What Should You Do If You Find a Missing or Lost Dog?

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Let’s say you’re taking your usual drive home when suddenly you see a lone dog walking along the side of the road. Overcome with compassion (given that you have a dog of your own) you plan to take the poor stray home.

However, if you’ve seen a pet rescue videos recorded by shelters and animal control services, coaxing them to come with you is never easy, and it comes with a number of risks. So, if you want to help it, here are some things you need to keep in mind:

Coaxing and capturing it

Always prioritize your safety over that of the dog – it may be sick and scared, causing it to react unpredictably. There’s always a risk of it running away from you and into the road and the incoming traffic, which could kill it.

Aside from which, there’s always a danger of it attacking and taking a chunk off of you, which is a horrible thing to experience especially if you count in rabies.

If the dog is acting aggressively towards you, don’t take a risk: call animal control.
The best way to coax it into trusting you is to offer food – a piece of a burger patty would work. Speak to it in a calm and soothing voice – do not make direct eye contact and approach it directly as it will view it as a challenge.

Housing It

If you managed to capture it and bring it home, your next course of action should be to call the local shelter and the proper authorities in order to file a report. Why? Well, there is always a chance that the rightful owner of the lost dog called up the shelter or animal control and informed them of his or her plight. You should do so regardless if you managed to contact the owner or not.

If you’re not able to foster the lost dog for a while, you may take it to the animal shelter for housing. Remember though, certain shelters may not be able to house the dog for more than three days, and it’s likely that they will be euthanized. A better option is to temporarily foster the dog – local shelters will be more than happy to let you do so as long as you fill in the necessary paperwork.

Contacting the owner

If the lost dog has an ID collar, call the contact information listed on it – chances are that you will be talking to the owner. If not, the next best thing to do is to bring it to the local veterinary hospital and have it scanned for a microchip which contains the contact information of the owner.

It would also help if you take advantage of social media – post pictures of the lost dog and have people share it for you. These campaigns are met with resounding success: people are able to sympathize. You never know, one of your friends may know the dog and the owner! You may also post fliers on animal clinics and in public.

Aspects to consider

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•Never assume that the dog has been abused, unless if there are telling signs. If a dog is frightened, it doesn’t always mean that it was abused: it might have lived a sheltered life before getting lost!

•Do not just give the dog to anyone who claims to own it. If the “owner” is scheduled to pick up the dog at your residence, kindly ask for him or her for proof of identification.

•Accidents happen, so never assume that the owner was negligent (even if he or she could be). You never know: the owner might be losing sleep over and frantically looking for the lost dog.

•Be open to adopting it. If there’s no one who is stepping forward to claim it, bring it to the local animal shelter (since you’re required to do so) and lawfully undergo the process of adoption!

Good luck!

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