Today we went to the Wauconda Dog Exercise Area in Lake County. It's a nice dog park for those times you don't want to cope with a lot of mud and water, and there are plenty of cut trails to wander along with your dogs. It was a warm day for January in Chicago, but not that warm. Many older and short hair dogs were seen wearing dog jackets. Dunkie and Izzy were just doing their thing, horsing around with one another, and with other dogs, while we were walking and talking and watching them goof off.
Then we noticed a tiny gray dog with a jacket on wandering near the perimeter park fence. Going back and forth and then wandering further along the fence with no human in sight. The dog seemed confused and alone. We kept on eye on the dog while asking other people around us if the dog belonged to them. There was no one who was 'missing' a dog. We spent around 30 minutes searching around the dog park for someone who might be looking for his or her dog. We even yelled at person on his cell phone to ask (from afar) if he was missing a dog. It was getting late; we wanted to leave and go home. But we didn't know what to do about this poor, shaking, little old dog that I was carrying around and feeding tiny bits of treats. It was also odd because the dog had a collar with an up-to-date rabies tag and a coat to warm it. I've heard that people will drop their dog off at dog parks when they no longer want them, hoping that some sap (like me) will pick it up and take care of it. And of course, that's what we did.
- Founded in 1972 by Gertrude Maxwell to assist animals in need
We were fortunate because we knew of, and had visited, a no-kill pet shelter nearby in Grayslake, the Maxwell-Goldman Save-A-Pet Adoption Center founded in 1972. We brought the dog to this facility and asked them what to do about it and if they could help us. The staff there swiftly went into action. They examined the dog to get a general sense of health, verified that it had a rabies tag, and brought out a "chip scanner" which they moved all around the dog because apparently "microchips can move in the body to a different place after original chipping."
Fortunately, she was microchipped and all the identification was available. Her name was "Sarah." We were elated. The first numbered identification person was called but was not at home. Elation quickly turned to fear. However, the second telephone number on the list was contacted and confirmed that the dog belonged to a member of her family. We arranged to leave the dog at the shelter until the owner could pick it up within the hour. Apparently, a family member of the dog owner had been at the dog park with other dogs, and got distracted, not noticing that Sarah was missing from the group. He was contacted. We learned that Sarah was very old and blind, which likely accounted for her going missing. All ended well for this tiny pooch.
Two obvious morals from our day's event:
1) Always keep your eye on your dog(s) when off lead, especially if they are not able to keep their eyes on you; and
2) Microchip your dog. It can prevent heartbreak for both dog and owner if a pet cannot be identified easily, and the owner contacted.
Sarah was a microchipped dog and so she became a happy dog who is now reunited with her owner. And I'm sure her owner is happy as well.