**Guest Post From Janet S.**
Driving home from work the other night, I passed a local boat landing to see two beautiful dogs sniffing around. Seeing no cars or people in sight, I pulled in to have a look. The yellow lab came in my direction and immediately sat at my feet. I thought this dog was too friendly and well-behaved to NOT be someone’s pet. I examined the flea collar and chain collar she had on and found no sign of ID tags. So, I let her into my van where she immediately curled up and laid down.
Next, her companion, a young snow-white husky with one brown eye and one bluish-white eye approached. He wasn’t about to be left out of some petting. I looked at his collar and flea collar and the only sign of a tag was the metal clip attached to it that was stretched out. I let him in my van too and he lay right down.
I couldn’t find anyone on the road that knew where they belong, but many reported seeing them there almost all day. I called our local sheriff dispatch center to get some assistance. No one had reported missing dogs so they took my information and would get back to me. “Here boy” and “here girl”, as they became called by my kids that night, headed home with me.
We were greeted by two excited kids. The strays got lots of petting, some time playing catch, and some fresh water and a little bit of food. We brought them inside and they made themselves right at home quickly and laid down to rest.
Our dispatch called back to say the town approved them going to the shelter, but no one from the shelter could be reached so I had two choices; keep them overnight or let them go. They were such good pets that there was no way I could send them out into the woods.
After a few trips in and out for the bathroom, the dogs settled down on the floor next to my side of the bed. The female lab settled very quickly and didn’t move the entire night. The husky, who we found out later was only eight months old, took longer to settle, but was still very good. He tried to sneak on the bed a few times, but listened when told to lie down.
Morning came and I headed off to take the kids to school and go to work. Luckily, my husband could stay with our visitors all day. I called the local animal shelter but it was full and couldn’t take them. They took our name and number.
After work, I was heading home to get the dogs to take them to a local vet to scan for a chip. (An important step if there are no tags.) Part way home, the phone rang! It was my husband saying the owner called and was coming. She had contacted the shelter and they knew from my call that we had them. We were very happy and relieved!
As she stepped out of the car, Willow and Molly got VERY excited! They were going home! Willow and Molly now had names again. They were headed home to a 12-year-old little girl who cried herself to sleep because her beloved pets were lost.
Luckily, our little adventure had a very happy ending, but it is not always the case.
- According to the ASPCA website, approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60% of dogs and 70% of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.
- According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners. Most of these were identified with tags, tattoos, or microchips.
Do you know what to do or who to call if you find a lost pet?
- I personally keep our local non-emergency number in my cell phone for this and other purposes.
- Use caution when approaching or helping them. There may be situations where the most you can do is call and it is not safe to encounter the pets.
Have you identified your pets so if they get separated you can be contacted?
- The most common way to identify a pet is the standard pet ID tag. List the pet’s name, your name, contact number, and if the pet has any medical needs. My dog has a second ID tag that states, “On medication, please contact my owner immediately.” Some may put, “dog may have seizures” or other similar statements.
- If your dog tends to knock ID tags off, try a higher quality ring to attach them to the collar or consider a nameplate that can be attached directly to the main part of the collar.
- Another way would be to get a microchip implanted in your dog. Most local vets will scan a pet for free to see if they have an implanted chip.
- Finally, be sure to inspect your pet’s identification on a regular basis and replace when worn or if your contact information changes.
All is well that ends well!
A dog by any other name is sometimes just as sweet.
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