Pet Posse: A Pet’s Best Friend

Lynne Whited, Jean Glass, Chris Johnston, Gail Nivala and Shel-le Van Cleave

Republished from July 2017.

For two and a half years a dedicated group of animal lovers have been trudging through underbrush, scouring back alleys and posting photos of pets separated from their owners. During this time they have reunited almost 1,100 pets, mostly dogs and cats with their owners. Shel-le Van Cleave, founder of Pet Posse tells why she started it. “A little over two years ago I had just rescued a dog I intended to raise. It had been here about two days when it crashed into the back door and out it went. I called around to see if there was an organization to help find stray animals. There was no such organization. I was sad to loose my dog. Then later, I spotted my stray dog. I needed a catch pole.

I called the humane society and they refused to lend us theirs. I called over to Jefferson County Humane Society and they said, “sure come get it, keep it as long as you need it.” “From this I realized if there is going to be such an organization as I envisioned I would have to start it myself,” said Van Cleave. And so she did. She recruited a group of like-minded friends, developed a non-profit organization and now, two years later, more than 1100 pets and their owners are reunited thanks to the work of a dedicated board of directors and numerous volunteers.

Pet Posse charges no fees and ask only for donations when they reunite owners with their pets. Most are happy to support such an organization knowing Fido or Fifi may get lost again. When a call comes in, whether it is a lost pet or a found pet photographs are taken and sent to the social media chairperson who immediately puts the word out on Facebook, Twitter, local print media outlets like Port O Call and whoever else will run the notices. Usually the calls start coming in within the first hour it goes out on social media. Searches have been as brief as one hour and as long as a week—or more.

“During the Juan de Fuca Festival we had a booth set up and a lady came up and told us her dog went missing while she was at the festival. The Pet Posse shifted into action, sent out the social media reports and, within an hour we learned the whereabouts of the lost dog. The owner, from Oregon, was so relieved she left us a generous donation at the booth,” said Van Cleave.

If you get separated from your pet call Pet Posse at: 360-775-5154. In the meantime go ahead and send them a tax-deductible donation. Yours could be the next missing pet. Mail it to: Pet Posse 1130 ½ E. Front Street Port Angeles, WA 98362. You’ll be glad you did.

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