I Couldn’t Help Myself

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.

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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!

 

 

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Our First Hike…Sorta

One of my new year resolutions is to go on a hike every month.  This past Saturday, we planned to do just that.

We picked a trail that was a little over two miles.  When we arrived, there wasn’t a parking lot, so we parked in a nearby residential street.  Most of the trails are near residential areas, so this is very common.

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So we set out walking in one direction on the path.  We passed a golf course with a bridge.

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We thought the trail was going to turn towards the bridge, but instead it went into a neighborhood.  Thinking the trail would pick up soon, we set into the neighborhood.  And that’s when we saw her.

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She was outside on the corner, alone.  She kept darting into the street while cars slowly drove around her.  She wouldn’t get close to anyone, kept running away with tail tucked.

As far as the hike, we figured we took a wrong turn, so we headed back towards the path we originally took.  The dog followed us at a distance.  We thought about calling animal control simply because they have equipment to catch dogs like this, who are scared and won’t come near anyone.

Then, a woman came out of her house and offered some doggie treats and a leash to help catch the dog.  So, I sat on the ground, avoiding eye contact, throwing treats near me and then closer to me, until she was eating out of my hand.  I could finally see her tag.  Her name was Olivia.

I got the leash on her, and walked her back to our car.  Originally, we were going to take it to a Vet ER (because most regular vets are closed at this point on Saturday) to see if she had a microchip.  There was a number on the back of her tag, but the numbers were rubbed off.  But, while I was catching her and walking her on the trail, Michael talked to the woman who helped us.  She said that the dog probably belonged to a family at the corner where we found her.  So we drove her back there and reunited her with her family.

I’m so happy that the dog went home so fast.  It was pretty cold that day, and would get even colder that night.  I’m also thankful for the woman who offered to help because I don’t think I would have been able to do that without her.  As far as the hike, we decided to try again in a couple of weeks.  It’s amazing that the wrong turn we had taken would still lead us to quite an adventure!

Have you ever taken a wrong turn on a hike?

Do you stop to help lost dogs?