Sunday, October 17, 2010

They Only Cost $7.50

This morning at the dog park there was a woman in pajamas and slippers on the big-dog side. “He just walked right into my house!” she remarked from her spot on the park bench. Three other dog owners stood nearby listening to her story as she petted a friendly black lab. “I don’t know what to do!”

Apparently the dog was a stray, and she had driven it over to the dog park for advice about what to do with it. A phone call was made to a local woman who rescues dogs, and she suggested the pajama woman take the dog to the vet to see if it is microchipped, and then bring it to her if it wasn’t. The woman ran home to change into real clothes first, and I watched the black dog run around the dog park happily.

And it made me so angry, as it would any animal lover. My thoughts strayed to those people who move and leave their pets behind, to those people who dump unwanted animals in the desert, to those people who have no regard for the lives of animals. But what I mostly thought about was my desperate plea for anyone who owns a pet to put a collar and a tag on it!

This black dog was healthy and loved, and it probably had a family somewhere who might not even know yet that it was missing. And why didn’t it have a tag? If it had, the original woman could have called right away and it would have been home in minutes.

A while back, I saw a small dog near my house on my way to work, and I pulled over to try to help it. The little dachshund mutt came to me immediately, and I looked at its collar only to find it bare. If there had been a tag, I would have called right away and taken it to its home, safe, away from traffic. Instead, I had to go on to work and be comforted by the fact that it looked like the dog was heading home. Who knows.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found dogs wandering around while their owners are oblivious. And it makes me so angry! It costs almost nothing to get one of those engraved tags. But it could save your dog’s life. And don’t give me the excuse that your dog never gets out - it only takes one time, one mistake. Please, please, please tag your dogs? Do it today? Please.

I fought the urge to wait in the dog park until the pajama woman returned, fought the urge to protect him until his fate was determined. I imagined taking him home to our house as a new slobbery friend for George. They would have been a cute pair, George little, white, and fluffy; the other big, black and sleek. But instead I headed for home, mostly convinced that the pajama woman would return. I can’t save them all. And it breaks my heart.

1 comment:

  1. On the very day that I read your post, I learned my dear friend lost Pokey, her beloved 10 year old Peekapoo. They had been on vacation and left him with a family member, but they'd failed to leave a collar for him. I've worried about that dog plenty over the years - he has never worn a collar, he wanders the neighborhood at will, and he'll go up to anyone for attention. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. After almost a week of worry, and many phone calls, Pokey's whereabouts became know and he was returned to his rightful owner, but not before nearly breaking his momma's heart. They've learned their lesson, and after reading your words, I'm passing on your advice to everyone who will listen. Thanks, Shannon!