Searching for pets by posters on telephone poles and knocking on doors may be a thing of the past because there are now businesses that specialize in finding lost animals.
Michelle Fremount was growing more anxious by the minute when her beloved cat, Mister P, had been missing for days.
"He went out around 11:00 and he didn't come back," she said
Michelle plastered her neighborhood with missing posters, but there was still no trace of her pet.
"I had had the idea to call one of the places that advertise as helping to search for your pet. It was called petamberalert.com," she said.
For $99, Pet Amber Alert told Michelle that it would create a poster about her missing cat, and fax it to nearby pet stores, hospitals and shelters.
Michelle contacted local pet stores and shelters she believed should get the alerts but they didn't receive any posters. She contacted Pet Amber Alert but says no one returned her calls.
"By their own words, time is critical," she said.
When the company finally sent her a list of places that should have received the fax, Michelle said many places seemed unlikely to help find a cat.
"I mean, there's one called the Parlor Bar and Lounge or something like that," she said.
Faxes also went to a Wells Fargo Bank in Marin and a Target store in Colma.
"A friend of mine suggested, 'Well why don't you call 7 On Your Side,'" she said.
7 On Your Side contacted Pet Amber Alert and the company agreed to expand the search.
"Due to the closing down of these pet-related businesses or having their fax numbers changed, some of the poster alerts were not delivered. In return we upgraded her alert to 125 posters in a 25-mile radius free of charge," the company said in a statement.
They also offered to refund the $99 since Michelle was not happy with the service. But she did receive good news regarding her cat.
One month after Mister P disappeared, he was found in the Marin Headlands. A couple cycling in the hills found the cat skinny and hungry. They brought him to the Marin Humane Society in Novato. A microchip in Mister P's neck helped identify his owner. Michelle then got the call that led to an emotional reunion.
"I have to say he is one lucky cat," said Carrie Harrington of the Marin Humane Society.
She says pet-finding companies might help locate a missing pet.
"The more that you can get the message out there that your pet is missing and the more help you can get," she said
It's still a mystery how Mister P traveled all he way from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge and into Marin. Fremount is just happy someone found him.
"It was relief it was, Oh thank you, thank you," she said.
Pet Amber Alert boasts hundreds of success stories. One San Francisco woman told 7 On Your Side, her pet bird flew all the way to Petaluma and someone up there saw the bird and the Pet Amber Alert. She ended up getting her bird back.