Lost dog stories

N.H. Sunday News - Dog Tracks Column - 11/16/08
By: Gail T. Fisher


I heard an amazing story the other day from one of my training class students. Their dog was lost, and among the tactics they employed to find her, they notified the microchip company. Apparently the company has a network of contacts they immediately inform about a lost dog. Someone in that network put a notice on Craig’s List that just happened to be seen by someone who just happened to be at a dog park where the people who had found the dog also happened to bring her to play. Not only had her “new owners” not made any attempt to find her owners, they had bought her a new collar, a big bag of food, and had had her professionally groomed and trimmed. Clearly they had no intention of even looking for her distraught owners. Microchip examination, however, demonstrated that she was my student’s dog—and she was returned. It was meant to be!
This happy ending reminded me that I had not let readers know about Angel—the Flatcoat Retriever who ran through an electronic fence and was lost within hours of being adopted last spring. Angel’s story made the news when her owner was combing the neighborhood looking for her, and asked some children to be on the lookout for his lost dog. The children told their parents, who reported his description to the police as a potential pedophile. Reading about himself in the paper, he immediately “turned himself in” to let the police (and his neighbors) know that he truly was seeking help to find his lost dog. Here’s the email I got letting me know the happy end to Angel’s story:
“In June and we got a call from a mother who had just picked up her daughter at work and was headed home around 11:30pm. They saw Angel a few blocks from their home and pulled their car over to the shoulder since they thought it odd that a dog would be trotting down the middle of the street that late at night. They just called to her and amazingly she responded by jumping in their SUV. They noticed she had a pet finder tag so they called the service, who called us. I think Angel just finally gave up to some people she hoped she could trust. After nearly 10 wks on the lam she was skin and bones, full of ticks and had hook worm, heart worm and Lyme disease. She is now over the danger zone and every day she behaves more like our other dogs, a border collie and St Bernard. She’s romping, getting more playful and feels a part of the group. She's back and we're very grateful.”

I thought of Angel a few weeks ago, when another lost dog story appeared in the paper. This was the story of George, a Bernese Mountain Dog that had slipped his collar and ran away just nine hours after being adopted by a caring family in Warner. Similar to Angel’s story, George didn’t know his new owners, his new home, his new neighborhood – or anything else that would have attracted him home again.

About a year ago, a client of ours was walking her newly adopted dog off leash in a busy Manchester neighborhood. Because this dog seemed quite attached to her other dogs, she didn’t think she would run off. But she did. Much like Angel and George, this was a timid, unsocialized dog who was frightened of people. She has not been seen since.

The theme of all three stories conveys an important message: Safe, secure management of any dog is critically important—even more so with a newly adopted dog that has not yet acclimated to the family and environment. A physical fence that cannot be breeched, a snug, secure collar, halter or harness that cannot be slipped, and definitely a leash – each would have prevented these escapes.

Copyright © Gail T. Fisher, 2008. All rights reserved. http://www.alldogsgym.com For permission to reprint this article or suggestions for future topics, please contact us.