where he lived. So being able to post on a national register was not too helpful. My cat was not in California or Georgia, etc. I needed help communicating with the folks who lived in a five mile radius around my house.

I read a lot of information about finding lost pets. I did not find Dickens, but I learned a lot. First, I learned that the real search for a pet is on the ground in the neighborhoods. Second, I learned that it is almost impossible to do a thorough house by house search of even a half a mile around the point where Dickens was lost. The literature was suggesting I might need to search as far as five miles from my home.

One of the biggest things I learned was there are many wonderful, kind, and thoughtful people who love their pets and gladly extend a helping hand to someone looking for their lost pet. When I posted signs, people would call just to tell me they were on the lookout for Dickens. Furthermore, they really wanted to know if I ever found Dickens.

Finally, being a psychologist, I read any material available on lost pet behavior and learned a lot about how pets behave when they are lost.

My search for Dickens had numerous problems. I put up carefully crafted signs and they would be gone in a week to 10 days (I should mention that I also saw evidence that other people helped me keep signs up. I found one had been duct taped back together). Also, people don't take down contact information until after they see a cat that fits the description. If the sign is gone, then they have no way to contact me.

Another problem was that there were many cats that looked like Dickens. One well-meaning fellow trapped a neighborhood cat under a laundry basket for two hours waiting for me to get off work and see the cat. The cat stalked away quite indignantly when we let him go. Two days later as I was hunting in the neighborhood due to another call, I met the cat and his owner, a very nice lady who promised to be on the lookout for Dickens and took a flier. The cat eyed me suspiciously. This poor kitty was the subject of several other "rescues". This was disturbing to the cat and disappointing to the rescuers. I wanted to email the neighborhood with his picture saying, "This is not Dickens! Please don't catch him anymore!"

Fliers were even a problem. If no one was at home, I left fliers in doors, on windshields (until I accidentally triggered an alarm) and tucked into garage doors. But most people ignore fliers because they get so many of them.

So, I began to wish that there was some way to email my neighbors about Dickens. With that thought, Lookout Guardians began to grow. I hope that what we have created here will help all lost pets get back home safe and sound. I also hope that one day, I might still find my lost Dickens, who I miss terribly, and pray he is OK, and that some kind soul has taken him in.

 
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