Ames Animal Shelter centerpiece (copy)

FindMyPet is a new app that helps connect people with their lost pets. 

Every year, thousands of pets go missing. For many, the solution is often to resort to Facebook groups, asking friends or simply having to wait until the animal returns. However, a new technology is coming along that may soon allow pets back into their owners' arms quicker than ever before.

FindMyPet is an app, currently in development, that is made with the purpose of allowing lost animals to be returned to their owners in a quick and easy way. The application creates a network, much like many social media platforms, and allows users to make a note of when and where their pet was lost. Those in the vicinity of that area would then get a notification of the lost animal and would be able to notify the owner if their pet was found.

“It actually started in Costa Rica as a ‘Find My Kid’ solution because a friend of ours' 13-year-old daughter did not come home from school one day, and she did every day without fail,” said Brian Niessen, co-creator of FindMyPet. “The idea for the pet one came because we have 35 cats and two dogs at Bonaire Kitten Rescue and would hate to lose a pet and not know where to find it.”

For Niessen and others, getting the app off the ground has been one of the toughest things about creating a new business. Working on marketing and advertising can always be tough when creating a new brand and trying to drum up awareness.

“We will be promoting it through Facebook posts about lost pets and working with a company called Tell.me to integrate it into their app," Niessen said when referencing their marketing strategy. "If you install Tell.me to get other information, you would be able to get the information without having to install FindMyPet separately.”

When thinking about starting the app, Niessen was mainly focused on making sure individuals could be connected with loved ones quickly.

Though the process has been rocky at some points, Niessen and his team have slowly been building up support for their product. Niessen has worked in startups and been part of creating companies before, so he is no stranger to the work one must put in when it comes to starting and launching a successful company.

“We have a team of about four people doing the technical part of the app,” Niessen said. “The experience is one of many — I have been doing this type of thing since I was 11, and I am now 56.”

The basic process users of the application would take in order to help others around them find their missing animals would be to upload information about the missing animal and also a photo. The users would then take that information and hopefully be able to find the missing animal and either return them or let the owner know where they are.

“With the app, you can upload a description and a photo of the pet,” Niessen said. “If someone sees the pet, they can try and catch it or they can just take a photo and that is returned to the owner with GPS coordinates.”

Niessen’s ultimate goal with the FindMyPet app is to expand it into a wide variety of applications that would allow individuals to find lost children, elders or items.

Each of the apps, Niessen hopes, would give individuals a little more security in their day-to-day lives and the feeling of ease that if they were to lose anything of value, they would be able to have it back easier than ever before.

“We hope the app will make the people who lost their pets hopefully happier when they find them,” Niessen said.

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