Many well-meaning folks will find a dog and then jump to some pretty heinous conclusions about how the dog ended up needing to be found in the first place.
If you’ve found a dog, first please read our post on What To Do If You’ve Found a Dog
And then check out some reasons that may cause otherwise good and loving dog owners to end up with a missing pet:
- Domestic Violence – abusive partners will often target the victim’s pets. This can result in abuse to the pet, giving away or selling the pet without the partner’s knowledge or consent, or simply setting the pet loose to fend for itself. All of these acts are designed to cause psychological damage to the abuse victim.
- Home burglary – pets often escape during a burglary, if they aren’t stolen themselves.
- Theft – sometimes a dog is taken as part of a burglary, other times the dog was the target to begin with. Sometimes these stolen pets are “flipped”, sold for a profit and sometimes the thieves simply let them go in a local park, the middle of the street, a nearby farm – anywhere they can dump the animal.
- Vehicle accident – pets that are not properly secured in a vehicle (and even when they are, those the risk is less), can easily be thrown quite far from the scene of an accident. Scared, disoriented, and often injured, they may run for miles and miles before they are able to be caught.
- Death of the owner – not everyone has friends and family who will step in and care for the pets if they pass. Humans die all the time, and it can even be very suddenly. What would happen if you put your dog out to potty and then had a heart attack? If your yard is not very secure, the dog may escape. Another scenario would be a sudden death when you walk into the front door. Now the front door is open and your dog is scared and confused which is often a recipe for running off. Yes, we know these are rather morbid thoughts but these things aren’t far fetched.
- Owners on vacation – some folks will try to save money by hiring a friend, family member, coworker, or neighbor to check in on their pets while they are away. Though these folks certainly want to do the right thing, they likely do not have the skills that a professional pet sitting company can offer. Doors can be left open, gates not latched, leashes dropped, and other such things that can all lead to a loose pet. Of course accidents happen even when dealing with professional services but the chances are far less than and you generally have some type of recourse as professional pet sitters carry insurance. Here’s some information on How to Choose a Pet Sitter
- Owners in the hospital – a pet owner may end up in the hospital with no one to care for the pets, or the person in charge isn’t following the owner’s chosen containment protocol. Either way, unattended or improperly tended to pets can escape the home and might wander into your arms!
- Child dog walkers – Yep, we get it, little kids walking a dog are just so darned cute! Sadly, cute doesn’t mean responsible or mature. Most children are not able to anticipate and react quickly enough to situations in which a dog may lunge, bolt, or otherwise make that leash really difficult to hold on to. Parents who allow young kids to walk the dog unsupervised may very well end up posting some “Lost Dog” flyers sooner rather than later.
- Dog fights – an owner is out walking their dog, la-di-dah, when the door on the house across the street opens and BAM! Their dog is now running across the street straight for them. If you do not have the dog handling skills to deal with this exact scenario, a dropped leash may be in your future. And a dropped leash means a loose dog. A loose dog that may then run away to avoid the attacking dog.
- Natural disasters/storms – Fences break, gates blow down, trees crush houses. A dog can easily get away from home in the event of a natural disaster or other severe weather.
When you find a dog, far more important than creating a fantasy for why she’s been lost is to work as hard as you can to reunite her with her owner.
Remember that when you’ve found a dog, you have no idea how long he has been missing so try to withhold judgment on how he must have lived before you met.
And if you’ve exhausted all resources and still cannot reunite dog with family, please check out our Rehoming Tips