By LISA M. REED
LAURIUM - A Facebook site is reuniting pets with their loved ones.
Justice, a Golden Retriever/Husky mix and her pup, Bandit, also a Beagle mix, were recently united with their respective owners through a social media networking site. From left, are Bandit, Elena Maule of Hermansville and Justice.
Vicki Bastian, founding administrator of Lost & Found Paws of the U.P., said when a dog, cat or any sort of pet is missing and/or found, information and pictures are posted on Facebook.
Recently, a puppy and its mother were reunited with their owners after the puppy was abandoned on a highway and the mother was missing for more than four months.
Bastian received a post from Rachel Walters of Powers on March 15 asking her to help find the owner of a male puppy that was found in her backyard.
In an effort to reunite the puppy with his owners, Bastian posted his picture on the Lost & Found Paws of U.P. on Facebook. Because Walters couldn't keep the puppy, Shirley Strieter of Norway offered to foster him until the owners or a good home were found.
Four days later, Bandit, a Beagle/Golden Retriever/Husky mix, moved into Strieter's home where she gave him love, shelter, safety and taught him basic obedience.
Then on April 6, Bastian received a post from Elena Maule of Hermansville desperately looking for a puppy that her dog Justice, a Golden Retriever/Husky mix had given birth to in October 2012.
"Thor, the name she had given him when he was born, had been adopted out when he was eight weeks old. She just received word that this puppy may have been left on the side of U.S. 2 in Powers and she wanted to find him and bring him home," Bastian said. "I then started posting his picture all over Facebook. On April 7, with the help of Tuesday Deno, a possible connection came that Bandit could be Thor. Elena drove over to Shirley's to verify if this was the puppy she was looking for and it was him."
Bastian said through the search for Bandit, she discovered that his mother, Justice, had been missing since Dec. 7, 2012 from Hermansville.
Rumor had it that Justice was hit by a truck but that was not the case. Instead she was picked up by Sandi Danielson of Norway, who provided love and safety to her until her owner was found.
Bastian said on April 20, Maule received a call from Sandi Danielson saying she saw a picture of a dog on Lost & Found Paws of the U.P. and that she had a dog fitting Justice's description.
Sure enough, that was the case.
After missing for 134 days, Justice is settling in at home with Maule and one of her puppies, Mac.
Bandit, formerly Thor, now lives on a farm in Bark River with Tiffany Michaud's mother-in-law, Julie Hacker.
Bastian started the Lost & Found Paws of the U.P. because she is an avid animal lover.
"Locally, people would post on my Facebook page that they lost their dog, and it got overwhelming for my friends because all they saw on my page were dogs," Bastian said.
So on Dec. 27, 2011, she opened the Lost & Found Paws of the U.P. on Facebook.
Since then, the site has reunited hundreds of lost pets with their owners and has more than 3,000 followers.
The site got its name after Bastian brainstormed while laying in bed one night.
U.P. residents who lose a dog or cat or any other type of pet are encouraged to post information and pictures of the pet on the Facebook site.
Bastain said they also should get flyers out to make others aware of their missing pet.
Lost & Found Paws of the U.P. is out of Laurium. It has several administrators throughout the U.P.
When a pet comes in missing or found, Bastian looks at the area it is missing from and posts at the nearby shelters.
"If I don't get any updates or new information, then I reach out farther," she said. "I start small and then start expanding."
Bastian's initial goal when was to buy a live trap for all 15 counties of the U.P. She has been able to purchase one trap so far.
Donations to the site for the goal are appreciated.
To donate, visit the page and send a message to Vicki Bastian.
Lisa M. Reed's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.