While walking the dogs this morning, we encountered yet another stray in the neighborhood. Odo was able to say hello to him without D’Argo interfering and, as is often the case, the stray followed Odo home.
There’s a certain window of opportunity to take in a stray. This window is bigger or smaller, depending on the age and initial disposition of the dog, and the circumstances leading to it’s straying. Usually if it’s a lost animal, they’ll readily approach humans. Dumped animals are much more wary. If it’s soon after the dumping, you can usually coax the animal to safety. The longer the dog has to survive on it’s own, the less it wants to have anything to do with humans, but they’ll still respond to other dogs, especially a higher ranking dog. The dog logic being that the stray would be better off in a pack and if this pack leader will accept the stray then it’ll go with new leader. Past that window of opportunity and the dog will neither approach humans nor dogs, and is a lost cause unless trapping is a possibility.
The little guy we met this morning was still in the “window”. Not completely trusting of humans, but willing to go along with Odo in hopes of joining a pack. He’s a puggle, a beagle pug mix. He had no collar and as I found out later, not much experience with a leash either. He followed us all the way to the front yard and I closed the gate. I called Animal Welfare and used the wait time to gain the dog’s confidence.
He was very skinny, but wouldn’t accept food. He enjoyed the ice water. After an hour or so in my presence I was able to pet him, by slowly approaching him sideways, not making direct eye contact. He took the initiative to close the final gap and accepted my attention.
I decided to put a collar on him to make recapture a little easier and he accepted it readily until the clasp snapped. He gave me such a frightened look of betrayal before he ran off, but I did manage to regain a fragile contact with him.
When Animal Welfare finally arrived, I was able to approach him easily enough but he ran off when I attempted to put a slip lead on him. Leaving the leash behind, I was able to approach him again and get my hand on the collar but as soon as I put any pressure on the collar he started to fight. While I calmed him down, the Officer took the opportunity to approach and get the slip lead on him. That’s when it became obvious that he was not leash trained in any way. Luckily he accepted being picked up.
We couldn’t keep him and with the temperatures hovering around 100F all this week, he’s in a much better place at the shelter, although his chances of adoption are reduced now that he’s already wary. With so many dogs being abandoned, the shelters here are overwhelmed, but he’s still better off than starving, being pest infested, and suffering from the extreme heat, besides fending off other stray dogs, coyotes and dodging cars. Abandonment is one of the cruelest things a human can do to a dog.