Thursday, June 3, 2010
CHECK THOSE TAGS....your dogs life could depend on it...
This is Sparky, a purebred Westie. At least I am assuming this is Sparky....Poor guy has almost no chance of living to the end of the week ;-(-unless a little miracle happens, and that makes me sick to my stomach. Sparky STINKS to high heaven, I am sure with all that must have happened with him in the last few days he must have had a little upset stomach and so he had some diarrhea and his little butt is all caked with poo. And he really is not matted, his coat is actually in pretty good condition, he has been fairly recently groomed, and he is a little chunky, someone has been feeding him a little too well. Sparkys eyes are a little cloudy, but his teeth look like he is younger, like I am guessing about four or five???
So this is the part that makes me really feel sick. Sparky had a collar on when he got picked up as a stray. A collar with a READABLE tag, with his name and phone number and address. So WHY is Sparky still sitting at the shelter with little chance of walking out? Well, the tag has a phone number from a city about 1 1/2 hours away and it is disconnected. He was picked up in a Hesperia, CA. I spent all afternoon yesterday googling and I found what I believe is his owners name, but everything lists their address as the address that is on the collar, and I can only find the phone number that is on the tag and it is disconnected. I even talked to a mail man at agility class last night to see if he could help me find any sort of new address or forwarding info for these people. The shelter told me they sent a letter to the address on the tag and have received no response. What I am GUESSING is that these people moved and Sparky got out, but no one has come looking. It might be that they just are not that concerned but what makes me feel so bad is what if they do care? And Sparky is not going to get another home, this shelter is a very high kill shelter and he is stuck in the corner and he is pretty depressed, and he is pretty ugly looking right now.
WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP A TAG IN GOOD CONDITION ON THEIR DOG AND NOT UPDATE THE INFORMATION? Ughghghg. It could mean a dogs life, so I hope everyone will look at their dogs tags and make sure they are READABLE, CURRENT, and I really like to put a couple of phone numbers and even usually put a friends cell in case something happens on vacation or something like that. My favorite tags that I use for all my dogs now is the boomerang tags-I like the collar tags because they do not make noise, the dogs do not get them caught in anything and no chance of teeth getting caught on them when they are playing (I have wild players) and I have some of these tags that have been on my dogs for years and they look like the day I got them. I have never had one come off, and they are super easy to move from one collar to another if I want to change collars, so I got one of two or three sizes for each dog, then when I switch collars I just find the size for that collar stick it on and my dogs are all set with their ID. I can get a lot of info and numbers on these tags which is a huge thing. http://www.boomerangtags.com/
Another thing I wish people did is to make some sort of concrete plans for what happens to their dogs if the unthinkable happens and we are hurt or die. This morning I am taking Maynard whose owner died a couple of days ago, they had made arrangements for Maynard-another westie, a 4 yr old male. The son had been instructed to make arrangements for his breed rescue to take him and they left a donation to make sure he would get taken in. Two months ago I had a pair of female westie sisters that the owners loved. The owners were 80 years old when the family got them the two sisters as puppies for a birthday gift, ughghhg. One of the parents was taking care of the other who had altzheimers. The care giver spouses health was going down hill so they made arrangements for the rescue I work with to take the dogs in so the sisters who had always been together would get a good home and would stay together. The caregiven made a sudden down hill slide and had to go to the hospital and so the other spouse was sent to a home and the dogs were left in the house by themselves. The family who were put out having to handle their parents sudden change of circumstances went back to the parents home and just let the dogs out, loose to fend for themselves. I tried to catch the dogs but animal control got ahold of them first, and the sisters did find homes, I was able to get one for the rescue but another lady took the other one so they did end up seperated but at least they ended up safe. Anyway, always good to tell someone what you would like done with your dog so that they are safe even if we can not be there with them. Glad Maynards owners thought about him in advance and he will be going to San Diego today to be groomed then to meet his new adoptive family.
So what will happen to Sparky. I don't know. If this was my shelter that is by my house, I have worked there as a volunteer doing temperment testing and I know them and I know they would let me take little Sparky and get him cleaned up so he had a chance. This particular shelter will not let anyone touch the dogs. I talked to the kennel worker there and offered to pay for grooming, and she said that if the grooming van was able to get there she would try to get him in. Dogs like Sparky don't have a lot of safety nets, lots of people are willing to adopt young, great looking dogs, but poop encrusted middle aged dogs are not so lucky, and then there are dogs like Maynard that are the lucky dogs-that one is a good story I guess ;-).