Let's Take a Walk

Walking is great for opening one’s mind to think and to dream. Walking is great with a friend and leads to wonderful conversation. Walking is a great way to explore. Walking takes you places. Let’s go Walking.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Stray Dog

This story has a happy ending.

During the month of July there was a stray male German Shepherd roaming my neighborhood.  He seemed to be a friendly dog although a bit skittish.  He was almost one year old.  I would see him sometimes in the morning when I went for my run with my dog.  The German Shepherd liked my dog.  Eventually this helped me make friends with the German Shepherd.  He would definitely make a good companion for someone.

Many of my neighbors had seen the dog around too.  I learned that a few neighbors even put out food for him (not a good idea because the food can attracts rats and other varmints).  But as far as I knew, nobody tried to take him in or called the city animal shelter to have him picked-up.

I was doing yard work on a Saturday morning in late July.  The dog came wondering down the street.  I called to him and to my surprise he came to me.  He let me pet him.  He even jumped on me in a playful way.  He was really friendly.  The question now is, what to do with him?

What I did was to use my cell phone to call my wife and asked her to bring out a leash.  Once I got the leash on the dog, we called the city shelter to pick him up.  The animal control officer arrived about 30 minutes later and took the dog away.  Before the animal control officer left, he had already checked the dog for a chip (there was none) and took his photo.  The photo was immediately placed on PetHarbor.com.

There were many reasons I had the dog picked-up.  I couldn't keep him.  I already had a big dog who was a former shelter dog.  Socializing the dogs would have taken a lot of effort. There is the additional cost of providing for a second big dog.  The German Shepherd was severely under weight.  He needed food and water.  Distemper was going around in a few animal populations in the area.  He was un-neutered so he could breed more strays.  There were the general public health issues with having stray dogs roaming the streets including rabies. He needed to be off the streets.

The animal shelter holds dogs for four days to see if an owner will claim them.  After four days, the dogs becomes city property and he can be adopted.  Unfortunately, a dog can be put down if they are not considered adoptable and the shelter needs room for more dogs.

The shelter has a program for sponsoring pets for adoption.  Basically, the sponsor pays the adoption fee allowing the pet to be adopted for free.  A neighbor and I sponsored the dog.  Sponsoring the dog gives it’s the best chance for adoption since the shelter can immediately get the dog neutered and make sure his shots are up to date.  The dog is ready to leave the shelter as soon as someone wants to adopt him.  Sponsoring also means the dog will not be killed by the shelter.

The good news is that 10 days after being picked up, the dog was adopted.  I don’t know who adopted him but I hope is has a good family now.

There a few things I need to say. 

My neighborhood uses an email list and the Nextdoor.com message board for neighborhood communications.  I used these services to get the word out about what was happening with the dog.  Many neighbors had seen the dog and had taken a liking to it.  I thought it was appropriate to keep my neighbors informed.  I also hoped it might help get the dog adopted.

One neighbor commented that I given the dog a “death sentence” when I had animal services pick him up.  The dog was already underweight and had nearly been hit by a car.  Keeping the dog on the street was not exactly a way to give him a long life.  At least at the shelter, he had a chance to be adopted.

The problem is not with too many dogs at the shelter forcing the shelter to put down dogs.  The problem is with irresponsible people who don’t get their pets sterilized and let them run around, escape or abandon them so the can breed.

I learned much about shelters including the fact that my city shelter has an adoption sponsorship program.  Sponsoring a pet can greatly enhances its adoptability. 

Finally, I visited the dog shelter where the dog was taken.  I saw many wonderful dogs and cats there.  They would make good companions for most people.  If you are looking for a pet or know someone who is, the best place to start are your local animal shelters.  The PetHarbor.com and Petfinder.com websites are also good places to find adoptable pets and shelters in your area.

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