Finding Lost Dogs

Robocalls to the rescue
By Lisa Wogan, December 2010, Updated February 2015

Many pets go missing in September, says Colleen Busch, spokesperson for, the country’s first lost pet phone alert system. She thinks it may be due, in part, to all the distractions of getting kids back to school. But whatever the reason, when your dog escapes or, worse, is stolen, FindToto is there, like a search party in your laptop. Simply input the details of your dog’s disappearance, a physical description and a photo. The service sends out recorded phone alerts to residents in the area where your dog disappeared (as quickly as 5,000 calls in 45 minutes). Costs run from $85 for 250 calls to $875 for 10,000.

As of June, the nearly three-year-old start-up claims to have located more than 3,000 pets, from a Siberian Husky in Brooklyn to a Toy Poodle in San Francisco. It’s logging a 75 percent success rate for alerts ordered within the first 48 hours of a disappearance. And it’s not just for dogs and cats — FindToto has helped track down goats, turtles, birds and a wallaby.

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 61: Sept/Oct 2010

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of several books including Dog Park Wisdom.