No gates were open, so the owner thought her dog must have jumped the fence to escape the loud fireworks. It was the second call in two days from anguished owners who had lost their dogs and were frantically looking for them before heat, exhaustion and cars could claim their lives.
On the flip side were the calls from people who have found stray dogs or cats or who had repeatedly seen undernourished dogs in their neighborhoods. These good Samaritans were trying to find the owners of these pets, because they believed them to be lost and truly wanted by their owners.
Yet this is the side of pet ownership that leaves me confused and saddened, because the owners of many of those dogs and cats were making no effort to find them.
Hundreds of strays have come through our shelter at Westside Animals for Adoption that are obviously owned and loved, yet we receive no word from their owners. These strays have no identification — no microchip or tags — that could give them a ticket home.
One animal now in our shelter, a chubby, middle-aged Pomeranian, cannot have been a street urchin. Yes, she could have been abandoned, but I don’t think so.
Some owners of lost pets, such as the one who called me on that recent morning, spare no resources to find their animals, yet others never pay more than lip service to the fact that their pet “ran away.”
They never place an ad in the local newspaper; they never make a flier and post it in public places and at shelters such as Animal Services and the SPCA in Modesto or Westside Animals for Adoption in Patterson; they never contact the veterinarians, groomers and kennels in the area.
Sometimes, miracles happen and dog and cats find their way home, but don’t count on it without some hard work.
Get the word out, so the whole community knows that the emaciated dog or cat hanging around the neighborhood is really a beloved pet and that someone is looking for it.
n Augusta Farley raises, trains and competes with Belgian Malinois dogs and runs Best Friends Pet Resort & Canine Academy in Patterson. She also runs a Patterson-based nonprofit dog shelter, Westside Animals for Adoption, on her property.