Imagine that your dog escapes. Maybe your door was unintentionally left open, your pet found a hole in the fence, or an old leash broke, and, suddenly, your beloved pup is gone. With your faithful companion somewhere unknown, maybe far away, you are left with the same helpless feeling that any other dog owner would feel under the same circumstances. You’ve rounded your block and asked your neighbors if they’ve seen or heard your dog, but nobody has any tips. With limited resources and limited hope, there is little you can do but wait and hope for good news. Thankfully, if you live in LA County or the Greater NYC/NJ area, the FindShadow App can offer you a solution.

The goal of the app is to reunite owners and their dogs, fast. Taking advantage of the power of technology to connect people, FindShadow has built a community of dog owners and dog lovers that offer one another resource and support in the event of a lost dog. This community-led organization has already brought together thousands of enthusiasts. Using videos, photo-matching technology, and a database of lost and found dogs, users work together to, in FindShadow’s own words, “reunite owners and mend hearts.” So far, it has been working, with FindShadow reuniting over 2,000 dogs and their owners. 

The app offers community members the tools to ensure that dog owners can find their dogs as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Members can join FindShadow as dog helpers, or people who want to help reunite dogs with their owners. They can also join as dog owners, who have lost their dog or dog finders who want to report a found dog. 

For example, let say that one would want to find a lost dog. FindShadow will ask you to upload some information about the dog –Its name, age, breed, a few photos, the circumstances in which the dog escaped, and information on where it might have gone. This information will immediately be shared with the hundreds or thousands of volunteers in your area and, working together, you and the other users will be given access to a set of tools designed to help you find your lost dog. You will also receive a step-by-step action plan offering tips and tricks to help you find your lost companion. This includes ready-made personalized flyers that you will be able to post across your neighborhood, allowing you to reach those who do not use the FindShadow app.

Members of the FindShadow community can match photos of lost dogs with photos of dogs found on the streets or to photos in shelter registries. If the images match up, helpers and finders will be able to contact the dog owner and receive specific instructions on how to return the animal to their home. On FindShadow, every single lost dog is reported, and the community is invested in helping one another. 

Dog owners, helpers, and finders who use FindShadow have access to a network far larger and more invested than the smaller community that street flyers alone could reach. The app offers dog owners a chance to breathe. While any situation with a lost pet is stressful, getting a highly-motivated small army involved in the recovery of your pet is by far the best thing one can do to give themselves the best possible chance. Users can also offer emotional support to community members going through the terrible experience of losing their dog. 

Globally, reviews for the App on Google Play and the Apple store are positive. Currently, the app sits at 4.7 stars on Android and 4.7 on iOS. One user, Lisa from Brooklyn, NY, was pretty straightforward in her assessment of the app: “Saturday morning, I got a call from a guy saying that he had found my dog. He found our profile only 11 hours after Apollo had run hiding from the storm. FindShadow is the #1 reason I have my dog back.” 

If there is one drawback to the app, it’s that it is currently targeted only at LA County and the greater New York Area. Hopefully, they will expand their operations shortly, as there aren’t a ton of in-depth services of this nature on the market.