I rescued a dog today. Not on the job, which you would expect, but in my neighborhood off hours. It wasn’t a life-saving or cliff-hanging rescue. I just returned a stray pup home. It took less than five minutes but it was satisfying. And this story isn’t to pat myself on the back but to show how many pieces had to be in place for this to happen.
I was out for my power walk (sans my own dog since he can’t keep up anymore now that he’s a tripod) and headed to the path that runs along a park across from my neighborhood. Lots of people bike, jog or walk that path and many have dogs. I saw a tan dog running loose on the neighborhood side and a woman walking across the street to her car. I often see rude dog owners who allow their dog to run loose (even though it’s a leash only area) and pay no attention to what their dog is doing that I was not surprised when she just got in her car and looked at her phone. So I asked her “is that your dog?” Surprisingly she responded “no, but I think it came out of that yard.”
Sure enough the dog was standing by a fence with a loose board and a white dog was poking his head out. It was as if the tan dog was encouraging her friend to join her in her escape. Would have been a cute video if I had thought of it! Seeing the problem I walked over towards the dog who turned to me and wagged her tail and then sat submissively as I approached. That’s the first piece in place. The dog wasn’t fearful, didn’t play “catch me” and was actually very friendly.
The second piece was that she had on a collar with an ID tag. Clearly written was her name “Kiwi,” her address and a phone number. So helpful!! Microchips are fabulous and a necessity but they don’t help a good Samaritan out on the street. Anyways, it turns out that the house with the loose board was her home and I went up to the porch to see if anyone was home. That’s the next piece that worked. A gentleman opened the door and was appropriately surprised to see his dog sitting on the porch with me. How often do we not get involved because you never know the reaction you might get from the other person? There are many angry people out there quick to assume the worse and accuse you, or some mysterious other person, of trying to steal their dog and purposely breaking the fence, etc.
So backing up, I guess the first piece was that I was willing to get involved. The other woman knew the dog was loose and even thought she knew which house the dog came from but she just got in her car and left. It’s true a lot of irresponsible dog parents just open the door and allow their dogs to roam free, especially if they are near a field or park and assume they will come safely home when they are ready. No need to consider the havoc a loose dog can create for others! It also raises the question of what you would do if no one was home. Do you put the dog in the yard and try to secure it with a rock or something? Do you call animal control and wait for an officer to respond (do you have the time to do that?) Do you take the dog home and call the number and maybe hold onto the dog until the owner comes home from work? Or do you think, “well I tried” and leave the dog loose? Getting involved doesn’t always turn out to be a quick, easy thing!
Fortunately, this man was grateful that I rang his doorbell. I took him to the side of his house to show him the loose board (with his other dog still poking his head through) and he appreciated that I took the time to do that. It was an easy thing to do in this situation and it all turned out for the best. It was clearly a good use of five minutes of my day and I’m happy that I helped. I was clearly lucky that all the pieces were in place. Would you have done the same?
Kidz ‘n Critters Summer Camp – registration is now open for our camp program. Four sessions for different age levels from 2nd grade to 7th grade. Educational and interactive – perfect for all young animal lovers! For details and registration forms go to www.rpanimalshelter.org or stop by the shelter.
“Get Them Back Home” Campaign – Every lost pet should have a way to get back home. FREE pet ID tag and a back-up microchip are available to all residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati. No appointment necessary, just come by the shelter during our regular open hours: Wed. 1-6:30; Thurs.-Fri.-Sat. 1-5:30; Sun. 1-4:30.
Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.