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July 31, 2013

Nonprofit group reunites 1,200 dogs, owners

Nonprofit group reunites more than 1,200 lost dogs and owners

Leilani Nadeau thought all hope was lost. In January, Kamaya, her 3-year-old Chow, had been missing for a week. With a big snowstorm on the horizon, the Derry resident didn’t know how much longer Kamaya could survive on his own.

Thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, Kamaya returned home safely just before the storm hit.

“They were just amazing,” Nadeau said. “They did a phenomenal job calming us down.”

Nadeau received help from Granite State Dog Recovery, a nonprofit group focused on reuniting dogs with their owners. The group posted Kamaya’s picture and description, reaching more than 25,000 Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

“The most important thing is to get the word out to as many people as possible,” said Lori Bertrand, one of the organization’s founders.

Bertrand is one of six women who volunteer around the clock to find missing dogs or the owners of found pets.

The Salem-based organization covers all of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and posts notices for dogs missing elsewhere in New England.

The volunteers create and post fliers on social media and go out searching for dogs.

“If we know the location of the dog, we will try to set up a trap to bring it in,” Bertrand said.

If a dog is seen in a specific area, volunteers will set up a food-baited trap and a trail camera, which notifies them if something passes by.

With help from the traps and thousands of Facebook fans, GSDR has found about 1,200 dogs since the group formed in 2010.

About 80 percent of dogs that have been posted to the group’s Facebook page have been found.

“There isn’t a better feeling than reuniting a lost dog with its owner,” said Susan Piche, a GSDR volunteer.

The group was started after they successfully found a dog in 2010, and they realized how valuable a tool social media could be in finding a dog.

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