I usually try to keep things upbeat and positive, but after an experience I had the other night, I felt very strongly about sharing the importance of the lesson learned. It’s one I try to reinforce with my Mesa pet sitting clients when I can.
I was driving home from my last pet sitting visit later one night around 9:30. As I was driving home, there were 3 cars pulled off to the left side of the road and several people standing around. I pulled over thinking there was an accident and to see if I could help. When I got closer, I saw it was not a fender bender car accident; it was worse. Someone had hit 3 dogs with a car and kept on driving. One of the dogs had died from the impact. The other 2 were huddled close together on the street. One of the dogs had blood coming from its mouth and it’s companion seemed outwardly ok, but was as close as it could get to its friend protecting him, because he was obviously injured. He either had broken his back legs, or had a spinal injury that prevented him from standing up or moving. 🙁 The dog was in obvious distress – his respiration was accelerated and he seemed confused.
The people had tried to help the dogs, but both dogs were trying to bite them; one for protection, the other due to pain. We called the police but they weren’t really willing to do anything and said that Mesa didn’t have an animal control. It was up to us to get the dogs help.
One of the people had a towel in his car, so we wrapped a towel around the injured dog and it’s mouth so it wouldn’t bite, and gently moved him into the hatchback of car. The dogs friend followed us and we were able to get her into the car as well. Then myself and another man took the injured dogs to the emergency hospital where they were going to be treated.
I asked if the dogs would be scanned for microchips and about what would happen to the dogs after they were treated. The vet assistant said they’d be scanned and assessed then probably sent to the shelter if they couldn’t locate owners.
While I am grateful the dogs would be treated for their injuries, this situation has really stuck with me. First of all, these dogs obviously belonged to someone. They were well groomed (especially the dog who didn’t make it) and one dog had on a collar. Second, they obviously were from the same household; the one dog wouldn’t have been so protective otherwise. She kept close to the injured dog but kept looking at the dog who had not made it. My guess is they got out of someone’s yard and the owner had no idea the dogs were missing.
But what struck me the most was that unless these dogs had chips, the likelihood of the owner recovering them is pretty small. And that the owner will probably never know what happened to the third dog! When I went to do my visit in the morning at that location, the dog who hadn’t made it had already been removed by the county (we had removed it off the road to the sidewalk).
So what is the lesson? It is so, so SO important to have identifying information on your pets in case this happens. It breaks my heart to know that the owner will probably never know what happened to their dogs.
Did you know that only 15% of dogs that get lost get recovered by their owners? Oh, but it really doesn’t happen that often you say…actually it happens far more than you think! If you would like to hear a similar story that happened, but one with a much happier ending, please read here: