This website lets rescue dog adopters connect with the pet’s previous owners
Does Archie think about his old humans — and do those humans think about Archie?
Those are the sorts of questions Connie Bekavac hopes to answer with her website, Pet Parents’ Place (petparentsplace.com). It’s a place where people who gave up their dogs, cats or other pets can connect with the people who have them now, and vice versa.
Pet Parents’ Place allows people to enter information on an animal they have or one they gave up: breed, color, age, chip ID number, distinguishing marks, etc. They can upload a photo. They also provide their first name and email address. If a match is made, the two parties can email one another.
Connie figures some people want to know what happened to their pet.
Connie said about 1,000 people have entered information on the Pet Parents’ Place website. A majority are owners who had to give up a pet, she said. There had been no easy way to tell whether a match was made, but Connie just tweaked the website so she’ll get a copy when animal owners connect by email.
I don’t think Archie was mistreated — he doesn’t duck or shrink away when I raise my hand to pet him — but some rescue dogs surely are. One Labrador retriever we met had spent five years chained to a tree in a front yard.
And Connie said her website requests only the users’ first names and email addresses to “cut down on any concerns that somebody would come and repossess the pet or anything else.”
Gina Hardter of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria said most shelters and rescue groups try to provide information, if they have it, to adopters: health, behavior, favorite food. AWLA also makes free dog and cat food available for owners who have trouble affording it.
They don’t share contact information but will pass on assurances to previous owners when an animal has been adopted.
“We know it provides peace of mind,” she said.
New owners of rescues conjure up all kinds of stories about their dogs. Gina and her husband did it with their second dog, Charlie, a pit bull/mastiff/hound mix who knew how to sit and was good on a leash but was painfully shy.
“I had an idea that he probably lived with somebody older — maybe someone who had passed away — and didn’t know what to do without them,” Gina said.
Then Gina met the person in charge of the West Virginia rescue group that had shuttled Charlie to Alexandria, who said that Charlie came from a farm, had lived outside his entire life and ran with a pack of other dogs.
Said Gina: “It was the exact opposite of what we thought. It didn’t affect how much we love him.”
For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/john-kelly.