Dog Rant: Use a collar!

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While waiting for his bus yesterday morning, Mark saw a dog across the street. The dog didn't seem to have a person, but it was just wandering around in a neigborhood, so Mark hoped its person was close by and go on the bus. Just as he did so, the dog crossed the street (using the crosswalk!) right in front of the bus.

The bus stop is on a busy major road. It's not remotely dog friendly. So Mark did what he felt he had to do, and I would have done the same. He resigned himself to getting to work late, got off the bus, and called the dog over to him (out of the street).

The dog was very friendly and came right to Mark. She was an older, overweight chocolate lab with some clear hip issues. No collar or tags.

So Mark borrowed a length of rope from the gas station next to the bus stop, looped it around to make a leash for the dog, and brought her to our house, a few blocks away. Then he called Animal Control to see if there as a missing dog report that matched her description. There was not.

Needing to go to work, Mark asked our neighbor if the dog could stay in her back yard until he got home and could figure out what to do about her. This would at least keep her safe and out of the street. She couldn't stay in our back yard, because our dogs, who are inside during the day, would go ballstic and tear the house apart if she was back there. Our neighbor agreed and Mark went to work.

When Mark got home, he tried to introduce the dog, whom he was calling "Pickles" (which is what we call all random dogs, for reasons unknown to me at this point), to our dogs. She was so friendly to him and to the neighbor, he thought she'd be fine. She wasn't. She growled and snarled at our Leo.

This is, always, our limitus test for dogs staying in our house. We will deal with many things, but threats to Leo are not acceptable. And so, by the time I got hom, Martk had already pretty much resigned himself to having to take the dog to animal control and hope for the best.

We decided, however, to take her on a walk through the neighborhood first, just to see if she would lead us to where she belonged, or if anybody would recognize her. So we leashed her up and began to walk, following her lead.

She led us through the neighborhood where Mark first saw her, then across the major street and down a side street. Along the way, we asked everyone we saw if they knew her, but nobody did.

Then we came to a Montessori School. A little girl and her mother were just leaving the school, and the little girl immediately ran toward her. We asked her mother if she recognized the dog, and she did! In fact, she said, she'd picked up th same dog less than two weeks ago, right here in the school parking lot, along with another dog, a Husky. After having both dogs for two days, she found their owner via a call to Animal Control. She knew the owner's name, and that he lived on the cul de sac of that street, but not which house. So we continued on with the dog, letting her lead.

And she led us directly to the last house on the cul de sac. There was a Husky in the back yard. And nobody was there.

After waiting a few minutes, we decided to ask the neighbors if they recognized the Lab. Just as Mark went to knock on their door, a truck pulled up and the owner of the house hopped out, thanking us for finding his dog, who had gotten scared and bolted during the storm the night before.

Then he told us that she gets out often.

I am very happy this all worked out. It's often not this easy. As much as you'd think maybe they should, dogs don't always lead you back to their homes. But also, honestly, I'm pissed. It is just not that hard to put a collar and tags on your dog. Then, if s/he gets out, the nice person who finds her can simply call you, rather than having to go on a wild goose chase, or make the tough decision to take your pet to an animal control facility that will, in the best case, be uncomfortable and tramautic for him/her.

The owner of this particular dog went on to tell us that since she gets out a lot, they microchipped her. And that's good, but it's not sufficient. A microchip is only useful if the dog is taken to a vet or animal control facility that can read it and find you. It's not useful in the least for the person who disrupts their life to scoop your dog up out of traffic. It's a back-up plan. It shouldn't be your pet's only indentification.

I'm not perfect. My dogs have gotten out before. Once, Huey even got out without a collar on, as we had taken it off to bathe him and hadn't put it back on yet. But that happened once. It should not and does not happen regularly. That would just be irresponsible.

OK. Rant/PSA over. Put a collar on your dog. That's all.

3 Comments

How wonderful of you to have found this dog's home!

Recently a dog was wandering near our home. I could tell he had a collar complete with all of the tags-- including a pet license-- but I could not get him to come to me. I tried treats and using commands and everything for a while. It was difficult because my daughters wanted to go see him but I didn't feel comfortable with that. He just barked and barked at me. I ended up calling animal control, but they never were able to find him. I hope he got back home safely!

I feel fortunate that our dog is such a people-loving girl that she would go up to anyone and they could easily check out her tags.

Blah blah blah. Just wanted to share!

I do try to rescue dogs that I see running on the street, but I won't if they don't have a collar. It is too hard to catch and restrain a dog without a collar and I figure "How will I ever find the owner?" Our pound is 15 miles away and I'm not always willing to go all the way over there to drop off a collarless dog.

Goldie is chipped and tagged and has never gotten out. She isn't much of a runner - the one time the gardener left the gate open, she just sat there looking. What a GOOD pooch.

I couldn't agree more! Our neighbors have a dog that is constantly getting out -- I can't tell you how many times we've returned that dog to his house, and one time the dog got out when nobody was around to notice and he was missing for most of an afternoon. But do these people put a collar and tags on their dog? Of course not! It makes absolutely no sense to me.

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