If you've ever lost a pet, you know the feelings of fear and heartbreak that linger until you're four-legged friend is found safe.

The Municipality of Anchorage is set to implement a new licensing program that could shorten the time it takes to reunite an animal with loved ones. The city is partnering with PetHub.com to provide QR-coded license tags that can be scanned by any cell phone.

“So when you find somebody’s dog, you just pull out your smart phone, aim it at that tag and you will bring up that animal’s personality profile,” Anchorage Animal Care and Control spokesperson Laura Atwood explained. "That license is going to help your dog get home faster if they should go missing.”

The idea is to take out the middleman, or in this case, animal control. While AACC typically facilitates happy reunions with families and their pets, now the QR code on the license tag will provide direct contact to the animal's owner.

"Say I've found your dog, this is where I am," Atwood said. "The owner and the finder can make arrangements to meet up and the animal can get returned directly to the owner without the animal having to come to the shelter.”

The online profile will include information the pet owner provides, which can be as much or as little as they'd like.

“For my dog Whisper, I can put [in the profile] that he loves other dogs," Atwood cited as an example. "So if you happen to have your dog and you find him, you don’t have to be worried about Whisper starting a fight with your dog."

You can also include shot records, allergies, medical issues, as well as special snacks they might enjoy.

According to PetHub, 96 percent of lost animals wearing the QR-coded tag are returned to their families within 24 hours.

“Obviously, [AACC is] thrilled to be here to take in those animals that do have to come to us," Atwood said. "But it's less stressful for everybody if the animal can get home quickly."

That's the ultimate goal: a quick and happy reunion.

The municipality's new license tag program launches Jan. 1, 2019. Licenses with QR codes will be available to residents from Girdwood to Eklutna. Municipal code requires all dogs four months and older have a license and have an up-to-date rabies vaccination.

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