DogLost Cornwall featured in the Cornish news.
Losing a dog is an owner’s worst nightmare, not knowing what to do first and desperately trying to get it back before it is run over or injured.
When the worst happens one Facebook group which started with just one woman and turned in to a community of more than 5,000 people is on hand to help.
The DogLost Cornwall page has been running since 2010, when it was set up alongside the national DogLost website to help reunite lost pets and owners.
Co-ordinating countless searches, posts sharing posters of missing pooches and daily checks with the Cornwall Council dog pound is just one woman, Maxine Young, but she has a lot of support.
“Everyone on the page is amazing,” she said. “We have some members that are always checking, always posting and sharing. They’ll check other pages and alert me to any missing dogs that we might be able to help with.
“It’s a good community and there are a lot of members that go out of their way to help with searches and put up posters, it’s not just me there a lot of very, very wonderful people involved.”
When a dog goes missing, owners can go to the doglost.co.ukwebsite, where they can enter details into a national database with daily Cornwall lists sent out to Maxine to share on the Facebook page and help get the word out.
She added: “Every day I get up and check the lists for Cornwall, both the lost dogs and the ones that have been found by people, and see if there are any we can match up.
“I check our Facebook page for any messages from owners overnight. We can share details to see if anyone on our page has seen the missing dog or has seen another post that we can link up and help point people in the right direction.
“The police aren’t interested unless your dog is stolen and even then it’s a low priority. It’s all about coordinating and getting the word out.
“The amount of times that people have said, ‘oh I saw that dog a couple of hours ago but I thought it was with someone because people were nearby’. The more people who know that a dog is missing the more people can keep their eyes open and report sightings.”
Since it started the page has helped to reunite countless owners with their pets, something that Maxine says is a “wonderful” feeling.
Nationally, DogLost has reportedly helped more than 55,000 owners and reunited nearly 60,000 dogs.
“It is nice when you see someone post about a missing pet and you can help reunite them,” she said. “A lot of people just don’t know what to do. We get lists from the council pound every morning and I make calls to the pound for people to see if they have had any reported.”
She added: “I remember one particular story about Percy the Poodle. His owners had lost him while they were down here on holiday. They had to go back home and couldn’t stay any longer to look for him.
“It just so happened that I was going to meet friends in the area that he had been lost so I thought, ‘while I’m there I’ll have a look around and set a trap in a field belonging to a farmer who was helping in the search’.
“I set the trap and then I got a call from the farmer. He had found Percy, not in the trap but in the corner of a field that had been ploughed. We hadn’t seen him.
“He had been missing for three weeks. He was a bit thin and his fur was all matted so I picked him up and took him straight to the vets. It was so great that he had been found after all that time.”
But sadly not every case Maxine deals with has a happy ending.
She said: “You do get the sad ones – the ones that don’t get found and sadly, certain ones, where they have gone running off near a cliff or something like that, you know they probably won’t be found alive.
“There’s one at the moment who has lost her dog. It has been spotted in the sea a few times. Unfortunately there’s not much hope but the owner just wants to be able to get it back so that she can give it a proper burial.”
“I’d been doing it for a few years and then I became a volunteer with DogLost and started to help people locally, sharing posters and things like that. I have been out on a couple of searches and still do if I can.”
Anyone can join the Facebook page here to share their own lost or found dogs, or help to share sightings and take part in searches.