Monday, December 28, 2015

Are we dogs’ best friends?

I heard today about an older, small dog (chi mix) that ended up in a shelter’s care. Somehow they knew the identity and phone of the owner, so they called to ask her to pick the dog up. She said she would but when she didn’t show up after a day, they called again. “Don’t you get it?” she asked. “I’m not coming. Send the dog to the pound.” So much for love and compassion for animals. Too many people believe that dogs have no feelings.

Today in particular I can testify about dogs’ feelings. My Sophie has been my shadow all day. Everywhere I went, she tagged along behind. She even napped on the bed with me, although she’s a restless napper—there this itch to be tended to and that to scratch and hark! Was that a noise in the attic? I get the sense that she thinks she let me out of her sight and I disappeared for four days and it’s not going to happen again!

Facebook is full of dogs and a few cats lost and found in Rowlette, Garland and other areas devastated by the storms. Many pet owners who have lost their homes seem to feel it will all be better if they can get their beloved dog back. And kind souls have rescued animals from debris, wet and shivering, and taken them into their homes. The problem of course is matching them.

For those who have taken dogs in, I have one request: please be sure to get definitive i.d. of the person and the dog before you turn an animal over (I have a persistent and terrible fear of dog-fight people who will use even small dogs as bait). And when you do reunite owner and dog, watch the animal’s reaction. If you can’t find the owner and can’t keep the dog, take it to a shelter (preferably no-kill) where anyone claiming or adopting it will be properly vetted.

If you’ve lost a dog, check with shelters, both the city kennel and private shelters in the area. They are overcrowded with storm dogs, and yours might well be there. Here’s another hint: put a large poster, with a picture, in front of your house. If, God forbid, you lost your home, put the poster where it was. When allowed, curiosity seekers will be driving through the area and might help; chances are also good that the dog will return to the home it’s known.

The goal of course is to see all these dogs in loving homes, reunited with their owners; if that’s not possible, then let’s get them into safe new homes. The elderly girl above? She was rescued and hopefully is settled in a much more welcoming home than the one she came from.


Kait said...

Gorgeous post, Judy. Very timely and very much needed. Many years ago I lost a home to flood. I made the fire department allow me in (they were evacuating people) and discovered my shepherd swimming through the rooms with the terrier in his mouth. I got the dogs out, but was then faced with the shelter (it was a school pressed into service). They didn't want animals, so I turned and went back into the rain with my two dogs. A shelter worker came after me and allowed me into a room they didn't think was going to be needed with the caveat to keep the dogs leashed. I did, and by the end of the night, the room was filled with people and their pets. Fast forward a few decades to Hurricane Andrew. People died in their homes because they would not leave their pets. Florida was adamant at the time. People only. Soon after they relented and some shelters were designated pet friendly, too late for those who lost their lives but an alternative for those in the future who might.

Judy Alter said...

Thanks, Kait. I do think we're getting more conscious of the plight of pets in these natural catastrophes. Glad you got your dogs out. I think some of those we've posted on Facebook have been reunited with their families. I worry so about the dog-fight people.