Recently I had to have a stray dog turned in to the shelter. It was a few weeks ago, when Tallahassee had a cold front come through. It was around 9pm, and I heard whining at my door. I went outside, to find a chow chow running down my driveway. I’ve seen this pup several times before, so I knew either he obviously gets out loose all the time; or he’s a stray dog with no home; maybe he’s lost, but if so, he’s been lost for a long time because he randomly roams my neighborhood on a semi-regular basis. He has never come to my door though, and I’ve never seen anyone looking for him. Any time I have ever tried to get him to come to me, he runs the opposite direction, and usually I don’t see him again for a few weeks. This time though, he kept coming back to my door about every 30 mins, and loudly whining. I am sure, even with that thick chow coat, he had to be cold! I tried to coax him to me multiple times, but he wouldn’t get anywhere close to me. So, it was late, I turned off the lights, and went to bed.
The next morning I went to let my dogs out, and they all dashed to one side of the yard, and I caught a glimpse of the chow. Apparently he spent the night on the side of my house, in the bushes. I was so sad for him! He had to have been freezing! I had to get the kid to school, so I decided I’d do something about him when I got home. In the meantime, I put out a bowl of food for him by my front door (which he didn’t touch). As I was on the way home, I saw him cross a very busy street, right in the middle of morning traffic…and he was oblivious to the cars around him. So I called my friend (the president of Last Hope Rescue), and asked her what to do. I explained that just calling animal control was probably not going to help because I doubted they’d be able to catch him, but I also didn’t want to just leave him, and risk him being hit by a car. So, she suggested keeping my dogs inside, opening my side gate that leads to my backyard, and mixing up a bowl of smelly, yummy food that he can’t resist. Then I could trap him in my yard, and that way animal control could definitely get him. I did that, as well as called animal control. They came right out, saw him, but weren’t able to get him, just as I suspected.
So, a couple of hours went by, and then all of a sudden, a big ol red fluffy pup was on my back deck, sniffing out the delicious bowl of scrambled eggs-chicken Parmesan-dog food concoction that I’d made up! I ran around to close the gate behind him, and called animal control to tell them I had him. Surprisingly, he didn’t eat any of the food. He just went and laid down in my yard! I went out to move the food closer to him, and to give him a bowl of water. He just laid there, not moving. Then I was concerned that he was hurt; or deaf; or blind. None of these ended up being the case though. He eventually ate the entire bowl of food. I also ended up getting close to him, and he let me give him scratches. He definitely was dirty, and had some matted fur, tons of ticks on him, and had no collar on. So whoever did own him, obviously wasn’t caring for him very well…meaning, I no longer felt so guilty about possibly turning in someone’s pet to the shelter!
Animal Control came and picked him up, and he was taken to the shelter. He had a 7 day hold…but due to the holidays, he actually got a few extra days due to the shelter being closed. We (Last Hope Rescue) put our name on him, just so that we could keep tabs on him. Finally it came time for him to be assessed and checked out by the shelter vet…and by some miracle, other than some parasites, he was healthy! Heartworm negative, not fixed (shocker), no aggression noted. This was great news! He was officially moved out to the adoption floor. And, this was just in time for me to go visit him during my volunteer shift! On the Saturday after Christmas, I spent some time with the chow chow, now named Red. He was complete perfection on the leash, and happy to be out walking! He even wagged his fluffy tail at me! While I was there, two people asked to check him out for possible adoptions…I knew this was a good sign. My shift ended, and I said goodbye to Red.
Since then, guess what?!? He’s been adopted!! Red went to his forever home on NYE!! I have had a lot of guilt about this situation. I obviously considered the pros & cons of turning him in to the shelter. I wondered if he really was someone’s family pet, someone who is missing him and sad over their loss. BUT…then I think about the condition he was in. The freezing cold weather, when he was left outside to fend for himself. He wasn’t micro-chipped, and had no collar. No flyers were ever put up. The shelter never received a call about him. Of course, having the rescue connections to fall back on was a huge relief, but still. The last thing I would ever want to do is take a pet away from a loving, caring family. On the other hand, at least I knew he was in a safe place, getting food twice a day, with a warm cozy blanket to sleep on. I knew he was getting attention from the shelter staff and volunteers. So if the worst happened, and he ended up being put to sleep because of being aggressive, or sickly, or the shelter is too full, at least it would be in a humane, pain free way…right? It’s easier to say that now that he’s happily in a forever home, and that I did have the rescue to fall back on if all else failed, but still, I think I did the right thing…I think! 😉
Anyway, I met some other really great pups during that shift at the shelter, so I thought I’d share them too, since as of now, they are all still currently in need of homes! Please take a moment to share a homeless dog. Networking saves lives, and you just might end up being a part of their journey to happy ever after!