Amazing Grace: Website Helps Reunite Dog, Owner
Children on Kiawah Island don’t know how close they came to losing one of their business partners in Pinehurst.
Otello, a 12-year-old black lab, is a whiz at finding lost golf balls. His owner, Frank Manganella, who lives on Kiawah Island in South Carolina, laughs when he talks about some of the knocks he gets on his door in reference to his canine companion.
“He retrieves anything,” Manganella says. “I live on a golf course, and that dog shags golf balls, hundreds of golf balls. Kids in the neighborhood will knock on the door and ask if they can borrow Otello for a while to go find lost balls. Then the kids take the balls they find and go sell them over by the clubhouse.”
Manganella did a little retrieving of his own Monday morning, thanks to the Pinehurst Police Department and the lost-and-found- pets feature on thepilot.com.
In Pinehurst to visit some friends, Manganella was keeping Otello in the garage of his friends’ house when a storm hit on Sunday. Manganella believes the dog got out of the garage, became disoriented and wandered away. Otello is almost completely deaf.
Manganella turned to the Internet Monday morning to begin his search for his missing dog. He went to the Moore County government website, and from there he was directed to thepilot.com. He filled in the online form to post information about a lost dog at around 9:25 a.m.
Meanwhile in the Pinehurst Police Department, the saga of the missing Otello also revolved around thepilot.com.
According to police reports, the department received a call about a black lab that had been wandering around Sunday near Overcup Lane. A police officer went over to investigate, and the dog immediately came to the officer, so Otello was taken to the police station, where he was placed in a kennel for an overnight stay.
Karen Hammer, administrative assistant in the department and a professed animal lover, falls into the reunion story at this point. Hammer volunteers with Animal Advocates and is involved in wildlife rehabilitation in addition to her job at the police station. She knows a thing or two about animals, and when she arrived at work on Monday morning she immediately took a liking to Otello.
“He’s a senior, such a nice old guy,” she says. “He is such a sweetheart.”
She called Animal Control as required so it could come get the dog (the department can only keep found pets on premise for a short time), but also went to thepilot.com website and filled out the found animal form at around 9:50 a.m.
“It was the first time we used it,” she says. “Everything just came together perfectly for him (Otello). That program is what made it all work out.”
Mark Bamberry, the Webmaster for thepilot.com and another bigtime animal lover, connected the dots when he saw the two reports that had been entered. He immediately called Manganella to tell him that Otello could probably be found at the Pinehurst Police Department.
“Thirty minutes later, I got a call telling me my dog might be at the police station,” Manganella says. “I was amazed. The system in place on the website is mind-boggling.”
There are probably some kids on Kiawah Island that will be happy to find out that their business partner is coming home to continue his retrieving ways. Manganella and Otello certainly are glad to be reunited.
“He sure was happy to see me,” Manganella says. “The feeling was mutual.”
Lost-and-Found Pet Forms Online: Pam Partis, a woman with bright ideas and an avowed animal lover, and Bamberry collaborated on thepilot.com’s lost and found pet section. Partis came up with the idea and Bamberry implemented it.
Partis pointed out that when a person loses or finds a pet, there are seven animal rescue groups in the area to contact. That means filling out seven different lost-or-found reports — and doing it only during the time when the agencies are open.
So, she suggested, why not create a lost-and-found report on thepilot.com that would allow a person to file a report and submit a photo of a missing or found pet with a single click 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Then, when that report is submitted through thepilot.com, it will automatically be distributed by e-mail to all seven agencies. Voilá — a clearinghouse for lost and found pets.
Bamberry crafted the form for lost and found pets, and created the system that distributes the information to the various agencies.
The system has reconnected several pets and pet owners in addition to Manganella.
Click here to locate the forms.
Contact Hunter Chase, The Pilot’s online editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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