Social Media App Creates Directory for Pets

You’re probably familiar with the Nextdoor app that gives people in your neighborhood a cybervenue for finding a good dentist or babysitter; discovering or posting events and meetings; becoming alert to incidents of crime and suspicious activity; getting rid of TV cabinets, old beta tapes or a dozen shoeboxes; and hot harangues about politicians, parking and pilfering.

There’s nothing, though, that can mobliize social-media posters faster than someone who’s lost a pet or one that’s been found, hungry and bedraggled. Neighbors will keep an eye out for a lost cat or try to unite a dog with its owner. Very often, they succeed, which is wonderful. Some people wind up keeping the animal.

The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million pets lost or stolen each year, as cited on Petfinder.com. That’s just counting cats and dogs—there are also parrots, pocket pets like hamsters and mice, and snakes (we had the pleasure of coming across one recently) that disappear as well. There are a number of local and nationwide resources for owners of lost pets and others who come across them (See “Help! My Pet’s Missing!”), and Nextdoor has just added one more. Their new Pet Directory is a repository of photos of neighborhood pets. It was launched in observance of National Pet Day, which took place April 11 and which a lot of us missed because, hey, what day isn’t pet day?

“Pets do a great job of bringing communities together,” said Jen Burke, a Senior Communications Manager at Nextdoor. “They’re a great common denominator for families, whether it’s neighbors looking to find the home of a lost dog to rallying to rehome an abandoned cat. They do a great job of bringing communities together, so that’s the genesis of the Pet Directory.”

Posts about lost pets dot the Lost and Found category, and Burke said that the new feature was created in response to a great number of requests from Nextdoor members to help locate the pets or their owners. The Directory is located in the left-hand navigation panel and has its own navigation. Click on it, and up pop the pups and kitties. You’re prompted to add information about your pet so people know a little bit more about them, but doing so is optional.

“It not only works through people getting to know the pets in their community but also to give them peace of mind if their pet goes missing,” Burke said. The one on my neighborhood page already has about 60 irresistible mug shots, and more are added daily.

Here’s how it works:

  • Go to Nextdoor.com (if you aren’t signed up and want to be, follow this link and then the instructions)
  • Click on the Pet Directory icon in the left-hand navigation panel.

  • Add information about your pet. Include your pet’s photo, name, breed, color and type of pet, which can be anything as banal as a house cat or a mutt or as out of the way as a chinchilla or a spider. There’s even an Other category—wouldn’t you love to get a gander at those?…

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