A disturbing incident this morning prompts this blog.
I was out mowing the lawn, and the nice neighbor woman was walking by on her morning stroll. Because of the mower’s noise, about all I could do was nod and wave hello. Behind her was a cute little dog I assumed was hers. After all, it was following her.
But when I finished mowing, there was that friendly little dog, about the size of a Chihuahua, coming up to me on the lawn. It sniffed my outstretched hand, and I knew I could pick it up. I carried it over to the woman’s house, thinking she’d forgotten to take it in with her, but no, it wasn’t hers!
I wondered what I should do. It didn’t have a collar with an ID tag. Should I put it in my back yard and call the animal control/SPCA? Trouble is, it could get into my garden back there, and I hate to say, I just didn’t want to get that involved. I didn’t want to be one of those people putting up “dog found” posters all over town. So I let it go on its merry way. Soon it had migrated across the street to the day care place next to Gretchen Higgins School. I heard, then saw, all the daycare kids in the front lawn there next to their fence attracted by the friendly little dog. On the other side of the fence, the dog was happily jumping up and down. It obviously liked the attention of children.
Pardon me if I get majorly perturbed here. This dog probably came from a nice home with kids, and someone likely left the front door or the backyard gate open, and it was soon out exploring the neighborhood. Maybe the kids from that home were all at school and the parents away working. Why in God’s name wasn’t this dog collared with an ID tag? If it had an under-skin micro-chip ID tag, there was no way for me to tell.
Later today, the family will return home and be grief-stricken because of their missing dog. The dog they never imagined would leave the premises is missing in action.
Several weeks ago, I was walking to the 7-11 and there were two dogs on the loose along Stratford, where traffic poses a danger. They were friendly enough that I could look for collar tags, but there were none. There was one adult larger dog along with an immature Labrador. Later (again, when I was back home mowing the lawn), an older car stopped and a young man asked if I’d seen two dogs. I said yes, and described them. He said he’d found the larger dog, but was still missing the lab. I asked why they didn’t have ID tags, mentioning that I always hold the dogs and call with my cell phone if I have that info. He said that they’d taken the collars off the previous night because of bathing the dogs and had forgotten to put them back on. I remembered, though, that the lab had his collar on, but without tags.
I go for an hour, hour-and-a-half walk most mornings, and run into a lost dog or dogs around every month or two. Only once have I found a dog with tags (I called the owner, and had it retrieved). I think if no one had answered the phone in that instance, I still would’ve found a place to keep the dogs until I could reach the owners.
Sometimes the dogs won’t allow me to get close and that’s a lost cause.
So my obvious lecture to those owners who seem to feel “it won’t happen to me” is to spend a few bucks and an hour of your time to get and use ID collar tags for your dog. List your phone numbers and email address (and your home address if you’re comfortable doing so). If you truly love your dog you will do this for it, and save your family a big heartache.
I don’t know about cats. They aren’t as amenable to being approached and handled by strangers. Result – your missing cat could go feral, and end up chasing mice rather than tuna from a can.