Posts Tagged ‘stray dogs’

The best advice for capturing a lost dog

May 20, 2013 36 comments

Lost not stray v2Many dog lovers have a dog preference, a certain breed, a certain look, a certain size dog – there is always something about a particular dog that we find ourselves attracted to when we seek our a dog.

For me, it was always the shy dogs. It didn’t matter what breed or size or look they had. The dogs who were fearful and scared, and cowering at the back of a kennel; these were the dogs I always gravitated towards. I still do. 

When I was a volunteer at Minnesota Valley Humane Society, you would often find me sitting sideways in front of a kennel in the impound room, using calming signals to help draw a dog out of his/her kennel. The dogs in this room were often more scared than most because these were the ones who had just been surrendered or who were just found roaming the streets and had been brought in to be held until their owner was found. They were overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and smells of the shelter, and as you can imagine, terrified, scared and afraid of everyone. The last thing they wanted to do was come to you and go for a walk outside.

When I saw one of these scared dogs, I would sit in front of their kennel door and use calming signals to draw them out – lip-licking, bowed head, averted gaze, a sideways profile, these were all behaviors I employed when working with a shy or scared dog. They are the very same signals I used with Cupcake when she was running around that abandoned truck loading dock after being lost for 12 days.

Knowing and using calming signals can be so helpful when working with a fearful dog. They can also be helpful in trying to capture a lost dog. When you use them, you are speaking in a language that most dogs understand. What could be more reassuring than seeing someone speak to you in your own language? 

A friend recently shared this video with me. It’s about using calming signals to capture a lost dog or to calm a panicked dog (and what lost dog isn’t panicked?). It’s not very long but it is definitely worth watching. Maybe you don’t have a lost dog, but some day you may have one. Or you may come across one. Knowing what to do when you do is so important. Please watch and then pass it on. The more people that know the more chances we have to reunite lost dogs with their owners.

Remember, most dogs on the run are LOST, not stray.

Lost Dogs Found. My Scary Moment.

August 24, 2011 31 comments

Have you ever had that scary moment with your dog(s)? You know the one where you (or they) do something that puts their life in jeopardy? Or something happens and you wonder if you’ve lost them forever?

Tonight, I came home from work only to discover that my garage door was wide open. At first, I was mad. “That damn door!” I thought, “It’s constantly going back up after I drive away from the house!” Usually, I wait around to make sure it is down for good before leaving, but today I must have forgotten.

As I pulled into the garage, it suddenly occurred to me that it was really windy outside today. I looked at the closed kitchen door and breathed a sigh of relief. “Whew!Still closed.” I thought. Although that door is always locked, it often blows open when there is a strong wind and the garage door is open (it only stays closed when the deadbolt is engaged). The fact that it had remained shut was truly a miracle.

Instead of stopping to gather my work bag and purse out of the car, I headed immediately inside to check on Daisy, Jasper, and my cat, Nick. I opened the door but no dogs greeted me. I called their names. Nothing. Panic started to set in as I ran from room to room calling their names, “Daisy! Jasper! Nick!” Finally, Nick made an appearance and promptly voiced his concerns about food. What did he care about missing dogs?

I ran back out into the garage and then to the door that leads to the back yard. I pulled open the door and started to call their names “Daisy! Jasp…” Oh Thank God! And there they were, tails wagging, smiles on their faces, and both of them hopping around with excitement, just like they normally act when I come home. No big deal.

You have no idea the relief I felt!

Daisy was a little skittish, but Jasper seemed fine. “How did they end up there?” I wondered. Obviously, at some point the wind HAD blown the door open and they had escaped. “Where did they go?” I wondered, “How far did they get from home?” “Who made sure they were safe and sound?” “How did they get them into the backyard?”

All these questions are still running through my mind tonight. I have only spoken with two of my neighbors so far, but neither of them had even known that my garage door had been open. Nor had they seen some kind stranger herd Daisy and Jasper into the backyard. No one seemed to know anything. I still have one more neighbor to ask, but tonight I just can’t help but feel really, really lucky and extremely grateful. SO much could have gone wrong. I could have lost them forever and never known what had happened to them.

Oh. Did I mention? Neither Daisy nor Jasper had their collars on today when I left for work. Lucky? Yes. Indeed, I am.

What made you want to share your life with a dog?

June 24, 2011 26 comments

I was feeling in the mood to write tonight, but unsure of the topic. Then I came across Miss Carrie’s blog post from Tails and Tales, “The Greatest Dog Who Ever Lived”, and I was moved to not only respond, but to write about it as well.

In her post, Carrie shares the story of her Dad and his stories about his childhood dog, Tippy. (If you get the chance DO read it. It’s a beautiful and touching piece.) At the end, Carrie asks “What was it that made all of you want to share your life with a dog?”

Immediately, I was brought back to one day, when I was a child, and young enough to think that the hill in front of our house was a big huge hill. It was a wintery day and my sister and brothers and I had been sledding on our hill for most of it. At some point, a stray dog happened upon us and took the opportunity to join in on the fun. It was quite a fun day after that. She stayed and played with us for hours. Chased us on our sleds, played with us and let us pet her. All of us had a great time – as if she had been with us all of our lives.

I suspect she was a springer or border collie mix. I remember thinking that she looked a lot like Bandit from Little House on the Prairie. She was black and white and fluffy. She seemed to love kids. We really enjoyed playing with her and I think she had fun too.

When it started to get dark, Mom called us in for dinner. We didn’t want to go in, but dinner was waiting, so we grudgingly put away our sleds and trudged inside. We tried to convince Mom and Dad to let our new friend come inside too, after all it was winter and cold outside1 But Mom and Dad said no. They suspected that she probably wasn’t far from home and would go back once we went in.

That was the last time we would see our new friend. A knock on our door that evening would bring the announcement that someone had hit a dog – our dog, right in front of our house. I caught just a glimpse of her through the open front door, lying on the side of the road in front of the car. The car headlights bright on her prone body. I know she was alive when the pound came to get her, but I don’t know what happened to her after that. To be honest, I can guess what happened, I just prefer to believe in a happier ending.

My mom was haunted by that day and her decision not to let the dog in. I suspect that is why both of us have always chosen to help animals in need. Every one of my dogs has been a dog in need in some way. It never occurred to me until Carrie’s story that perhaps that is why I rescue the lost and scared ones.

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