This past Sunday, Michael and I arrived at church a little early. While we were waiting for others to get there, some of the kids came running in and said, “Ms. Katy, there’s a dog outside!”
Now, if you’ve known me for a hot minute, you would know I have a few passions in life, and one of the big ones is those of the canine persuasion. When I’m not pregnant, I volunteer with the SPCA of Dallas, and I am a pet sitter. I love working with dogs who are undersocialized, and dog behavior and rehabilitation are my niches. But I am also the one that will go after a stray or a lost dog in the neighborhood without another thought.
So when I heard there was a dog outside, my first instinct was to investigate. I mean, like, leaving my purse in the chair and walked straight to the door. And then I heard a voice behind me,
“Katy, wait. I’m coming with you. Do not handle that dog.”
That would be my husband, who knows that when a dog is in need of help, I can sometimes forget myself. So, we went outside, where one of our other adult friends was holding this beautiful Rotty mix by the collar.
The dog was calm, friendly, and curious. He knew how to sit and give a high five. His coat was shiny. He looked well fed. His nails were cared for. This was a loved dog, and I knew someone was definitely missing him.
So what do you do when you find a lost dog?
First of all, no child should approach a loose dog. This is something to instill in every. single. child. Do not go up to a dog, not even if they seem friendly and relaxed. Don’t run after a dog either. Don’t whistle or call out. In a calm voice, while bending down low, call out to them. If you have treats, throw them out in front of you, far away from you and then close to you. If the dog doesn’t seem interested, then call animal control. Do not try to wrangle or trap the dog. It’s best if you have some type of slip lead with you or rope that you can tie to their collar.
Handling dogs can be dangerous, especially when you don’t know their background if they are good with kids, men, or other animals. I just want to stress again that if you are in any doubt, that you just call animal services. I know “dog catchers” get a bad reputation, but they are well trained, and the ones I’ve met just want the dogs to be reunited with their families as much as we do.
Since this dog was pretty calm, and easy to handle (by my husband and our friend, not me) my first instinct was to find a local Vet ER to find out if the dog has a microchip. Usually, they are open on the weekends and have a scanner. It turned out that he did have one! I cannot stress enough how important it is to microchip your dog. It’s not very expensive, and for our dog, it’s twenty dollars a year to maintain. Because this dog was microchipped, they were able to contact the owner and leave my name and number (with my permission, of course).
We waited at the building for a while, hoping to get a callback but unfortunately, we couldn’t stay there.
So if you can’t hold onto the dog, what do you do?
The best place to take them is actually the local humane shelter or animal services. They can keep the dog there until they are picked up by the owner. We ended up taking the dog (whose name was Zeus) to the Dallas Animal Services. They took my information, checked over the dog, and that was it.
About an hour or two later, I did get a call from the owner. Apparently, they are staying with family while construction is being done on their house. This is a prime situation for a dog to get loose and lost – being in an unfamiliar environment. This happens a lot during moves as well. Luckily, I told them where he was, and that he was waiting for them to pick him up. It was a wonderfully happy ending!