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If you find a strange dog roaming around your house or your neighborhood what do you do?  As most of you know, I’m a big fan of animal rescue.  I’ve done this several times.  When I lived in Kentucky it was almost like lost animals somehow found me.  When we moved to the Michigan, it seems that there are not as many lost animals here.

When we chose our house, I picked one that had a pen in the back for the extra dog that would most certainly find me.  I haven’t needed it once.  My husband made it into his garden last year.  Still, no plants have ever been planted there that were poisonous if I find a lost animal that doesn’t get along in the household and needs to be held while I find an animal rescue for him.

While I would always vote for rescuing an animal, let me give you some tips to do it safely.

  • Be careful when you approach a strange dog.  If the dog seems afraid or backs away, leave him alone and let him come to you.  If you have treats at the moment it helps a lot.
  • If you do not have a lot of experience and food, do not go near a mother with puppies.  Even kind dogs will attack to protect their young.  Call the humane society and let them know.
  • Don’t try to corner a lost dog.  He will feel trapped and may attack because she can’t get away.  Dogs do have a fight or flight response and lost dogs will probably be at least a little afraid.
  • If a dog seems aggressive, call animal control.  You should not risk your personal safety to rescue him.  Animal control is able to get the dog and take it either to their shelter or to the humane society depending on the city.
  • Please be kind to the dog’s owner and post found signs on all nearby and major cross-streets.
  • Run a “found” ad in the local and regional newspaper.  These ads are usually free.
  • Post signs at local pet stores
  • If you have found the animal and were able to get it, call your local vet and ask them if they can scan for a microchip.  If you don’t have a regular vet, call the humane society and see if they can do it for you.
  • Call local dog trainers, pet sitters, or other pet professionals and give them your contact information.
  • Visit Petfinder and post a free “found” ad there.  Also see if there are any local animal rescues and call them to see if they have space for your rescue.
  • As a last resort, if you can’t keep the animal, call the Humane Society and turn the animal over to them.  Humane Societies do euthanize.  They are always short of space, time and resources.  This gives the animal a chance but not as much of one as they would have had if you can find it a no-kill rescue group to take it.

These tips are only my opinion for someone who doesn’t have experience handling aggressiveness in dogs.  Please use your own judgement when deciding how to handle a lost dog.

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