Not All Stray Dogs Are Homeless

Stray-dog-on-street1760Some people just seem to have a Pied Piper effect on animals and are always finding strays or unwanted dogs following them home.  And while it is great to get them off the street you have to remember not all stay dogs are homeless.  All it takes is one careless person or one super cleaver dog to get a crate, door or gate open and they are off on adventures.  It is a sickening feeling to come home and find your dog missing so keep that in mind the next time you “save a stray.”

Last week my brother called me saying “Um, can you come over? I have…a dog. It was just wandering around and it doesn’t have tags. And I don’t know what to do!” This brother loves dogs, adores them, but has no idea how to care for them, really. He’s got the food-water-poo part down, but beyond that he’s a little lost. The pets were always my jurisdiction.

It was too late by then to tell him to separate the new dog from his roommates dog, and he’d already realized he needed to put the cat in a separate room, after the poor strays’ face was bleeding. I arrived a few hours later armed with chews (his roommates’ dog never seems to have any, she’s a demo dog!), leashes, harness, and gentle leader. The stray was a beautiful little blond and strawberry spaniel mix.

“Don’t you think she has a bit of pit bull in her,” my brother asks, “I’m calling her Corn.”

“No,” I reply, “None at all. Spaniel.”

“I really want to keep her,” he presses.

She was skinny, but clean, and her teeth were whiter than mine. No way she’d been a stray for long. She was loved and I tell my brother so. Somewhere, someone is looking for this beautiful girl and he needs to take her to a local shelter where the owners will have a chance at finding her.

So the next day, my brother took her to the local animal shelter. After being read a riot act by the volunteers (until he made very clear it was a stray, not his dog), they accepted the dog and he went home. A few hours later they called him to report, “Her family came for her. They were on vacation and she pushed past the house-sitter. They’re really nice, too, a young couple.”

Who knows this may have even been their agility dog! They did their best to keep the dog in a safe and familiar place while they were on vacation by leaving her home with a house-sitter. I cannot even imagine the pain and fear they were going through when they came home and found her missing.

It’s always good to hear the stories like this that have happy endings, isn’t it? I know I hardly ever hear happy stray stories. I hear a lot of happy rescue stories, but so often when I see a rescued stray/ abandoned/ lost dog I wonder if that dog has another name and another bed, and someone, somewhere is left holding an empty leash with an empty heart.