My Turn: Please tag them, for pets’ sake
So there they were: Sheesh, geek – two of them. I’d just gone out to move my yard sprinkler and I glanced back at our woodpile and witnessed a rarity: Two Chihuahuas, one short-haired, carmel/white appaloosa-like and a long-haired tortoise-shell. They were ambling along amidst my near-forested mountain neighborhood – read coyote bait.I thought I was simply going to go back and finish my dinner. But no, apparently the fates had other ideas. I couldn’t just ignore the lil hairy cute turds there. They were cast into my lap: What to do?From my experience as the founder, and initially chief practitioner, of local animal rescue (ya-da-ya-da), I’m used to dealing with dog crisises after 6 p.m. on the verge of a three-day weekend.I scooped them up – they were so sweet and sociable – but I had to deposit them in the back of my truck. My own two HSTT dogs – wolf-husky, chow-coyote – didn’t need the ego-traffic control in my living room.So again, what-to-do? One dog had two rabies tags: One from Utah and one from Vegas. The long-haired had no tags. I scrutinized the tags and chose the one with the least-wear – Vegas. I called the vet’s phone number off the tag. It was just 6:03 p.m. and I got the service announcement, but with a lead to the doctor. I called that number. He was just about to drive home but I caught him in his parking lot.I said I was calling from Truckee and suspected I had lost dogs from visitors here that were his clients. He went back into his office and pulled up the number on his computer. Yes! An active match.The shorthaired was “Gizmo.” The longhaired was Lorenzo. But there was a third one at home in Vegas. He had an active phone number and better yet a cell number, which I called and left the message: “I have your dogs.”Thank God for cell phones, as everything unfolded from there. I knew their humans must have been nearby, but without the tag on the dog they would’ve been doomed to, who knows, immeasurable bureaucratic trauma, and maybe never would’ve made their way back home (even just sheer yards away).From my experience in the trenches, with animal rescue, for those of you lacking imagination for your pet’s care I posit these anecdotes.New Years Eve 1999; a very wealthy couple with a, yes, Chihuahua at the Zephyr Cove gas station hadn’t “tagged” their baby, because he was “little and always with them. Well, that night he popped out of their limo, never to be seen again in a blizzard. Hopefully he was found and loved, but could never be reunited for lack of any identification.Glenshire. A nurturing, heartfelt family had an aged and blind dog that spent its last days lounging in their driveway basking in the sun. Why would this dog need a tag, it just lounges at home? Sorry, the dog decided to waddle off one afternoon. The dog simply wandered one block down the road. The family’s unknowing neighbors took the darling in for the night, but instead of calling Animal Control in the morning they just turned the old dog out, thinking it would make its way back home. It was never to be seen again.Please, tag your dogs and cats. You never can tell what the fates might bring. We can all be rescuers anytime, anyplace. Just thinking of you.Rob Sayers is the founder of the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe
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