You've found a dog on the street, what should you do?
You might be walking your dog or just going shopping and suddenly come across a homeless puppy or an adult dog. Even worse – you find a box with newborn puppies, huddled together, alone. Now what?
Take a moment, don’t panic, assess the situation. The least you can do is help the animal out of the sun, off the road, or out of the rain or snow. See if you can move it safely and make it more comfortable.
Next step is to reflect on whether you are ready to take the responsibility for the animal in need. Are you willing to follow up on its care and its fate? Or will you just call the local rescue number and advise them on the location of the desperate dog, pat yourself on the back and walk away? You must understand that while the rescue would love to take in every single homeless dog, the shelter simply cannot responsibly handle such high numbers. This is where you can come in and offer invaluable help. Here is what to do:
- Bring the animal to the veterinary clinic for check-up. Ask for a de-wormer based on the dog’s weight. If you bring a puppy that most likely was not vaccinated yet, the doctor may administer an immunity booster shot and a vitamin injection.
- Find the animal a place to stay for the moment. Our country, unfortunately, does not have the infrastructure of shelters and kennels. The only places with a larger number of animals are privately run rescues that fully depend on volunteers, their time, money and effort, and occasional donations. One other option is to find a foster home; however, those usually charge a fee. If you cannot afford to pay the fee, the best would be if you kept the animal in your house with you for the time being, until it gets adopted.
- Next step is to bathe the animal and put a flea and tick treatment on it. If you have your own pets, don’t worry, just keep them in a separate room for a few days.
- Get the animal vaccinated according to the veterinarian’s schedule. Get the pet passport so you can get all the vaccinations and treatments recorded. This will be very helpful when you look for an adoptive home, foster home, or even if the animal eventually flies on an airplane to another country.
- Spend time with the animal – get him/her used to people, teach them to walk on a leash, house break them, teach them basic commands. All this will help with a future adoption.
- Actively search for a new home for them. Write to different rescue groups, contact pet stores, make flyers, let your friends and family know, post on social medias.
- Take the adoption process extremely seriously. The animal has already suffered through enough and you spent a lot of time taking care of it and protecting it. You may receive 15 phone calls and only one will be worth the effort to follow up on. Don’t panic, this is completely normal. Make sure you have a list of questions prepared for the potential adoptive home. For example “If you have a baby, what will you do with the dog?”, “If you realize you cannot handle having a pet, what will you do?”, “Where will the dog live?”, “What will you do if the dog does something wrong?” etc. Don’t be afraid to ask the shelter volunteers for advice on how to conduct such an interview.
- Once you decide someone sounds good over the phone, go and look where and how they live, meet them in person and try to find out more about them. If you feel good about this potential adoptive home, bring them the animal for a trial period of one or two weeks. During that time, call daily or every other day to check on the them.
- If all goes well during the trial period, the adoptive family can receive the pet passport and any other documentation. Make sure to keep checking on the pet in the coming weeks and even months to ensure everything is going well. Ask the new owners to frequently send you pictures and make time to go and visit the new home often during the first couple of months.
It is much easier for animals to get adopted while still in town than while in foster care or shelters far away. Once the animal enters a shelter, their chances to get adopted drop significantly. You are our biggest hope and our biggest help if you can take part in the process by keeping the animal with you and trying to find a home for it. We will be there alongside you the whole time helping.
We can do it together!!