I picked up a stray a dog in front of my house yesterday. A sweet old cocker spaniel named Lizzie. She was wearing a t-shirt. She followed me into my house.
Usually, I recognize the dogs wandering my neighborhood, and if I do, I'll take them back to their homes or keep them in my yard until their owners can come get them. This has been my policy forever. I have two dogs myself and I'd like to think that my neighbors would extend me the same courtesy if my dogs got out. I didn't know this dog.
Years ago, when my kids were little, my policy was different. If we didn't know the dog and especially if it didn't have tags, we left it alone. This was my mother's voice in my head. That dog has no tags; it's a stray; we don't anything about that dog; it'll find it's way home. This is what went through my head one time when a small dog, a white poodle, was wandering around our street without tags. My youngest daughter was 8 years old at the time and wanted to pick up the dog and try to find it's home. I told her that dog has no tags, we don't anything about that dog, it'll find it's way home. She didn't like that answer but she had to live with it.
The next day, there were lost dog posters all over our neighborhood with a picture of a small white poodle. My 8 year old daughter layed into me and ripped me a new one.
"Mom! We could have saved that dog! She was in our hands! I told you we should have helped that dog!"
She was absolutely right. I felt horrible. I don't know if that dog was ever reunited with its owner but I will never forget the tongue lashing my 8 year old daughter gave me that day. And that is now the voice I hear in my head when I see a stray dog on our street.
Lizzie was in my house long enough for me to leave a message on her owner's answering machine. I put her on a leash and went outside to start knocking on neighbors' doors but her owner was already in the street looking for her. I gave her back and we shook hands and Lizzie had a happy ending.