Monday, September 19, 2011

Little Dog Lost

By Kate Collins

As I drove through my neighborhood two days ago, I spotted a tiny white and tan dog hobbling along the edge of the road. He (or she) appeared to have injured feet and a bad hip. He was dirty, had a shaggy tail tucked between his legs, and pointed ears and cute little pointed face. Sensing that he was injured, I slowed down and followed him up the street. He would stop at each driveway and look at the house, then continue on. Sometimes he would start up the driveway, then stop and return to the street.

I rolled down my window and called to him. He turned his head to look at me but kept moving. His eyes looked old and the fur around them was gray. I knew he was lost -- and at once, he had my heart.

I drove ahead and pulled into my own driveway, then got out of the car and walked back up the street toward him, calling softly. He stopped and studied me, then turned and headed in the other direction. So I hurried up the street on the opposite side until I got behind him, then I tried calling again. He gave a frightened bark, then ran back toward my house at the end of the street. 

I followed as he scooted up my driveway. When I walked toward him and crouched down, he whined pathetically and dashed past on his hobbled feet. I called the animal shelter to see if anyone had reported a dog lost, but no luck there. I called a neighbor who knows almost everyone in the subdivision and she said she’d just heard from another neighbor that a shaggy black dog had been found sleeping on her back deck.
I started to realize then that two shaggy dogs in our neighborhood was no coincidence. This isn’t a place lost dogs gravitate to because it’s not easy to find. Had the two dogs been abandoned? Had this lost doggy been caged his whole life, deforming his feet? He was so mistrustful, that I fear he’s been abused. 
I called the animal shelter again and was told to corral the dog in my garage and someone would come pick him up the next day. Can you imagine what that would do to an already frightened dog? It was a moot point anyway because he’d vanished

But there he was again in my backyard the next day. My daughter was home, so she took a chicken leg out to see if she could coax the dog in. Again,  no luck. The dog snarled and ran. She tossed the leg, he dashed back to pick it up and ran off again.

Ever since then, I’ve been watching for him. I can’t seem to forget how sad and frightened he looked. I also worry because we have coyotes around. Could I have done more to help him? I don’t know. I’ve never had a dog. What would you have done?


Gayle Carline said...

We had a little guy like this get dumped on our street. You can do a couple of things: 1) If he comes back to your yard, take some scraps of food out to him, then find the closest spot you can sit, where he will eat and not run. Try to do this at the same time each day, moving a little closer each time. This will take a while. Option 2) See if Animal Control (or someone) has one of those animal traps that you put food in to trap the dog. This is faster.

Whether you take the dog in, find him a home, or turn him over to the authorities, the important thing is to keep him from being eaten by coyotes or hit by a car. Even if he ends up having to be put down, it's a more humane end than the alternatives.

Linda McDonald said...

Gayle mentioned an animal trap. That is something that could work. I've tried to help several dogs that I've seen running loose. Some will come to you...those are the easy ones. The runners though....unless you can get them chased into a fenced area, like a fenced yard, it can be really tough to get them.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, ladies. I will keep watching for the little guy. My heart breaks for lost animals. How would a dog survive?

Liz said...

My husband has brought home innumerable strays, whom we've kept or found homes for. I feel I should caution you, however, about trying to corral a dog that has snarled. This seems to be a case for the professionals or, if they won't come, perhaps there's a volunteer rescue group with the proper equipment.

Debra said...

You are very kind. The only thing I would add is to place a dish with water out for him. I agree with Liz , be very careful, scared animals will snap at you and bite.

Aurian said...

Ooo that is such a sad story. What a shame the dog would't come to you. Perhaps you can put some food and water out for him? Is he/are they still sighted in your neighbourhood?

Kate Collins said...

I haven't seen the little guy n 24 hours. I've driven through the subdivision looking, but didn't spot either dog. I hope a kind neighbor called animal control. So sad. I can't stop thinking about that terrified little face.

Katherine said...

I would have done the same thing you did. My family and I took in a stray cat who came up to our front door looking seriously undernourished, soaking wet from the rain storm we were having, and with his fur full of mats. I called the local humane society to see if anyone had called about a lost cat and put an ad in our newspaper. While I was waiting to see if anyone would claim him, I took him to our local vet who guessed the cat to be about 8 months old. Long story short, no one came for him and we ended up keeping him. He lived to the ripe old age of 19 and passed away from heart failure two years ago. I still miss him and have never regretted taking him in all those years ago.

Susan said...

Oh, how sad that someone possibly abandoned this sweet dog.
I would suggest keeping a dish of water near your house in an area that you can watch because he needs to feel safe, but be careful, as another poster mentioned you need to be careful around a strange, snarling dog. I think it must have been mistreated because he wouldn't come near you and snarled, a happy, but lost dog would have probably come to you.
Please keep us posted. I'll be praying that he's found a home or comes back to you.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but giving him a chicken leg was not a good idea. He could choke on the bone.

Vickie said...

{HUGS}I honestly think you did as much as you could. I like the water idea and a bowl of food if at all possible.