Yesterday was an interesting day. Two pit bulls roaming around – one nearly killed by a car, another hobbling along in the pouring rain and wind, and four people trying to find the dogs’ owners. We all have jobs, so we had to pull off this little rescue mission between meetings, on lunch breaks and after work.
I was sitting on my front porch drinking coffee and watching the torrential downpour of rain. Considering the weather, I was not surprised to hear a batch of horns honking; I was only surprised that I did not hear a car crash. Something was causing a ruckus. I walked forward so I could see the intersection and it all made sense. A huge, blue pit bull was walking in circles in the middle of the intersection, and his cinnamon colored buddy, who was just as large, was running down the street. Damn!
A few cars stopped, trying to “honk” the dog off the road. Then I saw a gentleman hop out of his car in his jeans and fine white sweater. He scooped up the dog as if it were a mini-dog, pushed it in the car and hopped back in. Some lady asked if it was his dog, and surprisingly his answer was, “No. I am just trying to keep him from getting killed.”
He makes a turn and drives away. Darn! So what to do with the cinnamon dog? I saw that he was wearing a collar, I grabbed the first piece of food I could find in the fridge, tossed Phoebe’s leash around my neck and went after the other dog dressed in PJs, robe and slippers. What a sight.
Not more than minute or two later, the gentleman in the car pulls up. I guess it makes sense why he might think the little runaway was my dog. He was frantic and had about three minutes to get to work. My knee jerk reaction was to tell him to just put the dog in my back yard and we would sort it out later.
When he opened his car door I could see mud everywhere; it looked like his white sweater got the worst of it. We exchanged numbers and he all but begged me not to call the pound. He is involved in a rescue group and was going to try to find someone to take the dog in if we did not find the owner.
Luckily, Phoebe was already locked inside since her dog door was allowing an arctic wind to blow into the house. So I opened the gate and locked the gentle giant in the yard. That still left Mr. Cinnamon dog. By this time he was already out of site, presumably still running down the block (at least he was on the sidewalk, not the street).
With no time to waste, I grabbed the car keys and went looking for him – greasy turkey in hand. I saw him and stopped the car. Her turned, looked at me, did a 180 and headed the other way. I took the hint. I needed to go home, get dressed and take another approach.
My friend recommended that I try tossing out a bit of hot dog to catch his attention, stay low, and keep tossing out more until he approached. I tried, but he wanted nothing to do with me. Each time was the same – look at me, turn and go the other way. Not much I could do about that. I did notice that he kept walking back and forth between four or five houses as if he was familiar with the area.
I started knocking on doors. The few who were home said they had no idea where he came from. I don’t want to send a pit bull to the pound, but I couldn’t let him roam and killed by a car either.
I was going to call in a “roaming dog” only to learn the dog shelter is closed on Monday. I guess one should never find (or lose) a dog on a Monday, because they will be out of luck.
I touched base with the ‘rescue guy’ to see if was having any luck. He was willing to help catch the other dog, but it would have to wait until lunch time. It was possible, since Mr. Cinnamon dog was loitering in the area.
Next it was time to hang signs. Not the wisest idea in the pouring rain and wind, but worth a shot. Most of them blew away almost as soon as I put them up. Sadly, Mr. Cinnamon dog disappeared too. I saw someone walking his dog and asked if he had seen him. He gave me a long story about how he saw him, but wasn’t going to do anything because it was pit bull. Arrghh. I had a meeting, so it would just have to wait.
While sitting on the phone listening to people jabber, I made out a bunch of index cards – “Did you lose 2 dogs? If so call…” When my son got home from school, we went and put the cards on people’s doors, while my husband hung out to see if anyone was ‘cruising’ as if looking for a lost dog. That was about all we could do. By then it was just a matter of hoping someone would call or that the rescue guy would find someone to take the gentle giant off my hands.
Finally! At six o’clock someone called. It turns out that this was the second time in a week that the dogs escaped (they just bailed them out of the pound three days ago after a mandatory neuter). The owner was going to change his clothes and go looking for the cinnamon dog first, and then come get the gentle giant. About ten minutes later he calls and said that Mr. Cinnamon had somehow made it home. He heard whining, went to look and there he was lying in his dog house. I told him I would let the gentle giant hang out in my backyard while he fixed the fence.
It took a while, but the owner finally came and picked him up. It turns out that the gentle giant was deaf, which is why he was just wandering in circles, completely oblivious to cars honking and people calling him.
The owner was a young man in his 20s. It was obvious that he cared about the dogs, but just wasn’t mature enough to think everything through. The mother in me just had to drive home the need to get a tag. Since the dog was people lover, a tag would do wonders, especially if he and his buddy escaped in pairs. Find the owner of one, you will find the owner of the other. When you own a loving pit bull you must have tags, because few people will bother to even try to make contact. Those that do need to know how to reach the owner; otherwise it is off to the pound. It would be completely unnecessary sadness.
Let’s hope I never see those dogs roaming again, but just in case I did get the owners’ phone numbers.
I did get a couple of wake up calls out of all of this. I learned that animal control will not come out and catch a stray dog (they put the info in a computer and if they happen to be in the area they will look sometime within seven days); the pound prefers that good citizens drop off any dog they find and most important – microchips are great, but do not do diddly squat if you can’t catch the dog, or if you don’t happen to have one lying around the house (like who would).
If Phoebe were to get lost, I will have to rely on people being brave enough to get close and look at one of her three tags (city license tag, home phone / address tag, and microchip number and contact tag); if she loses those, then I have to hope that someone takes her somewhere to check for the microchip. Bottom line: microchips are great as a last resort, but nothing beats an old fashioned dog tag.