I saw a dog walking alone on the street yesterday. It had no collar and no tags. It had obviously escaped from its home and was happily cruising around, crossing streets on its own.
Today I read a neighbor’s posting about a lost dog who was wearing no tags.
If your dog gets out without an identifying tag and is picked up by a Good Samaritan, there is no phone number to call or address to return it to. The only reasonable option is to call Animal Control or bring it to a vet in the hope that it has a microchip that can be scanned. If no microchip, the Animal Control officer will put your dog into a cage in the truck until the officer gets to the shelter, most likely later in the day. Your confused dog is then put in a shelter kennel, isolated in the frenzied shelter atmosphere. Then it will sit there for 5 days without any walks or enrichment as required by California law. Your dog has to figure out how to relieve him/herself in the kennel, something not all dogs are able to do. In fact, dogs often hold their urine in for long periods of time, adding to the stress in this unfamiliar environment and setting themselves up for a urinary tract infection or more.
Potentially traumatized by the shelter experience of being left in a cage while other dogs loudly bark and whine, your dog might wait for a day or more before the shelter re-opens. You then have to visit the shelter during open hours, pay fees that cover the food and board, pay any past license fees and potentially a fine, all before they release your dog. This all adds up to a waste of your precious time and money!
Many of my clients who have hired me to work with their dogs have no collars or tags. When questioned, they tell me that the dog “doesn’t run away”, or “we just washed the dog” or “we just bought him a new collar”. But as we know, in life; the unexpected happens. A noise, for example, or a squirrel can startle your dog and s/he runs away.
A sensible, cheap and easy remedy to this unpleasant and potentially harmful chain of events is to have a collar and a tag on your dog with your cell phone number and address. The Good Samaritan who finds your dog will call you, you will collect your dog and you will avoid the potentially traumatizing and expensive chain of events that may have occurred!
It is also worth mentioning the benefits of the microchip, a second line of defense. For a onetime implant charge, any vet or Animal Control officer can scan the dog’s chip and return the dog to you at no charge.
Now isn’t that smart?