December 18, 2014

A stray's road home

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My family has a habit of collecting pets. Last summer, my house was visited by the kitten fairy. We ended up with two vagabond tabbies, brother and sister, after a litter was dropped off at the corner down the road. We didn’t try too hard to find their owners — it was pretty obvious they were unwanted.

We’ve picked up a few cats this way. Once, in the Chemical Bank parking lot in Standish, a kitten dropped out of the engine of the car in front of us while it was idling in line for the ATM. I caught the kitten, but the lady in the car drove off when I tried to give it to her. It gives me a pretty bleak outlook, and whenever I see a dog wandering, I have to wonder whether they’ve been lost or abandoned.

Two Fridays ago, my family welcomed a lost black Labrador into our home for the weekend. The dog was lying next to a telephone pole on Cody-Estey Road in Pinconning Township, nearly frozen from being outside in that Thursday night’s ice storm. He was too cold to get up on his own.

Long story short, the dog came home. He didn’t have a collar, and a trip to the vet told us that he was not microchipped. We put up flyers, called animal control agencies, and spread the word on Facebook that we had someone’s lost dog. And despite the lack of identification, it was obvious that he belonged to someone. His nails were trimmed and he could sit, shake, and fetch. After we warmed him up and gave him something to eat, he bounded back quickly, and soon was bounding after balls, sticks, rope toys — you name it.

The whole time we had him, there was a sinking spot in my chest because I was afraid someone had dropped this poor guy off just like our kittens last summer. Both my dogs were adopted from shelters, and I am a strong supporter of giving unwanted animals a second chance. I fumed when I thought that someone could have simply dumped such a nice dog, a youngster with a ton of potential, on the side of the road and driven off.

Last Monday, “Cody’s” picture was posted on the Arenac Independent Facebook page, and I put a video of him playing fetch up on my personal page. The posts got more response than I had hoped for, and I had a few people call me about him. Later that day, two gentlemen came out to see if he was theirs, and when the second guy pulled into our driveway and Cody caught sight of his car, it was obvious that Cody — Scotty, actually — had found his daddy.

I was limp with relief, and so were my dogs — Cody/Scotty was just a little too energetic for them, and after all, I only have two hands. I can only pet two dogs at a time. Three dogs was just not an option.

I’m so glad that I could help in returning this guy to his home. So thank you to everyone who shared the Facebook posts and spread the word. You hear sad stories about abandoned pets all the time, but this one had a happy ending.

And if there’s one other thing I’m going to take away from this, it’s the determination to get both my dogs microchipped next time they visit the vet. I keep pretty close track of them, and they know what side their bread is buttered on — but if they ever get lost like this nice Lab did, I want the advantage that a microchip can give. If it can tip the scale in marking a lost dog “found,” then I’m all for it.

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