A few days ago, I received an email from my sister, Carolyn. It's always nice to hear from her. But the one word in the subject line struck fear in my heart: "Rose." I really, really didn't want to open that email.
Rose is a 10 year old Brittany who jumped into my niece's car one day about eight years ago. The owner couldn't be found. Life being what it is, Carolyn and her husband eventually became Rose's guardians.
A canine companion cuter and funnier than Rose would be hard to find. I opened the email with trepidation.
Here's the story.
While Carolyn was out running errands, Rose and Chanel--a rescued miniature poodle--stayed home. Nothing strange or unusual about that. But when Carolyn returned home, Chanel would not stop whining and Rose was nowhere to be found. Eventually, Carolyn discovered the problem--a broken bedroom window. The best guess was that the old window had given way as Rose was expressing her opinion about a dog passing by the house.
A loose, missing dog. One of the worst fears of any dog owner.
But when Carolyn went to the phone, there was a message. Rose had found her way to an elementary school two miles away. They called Carolyn, because in addition to her license, Rose has a name-tag with her home phone number on it.
Now there might have been a "happy" ending to this story even if Rose had been wearing only a license. The school secretary would have called the authorities. Rose would have been taken to a shelter, and either the shelter would have contacted my sister, or my sister would have contacted the shelter and a reunion would eventually have happened.
But such a scenario would have taken hours or days to play out. And the entire episode would have been far more traumatic for both Rose and her family.
Trauma like that is stressful for any dog and the people who love it. But for a ten year old dog with advanced arthritis, the situation would have been serious. Proper identification brought an unpleasant, unhappy incident to a close in the fastest way possible.
When we adopt dogs from Greyhound Adoption Center, we not only agree to keep license and Greyhound Adoption Center I.D. tags on the dogs, we also agree to give them a personalized name tag with their name and our phone number on it. It makes for a lot of "jingling" as they move around the house. (Interestingly, because of their different gaits, I can tell which dog is moving around just by the sound of their tags.)
If a dog is loose, nothing can guarantee its safe return. Rose crossed two very busy streets during her wanderings. Cars remain the biggest threat to lost dogs. But if you love your dog, do everything you can to help it get back home asap if it accidentally gets loose.
Tag your dog.