21 April 2015
A group of local animal advocates are using the extended reach of social media to help reunite lost pets with their families.
According to a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association, 63 percent of Americans consider their pets to be family members. One Palmyra woman, Debbie Kavanaugh, who has volunteered with many animal rescues in Fluvanna, has set up the Facebook Page “Lost and Found Pets Fluvanna Virginia” to help families of lost pets recover their dogs and cats.
“I started the page a little under two years ago after scrolling around the Lost and Found Dogs Virginia page,” said Kavanaugh. “I felt if I refined it to just my own county the success rate for reunions would be higher.”
Kavanaugh is motivated by her compassion for people and animals. “My heart goes out to families that are sick with worry over their missing pets,” she explained.
“The page has surpassed any expectation…it now has over 850 avid and fierce animal lovers, who seem ready and willing to help,” said Kavanaugh. When asked if she had a favorite reunion story, her answer was swift, “No - any day a pet is reunited with its family is a memorable and great day!” she said. “The page has had dogs, cats, parakeets, horses and even a chicken lost or found,” Kavanaugh said.
Nicole Crandall of Palmyra and her sixth grade son Jacob Collier know all too well the fear and anxiety experienced when a beloved pet is missing. They adopted “Rascal,” a black Labrador retriever mix, from local animal rescue Green Dogs Unleashed. Crandall and Collier were dog sitting for friends; the visiting dog, along with Rascal, figured out how to open the sliding screen door and went off on an adventure. The visiting dog was recovered right away, but Rascal proved more elusive. Although she was, thankfully, safely recovered, Rascal was missing for five days.
Word that Rascal was missing spread through social media, including the Lost and Found Pets Fluvanna page as well as the Lake Monticello Facebook page, and the community mobilized to help.