Jan 8, 2008

Lost dog!

Over the weekend, we were getting ready to sit down for dinner with family when we had an unexpected visitor at the door - a friendly Border Collie cross, approx 7 years of age and lost. He was panting from the day's heat and gratefully accepted a bowl of fresh, cool water. I checked the clumpy fur around his neck and my heart sunk - he was wearing an old, leather collar, but had no tag. How was I supposed to contact his owner?

My brother and I took the dog to the emergency vet nearby to see if they could read the microchip and locate the owner's contact details. It was a busy late evening for the emergency staff who were tending to a vomiting Labrador puppy, an old Jack Russel x who was suffering from terrible pain, a parrot bleeding from its tail and a Husky with a suspicious growth on its leg. And there stood my brother and I, holding the lead to a lost dog which we could have easily returned to his owner if he only had a simple ID tag.

After nearly two hours [it was around 9.30pm by then], the vet was finally free to call a microchipping register and chase up the owner's details. Bad news - the number rang out. Was it an old number that had not been updated or were the owners out for the night? Perhaps looking for their dog? We would have to wait until the registry could contact the owners.

More bad news - the clinic could not hold the dog overnight, I would have to take him back home with me or find a temporary carer. Unfortunately, the first was not an option for me as I had a full house with family visiting from overseas and two Dobermanns who would probably eat this poor, lost dog for dessert. Logan is friendly, but Chase does not tolerate strange dogs - especially with our 3.5-year-old daughter whom he is extremely protective over.

I spoke with a neighbour who suggested contacting the Border Collie rescue - I did a web search and found a lovely lady who was unfortunately unable to find an available foster carer in my area. It was 10.30pm by then and I started creating a temporary home in the garage for the dog; put in a dog bed, bowl of water, some food... and then I remembered a neighbour talking about another vet that did keep strays overnight. I called them up, they were closing in 15 minutes but would wait for me. I arrived with the knowledge that if we were unable to reach the dog's owners over the weekend, the dog would end up going to the pound ... I didn't want to think about that possibility. Within five minutes, they pulled up the owner's details on the register database -- "Cougar" the vet nurse said and smiling at Cougar's sweet surprise that somebody knew his name!

From my understanding, some vet clinics have access to the microchipping database and others have to rely on the register staff to do the calling, due to privacy laws. I was confused, but didn't persist with questions. It was 11pm and I was tired and hungry. I just wanted to take Cougar home. To save the owner a $55 fee, we decided to take the dog to the owner ourselves - and guess what. They lived around the corner! I was so surprised as I had never seen this dog before, not even during our daily walks with our dogs. The door opened to a lady holding a bottle of champagne for all the trouble we had gone to that night. It apparently wasn't the first time Cougar had escaped - he has found his way to the vet three times before and was at the pound last month! He digs out from under the fence, which they are unable to keep secured.

I appreciated the gift, but did not accept, suggesting putting an ID tag on the collar to avoid Cougar ending up at the pound if he should escape again in the future. I said goodbye and on my way down the driveway heard the lady half-heartedly calling Cougar to come back inside.

I get the feeling I'll be seeing Cougar again. Hopefully with a tag!


Anonymous said...

I have a neighbour who is constantly letting his dog out. Not on purpose the just forgets to close the garage door I have taken the dog back to him at least 7 times and I always get the same reply from the dog I go to grab his collar he tries to bite me, I say no sit and then he lets me put on the lead. Now this is a aussie bulldog so it is a dog that people would be wary of, the owner always say that thank you like "oh do I have to put him away". I have 5 dogs and none of them are out roming and if they ever did I would make sure that it never happened again. My point is if you can't be responsible don't own dogs. I hope do god one day someone else doesn't try and grab him and he nips them and they will scream "dangerous Dog". And it will be all because the owner can't remember to close a garage door.

Karen Cooper said...

I seem to be the woman that dogs come to when lost. Each week, I kid you not, a dog ends up in my yard or finds me at the local dog park where I take my dogs, no owner in site. I have had this happen to me since I was very young and am very experienced at what to do now. Tags, yes or no. phone number, yes or no. Then to local shelter to see if microchipped yes or no. If no, posters around the area and wait for phone call. I have yet had to take a dog to the pound or shelter in my area as I have always found their owner, sometimese it takes time, sometimes it is really quick but I always promise these gorgous dogs that I will find their home or Mum and Dad, and I do. If it takes some time on the computer and photos, then sticking on poles or at shops, it's worth finding their owners. I can't imagine the fear and panic they must be feeling.

Unknown said...

I have a neighbour who never tries to keep her dog in at night. he is a big bullmastif cross called "boof". when i tell her to keep her dog in she simply says he won't bite he very friendly! but the other day i was walking my husky maloo when boof just went of his head snarling and pulling his owner around up and down the fence and she simply says it's only playing.

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