So you found a stray puppy and now you would like to bring it home?
However, before you do carry home your new found friend, there are some necessary steps you should take regarding the safety of the dog and yourself.
It may be simple picking up an abandoned dog from the side of the road. However, you should know your responsibility in ensuring the stray finds the proper help it needs.
Before bringing it home, consider if it needs proper medical attention, or if it's a lost beloved pet whose owner is desperately trying to find!
We talked to a dog enthusiast who's rescued countless of dogs for some advice. Read below for some tips on what to do when you decide to pick up a stray:
1. How to approach the stray dog
For the sake of your own safety and considering the dog’s emotional state, act calmly and keep a safe distance from the dog. Upon gauging the dog’s approachability and the environment, walk towards it slowly while keeping in its view.
Try to corner the dog so that it will have slimmer chances of running away from you. Using food to lure the dog to you can be a good technique especially when the dog is hiding in a spot impossible for you to reach.
Before putting the dog in your car, ensure you have some sort of confinement to secure the dog. Probably scared for its life and wanting to escape, it will jump all around the car and distract your attention from the road.
2. Decide if you want to bring it home or to your nearest shelter
If you want to take the dog home, make sure you notify the main shelters and post an ad online in case it’s someone’s missing dog. You don’t want to be that person who steals someone else’s dog even though it is unintentional.
Bring it to your nearest vet if it needs urgent medical attention, but not to a pound as it is likely to get put down. Bringing it to a pound is also not recommended as it is full of diseases where they will surely die as they are not saved by vaccination. Often, you will hear the words "we are in full capacity" when you try to drop off a stray. Besides, you will have to pay quite a sum to even surrender them to the pound.
We consulted our long-time dog rescuer on what to do when we first bring a dog home. "Quarantine it for 10-14 days because the disease will flare up during this incubation period. Monitor them during this time to see if they are healthy or not. After that, bring them to a vet for vaccination"
3. Use social media as the fastest way to get the word around to locate the owner
Post on Facebook, or mainstream lost and found pets website where weary owners may be heavily monitoring. In Malaysia, websites like Petfinder would be the first thing they would check. If you’re diligent enough, paste flyers around your neighbourhood because not everyone is internet savvy.
4. What to do when you want to adopt a stray
Before you choose to adopt, consider these few things:
1. Ensuring the holding period for the stray has expired (usually 7-14 days)
2. Apply for a license online here, you don't want to be charged a hefty fine if you don't own one!
3. Prepare yourself for the load of responsibilities you'll have to face.
4. Ensure that the noise problem doesn't bother your neighbour too much.
"Be patient, because it will surely stress you out. It will take the dog some time to get accustomed to this new environment and will be howling and crying at night," says our dog enthusiast. "You can't blame them, they aren't used to it. If you can't accept that fact, you'll start seeing it as a burden."
Imagine how frightened the animal will be, not only it will be in a foreign place, it will feel very confused not being able to freely roam around like it used to with humans telling it what to do. It will try to run away and stress the hell out of you, so you need to be patient and try to build a sense of trust.
5. Spay or neuter your pet. Please.
With the alarming number of strays on the streets increasing daily, it is difficult to control and find who is responsible for them. One group of people who contribute to this problem are pet owners who allow their pets to roam the streets and mate with strays. Often, they do not want the pups, leaving the responsibility of the pups to whom? They will grow up as strays and add to the problem of homeless dogs.
If you can't accommodate to having more dogs in your house, do the right thing and spay or neuter your pet.
Consider lending a helping hand to our furry friends, after all they didn't choose to be stray
When asked why rescuing dogs was so important to this local rescuer, the answer was simple: "These stray dogs are very helpless and if humans cannot help them, then who will? Their lives depend on us. I think this country lacks education on how to help and care for them, also because of the cultural mentality of many."