No place like home

10 01 2010

Recently, I received an anxious plea about a lost dog. We were asked to send the e-mails about Foxy around to as many people as we could. Fortunately, this little terrier mix was found two doors away from his foster home, and he is now receiving some tender loving care; hopes of adoption still alive and well. Most of us have seen the face of a dog or cat staring back at us from a homemade flyer posted on a telephone pole, stop sign, maybe even on the grocery store bulletin board, and our hearts break for the people who are no doubt filled with worry at the prospect facing their lost pet. Actually, there is some good news in all of this. Prevention is key, and technology has breathed new life into the possibilities of a pet returning home. Here are some things to think about to prevent losing a pet, and some suggestions to bring him home should the unthinkable happen.
• If the gap at the bottom of a fence or gate in a yard is too high, it is an excellent escape route for a small dog, as well as a simple way for a dog to be taken by someone with ill intentions. It isn’t always whether the dog would run out, it is if it could get out that way. Be proactive. Be sure a fence is either to the ground or within an inch or two to keep a small Fido in the yard safely.
• A sloppy latch to a gate or door that doesn’t close securely may not be a problem for a human being, but for a larger dog, intent on getting out, it is an easy route to the outside world. People often think the gate is barrier enough and do not realize what a dog is capable of maneuvering, especially when motivated!
• Class B Dealers are on the look-out for small dogs, such as beagles, to sell into laboratory testing. They look for innocent pups that are sitting unsupervised, where access is relatively simple. If a dog is left outside, be sure it is in close proximity and can be viewed often from inside the house.
• Tying up dogs outside retail establishments or restaurants may seem innocent enough, but it only takes seconds for a dog to be untied or taken, thus becoming lost, possibly for good.
• Know the core personality of your dog and be one step ahead. No matter how much your dog loves you, if he wants to chase a squirrel within an inch of his life, be certain he is securely enclosed in an outdoor surrounding so he does not have the opportunity to get out while doing so. Training a dog with a need to run is also an excellent way to insure he won’t fly out the front door when it is opened; a frantic chase ensuing and flyers about a lost dog the end result.
Ways to assist in retrieving a lost pet:
• Be sure the animal is wearing identification. It is the first thing someone will look for if they find a dog or cat wandering the streets.
• Have the animal micro-chipped. It is a relatively inexpensive injection at the back of the neck that allows almost immediate identification and contact information should a pet become lost. The tiny device lasts the pet’s lifetime, and can be an excellent way to reunite a lost animal with his loved ones. Most shelters or veterinary clinics have a scanner capable of reading the microchip.
• Make sure to have a current photo of your pet in case a poster needs to be distributed.

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