Uh-oh. Little Bootsie went out the doggie door, and you had no idea someone had left the gate open. Now you can’t find her. If someone else does, will that person be able to find you?
As a loving and responsible pet owner, you want your pet to be safe at all times. In the event that your pet gets loose and starts roaming the streets, getting her back home is essential. Home escapes aren’t the only potential dangers, though; pets can also find themselves alone and vulnerable after accidents and natural disasters. Pets with microchips are much more likely than those without them to be reunited with their owners. This means that if your dog or cat doesn’t have a registered microchip, you’re taking a huge risk.
In early August, a Pomeranian named Koda was reunited with his family in Arkansas after somehow making his way to a shelter in California. Shortly before that, Wobbles the Shih Tzu went home after being missing for about a year. Not to be outdone, a Massachusetts cat named Charlie was recently found 25 miles from home after just 1 day. What do these pets have in common? They all experienced the joy of a happy reunion simply because they had registered microchips.
Two stray dogs living on the streets of Terre Haute, Indiana met and “fell in love,” or so the story goes. Life took an abrupt turn, however, when the two became separated. But one of the dogs wasn’t going to let anything stop him from being reunited with his best four legged friend.
Four and a half year old Ben, a mixed breed, and one year old Jade, a German Shepherd mix, were well known strays that called the streets of Terre Haute home. How they met is anyone’s guess, but over time an incredible bond grew between them. The dogs were looked after by locals in the community, but the pair remained skittish of humans. When Jade became pregnant, the Terre Haute Humane Society (THHS) decided it was time to rescue both dogs.
Since they were comfortable with each other, the shelter kenneled them together until Jade gave birth to six healthy puppies. It was decided that they would be better in a foster home environment until the pups were weaned, and were moved to the home of Kali Skinner, one of the THHS adoption counselors. According to Skinner, “Jade was timid, but a very caring mother.” When the pups were old enough, they were put up for adoption and all quickly found forever homes.
Ben was overjoyed to see Jade when she returned to the shelter, and life was good until a young couple stopped in looking for a dog to adopt. Courtney and Jason Lawler fell in love with Ben, but they didn’t want two dogs. The couple’s three year old son, Peyton, and one dog would be all they could handle – or so they thought. Ben was led away from the shelter and his best friend, and Jade was left alone in the kennel. This might have been the end to this sad story of two friends saying goodbye, but Ben had other ideas and wasn’t about to be separated from his love.
Sometimes, life throws even dogs a curve ball and they suddenly find themselves abandoned and alone. And sometimes, life has something special in store for a little homeless dog left all alone. This is a story about an abandoned dog named Antoinette, and how she found her true calling.
When this story began for Annie, it could have had a completely different ending if the right person hadn’t found her. It’s easy to pass judgment on others, especially when it comes to the treatment of a pet, but none of us really knows how we will react to a situation until we’re confronted with one. Sometimes, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel and we make the decision we feel is right at the time. For Annie, everything turned out better than her owner could have guessed. Her guardian angels were watching over her and placed Annie’s fate in the hands of a stranger who found her in a dog park on a cold Thanksgiving night last year in Springfield, Illinois.
Stormy Edwards was walking her dog when she heard a dog barking from the Stuart Park area. The dog sounded like she was in trouble, so Edwards decided to investigate. As she neared the sound of the barking, she realized it was coming from one of the pens in the dog park. Using a flashlight, Edwards found a scared and confused Cockapoo named Annie that had been left inside one of the pens, along with a dish of lasagna and a bowl of water. A note had been placed under the lasagna that began with “My name is Antoinette, Annie for short.” The note went on to say that Annie’s owner had become too ill to care for her and she had put Annie in the pen in hopes another dog lover would find her and take her home. Annie’s shots were up-to-date and she had been spayed. It ended with a plea to whoever found Annie, “Please take me home. I am a loving dog.” The note was written by a woman.
Military rules are clear when it comes to troops in a war zone and pets. They are not supposed to keep or care for pets at all. Thankfully, this rule is bent when men and women in the armed forces overseas adopt homeless pets. Puppy Rescue Mission is an organization that’s helping to bring these war zone pets home.
On the Puppy Rescue Mission’s Facebook page, a poster shows a soldier crouching down and petting a kitten. The poster reads: “It is man’s sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man.” I thought about the poster – the image and the words, and how true it is for anyone who loves animals. Soldiers have always befriended pets in foreign lands where they were stationed. Rescued dogs have tagged along on patrols, and have been credited with saving the lives of soldiers. Anna Cannan created the nonprofit Puppy Rescue Mission after her fiancé Chris befriended a group of dogs living at the outpost where he was stationed while serving in Afghanistan.
A few weeks before Chris arrived at the outpost to begin his tour of duty, a suicide bomber had snuck into the outpost during the night. Three stray dogs living at the camp rushed to defend the outpost and attacked the bomber. The dogs stopped what could have been a devastating attack when they kept the suicide bomber away from where the soldiers were sleeping. Unfortunately, one of the dogs was killed and the other two were injured but recovered. When Chris arrived, he and his fellow soldiers embraced the dogs, including a litter of puppies belonging to one of the injured dogs. Chris knew he would eventually return home, and he and Anna began to brainstorm how they could rescue some of these brave dogs and send them back to the States for adoption. Anna began a Facebook page to try and raise the $3,000 per dog it would cost at the time they began their mission to rescue Afghanistan dogs needing homes. You can read their entire story on the Puppy Rescue Mission website.
It’s one thing for stray dogs to hang around a local butcher shop or search for food in dumpsters and trash cans, but for dogs living in Russia it’s just a matter of catching the subway into Moscow, where they can find plenty of opportunities to fill their tummies. What’s amazing about these subway riding canines is that they have riding the tube down to a fine art, and scientists have been learning some interesting things about how man’s best friend has learned to adapt to their environment.
In the days when Russia was still the USSR, there were no dogs allowed in subways and even if they had been welcomed, dogs had no reason to go into the city. There were no street vendors or restaurants in the downtown area of Moscow, just industrial buildings. The stray dogs living on the outskirts of town found food digging through garbage dumps and trash cans. When the old USSR fell in the 1990s, everything changed for the people and the stray dogs. Restaurants, street vendors and fast food joints sprang up in Moscow, and the only challenge for the dogs was how to get from the suburbs into the downtown area where all of that easy food could be found.
Dogs are opportunistic and intelligent, and when they figured out they were no longer chased away from the subway stations, they began hopping trains for a lift into the city. The Moscow subway system is a maze that can be confusing for people, but the dogs appear to have learned the system. Scientists have been studying the train-hopping dogs to learn how they know which train to catch and when to get off. Researchers believe the dogs know their stop because of their ability to judge how long they’ve been on the train. It appears some of the dogs recognize the names of stations from the announcement over the loudspeaker or can sense the different smells of each station. It’s possible that it’s a combination of knowledge the dogs have learned. Some may even recognize certain people who exit at a specific station each day and simply follow them when they get off.
The area where I live doesn’t have a lot of options for stray dogs or cats. We have one no-kill shelter that’s full, and one vet clinic that will only hold a stray for three days before euthanizing them. Other than that, a lost pet’s only hope is from people who open up their homes to a stray. If I find a pet in need, I will rescue them. There’s no way I can turn a blind eye. If you do decide to help a stray, however, you need to make sure that the pet is really a stray and not an outside cat patrolling his territory or a dog enjoying an off leash run.
A stray dog or cat doesn’t understand you’re trying to help them, and a pet that’s been lost for a long time may be wary of humans or have aggressive tendencies resulting from their experience on the street. But when you find a stray that’s malnourished or injured, they need your help. And if you can’t help them, it doesn’t take long to make a few phone calls to a shelter, rescue organization or animal control official to make sure the pet gets the help they need.
I’ve always had a sympathetic heart for stray pets. As a kid, I wanted Dad to stop the car every time I saw a cat wandering along a country ditch. Of course he didn’t, and assured me the cat most likely lived at some farmhouse close by. As I got older I knew some of the cats I saw were lost, but I also understood picking up every cat wasn’t right either because the cat could belong to a family nearby.
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