THE PET RESCUE - How it all started.
From: Maurizio Comelli
It was September 2003 when for some reason the gate of my backyard was left open and my beautiful Argo went for a little walk in the neighborhood. Unfortunately the little stroll became a long one and that night I spent hours driving around trying to find him but I was not lucky. The day after we had to face the reality, the dog was gone! What should we do? I went to visit the local shelter, the veterinarian down the road, Petco … driving around looking in every corner with no results. We were desperate; Argo was a beautiful Cocker Spaniel very friendly which made me think that somebody picked him up since he was not a street dog. I got home and prepared some flyers that made me fight with the Home Owners Association, got a ticket from the City and had somebody took them down for his own enjoyment. I went back to the veterinarian office and I had a conversation with the vet that told me a couple of very interesting things. While a runaway cat most of the time stays close to home, a dog travels and travels fast and once out of familiar ground … he has difficulties to find the way home. Some lost dogs get picked up by people with the intent to save them and taken home or shelters that are not necessarily in the same neighborhood; it is a fact that they can end up quite far away. In conclusion I had nowhere to go and I started Internet searches to find a planet that I never thought existed! Pet detectives from $ 1,000 to $ 3,500 per day plus expenses of course, people renting dogs to find dogs, psychics, Amber Alerts with a lot of different options running from $ 130 to … whatever and very bad write-ups, all of them trying to convince me that they were the best and the only one to have results! Then I decided to do it myself. I started to collect information on veterinarians, shelters, rescue groups, pet services and remembering the veterinarian suggestion I expanded the search to cover a 50 miles radius and I sent them an e-mail with Argo’s information and a printable flyer with picture. Well … nothing happened for few days. But something come up in my mind, the development of a web site able to offer all the help that I was not able to find and the same day I registered the domain “thepetrescue.com”. The following week Argo was found dead in a ditch on the side of a road apparently killed by a car. This did not make me stop but gave me even more energy to create an area where people can actually find help. January 2004 www.thepetrescue.com version 1.0 was ready! For the first 5 years we used to offer help for free, placing ads on the web site in the State’s page where the pet was lost, with pictures, flyers and so on. We built the largest network in North America of veterinarians, shelters, rescue groups, pet services, neighborhood watch and pet lover totaling as of today 12,000 people, network that is still expanding with more and more people willing to be included in it. In our home page you can actually find how many people we have in each state, just place the mouse cursor on the US map and you will see the numbers. Three years ago we could not keep the service alive without charging a small fee. Costs were skyrocketing but we did not want to take the service off air. We created the PREMIUM SERVICE offering the channeling of the information to our network, ad with pictures and so on. We set the area in 50 miles radius and the response time within one hour from the receiving of the information. From that January 2004 the web site has hosted over 150,000 lost pet ads with thousands of happy endings! We went through several changes to arrive at today where we have 6 FaceBook pages, Google+, Twitter and much more! Ads with videos, pages with pictures, a magazine: a web site that is over 2,500 pages with 1,500 visitors per day and Monday March 4th there will be even more additions and changes always targeted to help lost pets find their way home. Visit our web site at: www.thepetrescue.com to see our world!