Have you ever come across a stray or abandoned dog and were just not sure what to do with the animal? It seems like today that for every good deed, a bad deed is also done. Many of you are confused, however stay with me and you will understand. For instance, when you find a stray dog, one automatically thinks to call animal rescue such as Animals Control which is sponsored by the city, right? Well, by calling the animal control authorities, you are getting a dog off the street however you are also sending the dog to Animal Control. Many Animal Control units have very limited amounts of space, therefore after a few days they will euthanize the dog if no microchip or tattoo is available. Therefore, you are doing a good deed by calling for help with the animal and doing a bad deed by calling Animal Control. It is a catch 22! So, what should one do in this situation?
In my opinion, I think the best thing to do is (if the dog is not wild) to help the animal yourself. It is important to take extreme care when dealing with an abandoned dog. Let’s face it, most dogs on the streets are from families that have just abandoned them because they did not want the dog anymore. It is sad but very true. Therefore, the dog may be scared of you at first. What we do to capture a dog is talk to it soothingly and give it food. Then, we place the dog in a separate kennel from the one that we use for our own pets. It is important never to let your own pets get in contact with this stray dog. The history of this dog is unknown; therefore it is better to not take any chances. The stray dog may have rabies, flees, fighting instincts towards other dogs and so on.
So, once we have the dog in the kennel, we take it to the vets for more information about its health. If we capture the stray dog after our veterinarian has already closed, we place the kenneled dog in our basement with a small amount of food and water. Try to only give a small amount of food since the dog may not have had food in its stomach for a few days. By feeding too much, the dog will overeat and get sick causing a major cleanup for you in the morning. Then, after the vet has opened, proceed in taking the dog in for its first visit.
At this first visit, the veterinarian will check for a microchip or identification tattoo. If one is found, then the veterinarian will take over and locate the owner and return the dog. If there is no identification found, then more tests will need to be taken. For instance, since dogs that are abandoned are usually not taken care of, the veterinarian will need to take a heartworm test to make sure there is no threat of the disease. If that is clear, the veterinarian will proceed in checking over the entire body of the dog to assure there are no broken bones, fleas, eye diseases, skin diseases and so on. If there are no problems then the veterinarian will update the dog on vaccinations such as a rabies and distemper.
The problem with stray dogs is that you simply can’t tell what all problems they are dealing with and sometimes vaccines don’t do enough which is why people are skeptical of adopting pups from the streets but it is important to see this in a serious light as they too are poor animals that require help and support so do what the vets tell you.
This trip to the veterinarians will provide other information about the breed that you have in your hands. For instance, you will find out how old the dog is, what breed it is, if it is malnourished and et cetera. It is helpful to know all this information before letting your pets get close to this new one. If you are not interested in keeping this dog however do not want it to go to a animal rescue unit to be euthanized if not adopted, then talk to your vet about this issue. Most veterinarians will know people in the area that have “safe houses” for animals. These “safe houses” are families that take in stray dogs until they can find a good loving family to adopt the pet. These “safe houses” are all over and very safe, they never euthanize a dog just for being a stray. In addition, some veterinarians will know of families that are looking for a new dog and suggest adoption. If you would like to keep the dog yourself however can not afford the bills of the new dog, talk to the veterinarian, sometimes there are problems that will help pay part of the first bill. There are also problems for lower income families that wish to spay or neuter their pet however can not afford the costly veterinarian bills. Each good veterinarian will be able to help you find out solutions to help the dog, which is always better than calling animal rescue.
It is up to us as animal lovers to help out those animals that have had a bad upbringing. Strays can be very loving however just take a little time considering the harsh life they have lived until meeting your family. It is a good person and a good deed to help out a stray.