Rescuing a stray dog off the streets?
It’s cold and raining outside it’s getting dark, and there you notice on the corner of the street; a homeless dog, he also saw you and is giving you sad puppy eyes. Feelings of sorrow hit your right in the heart; you decide to rescue the dog off the streets.
Good on you! Stray dogs are helpless on the streets without our help, and if we don’t take care of them, they most likely won’t survive the harsh life on the streets for very long. However, there are a few precautions to take for yours and, of course, your new furry friends’ safety before bringing him home. Here are our recommended steps to take;
When approaching the dog, look around you, does this dog belong to somebody? Is he wearing a collar? – You don’t want to run away with someone else dog; just because he is a bit dirty and sitting alone doesn’t necessarily mean he is a stray dog.
A stray dog can be frightened or injured, scared, or perhaps even protecting her litter. They can be unpredictable, even the cutest of dogs can bite you and ultimately infect you, so wearing gloves and tucked down sleeves are recommended. The best would be using a leash to capture the dog, but a rope or any other type of cord would work fine too.
Most stray dogs are not used to people approaching them and sadly not used to people’s affection. Approach slowly, maintain eye contact, and watch out for any sign of aggression. Please do not leave the dog’s sight as it might frighten him. If you have any food to lure him with, use it, that’ll make the job much simpler (dogs love food).
If you are driving and you intend on bringing him with you in the car, make sure you have some way of restraining him. Locking a strange dog inside the vehicle can frighten the dog even more, and if unrestrained, he might become aggressive or frantic. He could run and jump around inside the car, ultimately putting everybody in danger. If you have friends living nearby, it’s a good idea to check-in on them; they can make the job much more comfortable.
You shouldn’t go straight home with the dog, take him to the nearest animal shelter or veterinary if he is injured.
The alternative if you don’t have a way of transporting the dog yourself if to call your local animal control agency or, if not available, the police. If possible, while waiting for help to arrive, stay near the dog and watch over him.
At the Animal shelter
They will check if the dog has a chip and for any reports of missing dogs in the area. Make sure you notify the animal shelter of your intentions to keep the dog if nobody has reported it missing.
Bringing the dog home
If you have any other pets at home, you should separate your new ex-stray dog from them. You should quarantine your dog for about two weeks for two reasons.
Firstly- to get past the incubation period if there would be any transmittable disease. Watch for any signs of illness during this time, check the dog’s sleeping habits, eating habits, and toilet routines.
Secondly- It is good to leave time for the dog to familiarise himself with the new environment step-by-step; too many changes all at once could trouble the dog.
Take some pictures of the dog post them on social media platforms (Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter). Any such place pet owners would be likely to go search for their missing dog.
Visiting the vet
Visiting the vet would be the next thing to do right after the incubation period. Your vet would then vaccinate the dog and treat him for any potential injuries. The dog may have lice or ticks; your vet would be able to take care of that and remove them safely.
Notify your neighbors
It is crucial to contact your neighbors, especially if you live in an apartment; Your dog, not used to the new environment, would very likely howl, cry and growl day and night. You should make your neighbors aware and ensure that the noise won’t disturb them too much. Explain to them that you rescued the dog of the streets, and it most likely would only be a nuisance for a short time, until the dog starts to familiarise himself with his new home.
Be patient with the dog; it could be a very stressful time for both you and the dog. The dog will most likely try to escape on more than one occasion. He will not appreciate being in a leash and might even try to bite you a few times. He won’t be used to living in a limited amount of space; after all, throughout his life, he could always roam around when wanting to wherever he wanted. Now he can’t do that anymore, and he now has a human telling him what to do.
Be prepared to return the dog if the previous owner contacts you. It is possible that he won’t see your ad online before much later and that he was checking in the wrong animal shelters so it could take a while. You might already have created a strong bond with your new dog by then, and returning him to the owner may be painful. Before adopting the dog, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to return him if required. If the answer is no, then consider leaving him at the animal shelter.
If you need guidance on introducing your dog to the rest of your pets and family, check out our guide here (coming soon).