Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Own Pet Rescue

Everyone reading this probably knows I write Pet Rescue Mysteries.  I love saving animals, real or fictionally. 

That was one reason I was so happy when I saved a little dog's life the other day. 

Well, maybe that's an exaggeration.  Hopefully, it is.  But at least I made sure a little lost dog got home safely. 

My husband and I were driving home from a breakfast out when I happened to spot a little Chihuahua walking alone on a street near where we live.  Of course I had to make sure he didn't wander into the street, so I got out of our car.  The poor little guy was nervous but when I started talking to him he did get closer to me--close enough that I was able to pick him up.

Next was trying to find where he lived.  He wore a collar with a tag that told me he was Buster and gave two phone numbers, but no person answered either one.  I left messages that gave my cell number.  Then I began walking up and down the street talking to neighbors who were outside, some walking their own dogs.  Unfortunately, none recognized Buster.

Long story short was that Buster's human did call us back and told us where they lived.  I returned Buster to him, and all was well.

But being a volunteer at a shelter, my mind had been spinning about what would be next if we didn't hear from Buster's owner.

Probably nothing for a while, since I'd continue to try to learn where he lived.  I'd take him to a vet to have him scanned for a microchip, and certainly hoped that whoever his owner was had been wise enough to have him chipped.  But if not...  Well, I didn't intend to resort to the official protocol, but I considered how it would work if I did.

First, private shelters in L.A. can't legally take in strays because at least theoretically a frantic owner would contact public shelters to see if their lost baby had been brought in there.  Of course there's a time limit on how long public shelters will keep dogs brought in there, and if they're neither picked up nor adopted quickly, their lives may be ended.  I wasn't about to let that happen.  I therefore knew the procedure would be to put a hold on Buster if I had to take him to a public shelter and let them know I'd be back for him if his owner didn't claim him.

He'd then be my dog, but my own Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Lexie and Mystie probably wouldn't agree to having a new sibling.  If I still couldn't find his owner, or someone to adopt him, I might wind up taking Buster to the wonderful private shelter where I volunteer, Pet Orphans of Southern California, and do an owner relinquishment, as long as they had room to take him in.  If so, he'd be kept at Pet Orphans till he found a new home, and I'd visit him often.

But that was my mind at work, trying to figure out the appropriate solution, if it became necessary.  And I can't tell you how relieved I was that I didn't have to put poor Buster through any of that!

And now, maybe I'll use Buster's story in something else I write, too.  Fictionalize it.  But of course it will still have a happy ending!

How about you?  Have you ever taken in a stray dog?  What did you do with him or her?


Betty Hechtman said...

I have taken in lots of strays. I found most of the owners. The one's whose owner's I couldn't find lived out their lives with me.

I'm glad you found Buster's owner and I bet they were, too. BTW, Buster would have been welcome at my house.

Linda O. Johnston said...

That's so wonderful of you, Betty. Great to know that Buster could have joined your family. I think, with all my speculation based on knowing the system, I still wouldn't have put him into it!

Tracy Weber said...

I've taken one stray dog home with me, and thankfully my husband was able to do a reverse lookup of the phone number on the tag and I knocked on the doors of the neighbors until I found one who knew how to reach the owner at work. I've found lots of wanderings strays and gone door to door until I found someone who knew them. It always infuriates my husband. He says that everyone knows I'm going to get shot someday trespassing on someone's property trying to save a lost dog.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Just be careful, Tracy--but go ahead and save those dogs!