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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fourth of July, Are Your Pets Safe?

I know it still June, but have you seen the fireworks stands already propped up in just about every parking lot and empty corner? Are you aware that Fireworks are going on sale next week? Fire works are sold before the Fourth even gets here. It's time to think about your pets.
Do they have id on them? Tags? Microchip with CURRENT contact information? Even as simple as using a permanent marker and writing your phone number on the collar.
No one thinks that it will happen to them. "Oh my dog will be fine." Tell that to the hundreds or thousands of animals that end up in the shelters the week prior to and the week after the holiday. Or how about animals who will be running in fear of the strange scary noises, smells and sights who are hit by cars? It happens EVERY year. This year can we make a difference?
Make sure your pets have ID. Does the ID have an alternate contact in case your out of town? You can go to Wal-mart and for a couple bucks get a tag to put at least a name and phone number on. It's that simple. Or simpler still for those who use the excuse, "oh I don't like hearing those tags jingle all the time". How about using a simple permanent marker and writing a phone number on the collar.
Does your pet already have a tag or a microchip? IS the information current? Make sure to always keep phone numbers current. What good is the microchip is you don't have the information in there?
Are you going to be out of town and leaving pets behind? Make sure whoever is caring for your pets has emergency numbers, vet and animal shelter, should something happen and the pet goes missing. Pet care takers tend to not think of these things. Remember too than many vet hospitals will be closed for the holiday, so be sure to include your local emergency vet. Ask your regular vet who they refer their clients to.
If your home watch your pets for behavior changes, shaking, worried looks, startling at sudden noises. These could be signs that your pet is hearing the fireworks that inevitably are set off before the holiday itself. Take this as a sign that your pet will not do well with the bombardment on the actual holiday. You still have time to talk to your vet about ways to keep your pets calm. Call them for advice.
The best and safest place for scared pets is inside where the sounds and smells aren't as loud. They can still hear them, but being inside provides a safer place. With very reactive pets, you may want to place them in a central room in the house where noise from outside is buffered the most and play a radio or TV with a talk show or calm music. I don't recommend and action movie or heavy metal music, kind of defeats the purpose of creating a calming atmosphere.
If the house is not an option, do the same thing in the garage. If you cannot keep them in the garage, check your fences and gates so that a scared dog cannot easily get out.
Now what if you have done all this and your pet still goes missing? Make fliers to put up around your area, give to local vets and to bring in to the shelters. Have a clear current photo of your pet to put on fliers or post ad on places such as Craigslist. Call or look up on line the hours of operation for ALL the shelters in your area. Some have reduced hours, some are closed on certain days of the week. Call your vet to notify them of your lost pet.
If your pet is lost, has a license, has ID, has a current microchip and is picked up by animal control. We will try our best to return your pet to you as quickly as possible.
Summer time and Fourth of July should be fun for all and that includes your pets. Make sure your pets have current ID and take precautions to safeguard fearful pets.

Sneaky Dog

So I'm rolling between calls yesterday in the North part of the county. This area is near a big county park where it changes from suburbs to country in about 10 seconds. It's a busy road I'm on and there is lots of traffic. I see just ahead of me something that didn't look right. A big ol' Boxer is standing at the edge of the Park entrance. A quick scan of the area revealed that he was definitely alone. No owner? So I quickly pulled over and got out. His attention was drawn to me and I called to him. He gave me a "hoof" sound, turned and started trotting off. Well that was rude! Cars were still zipping by at 50 in a 35 zone. I had to make sure this guy didn't try to cross. I had my warning lights going on top and the back of my truck, but no one pays attention to those. They still fly by going 50.
I managed to turn around and cut Boxer off before he headed into traffic. He didn't like that I turned around and was thwarting his efforts to turn his day really bad. I yelled at him to "GO HOME!" He apparently knew what I said and he took off like a pudgy brown rocket. I turned my beast of a truck around again and followed him. He ran down the first residential street then cut a sharp turn onto the next residential street. By the time I was able to turn I thought I had lost him on the second residential street. I slowly drove down and there he was chillin' on the front porch of a house looking quite comfortable. I got out of my truck. Maybe he has just gotten through a gate that wasn't securely latched. But as soon as I got halfway to him he bolted back the way we had just come.
Dang it dog!!
I ran back to my truck and the chase was once again on. I followed him all the way back to the park entrance again, only this time he went into the park and disappeared down into the creek area. I looked but couldn't find him. Sneaky dog! He appeared to know his way and ditched me.
Well, I would come back later and see if I could find him. I had several other calls that I needed to get to. Hopefully I wouldn't be scraping his carcass off the roadway or rushing him to the emergency vet later.
I worked my other calls and notified my dispatcher that I was going to look for that boxer. I drove by the area again, but didn't see him. So I went to the house that he had been chillin' at.
As I pulled up there was a different boxer laying in the front yard with it's owner right there. I got out and went to speak to the owner. I heard a "hoof" from the front screen door and guess who it was? Yep, Sneaky dog.
I told the owner what had happened several hours ago. The owner was stunned and said there was no way that it was his dog. His dogs have been home in the house with him all day. I asked if he was sure. The dog inside the screen looked just like the dog I had chased. No. They have been in the house and well, except for his doctor's appointment this morning, he's been home all day with them. I asked him what time he was at this appointment as I glanced at the times on my log. Owner's appointment was 8:30 this morning and he got home about 10:30. I was chasing the dog at about 10:00. No. Owner insisted that his dogs were in the house when he left and they were both in the house when he got back. You have a sneaky dog Mister.
Then the owner realized what might have happened. He has a doggie door into the garage. Maybe the garage door had been left open and the dog found a way out of the yard? Sneaky dog, who's name is Spike by the way, was glaring at me while I was talking to his owner. Boy way I ruining any future escape adventures.
So Spike, aka Sneaky dog, left the house, via doggie door, went through a accidentally left open garage door, somehow got out of his backyard, got chased around by me, went to the creek, THEN came back home and was back in his house when his owner got home. Sneaky SMART dog!
Owner was very grateful that I had come by to tell him this. He would have never know and who knows what would have happened to Spike. Spike didn't look too happy about my visit. Owner is going to check the yard and make sure Spike's escape route is no longer usable.
Sneaky dog, you have been Busted!