Picture this...Hon and I are bringing back a load of hay on Saturday. As we're driving back, talking about whatnot and such, we both turn our heads towards the same road and there's a dog standing in the middle of it...eating something dead, of course. Neither of us thought anything of it at first, and then at the same time we looked at each other and said, "We need to turn around!" So, since Hon is deftly amazing at backing up our trailer full of hay, he pulls off and gets us turned around. We figured by the time we got back to that road the dog would have been on his way to who knows where, but there it was, still munching on that dead what looked to be rabbit.
Now, having had the honor of bringing dogs into our home through various rescue organizations over the years, not to mention having numerous dogs good and bad walk up into the yard from parts unknown, we've met quite a lot of them. Some that welcomed a trip to the Humane Society, others that had identification and so we contacted owners, and still others that turned tail and ran as fast as they could. The latter was not the case with this dog. Hon saw it had a collar so first thing he did was look for identification. Sadly, there was none. Next thing we did was discuss what to do with it. The dog had no problem jumping into the van and planting its behind in a seat, obviously comfortable with transportation that didn't include walking, so we decided it was saying, "I'll go to your home for a while." Ignoring the dead rabbit dog breath it was sporting, we decided to do some door knocking to see if anyone had lost it.
Here's what really bothers me about doing that - when Hon asked if the person had lost a dog, they didn't reply with a yes or a no. They didn't even give an answer. First thing they said was, "What kind is it?" or "What's it look like?" Now I don't know about you, but I'm for doing what I can to find the dog's actual home, not finding it another one - especially if there's someone out there upset over the loss of their dog. I had called a friend that lives right up the road from where the dog was at before we started the door knocking, and upon giving her a description, she said she's never seen it before in the area. Trust me, this woman is the most friendly knows everyone and their children's children retired school teacher. I figured if she didn't know, she might hear of someone that does. Anyhow, the door knocking after speaking with her resulted in disappointment and annoyance, so we took the dog home to surprise the kids with our unexpected house guest.
The dog is now here with us and has been here since Saturday. Being as it's so close to Christmas, the owners might not be around and had someone watching over it. I can't imagine seeing as it's now Monday they haven't noticed it missing. First thing I did Saturday was call the Humane Society to have the dog listed in the "found" book with our contact information. Then I posted that we had a lost dog on our Facebook page and also on a county lost pet page. I also posted on Craigslist that we have it. Oh, and there's a paper I hung up yesterday at both the local IGA grocery and the Valero gas station, too. Basically I've covered all bases I can possibly cover.
The one thing I did not do is post a picture of the dog. I've gotten flack from some folks about it, but the Humane Society understands why I have not done that. Too many people look at a picture and go claim dogs that don't belong to them around here. Posting a picture is not a requirement of finding a lost pet. I have, however, said that he is a large dog, listed where he was found, and asked folks to contact us with a description of the dog they've lost. We've had a few folks contact us, but sadly this isn't their dog. We'd gladly hand him over if he was. We are hopeful the owner will get a hold of us soon. We are happily living in chaos and confusion with five dogs, but I just know our house guest would like to be at it's real home for Christmas.
With all of this being said, let me give you a bit of information on what to do if you find a lost pet. First off, if you decide to keep the pet in your home, call the local animal shelter to let them know you have it. Here, it's the Ross County Humane Society. If you don't want to keep it in your home, call the local dog warden or take it to the animal shelter. They do what they do to help you. Now, here's the thing, if you decide to keep the animal in your home...you must keep in mind that the pet you are housing is not yours. It more than likely has a family looking for it, no matter how flea ridden and dirty it may look. If you want to keep the pet, you are still required by the State of Ohio (consult your other local state laws) to advertise in print that you have found the pet and are looking for it's owner. This must be done for at least seven days. After that period of time, you are the official owner. That means if you are keeping a dog you must get your behind down to the county office and buy it a dog license. The price of a dog license is far less than the price of the ticket you may receive when the Dog Warden drives by and checks your dog for tags.
For those of you who have lost a pet, first thing you should do is also contact your local animal shelter to give a description. If your pet is taken there, you have three days (in Ohio) to contact them before it is adoptable to a new family. Then get yourself out and post on area bulletin boards that you're looking for it. Social media is also a great way to get the word out that you're looking - like Craigslist, Facebook, and Twitter, to name a few. If you are looking for a pet, by all means post a picture if you have one. In my world there's a difference between looking for a lost pet and trying to find it's home when there are folks who will take what's not theirs.
So, there you have it folks. We have an unexpected house guest. I called the Humane Society again this morning in hopes of hearing news of his family, but so far no one has contacted them. As I type, SamCat is enjoying taunting our guest, who sometimes takes the bait. The dogs have another playmate. Then there are the birds. The dog is totally fascinated with the parakeet twittering and tweeting, and with the parrot, who keeps telling the dog to, "Come'ere." One extra mouth to feed over the holiday season isn't a big deal, and if it means caring for someone's pet until they find each other again, that's what we'll do. Have a great Christmas eve and if you find a lost pet, please do your part to make sure it gets back home again. Smiling & Waving, Sharon