Sweet Alice during her first vet inspection
It’s a busy time for our foster coordinator, Maria, with lots of dogs moving in and out of their temporary homes, and the lucky ones staying for ever. Little American cocker Alice was one of those and today her adoption was confirmed. Like many of our small dogs Alice is a senior and has skin problems and painful hips. She was surrendered to AFCD with that all too familiar yeasty smell and sticky skin, but her sweet nature was far more important than medical issues which could be controlled, if not cured. We’re immensely grateful for the kindness of those who welcome the older dogs into their homes and lives, knowing as they do so that it could be only for a short time, but still very precious.
Lucky Winter is staying where he is
Winter the peke was also adopted by his foster, as was Sparkle the pomeranian.
Maki didn't need a foster home after all
Chihuahua Maki had been offered a foster home but it turned out not to be necessary as he was adopted today, another lucky dog starting a whole new life.
Prissy has made herself at home and is doing so well she is ready for adoption
Shih tzu Prissy, the one picked up from the street, has done so well in the short time she’s been in foster – just a few days – that she’s already suitable for adoption. She’s tiny, young and playful, and very sweet too, so a perfect combination really.
Look at Mousie's tiny paws........
The two tiny tot puppies, Shrimp and Mousie, are also just about ready to leave their foster home although they have patches of ringworm typical in puppies that have lived wild or in poor conditions (no proper shelter or good food). This usually resolves itself even without treatment, or with only applications of anti-fungal cream (ringworm is a fungal infection and nothing to do with worms). They’re such cute little babies and older than they appear because of their very small size.
The old Samoyed, Misty, left Acorn for her foster home today, but was returned almost immediately when the electricity in the apartment building failed and there was no light or anything else. The foster had to stay in a hotel while poor Misty did little more than experience a short outing. In any case this was a very short-term foster and we need somewhere who can offer more than a few days bed and breakfast for this sweet old girl.
Cactus has the attention of the class but they were disappointed Josie wasn't there
Cactus was busy with one of the many school visits that she has scheduled over the summer and all went well except for one thing. Josie, especially chosen for her sweet nature, was supposed to be accompanying Cactus but:
“It rained heavily this morning. I walked Josie before we take a taxi. We walked to the main street, and a man suddenly opened a big umbrella in front of Josie’s face in purpose! She was so scared immediately, and leaned backward and slipped off the collar ( I was stuck by a few people and could not move with her and released the tension of leash). That man even laughed out when he saw Josie running away. (I was so mad!!!)
Glad that our smart Josie ran back to her daily walking route, so that I could still follow her. I stopped myself from chasing her, just stood still and attracted her with funny noises and treats. She came to me again (thank god!) But she was already too overwhelmed, so I prefer leaving her to rest at the Homing Centre.
What makes me write you this short adventure is, I think it is good to remind people what to do when a dog is running away. We of course have to follow her, but chasing after her will only make her run further away. If the dog ever stops and looks at your direction, we should attract her with funny noises, treats or even pretend to run to opposite direction.”
With so many dogs lost on a regular basis (one recent runaway, Ruby, returned home on her own today), it’s worth another mention. If you chase after a dog, even your own while trying to get it on a leash, the dog will run away either in fear or because it thinks you are playing. The best way to get a dog to come to you is to stay where you are and do something to make the dog curious. If it’s your own dog that you’re walking and it’s time to go home but the dog starts to play “try and catch me” games, if you lie on the ground (OK, I know this isn’t always going to be possible) the dog will almost inevitably wonder what’s up and come over to investigate. Even pretending to be looking at something or doing something to pique a dog’s interest will work much better than running after it. The most important thing of all is that no matter how infuriating it is when a dog plays games and refuses to come when called, you should never punish it when it eventually does return. If you do, the likelihood of it wanting to come back the next time is remote.
If the dog is a runaway and is scared, not even its owner’s voice will make it stop. As in Ruby’s case, most dogs will eventually return home by themselves if they are familiar with the area and know where they live. Chasing a dog round the streets will almost never work and it’s stressful for everyone. Just be patient, and inform AFCD (I’m assuming here that the dog will be microchipped and with the correct contact information) so that if the dog ends up at one of their Centres you won’t be prosecuted (although you will be warned that you may be).
If a dog runs away in unfamiliar territory like a country park or anywhere that it doesn’t know, it will usually stay relatively close to the area it ran away in. If you have driven to the area, especially if it’s a place you regularly go to, the dog will probably return to the car. If not, then the best times to look are dusk and dawn, and if you see your dog remember not to go charging after it but crouch down and call its name softly. If it’s been out for a few days then (smelly) food will normally bring it to you. Put up posters in the area but ask people to let you know if they see the dog rather than try and catch it, as that’s more likely to drive the dog further away than anything else. A dog’s instinctive behaviour is to run and hide, and the more people that are chasing it the harder it will try to make sure it’s not caught.
Sadly not all runaway dogs end up being found. Sasha is still missing, as are a few others that ran off not long after being adopted, the worst time as the dog is in a strange place with strange people and with no incentive to return.
We can only hope that these dogs have been picked up by someone and are being cared for, but the likelihood is that they have either become feral or have died/been killed. We have a high success rate for finding lost dogs, but the best thing you can do is to avoid it happening in the first place. Especially if you haven’t had your dog for long, please make sure that the collar or harness is secure and the dog can’t pull out of it. Wrap the handle of the leash around your wrist so if the dog is spooked and jerks on the leash it can’t pull out of your hand. Don’t ever let a dog off leash before you are certain it knows the area and how to get back to your home. Don’t assume that just because you have adopted the dog and it is now in your name that the dog thinks of you as its owner. It takes time for the connection to be strong enough for a dog to feel compelled to return, although this period can vary from a few days to months.