Nancy and Larry Gorman: Finding Home for the Holidays and Any Other Time

Losing a pet is heartbreaking and may feel even worse during the holiday season. After all, they’re part of the family, too—if they weren’t, there wouldn’t be so many frantic posts on Facebook and Nextdoor or posters and flyers tacked up everywhere.

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Losing a pet is heartbreaking and may feel even worse during the holiday season. After all, they’re part of the family, too—if they weren’t, there wouldn’t be so many frantic posts on Facebook and Nextdoor or posters and flyers tacked up everywhere.

In September, The Scratching Post article “Help! My Pet’s Missing!” laid out local resources for finding a lost pet. This is the first in a series of stories that comprise a year’s-end honor to three resourceful and passionate humans whose main mission is reuniting pets with their people.

Nancy and Larry Gorman, and 911LostPetRescue

Contact information: www.911lostpetrescue.com; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; (562) 666-7154

Don’t be put off by 911LostPetRescue’s telephone prefix—it is, after all, the mark of the beast. That’s what petfinders Nancy and Larry Gorman look for when an animal is lost in Long Beach or Signal Hill.

“People panic when their pets go missing,” Larry Gorman said. “If you’ve just lost your pet, we have a system.”

Larry got the idea for 911 from the lost-pet posters he’d see when he was walking his Yorkie. “There was no system,” he said. Then—I imagine him pointing a finger in the air with a lightbulb flashing above his head like Betty Boop’s Grampy—he thought, hey! I’m retired, and I can do something!

911’s system involves first saturating the radius of the point where the pet disappeared with 200 to 500 fliers. Announcements are posted on Nextdoor and Facebook—the number of Facebook pages for lost and found pets is increasing at a heartening rate. Then, whichever volunteers are available fan out 15 to 20 blocks from the center, calling the animal’s name and searching at the same time.

“Then, I take my little red rescue car with a big sign on it and a picture of the animal, and an announcement that our neighbor lost a pet,” Larry said. “It’s been very successful. I’ve had people come out of the houses to grab one of my cards.” To date, the Gormans have been involved with 21 searches and have fulfilled 16 of them.

911setup

The Gormans' red car is a call to action. Following it is encouraged. Photo by Larry Gorman.

Larry received funding for his project from Omstar Environmental Products in Wilmington, in exchange for the work on their website that he does.

“Besides, they’re dog people,” Larry added.

He gets additional funding from other businesses in exchange for website work. These pay for printing up fliers and maintaining the unmistakable sign on his vehicle. He also has crafted tags with the 911 contact information on it. These are mailed to the pet owner upon registration of the pet, which is free and can be done here. Larry requests no further donations unless there’s a dog in need.

Larrys Find Rover pet tag

The 911 pet tags are free with registration--also free. The bright-yellow color works as an instant message. Photo by Larry Gorman

And of course, there’s a story there. Larry’s official assistant used to be one of those dogs. He’d been found at the Port of Long Beach, his body covered in chain marks and bites. He’d been hit by a semi, and one of the port workers posted his photo on Nextdoor. Larry saw his photo and was smitten.

“It’s not the type of rescue I usually get involved in,” Larry said. “But there were maggots on his chest, and my heart just went out to him. I couldn’t resist."

Larry spent an hour with the dog, and when he walked to his car, the dog followed him. Three hours and 50 staples later at Cats and Dogs Animal Hospital, Larry had a new friend and associate.

“The Bluff Heights neighborhood paid the vet bill—he got fixed later,” Larry said.

Larry’s parents had trained circus animals, so it’s in the blood. He’s training Picasso—so he was named, likely because he was pieced back together—to help with watching and lurking for lost animals.

Larry and his dog

Picasso Gorman, with his sidekick. A Scooby-Doo at heart. Photo by Kate Karp

Larry and Nancy’s enterprise has been a gratifying one for them, but they cannot forget the few who got away, The most memorable of them was their first attempt—a little Yorkie who reminded them of the one that they have.

“Nancy and I spent weeks looking for him,” Larry said. “The boy had opened the door to get the paper and didn’t see the Yorkie dash out the door. He was out front less than five minutes—someone had to have gotten him. It sticks in my mind. I still have the flier in the house.”

Larry says that his main issue with dogs is dog owners. “They’re not educated enough about the breeds, and what they do on the walks can be counterproductive,” he said. “You have to be aware that you have an animal or a pet who may leave, who may get spooked. And certainly do not let them off the leash when you’re walking.”

Skateboarders and fireworks can frighten dogs, he warned. He cited a case in which he found a dog in front of his house. The dog’s leash was still on and was hooked to a tire. Larry immediately put up a sign with the address and the contact information, and the owner showed up right away. “What happened was, the guy had on earphones, a skateboard came up behind him and spooked the dog. He took right off,” Larry said.

Cats are a different animal in every sense. While a dog will usually come to the sound of the owner’s voice or even a stranger’s, cats tend to get scared and hide. It’s also common for them to get locked in a garage or other structure. If the owner moves to a different house, the cat may become skittish, worm its way out, and try to find the old haunts.

“People have to stop letting them outside—that’s the whole key,” Larry said. “If they want to let them roam, that’s what’s going to happen.” Larry’s own cat is a prisoner of love.

Whatever the case, Larry stressed the importance of having a plan in case a pet goes missing and to put it into action immediately. And he’ll help.

“Every moment that the animal is gone from the home, that’s a mile they can go,” he said.

Lately, Larry’s had a few setbacks. He’s recently recovered from bladder cancer—completely, thankfully—and because no good deed goes unpunished, his rescue vehicle was stolen—twice. He got it back both times, but unfortunately his rescue equipment was missing along with the spare tire. But his down-home good-humor and the ability to find silver linings in every cloud seem to be what keeps him going.

“The good thing that came from all this was that I met many of our officers that work the area, and I had the best experience with all of them,” he said of the thefts. “Officer Garry also met Picasso and took a liking to him right from the start, and became friends with him. He now stops if he sees us on a walk and says hello to Picasso if he is not on a call.”

Being able to find hope and humor in everything from health issues to his bad rotator cuffs that came out of a rescue of a husky inspires volunteers, community members and local businesses to join the Gormans’ efforts in finding lost pets and educating the owners. Larry’s next project is to create a pet-safety-awareness education workshop at Wilson High.

“It takes another village!” he quipped.

“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.”

~ Source unknown but right on



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