Dog owners share a few universal fears, like their pet ingesting chocolate or getting loose from their leash near traffic. Nothing sounds quite as horrifying as a dog going missing, though. While I'm grateful I've never experienced this nightmare myself, I can vividly remember the day my parents and I found a lost neighborhood dog. He was reunited with his owners within hours, but his dad sounded downright terrified on the phone!
Unfortunately, this kind of story is all too familiar. Dan Martinez, the founder of San Jose dog rescue Adopt My Block, saw six lost dogs in the month of October alone. Though most of the missing dogs he encounters have a happy ending, each case requires hours, or even days, of effort from rescuers.
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Wow--reuniting a lost dog with their owner is a lot of work! It's not that it seems easy to bring a lost dog home, of course, but I've never stopped to think about all of the steps it takes to ensure a dog gets back to their family safely. Thankfully, Dan and the volunteers with Adopt My Block have thought it through!
The very first thing they do when they take in a lost dog is to search for a microchip. This helps them see who the animal's original owner is, but not all dogs have a chip. In fact, only two of the six dogs Adopt My Block saved last year were chipped!
If no chip is found, the dog rescue will post fliers and on local social media groups in hopes of reaching the dog's owner. The owner has 30 days to come forward before the dog can be rehomed, and multiple forms of evidence are required before someone can claim their found dog.
If it sounds complicated--it is! This multi-step process helps ensure that dogs only go home to the right owner. I hope I never have to trust my dog's safety to this process, but if I do, I'm glad there are professionals looking out for our furry friends.
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