We were heading home from a shopping trip yesterday afternoon, and we spotted a lost dog wandering around a busy roundabout and doing its best to get itself killed. Being cheery dog-owning types of course we stopped, got it away from the roundabout and tied it to a railing so we could read its nametag and call the owner.
No nametag. Just a tag stating that the dog had been chipped.
It clearly wasn’t a stray – too well-fed and well-groomed – so it obviously had an owner somewhere, and it would have been great if we could have phoned up and got him or her to come and get the mutt. Sadly I don’t actually carry around a portable dog microchip scanner, so contacting the owner wasn’t an option.
I called the local cop shop, but they won’t come out. Called the animal welfare people, but they don’t come out either. Called the dog warden, but they don’t work weekends. The only option was to put the dog in the car and drive it to the nearest police station, where they’d sort it out.
Now, I like dogs, but I’m also scared of 99% of them (childhood stuff). And this dog was a pitbull kind of thing, basically four stone of teeth. You know the type: if they shag your leg, you basically have to let them. A scary dog, which we had to get into the car. It was too small to jump into the boot of the car, and it made its views on being lifted abundantly clear with some bared-teeth growling and barking.
In the end we persuaded the dog to jump into the backseat, and I drove the two miles to the police station in a state of utter terror while my lovely wife did a sterling job of preventing the dog from eating my head or attempting to hump my ears. It was the longest drive of my life.
The point to all this? If we weren’t dog owners (and more to the point, if my lovely wife hadn’t been there or if our pup had been in the car) the trip to the cop shop would have been a trip too far. Too risky. And if the dog hadn’t been picked up, it’d probably have been run over. So, if you’ve got a dog and you don’t already have a tag with your phone number on it*, for god’s sake get one. That way when scared shitless do-gooders stop it from hurling itself under a lorry, they won’t have to strike a balance between worrying about the dog and worrying about it turning on them.
* It’s a legal requirement anyway, isn’t it?