Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Cautionary Tale with a Tail-Wagging Ending

A few of my favorite things: Microchips, ID Tags, and Up To Date Contact Numbers.

A couple of weekends ago we were driving through the state park by the marina where we sail  when we saw a small white dog walking slowly down the road. Her tongue was hanging out.  We stopped and Eric pulled a tray out of the cooler. We poured water into it and I walked toward the dog who was now lying on the grass by the side of the road. The little girl was wearing a fuchsia collar that had turned the fur on her neck bright pink, and she seemed tired and hot. Meanwhile, a guy in a truck stopped to ask us about the dog and then went to get the ranger. The ranger and a helper brought a dog dish and more water. The ranger said all he could do was keep her at the campground during the day and if no one claimed her, call the pound. Hmm. I looked at Eric.

I got my sandwich out of the cooler, pulled out some turkey and tentatively held it out. The little white dog carefully ate it. She allowed the ranger to connect a leash to her collar and with turkey as an incentive, she decided she’d get into the ranger’s golf cart. We followed the golf cart into the campground, gave them our phone number, and agreed to be back around 5 to see if her owners had been found. She spent the day with the ranger and his wife who provided food, water, attention, and frequent rides in the golf cart.

When we returned after a day of sailing, the little girl was still there, unclaimed. We raced off to buy a leash, a towel, a small bed, and some more deli turkey and returned to the campground.  She was quite interested in the turkey and allowed me to clip on the new leash and walk around the grass with her. When I said potty, she quickly pooped, which prompted much praise and excitement on our part.

Small infusions of turkey helped her climb into the car without hesitation. I spread the towel on my lap, got her settled, and rewarded with another small bit of turkey. She was soon lying on my lap, dozing, occasionally looking for more turkey, but she was not pushy and did not attempt to climb over the seat in pursuit like our Two Small Dogs would have. That alone seemed reason enough for more nibbles of turkey. She was about 20 pounds, white with tan spots, or would have been with a bath and some grooming, and she was definitely a golden oldie. Very sweet and agreeable.  

Our plan was to take her to our wonderful 24-hour vet hospital and board her until we could get her into a no kill shelter. When we got to the vet hospital, we explained our dilemma: we have two elderly dogs with health problems and could not take her home with us. When we told them our names, they looked up our records and saw that we’re Ivan and Dasa’s parents. Ah yes, that explains a lot.

During all of this, the little white dog didn’t pull on her leash, and was quiet and sweet. I sat on the floor next to her. She rested beside me, occasionally wagging her tail when I talked to her. She soon rolled over to show me her tummy so I obliged with tummy rubs. 

 The little white dog, we’ll call her Rosie to protect her privacy, had a microchip which helped our vet hospital find her people. This was a happy ending. The folks at the no kill shelter we contacted while waiting to see if Rosie’s people could be reached said very often strays aren’t microchipped, or the contact info is not up to date, so they don’t even know where to start looking for the dog’s family. With a great sigh of relief I can happily report that Rosie is back at home with her humans.

The moral of our story: please make sure your dog is microchipped and the microchip company has your current contact information, and please have your dog wear ID tags. No going naked. A collar and tags are what the well-dressed dog is wearing.
Fortunately, Ivan and Dasa were safely at home with the baby-sitter during our adventure with Rosie.


  1. Thank you, thank you, Peggy! We can all use a reminder to keep our tags updated (and if BRAT adopters, to notify BRAT admin of any changes in contact information!), to get our dogs chipped if they aren't already, and to make sure they wear ID.

    Did Rosie's owners happen to say how she ended up alone and untagged? Go glad for the happy ending. So glad for you and Eric!

    1. We didn’t meet Rosie’s humans. Sunday evening the vet hospital staff were unable to reach anyone at the phone number associated with her chip. They said since she had a chip she could stay at the vet clinic for 48 hours while they tried to find her people. I left the little bed, towel/blankie, leash & some turkey with her, then we went home and started contacting no kill shelters. The next morning I checked in and the vet staff were still trying to reach the family. A few hours later they called me to tell me Rosie’s people were coming to pick her up. Then they called to tell me when Rosie was on her way home. The vet hospital has privacy policies that did not allow them to give me information about the owners, but they could tell me Rosie’s people do not live near the state park where we found her. So how she came to be there is a mystery, but we are so relieved Rosie was able to go home.