Petfinder staffer finds stray dog, learns valuable lessons

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Paulie the lost pooch was lucky enough to have been found by Lynn

I was in Maryland this past weekend visiting my parents. I hadn’t even gotten to their house yet when I saw a collarless stray dog dodging traffic. MAN, people who keep driving really make me mad!

I pulled over and called to the dog. She came running right over, apparently grateful to get out of the traffic. I popped my emergency collar on her and she settled in my air-conditioned car and seemed to wonder where we were going next.

I wondered that myself. My parents are fiercely protective of their spoiled-rotten cats, so taking her there long-term didn’t seem like a good idea. Plus, this was going to make me late for dinner, and that always ruins Dad’s mood.

I called my friend and colleague, Kim Saunders, back in New Jersey and asked her to e-mail a list of local Petfinder rescue-group members to my phone so I could seek help. In the meantime, I stopped by the local Banfield pet hospital to see if the dog might have a microchip. Thus begins the real adventure.

Against all odds, she DID have a microchip! Of all the strays I have found
and scanned for microchips, this was the first one who had one. It was
the first one Valerie, the staff member at the hospital, had ever found too.
I’m sure I alarmed the other people in the lobby when I hooted with glee.

BUT WAIT! Not so fast! When Valerie called the chip number in, she was told
it was “a foreign chip” and the company couldn’t get any information from it.

okay, this is just a small setback. The company gave Valerie (and thus me) a Web site to go to in order to get information from the chip. I called
Kim back and asked her to take a look. Meanwhile, Lucky Dog is snoozing
on my passenger seat and dropping thin little brown hairs EVERYWHERE.

Kim went to the Web site. No information on the chip number there, but it did
tell us to try another Web site. That site also didn’t have
information and referred us back to the first Web site. GROWL. This was
feeling like a dead end.

Lucky for the dog, Kim and I work
in this business and had a suspicion where the “foreign” microchip
might have come from. Kim called that company and after a lot of
talking and a lot of hold time, got some info. The dog’s name, they said, was
Paulie. Yes, indeed it was — Paulie knew her name just fine. There were
two numbers for Paulie’s owner, but they were from Colorado and one was
disconnected and the other was a car-rental place. Another possible
dead end.

Luckily Paulie’s owners had also included an emergency
contact number. I called that number and spoke to Harold back in
Colorado, who was able to provide me with the owner’s cell phone number. What
a wonderful call to get to make! Paulie’s owners (who had recently moved to Maryland from Colorado and had no idea she was out on the town) said they’d gone out and, since they were going to be gone all
day, had left Paulie on their screened-in porch. The screen was no
match for Paulie!

And the best news: Paulie’s owners weren’t
able to pick her up right away because they were on public transportation,
so I got to spend another two hours with the dog! I made my parents lock
their spoiled-rotten cats in the main house while the rest of us sat on
the enclosed porch to wait for Paulie’s owners. Paulie, clearly not a
dumb dog, seemed afraid of those evil cats beyond the glass and settled
happily on the floor after trading kisses with everyone. Paulie’s mom
showed up about an hour and a half later for the happy reunion. And my dad
got his dinner.

A happy ending to be sure, but what have we learned from this story?

1. ALWAYS stop for dogs in traffic.
2. Pet owners should use a reputable, recognizable brand of microchip.
3. Microchips are great, but a collar would have had her home sooner.
4. UPDATE your microchip information when you move!
5. Put an emergency contact on your microchip registration.
6. If you find a lost dog, DON’T GIVE UP!

Had Paulie not been located by folks “in the business” of animal
sheltering, she might not have found her way home so easily, or at all. Hug your pets today 🙂