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Friday, December 26, 2008

Little Lost Doggie

My neighborhood has several dogs that kind of wander around unleashed. Because I keep my dog inside or under supervision in the yard, this really annoys me. As a vet, my mind immediately starts to go through the injuries that the dogs can get and the diseases that the could spread. On Christmas day I found a new little dog to worry about.

I was outside bringing some tables and chairs out of my wife's van to set up in preparation for dinner at our house (eight adults and eight kids). I let my lab, Guinevere, outside with me to play in the yard while I got things in. I made a few trips in and out and then looked to see her in the yard across the street. She is trained to stay in the yard, so I had to look and see why she had wandered. There were two dogs that she had gone over to say hi to. Guinevere is a very friendly dog that likes being around others of her kind. I called her back and she ran over to our yard, followed by the two dogs. One of the dogs was a beagle/basset hound cross that my wife had seen in the neighborhood previously. The other was a little mixed-breed of uncertain origin that looked awfully tiny to be wandering on its own.

I decided to take a quick look at them, and discovered both to be very friendly. At a glance I estimated the beagle mix to be about 10 months old, and was not neutered. The other was a little girl, probably about 10 weeks old (give or take). After making sure they were okay, I wandered back to the house. The dogs followed me. I went back to the neighbor's yard, and they tagged along. I tried to leave them there, but they came back with me to my house. The puppy actually tried to go inside with me when I went in. Once I was inside, she stood up to look through the window, obviously wanting in. I did everything I could to get them back to their own yard, but I wasn't even sure who they belonged to. She had a collar, but no ID tag, and he didn't have anything on. After several tries, I just came back inside, hoping they would eventually tire of trying and go away. After some scratching at the door, barking, and whining, they finally did.

Any of you readers who have dogs that wander freely, please consider their safety and health. It wasn't good for either one to be out there, but especially for a puppy less than three months old it was a big risk. Dogs in these circumstances may not be able to find their way home, and especially with the young puppy may not have known how far they had wondered. There are dangers from other dogs being protective of their territories, as well as being hit by a car. Dogs who wander are also more likely to be exposed to parvo virus and ground contaminated with intestinal parasites. And all of these concerns ignore that many cities have leash laws, making freely roaming dogs illegal.

Be a responsible pet owner and keep your dog confined to your yard or home.