“Lost your pet? We can help!”

A number of organizations and individuals are offering to help you find your lost pet these days, so what makes Lost Dogs Illinois different?

For one thing, Lost Dogs Illinois is no fly-by-night organization. Susan Taney, who has more than 25 years of experience in shelter management, pet adoption counseling and animal rescue work, founded Lost Dogs Illinois in 2010. Taney saw there was a real need to help Illinois residents in the recovery of their lost dogs; many people don’t know where or how to start looking for their pets because of the haphazard network of agencies and procedures that exists for that purpose. People may also lack the money to pay for “pet detectives” or other professional services.

As a result, Lost Dogs Illinois is designed to help pet owners find their pets by providing them with basic resources, instructions, suggestions and support – all for free. Lost Dogs Illinois is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization run entirely by dedicated volunteers whose only pay is the joy they experience when pets and owners are reunited.

What else makes Lost Dogs Illinois different from other pet-finding organizations?

Lost Dogs Illinois actively works at building relationships with local government-run and privately run animal welfare organizations to increase their Return-to-Owner (“RTO”) results.

Lost Dogs Illinois is volunteer-driven. Responses on our Facebook page (@LostDogsIllinois) are not automatic or “bot”-driven. Our volunteers do all our postings manually and try to answer each question, comment and email on a timely basis.

Jeanette, LDI volunteer, posting on LDI’s page

In addition to email, Lost Dogs Illinois volunteers will reach out to owners and finders via text message and phone calls, when possible, to remain current on the status of each post. Volunteers can offer tips and advice when asked, as well as encouragement and emotional support.

Lost Dogs Illinois creates online photo albums of lost-and-found pets for ongoing reference. In addition, helpful tips and blogs on how to get a lost dog home are available on both our Facebook page and our Website, www.lostdogsillinois.org.

Lost Dogs Illinois promotes a non-judgmental approach to helping owners find their lost pets. We do not permit “owner-shaming” and other non-productive comments on our Facebook page that deter from our primary mission.

Lost Dogs Illinois is a proactive, community-driven operation. We engage dog lovers and advocates across the state to help reunite lost dogs with their rightful owners. Lost Dogs Illinois is also a founding member of Lost Dogs of America, a network of 27 state-based organizations that offers like services.

Lost Dogs Illinois gives back to the community by providing free engraved ID tags, collars/leashes and microchips to pet owners in conjunction with area pet wellness and health care clinics.

Lost Dogs Illinois is in the forefront of working to change the accepted community mindset of “stray dog, no home” to “not all stray dogs are homeless.”

Lost Dogs Illinois works hand-in-hand with Helping Lost Pets (“HeLP”) to establish one centralized national database of lost pets for pet owners and finders to reference in their searches.

Lastly, Lost Dogs Illinois has two of the best-looking mascots around in “Chip” and “Scanner.”

They routinely make road trips to pet health clinics and appear on Facebook to remind pet owners to microchip their pets and remind police departments, veterinary clinics and shelter staff to scan pets routinely for microchips, all to help the animals get back home.

Lydia Rypcinski