What to do if You’ve Found a Lost Dog how to help a Lost Dog
Dogs get lost all the time. Maybe they dug under their fence, slipped out of their collar, or jumped over the hedge. Many dogs are able to find their own way home, but sometimes they can’t. Sometimes it will take weeks or months of hungry searching before they can find their home. If you’ve found a lost dog, but don’t know what to do about it, read on.
*Be Careful- If the dog is scared and lonely, she may react aggressively. Be very wary when approaching a lost dog, and try to get the dog to come to you. If you can get a few feet away from the dog, and the dog isn’t snarling or acting overly aggressive, crouch down to pose less of a threat. Keep your weight backwards, as leaning forwards is also perceived as a threat. Dogs can read your face and emotions, so try to keep calm. Don’t look at the dog, or anywhere in particular. Dogs will follow your gaze to see what you’re looking at, so try to keep an eye on the dog with your peripheral vision. If you have a treat handy, even if it’s not too healthy for dogs, place it on your palm, and rest your hand on the ground. Reaching toward the dog is also perceived as a threat. When the dog comes up to you, let her eat the treat, sniff your hand, and maybe sniff your face too! Try patting the dog, but not on her back or sides-that’s a dominance gesture in dogs, and again, may be perceived as a threat.
*Identification-Most dogs will have a collar identifying themselves. Sometimes, for whatever reason, you won’t find this. If you do, consider yourself lucky; it’s the easiest way to return a lost dog to their grateful owner. The dog could also have a tattoo in her ear. This is the second simplest way. Even if the dog refuses to go with you to your home, the vet’s, or animal shelter, you can still use tis information to contact the owner, and tell them where their dog is, or has been.
*Lost Adds-The local newspaper or shelters may have a description of the dog in a lost add. If you couldn’t contact the owners from the dog’s collar or ear tattoo, this will provide an opportunity to do so.
*The Vet’s- I you bring the dog to the vet’s, you can have her scanned for a microchip. If the dog does have one, the vet will then be able to contact the owners.
*The Shelter-In most places, it’s the law to turn over any lost dog to a shelter. If the shelter near you will euthanize the dog after a set amount of time, ask around for anyone willing to foster a dog until their owner shows up. Look for an SPCA that will take them. You may even be able to take the dog yourself!
Sometimes it Just Doesn’t work
Sometimes you won’t be able to help the dog. Whatever the reason is, it’s okay. You tried, and all you can do is to keep on trying. Even if this dog’s story has a sad ending, you could be the one to help another dog and owner out. Don’t blame yourself if dog is put down, or is never found. We all have our limits of what we can do to help.
No matter what the ending for the dog is, congratulate yourself! You were donating your own time and energy to help out a dog in need. There’s a good chance this dog will be re-united with their happy owners! So give yourself a pat on the back and feel good~