Monday, July 12, 2010

Lost and Found - Identification

A shelter employee once said me: "San Antonio has the cleanest strays." When I said, "Whatever do you mean?" Her response was that whenever someone reports their dog missing, when asked about collar or tags the response is usually, "Well I was just giving him a bath..."
After a bath, my dawgs like to run around like maniacs, drying themselves off on bed spreads, running outside to dry on the the grass, etc.. and I encourage the craziness because I want bath time to be fun. Since they are allowed outside immediately after baths (when it's warm of course), I put their collars and tags on while they are soaking wet.  The collars are canvas; it doesn't hurt anything. 
Some people want their dogs to be comfortable so they take their collars off when they are inside the house. But dogs slip out of front doors all the time. Especially homes with children who don't know or understand the dangers of letting Queeny run out the door.
One person told me the sound of all the jiggling tags is annoying.  That sound would probably be welcome music to the ears of someone who has lost a pet. Besides, you can buy those little rubber thingies to go around the tags to cut down on the noise.
Tags are super important for several reasons. 
1). If someone finds your dog, she/he can call you right away with info on the tags (keep your tags current!). 
2). Good Samaritans are more likely to pick up dogs wearing tags.  Folks who have been in San Antonio long enough know the big stray problem we have, and that no that no kill shelters are always full. They know that if they pick up a stray, they might be stuck with the dog for months trying to find place for the fur baby. But if a dog has tags, they are hopeful that they can reunite the dog with his/her parents quickly.
3). Proof of ownership might save your dog from getting killed at a municipal facility.
So, one way to prevent your dog from becoming a lost statistic is to make sure your baby is never "naked." Rex should always wear a collar with his Rabies tag (the law), his microchp number and most importantly, an ID tag with your phone number. Your dog should certainly be microchipped especially since tags can come off.  But ID tags can get your baby home a lot quicker. 
I picked up a blind dog once at 9:30 PM. She was also either death or hard of hearing.   She was wearing rabies tags that had a phone number to her vet but most vets aren't open at 9:30 PM.  I kept the dog overnight, called the vet the next morning and the dog was reunited with her parents. But if the dog was also wearing a tag with her parents phone number, they could have been reunited that night.  I guess I could have gotten in my car and driven to the closest emergency pet center that was open to see if she had a chip. But I was tired and sleepy, didn't know if I could get this strange dog into my car.  Didn't know if I'd drive all that way only to find that she didn't have a chip.  Some people don't even know about getting a dog scanned. What if this had been a Friday night. I could have had the dog all weekend.
More on collars later
More on lost and found later
La Trenda
P.S.  ID tags, microchips are not substitute for a secure fence, for keeping your dogs on leash when outside of your secure yard. I've actually seen people who have lost pets and had them returned say - "next time, my dog will have his ID on."  Instead of saying, "I'm going to fix that missing board in my fence"; or "next time, my dog stays inside when I'm not home".  There are only so many good Samaritans to go around.  Your dog could meet a speeding car or a crook before she meets a good Samaritan.