If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. Mark Twain

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What Do You Do When You Lose / Find a Dog?

Animal lovers live in dread of seeing and finding another lost or abandoned dog, or losing their dog. Whether the dog has left home deliberately or involuntarily, it is wise to act quickly.

Another dog on the streets with pleading eyes, ribs showing, hiding from you in fear yet hungry and needing help. From the people who sacrifice sleep to rescue dogs, here are some tips on what you can do to help:

1.  Be Ready to Rescue & Help The Dog
If you know in your heart that you're a rescuer, why not equip yourself to do the best possible job? Preferably you would have had observed the dog roaming around the area for period of time.

Here are some things you will need:

  • Phone numbers of your
    • local shelters and rescue centres (SPCA email : shelter@spca.org.sg Tel 62875355 ext 25 to file lost and found reports.)
    • A 24-hour Emergency Veterinary Clinic
      • Animal Recovery Veterinary Centre (Balestier)     Tel: 6252 2623
      • Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital (Whitley Road) Tel: 6250 8333
    • A pet carrier or cardboard box; collar and leash for dogs; a blanket; water bowl and water; pet tin food, such as canned tuna or dried liver to entice the dog to approach you; and a dog first-aid kit.
2.  Safety First – You and the Dog
A strange, frightened and possibly sick or injured dog can behave unpredictably. Any movement from you may cause the dog to run, hide or attack.

3.  Restrain the Dog
Surround the area so that it cannot disappear or hide. If its on the road, divert traffic around him if he appears to be injured and is still on the road.

4. Be Calm and Gentle
Speak calmly to reassure the dog that you are not going to hurt him. Speak calmly and do not show panic in your voice. Make sure the dog can see you at all times as you approach it. Use food to attract the dog's attention. If necessary, do this over a period of time.

Some Things to Think Through

  • Where will you take the dog to?
  • Can you keep the dog?
  • Call a local animal shelter/rescue and ask for assistance on where the dog can be kept and what is needed.
  • Stay Hopeful - don't assume you automatically have a stray. Give the dog and the owner a chance. It could be a pet that has been lost for a while and the owner may still be looking for it.
  • Be Realistic. Once you have taken the initiative, time and trouble to rescue/help a dog, it does not mean that a home, temporary or permanent can be found for it immediately. The animal rescuer would also need help with expenses for the animal if it is injured.
  • Show Compassion. If you're unsure if you should help the dog you see on the streets, here are two questions: What if you got lost and could not ask for help? What if it was your pet?
Steps You Need to Take to Help the Pet Find its Owner

  • Take the dog to the vet and ask them to scan to see if it has a microchip. This service is free.
  • If it has a microchip, the vet will contact the company (PetCall) provided that the owner registers the animal's particulars with PetCall and the owner will soon be reunited with his / her dog
  • Sometimes the dog has a microchip but its owners did not register their contact details with PetCall (Website: http://www.petcall.org/)  This would mean that the owners cannot be traced, despite the dog having a microchip. So please ensure you register your contact details with http://www.petcall.org/  
If the dog does not have a microchip nor a name tag, then these are the steps you have to take:

(A)  Inform SPCA – tell them where and when you found the dog and give them a detailed description of the dog. Give them your contact number and tell SPCA if the dog is not picked up, you will retrieve him before he is euthanized. If the dog is sick, which often happens to the dogs who are under stress, or if the dog does not appear friendly, the shelter may put the dog down.

(B)  Inform AVA Centre for Animal Welfare & Control - Hotline No: 1800 476 1600

(C)  Place an advertisement in the Lost & Found column with Straits Times & Lianhe Zaobao (Chinese newspapers) – you are entitled to TWO FREE advertisements (only for an Animal that you have found). Your advertisement should be clear and specific – where and when the dog was found, description (colour, male / female), breed, wearing a collar etc...

(D)  Take a picture of the dog and put up posters around the vicinity where it was found. Hopefully its owners will see the poster and contact you.

(E) Organize a Search Party - ask children and friends in the vicinity to help. Use an assuring tone to call out for your dog. The chances of finding a lost dog diminishes as his trail grows colder.

(F) Use an Animal Communicator to connect and communicate with the dog.

(G) Ensure you have done your due diligence (all the steps above)

Hopefully after having done all this, the owner can be traced and the dog will be reunited with its owners.

If after two weeks, no one comes forth to claim the dog, then perhaps it was abandoned. Then the onus would be on you to help the dog to find a new home, where it will be well loved and cared for, and hopefully not be abandoned again.

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"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."- Unknown