By Janet McAfee
This adorable little Chihuahua was recently found running on a busy street in La Quinta by Diane Barrett. Diane was driving down Avenue 49 near Jefferson in La Quinta on a Sunday morning when she saw a small blonde dog attempting to cross the busy six lane intersection.
Diane tells the story, “It was a very emotional experience rescuing a dog. I watched her come close to getting killed. There were two other people trying to save her, and she ran from us for about ten minutes down Avenue 49 eastbound almost to Madison Street. Finally I pulled my car up way ahead of her and said a prayer for her safety. I looked down, and she came running up to my driver side car door. I opened it and she let me pick her up and sat on my lap. I just cried from relief and joy for a long time. I was so glad she was alive.”
What to do next? Now the dog was safe and out of the blazing desert heat, but Diane already had a dog, and not in the market for another pet. There could be a frantic owner out there searching for their missing pet. “When I brought her home, she was so sweet and got along well with our dog Mario. I checked her collar which had no tag. I didn’t know what to do, so I posted her picture on Facebook and sent emails to friends. Monday morning I got in touch with Janet McAfee at Loving All Animals. I was grateful as she emailed a list of things to do when you find a lost dog.” Diane correctly sensed that the little Chihuahua might be in jeopardy at the county shelter, and in fact most shelters are overrun with this particular breed.
An animal lover and a good Samaritan, Diane went on a mission to locate the dog’s owner. She took the dog to her vet who estimated her age to be one year, she does not appear to be spayed, and she has no microchip. Diane is caring for the dog in her home and diligently took the following steps:
1. Check for identifying tags which may identify the owner.
2. Walk the dog or cat around the neighborhood where you found him and knock on a few doors. He may live right down the street!
3. Take the animal to a local vet to scan for a microchip. This simple free step may find the owner.
4. Post a sign outside your house about the found animal, the owner may be driving around looking.
5. Take photos, make flyers, and post near where the animal was found. Find someone with computer talent to help, or use the boiler plate on www.bestfriends.org or www.petbond.com.
6. Post flyers on community bulletin boards at dog parks, PetCo, Starbucks, Koffi, supermarkets, etc. Take flyers to your church, workplace, school, gym, clubhouse.
7. Post a free ad in the Desert Sun in the “lost pet” section. Omit one detail to ensure you have the right owner.
8. Email KMIR Channel 6 at news@KMIR6.com for help, and include a photo, description and location where found.
9. Foster the dog or find someone who can. Ask animal welfare organizations for help with adoption ideas.
10. Contact local private “no kill” shelters. They are usually full and short on resources, so you may want to offer a donation if they can take the animal.
11. Take out your phone book and call everyone you know. Someone will know someone looking to adopt a dog.
12. You can take a stray animal to our local county shelter where strays are held for at least 3 days for the owner to claim and are then available for adoption, but 62% of the animals there end up euthanized. You can notify the shelter about the animal and post a flyer there in case the owner is looking.
Diane named the little dog, and Bella’s story has turned into a “dog needs a new home” tale. There has been no response from the owner. “I feel a real protectiveness for Bella. You’ve given me all the things to do and I’m at peace that I did everything possible to find the owner.” Diane plans to get Bella spayed at Animal Samaritans, an important step to end the crisis of homeless pets.
Let’s prevent more dogs like Bella from becoming strays. THE WEEK OF JULY 4TH IS HERE, AND THE SOUND OF FIREWORKS HURTS DOGS’ EARS. MANY WILL JUMP FENCES AND END UP IN SHELTERS OR KILLED ON HIGHWAYS. KEEP YOUR DOG INSIDE, AND KEEP AN EYE ON HIM WHEN HE GOES OUT.
If you are interested in adopting Bella, contact Diane at (760) 835-1461 or email@example.com. Diane reports Bella is a fabulous and engaging little animal. She gives lots of grateful hugs and kisses, and happily enjoys the company of humans and other canines. Diane realized that all of us are responsible for the welfare of companion animals in our community, and that together we can solve the problem of homeless pets. Diane is Bella’s animal hero. Bella says, “Adopt me, and I will love you forever.”