Steps to Take To Help a Stray or Lost Dog

Most people assume that a wandering dog is owned and/or temporarily lost and will find his or her way home, but many do not. Rather than assuming things will work out for the dog, consider taking action. Yes, it’s a tad inconvenient for you, but what you’ve done is save a lost or abandoned animal from dehydration, starvation, exposure to the elements, fighting over scarce resources, and injury from animals or automobiles.

Here are some safe ways to help lost dogs.

If the dog is friendly:

  1. If the dog seems friendly and is willing to come to you, call him, and slowly move your hand forward palm down (palm up can signal that you might strike). Exude a calm confidence rather than fear. Talk to him, let him sniff you, and then stroke him gently.
  2. If he has a collar read the info and make the appropriate call.
  3. If he does not have identification, see if he will enter your (often calling him and simply opening the car door will inspire him to jump in) or corral him into an enclosed area, like a fenced yard or a room in your house. Provide water and food.
  4. Call your local SPCA, humane society, or police to notify them that you have found a lost dog. To find the number of your local animal rescue organization, search by “animal shelter,” “humane society,” or “animal control.” Public animal care and control agencies are often listed under the city or county health department or police department. You can use this link to find animal rescues in your area: https://www.petfinder.com/animal-shelters-and-rescues/search/
  5. Either deliver him to the shelter (where they can check him for a microchip with identifying information) or ask that someone pick him up.
  6. If you choose to retain him while searching for the owner, staple easily readable flyer (if possible, with photo) on telephone polls, put a free listing in the local paper and in the “pets” section of Craig’s list, rubber band a flyer to neighbors’ mailbox flags, and provide the local animal shelter veterinary offices with his identifying features so that they can check their database for a match.

If the dog seems unfriendly:

  1. If the dog seems unfriendly, do not put yourself at risk. Immediately call the police and your local animal rescue organization with information on his last-seen location.
  2. Put down a plastic, disposable bowl of water and food, which not only will slake his thirst and hunger, but help to keep him in that location so that authorities can find him.

Thank you for doing what you can to help animals.

The Freckle on My Sister’s Snout

I am alone in my wanderings for a long time, but it hadn’t always been so.  I have vague memories–little scraps of images–from the past:  the tumble and tussle of warm fur, the shimmer of sun on my brother’s back, the freckle on my sister’s snout.  We grew up and dispersed, given away from a box in a grocery store parking lot to anyone who would take us.  We were held up and cooed over, and carried off under various people’s arms.

The person who took me changed his mind, tied me up in the back yard for months–with intermittent water and food–and then finally took me on a car ride and left me on the side of the road.  I’ve been fending for myself since then.  Sometimes I’m thirsty, sometimes I’m cold, often I am hungry.

This morning, a man saw me, stooped down and called to me.  I approached him warily and then darted away.  I have trouble trusting people.  I just spotted him again.  He is carrying a bowl that smells heavenly.

He sits quietly beside the bowl and I approach, then back away, then approach again.  With one last sideways glance at the man, I lean toward the bowl and begin to eat.  The man reaches out his hand and strokes my fur, first tentatively, then steadily.  His voice is kind.  When he slips a lead around my neck, he bends down to my level and says, “Come with me; we will find you a home” I go with him, to the first warmth and comfort I’ve known in a long time.

Go Ahead: Put Some Water Out for Strays…

feral cat pexels-photo aug 2016It’s August, it’s hot, and rain is scarce in many regions.  Imagine being thirsty.

A bowl of water, refilled daily, along with some food, can ease suffering immensely.

Thank you….

Ollie & Spuds – Chapter 1

There is a lane I recall, somewhere deep in dim memory.  I see it snow covered and winding and edged by black trees.  It is the way home.  I never returned there.
© 2014 Carolyn Cott

He lifts his nose to the wind and sniffs.  Something new.  With his head still resting on his paws, he opens his eyes and sees a flash of a ginger-colored cat, skinny and in pursuit of something, at the far end of the alley. red cat from free digital

Ollie climbs out from under a pile of rags and cardboard and stretches, keeping an eye on the cat.  The cat pounces and misses as the mouse leaps into a small hole in the brick wall and disappears.  The cat saunters into the one ray of sunlight angling between the tall buildings, sits down and begins washing herself.  The sun sparks on her ginger-colored fur.  Her movements are measured and deliberate.  Her eyes are slits, but she sees, she knows he is there.  She is watching.

It’s been three days now that the cat has appeared in his alley.  He thinks of it as his alley because he’s been there how long now?  Maybe two months, maybe four.  He remembers coming there.  There was snow.

The man had hunched over the steering wheel, his jaw set.  Ollie wanted to enjoy the car ride, but something was very wrong.  The kids weren’t there, although the back seat smelled vaguely of peanut butter.  The woman wasn’t there.  She had cried and stroked his fur before the man unchained him and yanked him toward the car.  The woman had whispered something to the man, who swung around toward her, his teeth clenched, saying, “No.  No.”

The man stopped the car on a deserted street.  He looked both ways before opening the back seat door, pulled Ollie out by the scruff of the neck, and sped off.

Ollie ran after the car as it moved farther and farther away, turned, and was gone.  He memorized the place where the car had turned.  It might be important.  Panting, he sat down, only then noticing the coldness of the snow.  He looked around.  The sun had just risen, casting chilly light on the faces of the buildings.  There were no people.  A tattered awning blew in the wind. A spear of an icicle crashed onto the sidewalk.

For two days Ollie ate only snow to quench his thirst, but it made him shiver.  He wandered the streets, looking for a familiar landmark and searching for food.  Then he found the alley.  It smelled of garbage and food.

Ollie tucked himself behind a stack of wooden palettes and waited.  A man in a stained apron pushed his way out a door and heaved a luscious-smelling bag into a dumpster.  When the door clanged shut behind the man, Ollie scampered up a pile of cinder blocks and bricks, dropped down into the dumpster, tore at the bag with his teeth, and ate.

He fell into a routine, wandering the streets in the night and returning to his alley in the early morning when cars and people came into the streets.  He had learned it was not good to be out when people were on the streets.  There was an afternoon when the boys chased him: chubby-cheeked, dressed in blue uniforms, with book bags dragging behind them, they ran after him pitching stones at him.  Most whistled past, but one hit.  He yelped and slowed down, and the boys laughed.  They were almost upon him when he ran again, cutting across a busy road and turning a corner to lose them.  Returning to his alley exhausted and thirsty, he went to the low depression in the concrete at the base of a downspout looking for water, where a small puddle remained.  Then he curled up into the tightest ball he could, and slept.

Ollie & Spuds…to be continued

Chapter 2: https://untoldanimalstories.org/2014/02/21/ollie-spuds-chapter-2/

photo by Dan courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net