DENVER — If a beloved pet goes missing in Colorado, Renae Bagwell and Barb Sebring will be there to help.
"We're a really good team and we've been doing this together for about two years," Barb said.
Renae and Barb are part of a squad of five women who are all pet finders.
"I found a chihuahua in Thornton in Conifer, and it didn't walk there," Renae said.
They said they can put out hundreds of flyers in hours. They search listings from lost pet owners and animal shelters. They started a Facebook group called "The Vanished: Colorado Pets" and create a new page for every pet they are looking for.
"We put the owner on there. If they have friends that are helping to look, they'll be on there," Renae said.
The pet finders are still looking for these Colorado pets
The group even sets up traps in areas where missing dogs and cats have been seen. They can monitor the traps remotely with cameras.
"At least 80% of the time when there's a trap, you know that dog will go in," Barb said.
Renae said if a dog is loose too long, that can pose a problem.
"One of the biggest things I learned is the fact that dogs can go feral," Renae said. "It's like once they're lost long enough, they don't even recognize their owners."
Barb said she once walked alone through an irrigation ditch for two miles looking for an animal.
"I mean, I took a stick with me, but afterwards I am thinking, 'oh my God, nobody knows I'm in here,'" Barb said.
Barb, Renae and the other three women all do it for free.
"We don't ask, ever ask for a reward or take one if there's one that's been offered," Barb said.
They do it for the pet and owner.
"We've probably found, between us all, thousands and thousands of dogs. People say, 'How many have you found?' and we're like 'I don't know,'" Renae said. "I always remember the ones I can't find."
And, they do it for themselves.
Renae's husband, Tom, died of COVID in 2020. She discovered the need to find pets while grieving alone during quarantine.
"We both got COVID in March of 2020. He went downhill really fast," she said.
"It was just heartbreaking," she said. "Nobody could come in. I was isolated and I think it did help me. I think it really did help. Gives you purpose."
Renae has purpose and healing from her lost love by helping others find theirs.
"It's the not knowing that's horrible for people," Renae said.
While they don't accept rewards, Renae and Barb said they cover a lot of expenses with their own money, so they do hold fundraisers at times to help.
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