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Westporter Reunites Pets, Owners

Finding a lost pet is not easy, and Westport resident Judy James, founder of , knows this first hand. Three years ago, when one of her cats went missing, she spent hours putting up posters, making phone calls and visiting shelters.

"It was daunting. I even had the advantage of being self-employed and having the freedom to go out and do it, but it still was daunting," said Judy, 65. "And while posters work, not everyone has the time it takes to put them up."

That's when the idea hit her: why not use the Internet as a tool to find missing pets in town?

She thought the idea was great but never found the time to bring it to fruition — until last year.

"The market was slow, and I had some extra time, so I thought, 'Now is the time to put work into this and make it a reality,'" she said. "I feel any idea you have, but are too busy to explore, if it sticks with you and still feels right, you should try it when you have time. If not, then it wasn't a good idea."

Unlike other pet lost and found websites, MissingPet911, a nonprofit which launched this year, is not only free, it's also specifically for Fairfield County residents. If your pet has gone missing, simply register online and upload a photo with information about your pet.

Once the information is in the system, an email notification goes out to people in your ZIP code who are also registered on the site. An email also goes out to rescue groups, dog wardens, veterinarian offices and shelters across the county.

MissingPet911, a great resource for people who have lost their pets, isn't just for pet owners, though, Judy said.

"If you've found a pet, you can post a picture online, too," she said. "In order for this to be successful, we need to have a large database of people registered. Sign up and be a hero."

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