Valley woman spends New Year's Day reconnecting people with their lost pets

Posted at 2:29 PM, Jan 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-02 08:47:24-05

Loud fireworks and rowdy parties can be a terrifying combination for furry friends in the Valley. That’s why the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control sees an uptick in lost dogs — especially during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

An MCACC spokesperson said that pet paramedics picked up 12 injured dogs (two of which were struck by cars) and one injured cat between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Dozens of pet owners are turning to social media to post pictures of their beloved animals and asking for the public's help.

However, a Phoenix woman is instead answering those calls.

Cheryl King-Wade was already up all New Year's Eve taking lost pets off the streets. She stopped at a coffee shop near 19th Avenue and Baseline and found another pooch.

"Let's go find your home," King-Wade said to the dachshund mix.

And that she did — scouring through neighborhoods where she finds the lost dogs.

"Hey, are you missing a dog by chance?" she asked multiple people in the area.

She's frustrated that she didn't prepare the community better.

"My push is always to get identification on animals prior to any celebratory holiday where they may be fireworks," she explained. "But, I failed miserable this time because there are hundreds and hundreds."

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She runs a nonprofit, Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds, and spends a lot of time working with pets — mainly homeless-owned pets.

She's hoping the community will also step up and help these animals find their homes.

"Take two minutes out of your busy day, stop and pick up the animal," King-Wade said. "A rescuer will come help you. You are not going to be stuck. Someone will come get the animal."

MCACC is offering some tips to people who may have lost their pet:

  • Search your neighborhood: Hang flyers with a description and picture of your pet. Be sure to leave your contact information. If you leave a pair of old gym socks, shirts or pet’s bed outside, the smell may help guide them back home.
  • Outside the neighborhood: If you believe your pet has strayed outside of your community, reach out to the Sunnyslope Campus Admissions Department and ask to see the lost pets in the Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital. Leave a flyer of your furry friend at the animal shelter. The department reopens on Monday at 9 a.m.
  • Additional resources: Check Pet Harbor for lost pets, file a report with Missing Mutts (480-898-8914), look up the “Lost and Found” section of Craigslist and visit Lost Dogs of Arizona’s Facebook page.