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keep them safe

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May 2015
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author: Sue Putnam

My home has been blessed with canine co-habitants for decades. Not that I’m anti-cat. But to each his own in housemate preferences (and especially when severe allergies play a role in your preference.) If you’re like me, you see stray animals as you travel everywhere. We in the rescue world are magnets for the appearance of such wandering souls.

What do you do? Drive on; call a rescue buddy to help; only try to help if it’s wearing a collar/tag, and possibly embedded with a microchip with its guardian’s info?

Picking up a stray with no collar/no tag, and possibly no chip, can be a difficult decision to make. I’ve yet to pick up such a stray, specifically a dog, that didn’t wind up living its life with me, despite initially trying to find its owner through other means.

As for the canines wearing a collar/tags, as well as the ones with microchips….I’ve never had to keep them permanently. I’ve yet to have an owner ignore my phone calls about their “found” dog, and I’ve yet to have one that didn’t want the dog back. I meet them at a neutral safe site to deliver their pet.

Convincing someone of the value of a microchip is akin to convincing them that the pet should always wear a collar with tags bearing your contact info. People either believe the value…or they don’t.

I’ve met more than one pet guardian whose tears of relief streamed down her face as I returned her wayward dog, who happily licked her tears away. I’ve known the joy of such a reunion myself. Homes really are not as secure as Fort Knox…no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise. Dogs live in the moment, and when a moment of adventure presents itself, they usually eagerly embrace it.

Had a rescue terrier that found the ONLY broken board in my privacy fence around my large backyard. The board had a horizontal crack one foot off the ground – invisible to the eye – but a terrier follows its nose, and his was constantly sniffing under the fence.

I was distracted while brushing my playful Rottie on the patio, and suddenly heard my neighbor’s voice: “Hey Sue, Cooper just ran down the street!” I went to the front yard and saw Cooper bobbing down the hill about 50 yards away. But I’ve been fortunate my dogs learned good recall commands, so with a couple of calls, he just as happily bounced back up the hill for a waiting treat from me. Silly, but smart, dog. Then I secured a new board to the fence.

Another time, I received a call at work from the petsitter who visited my home daily for a couple of years to give my dogs a supervised backyard break. She entered the yard through the side gate, and this time she forgot to close the gate before releasing my hounds from the house.

Her phone call was frantic. All five dogs were running as a pack in my neighborhood! Minutes later, as I was leaving work to do search and rescue for my own dogs, the sitter called back. I had told her initially to drive the route I walked with them for years. My dogs spread their scents daily along that route. My hope was that they just considered this another daily walk….but without Mama!

The sitter drove the route with no sighting. But as soon as she returned to my driveway, all five dogs ran to greet her from the backyard through the side gate that she had still left open. They indeed had followed their scents and walked their route all the way back home. Yep, I got lucky, even though accidents happen.

And I offered up a little silent gratitude that all were tagged and microchipped, increasing their odds of getting back home if they strayed too far for me to find them immediately.

Memphis Pets Alive! recently held an event offering microchipping for just $20. That’s a super bargain that could help save the lives of furkids. It’s just one more outreach opportunity MPA! provides that empowers pet guardians and helps them protect the pets in their care.

Did you miss our recent event? Check our website regularly for microchipping, as well as other events and info, that improves the lives of local pets.

In the meantime, hug your hounds and kitties, and keep them safe!



  1. Tim Gatewood says:

    Reblogged this on Minister is a Verb and commented:
    Memphis Pets Alive! is a worthy group. Here’s a recent article from their blog.


  2. Tim Gatewood says:

    Well said. I hope you won’t mind that I reblogged it.


  3. Thanks Sue for a great article


  4. Teresa says:

    Thanks Sue!!! Awesome blog 🙂


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