What do do when you find a stray pet? It’s a tough one to answer. What to do is always a difficult discussion. It is how I accidentally started rescuing dogs. The no kill shelters were always full and I couldn’t stand to take the animals to the pound. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, earn the nick name dog lady. Add a dog pack, take in the feral head of the feral dog pack – modify name to crazy dog lady.
We all want to do what is best for the animals, but living in our zip code, we know that the odds at the city shelter can be grim. Animal Services is working hard to turn the euthanasia numbers around, but a city wide no kill shelter will take time.
In the meantime, the SPCA still recommends turning in lost animals to the Dallas Animal Services Shelter so that their owners can easily find them. If your dog was lost, you would check the city shelter, right? If you want to hold the dog while you are looking for the owners, at a minimum, you can put a picture of the found pet up in the shelter and notify the Animal Services’ shelter closest to you that you have the pet. And make sure that they are not micro-chipped. The shelter and all vets will check for chips for free.
The Humane Society has a great article on what to do when you find a stray pet. They take a very balance approach to doing what is right for the pet and for YOU so you don’t become crazy dog lady, unless of course you want to. This article assumes that you are willing to approach a lost dog. If you are not comfortable approaching a lost or loose dog, use our post on how to report a loose dog.
The Humane Society article covers what to do from the moment you see the dog. It covers:
- Don’t cause a traffic accident
- Catching her
- Take her to safety
- Be prepared—a kit for your car
- Check the laws
- About shelters and animal agencies
- Taking the animal to a veterinarian
- Things to consider
It is a great article and gives you a lot to consider and a lot of options toward how to help an animal. Make some friends in the neighborhood that work with larger rescue groups like DFW Rescue Me, the Dallas Companion Animal Project etc. etc. They can usually figure out a way to get your new found friend into an otherwise full rescue group. We also have links to local rescue groups if you want to make contacts or volunteer. When full, many of these organizations will let you attend their adoption events and use their adoption screening systems if you foster the dogs.
One last thing: don’t make dog lady work so hard – help out all the dog ladies and MICROCHIP (and register) your pets and keep a collar and ID on them at all times. Accidents and emergencies happen – according to Home Again, 1 in 3 pets goes missing during its lifetime, and without proper ID, 90% never return home. A microchip for dogs & cats gives the best protection with permanent ID that can never be removed or become impossible to read. Every month, HomeAgain reunites 10,000 pets with the people that love them. Make sure your pet can be quickly reunited with you.
If you are reading this post it is because you care enough to want to stop and help a lost or homeless animal. Thank you for your caring heart. Every little thing you do does make a difference.
We published this article back in June of 2013. Here are a few more helpful links we have gathered since then:
Lost and Found Pets Tips
- What to do if you have lost your dog from wikihow
What to do if you have found a dog from Petfinder
- Gypsy Dog Ops link to what to do if you find a lost dog (you are reading that now)
- Humane Society link on what to do if you find a lost pet without getting in over your head.(we link to this at the top of this article)
You can also post a free lost/found ad online at: