By Katy Cable, TWR
A 3 minute read
With the 4th of July just over, it's important to know that more animals go missing and/or get injured over this holiday than on any other day of the year. With that in mind, I had planned to write about what steps to take should your dog be lost, or if you find a dog, and ironically life imitated my editorial calendar.
I was recently working in a brand new PetSmart store when a woman came in asking to use the self dog wash for what I assumed was her FILTHY, fawn Pug. I raved about this little cutie when the woman said she had found him roaming on a busy street. She was relieved when I informed her of my background working with Pugs and relinquished him to me for help.
Shivering, skinny, banged up and dirty, I fell in love with the little Pug the second I saw him. I picked up his bony little body and promised him he would be safe. He wasn't wearing a collar and his back was covered with infected wounds. The poor little pug was so infested with fleas that after 30 minutes of continuous washing and five flea baths, the white grooming tub still looked like someone had spilled black pepper all over it.
The woman who found him said she had been asking around the neighborhood to see if anyone recognized him. There were no "lost dog" signs posted or notifications on social media or at the shelters. He had no micro-chip or ID tag, so I assumed he would be in need of a loving new home once he was healthy.
I'll be honest, this little Pug, reminded me of my beloved Raisin. He had the same docile, loving temperament and the same perfect smooshy face. A big part of me wanted to say, "finders keepers!" and take him for myself. After all, he was in deplorable condition so I assumed he was either a bait dog used for dog fighting or a breeder stud since he wasn't fixed.
Once he was cleaned and dried I put him in a darling harness and immediately called one of the rescue groups I work with, Pug Nation Rescue LA. This pug was in bad shape. His wounds were infected and he was covered in yeast. He had a painful ear infection and he was skin and bones. I assumed he must have parasites as well and didn't want to expose my own Olive to a possibly sick dog.
While Pug Nation prepared an isolation room, I called my family and asked them to secure a safe spot since I was bringing home a new addition. My daughter instantly fell in love with the little pug and named him Louie. We shot cute pics and posted notices on social media, -not tipping my hand with too much information. I fed him a healthy dinner of turkey & sweet potatoes which he devoured in all of 30 seconds, then I took him out for a nice walk around the neighborhood. Louie was happy and enjoyed all the love & attention.
A few blissful hours later it was time to turn my new friend over Pug Nation. I was sad because I had now grown very attached to my sweet Louie. Pug Nation assured me they had a foster home waiting with a volunteer who could care for Louie until he was available for adoption. They had a long list of hopefuls who were waiting for a darling new pug to adopt. As much as I wanted to put my name at the tippy top of that list, I had Olive. I will never forget how desperately I wanted a pug and how thrilled I'd been when I got the green light to adopt my pugs. I wanted to "pay it forward" and give somebody the same opportunity. I knew Louie would be treasured and that's what mattered.
At the crack of dawn the next morning, I got a call from Louie's (real name Leroy) owner. They had been worried sick. Her young son had not shut a door securely when they left for the day and Leroy had snuck out. He had just been given a bath and wasn't wearing his collar. When they returned home and couldn't find him they went immediately to a shelter and were so relieved to see the posts and know he'd been found alive. They made a donation to Pug Nation and collected their baby.
I will admit, as mad as I was with their negligence, I've done the same thing myself on more than one occasion. My hands were full and I raced out the door without checking if it had been securely shut. Thankfully, in my case, I've noticed my Velcro pug Olive right on my heels and she's micro-chipped so I've avoided a lost dog.
The best advice I can offer is to try and prevent your pet from going missing in the first place. Here's a few important steps you can take:
✅First and foremost. Get your pet micro-chipped. Have it scanned and checked periodically when you visit the vet to confirm it's reading.
✅Confirm ID tags have correct contact info and are easy to read.
✅Keep records on in a zip drive and carry updated photos of your dog. Use a close-up, full body and a full body next to another object to gage the size of the dog.
✅Double (and over the 4th) TRIPLE check all doors, windows, gates and "escape-routes" are secure before leaving the house. Put your dog’s collar on them before leaving them home alone.
✅Remind children to be diligent about closing doors, windows and gates.
✅Take your dog to a boarding facility or hire a pet-sitter if your dog exhibits severe separation anxiety. -Or if you cannot be with them during stressful times such as Fourth of July. If dogs are fearful they can scale a 16ft wall and accomplish other miraculous feats. -Don't take chances!
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOG IS MISSING:
If your dog has gone missing, quickly make up a flier showing good, clear, recent pictures of your pet. Don't use the shot with funny costume or glasses. Have one picture with another object by the dog to get an idea of their actual size. Leave tear-off strips with your contact # at the bottom to post around nearby neighborhoods. I would use bright yellow or neon paper. Free fliers can be made and printed as well as shared online. They are available in both English and Spanish at: HeLP (www.helpinglostpets.com)
🐾Include the Pet's Name
🐾Where/When it Was Last Seen
🐾Any Identifiable Markings or Characteristics
✅Notify Animal Control Services
✅Contact the Police Station
✅Post flier on all your social media platforms. Here's a few good ones:
🐾 Facebook: Lost And Found Dogs in your community.
ROMP (Return Our Missing Pets)
Community/Shelters/Rescue Groups in your area
✅POST FLIER and INFO on:
🐾Craig's List (both "Lost" and "Found" sections) *(Be cautious about posting any type of "reward" if found. Lots of scammers looking for a quick buck off someone's misfortune.)
🐾Any local/community papers in your area.
Check sites often to look for postings.
✅Post a large sign in your front yard. Put signs in the windows of your cars.
✅Canvas your area posting and handing out fliers. Give fliers to your neighborhood postal worker, FedEx, UPS delivery drivers, dog walkers, groomers, vet's, realtors and your neighbors. Post fliers at all major intersections, post offices, police stations, fire department, pet stores, CVS stores, Target, grocery stores and all places people frequent often.
✅Enlist the help of the TV news
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A DOG:
✅Use caution Approaching: Fearful, anxious, neglected dogs can be aggressive. You don't know this dog so be extremely careful. The dog may not have been immunized and could have parasites, fleas or other problematic conditions.
✅Call Animal Control or 9-1-1 if it is a large or aggressive dog or if it is in immediate danger.
✅If the dog is mild tempered, and has no ID, take them to the nearest veterinary clinic or animal shelter and have them scanned for a microchip. They will direct you from there. They will take your name and contact info. if you are relinquishing the dog to their care. They may have additional questions if the owner comes forward. Or, you should get the first option to adopt the dog should they not be claimed. All shelters/rescues have slightly different protocol on holding periods, fees, adoptions, surrenders, and other timelines.
✅If the dog has not been turned over to a rescue or shelter, or if you are waiting for their owner to retrieve the dog, keep them in a secure safe place away from other pets and children.
✅Check neighborhood for signs and ask the people listed above to notify you if they hear of anyone looking for a missing dog. Make them aware and provide your contact info.
✅Photograph the dog and post on social media using the sites/steps listed above under: “Lost/Found Dog”
Hopefully we can get any lost dogs returned promptly and safely to their homes! Have a SAFE and wonderful summer. Pugs and kisses😘🐾 -Katy
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