What started as an extra set of helping hands for finding lost pets turned into something bigger for Elizabeth Garrett and Catherine Lowder.
“A woman started the Opelika-Auburn Lost and Found Pets page on Facebook because she saw there was a need to get the word out about lost pets,” Lowder said. “She got so busy over time because it is so overwhelming so then Elizabeth and I became administrators along with our other friend, Jaena Norton."
Both Garrett and Lowder have helped their friends find lost pets in the past, but through the Facebook page, they found their real knack for rescuing pets.
People will post about their lost dog or others will post tips and then we go out and help look said, Garrett.
“If you go look in our cars we have dog catching to go bags full of treats and things just on the chance what we see a lost dog,” Lowder said. “We probably look ridiculous if someone passes us on the side of the road trying to get a dog to come to us but we’ll do anything to help.”
Garrett and Lowder take time out of their working lives to help the community find their pets. Both are mothers, and Lowder works as a realtor while Garrett is a photographer. They share a true love for animals.
Lowder jokes that she sympathizes with the owner of the lost pet and Garrett sympathizes with the animal.
“It’s heartbreaking for the owner to go through that but I just think of that dog out in the woods scared out of its mind because it ran too far away,” Garrett said.
In some cases, they have spent 10 days searching for a dog hoping to bring it home safely.
It takes a lot of patience and sometimes searching for a dog can put you in some unusual situations they said.
“I’ve gone through tunnels searching for a dog and have spent countless hours just waiting for a scared dog to come to me,” Garrett said. “I’ve even gone out on Christmas day to help search.”
Throughout their time helping they have learned what works best in trying to bring home lost pets.
“The best thing people can do is handing out and posting flyers wherever you can,” Lowder said. “Printing out 30 posters and putting them just around your neighborhood isn’t enough. It’ll take 300 posted at every intersection and every neighborhood because you never know how far away they are from home.”
“It takes the whole community to help,” Lowder said. “You have to recruit every set of eyes.”
Using bright or neon flyers work best they said instead of white because people will be more aware of those colors and your flyer won’t get lost in the sea of the other countless white posters.
Garrett and Lowder often print the posters for the owners, use their gas and traps without asking for reimbursement.
They have both talked about starting a nonprofit or a reality show they said jokingly.
“When you’re able to get a dog or help someone, it makes you feel so good,” Garrett said. “It’s all love.”