I started to do some research for this article, and I found that the the suggestions range all over the place when it comes to this topic. So I found myself not really knowing which advice was worthy enough to be passed along to you. One suggestion was to keep rope in your car and if you find a stray, rope off the area. Are you kidding me, like the dog is going to magically stay in the area where you put some rope up. So I guess, according to this person, you need to keep stakes and rope in your trunk. That sounds more like a vampire killing kit than a dog rescue kit to me. So I decided to junk all the stuff I found and just go with good ol' fashioned experience and common sense. So here goes nothing.
First and foremost, when you find a stray dog, be sure to stay safe. Approaching a dog you are not familiar with can be dangerous, especially if it is wounded. If you have any hesitation about approaching the stray at all, don't. Call animal control and let them take care of the situation. Contrary to popular belief animal control will not euthanize the dog immediately, they will most likely try to adopt the dog out first. The time they will keep a dog varies from county to county. If you have concerns, ask them when they arrive what their policy is. If however the dog is approachable and friendly, you should get it to a safe location first. The owner of the dog is more than likely frantically looking for their dog, so have a look around and you may just luck out and find the owner quickly.
Check the dog for identification, any kind of tag can be a good lead. My husky got away from me once and took off... those of you who own huskies know how they are, once they start running there is no catching them. A friendly older couple found her, saw the rabies tag and called the vet where she got her shots, and they in turn called me. I was so relieved when my lovely wife called me on the cell to tell me Frankie (the husky) was found and I could stop looking. If there is a contact number for the owner, all the better. So any kind of info is good info.
If there is no information the dog may be chipped, and if you can get it to a vet that has a reader, all the info will be there, address, phone number, owners name. If you have done all this and still no leads, you may want to consider bringing the pooch home and giving it some food and water, there is no telling how long a lost dog has been wandering. If you bring the dog home, think about putting up a few signs in the area, lost dog found, with your cell number. Place an ad in the paper as well. If you get a call, don't just give the dog to anyone who claims to be the owner. I know it is sad to think about it, but there are some nasty people out there who will take strays and have them fight. So be sure you are giving the dog back to the correct owner, ask for a description, ask for the dogs name see if it responds, ask if there are any distinguishing features. Once you are sure you have the right owner, you can return the dog.
Now I know what your all thinking, what if I don't find the owner???? If you don't find the owner you still have options. You can call it fate and keep your new found friend. If you just can't care for the dog long term, think about no kill shelters. You may even know someone who is in need of a furry friend. There are so many avenues open to you if you have found a lost dog, there really is no reason not to help out. If your a dog owner and you have ever had your dog get away from you, you know how heart wrenching it is, it is not a fun experience.
So if you see a stray, don't just drive on past, or cross the street. See if there is anything you can do to help, you just may make someone very happy, and there is no better feeling than that.
Thank you for reading, I hope this article gives you a few tips or ideas for the next time you see a stray. And as always, remember to keep your furry family members healthy and happy.