I found a Stray Dog, now what?
If you are a dog lover, finding a stray dog can be a
logistical nightmare, of course you didn't plan on this dog showing up.
But, you also feel obligated to do something to keep him or
her safe and to return the stray dog to its rightful owner.
Your first concern with a stray dog should be its health. If
the dog seems to be ill, suffering from mange or is covered
in ticks you should think twice about just bringing it into
your house. So if you find a dog that is in serious need of
medical attention you have two options, take it to a
veterinarian or animal hospital (some will offer substantial
discounts for strays) or take it to a humane society or
If the dog seems healthy, well cared for and/or very
comfortable with people there is a good chance that it may
belong to someone. You should make an attempt to find its
home. If it doesn't have a tag with the owner's telephone
number but it does have a rabies tag you can often find the
owner by contacting the office of the veterinarian who
inoculated the dog.
If that fails, call your local animal shelter and see if a
dog matching the description has been reported lost. An ad
in your local newspaper (often provided free) sometimes
brings results. You can also put up flyers in the area in
which you found the dog as well as in the offices of nearby
vets and in pet stores. If the dog is a purebred and may be
valuable, don't include a photo on the flyer so as to avoid
the dog being claimed by a shady character. But if it looks
like a mixed breed a photo on the flyers is a good idea.
Once you have handled any immediate needs of the dog such as
medical issues and trying to find an owner has not resulted
in a successful reunion, the next decision you have to make
is whether you will keep the dog. The answer to this
question will vary from person to person.
Deciding to keep a dog is not a choice to take lightly. Dogs
are a huge responsibility. You will need to have time to
walk them, play with them and keep up with their eating and
bathroom schedule. You also need to be able to cover the
expenses of food, toys and medical bills for the dog. So you
must make sure you are committed to all of those things and
ready to provide them if you plan to keep the dog. If you
are able and ready to commit, you can chalk it up to fate
that you didn't have to find your dog, he found you.
If you decide that is not for you or the dog doesn't seem
like a good fit for your family that's okay too. It is more
humane to make that choice and help the dog find a good home
than keep it in a bad situation out of guilt. Try contacting
your local animal shelter and/or advertising in the
newspaper or on the local radio station to find the dog a
new, good home.
All the best!
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