We saved 6 dogs in 2011

While brushing Minnie on Friday afternoon, I spotted one of our old wayward dog friends sniffing her way down the trail. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to catch fleet-footed Stella, the boxer/pit bull/greyhound mix that we helped home more than once over the summer.

True to form, Stella zagged toward me when I called her name, but zigged in another direction before I could get close enough to grab her collar. Luke and I tailed her for a couple of blocks, and another young couple, dressed in formalwear, pulled over and tried to catch her, too, but Stella wasn’t having it. When we gave up, she appeared to be running toward home.

While I wasn’t able to ensure Stella’s safe return this time, six months into the Wayward Dogs project, and at the beginning of a brand new year, I would like to review the results of my attempt to help lost dogs get home. Since June 11, 2011:

  • Zach and I have helped “save” — by returning, rehoming or fostering — a total of six dogs (including Stella).
  • We also spotted or unsuccessfully pursued seven wayward dogs (including Stella).
  • Nearly half of all loose dogs we encountered appeared to be bully mixes (including Stella).
  • The vast majority of the dogs we spotted or caught had collars or were otherwise recognizable to us as neighborhood dogs (including Stella).

The two truly wayward dogs we caught — whose owners, if they existed, we were never able to track down — left special paw prints on our hearts.

One of those dogs is, of course, Charlie Machete, who remains with us as our foster dog.

We knew from the moment Zach slipped a leash on this big, black dog with a pitty head would have little hope at Kansas City’s high-kill shelter. And so, with some initial vet care assistance from Friends of KC Animals, we embarked on a mission to find this dog a home. Fostering him hasn’t been easy or fun all of the time. But this gorgeous, mischievous, whipsmart and cuddly creature has taught us so much and shown us more love than we ever could have expected. We truly hope that early 2012 brings Machete face to face with someone or some people who will appreciate him, farts and all, as much as we do.

Ironically, the other traildog who captured our hearts in 2011 also went on to become a Charlie.

This handsome Boston Terrier started out with us as Meatball. Had we not already been caring for Charlie Machete at the time, we no doubt would have fostered this snuggly and polite hunk. Instead, we passed him to a friend, Luke’s foster mom, who enrolled Meatball with The Animal Rescue Alliance when his owners could not be located. A true charmer, Meatball immediately bewitched a forever family, who changed his name and are, reportedly, massively in love with him to this day.

I honestly don’t know what the past six months of wayward dog experiences mean. Do I just notice more loose dogs because I keep an eye out for them? Do we actually encounter more because we happen to live on the Trolley Trail, a jogging path frequented by dog owners and therefore a mecca of scents that naturally attracts wayward dogs?

Or do I have some kind of pheremone only noticeable to dogs that means “total sucker”?

Regardless, I plan to continue keeping track of the wayward dogs we run into on the Stats page. Maybe over time we will begin to see more patterns.

What are your experiences with wayward dogs? Do you know how many you tend to see in a year?


About crystalwayward

I live with two formerly wayward dogs. I care deeply about the environment, and I think gardening is a revolutionary act.

Posted on January 1, 2012, in Fostering, Machete, Pit Bulls, Projects, Wayward Dog and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Crystal,

    That was a nice read. What a cute Boston! (It would make a GREAT magnet. Just sayin.)

    Please make a plea to everyone who has microchipped their pets to make sure their contact info is kept up to date. In the past year I have encountered two dogs who were wearing an “If I’m Found, Please Call This Number” tag, but whose owners were unable to be contacted because their phone numbers had changed – likely because they started off with a landline number, ditched it for the cell and never updated the number. Sad. One of the dogs was in the care of the person who had found him, and I don’t know how that story ended. The other dog happened to be from my neighborhood. The pet ID place told me the phone number was bad, but refused to give me the owner’s address. I finally got them to tell me an approximate address, and walked the dog around until one of the dog’s neighbors recognized her and said she lived next door. I knocked on the front door, and a very surprised owner greeted us. He couldn’t believe she’d escaped. I told him that the pet ID place had requested that he call and update his info, so presumably he did.

    Happy new year!


    • Thanks for bringing up the microchip issue, Kathy. And thanks for trying so hard to get that lost puppy home.
      As it turns out, I have some microchip success stories in the works for posts this week. But you bring up a great point — pet owners, myself included, need to make a point to update information. Thanks for the new year’s reminder.

  2. AWESOME JOB Crystal and Wayward Dogs 🙂 Love this post- what wonderful happy endings for these guys! Thanks for all the wonderful work you do- all the best for a wonderful 2012!

  3. Thank you for reading and following our adventures! Best to you in 2012, too!

  4. So how do you catch your wayward dog. Our dog, a shelter dog we adopted a year ago, busted out of the invisible fence 4 weeks ago. She keeps being spotted in the neighborhood, but will not come. She had been sheltered at the humane society for 2 years before we got her and is still very skiddish.

    • Oh no! I hope you catch her soon. Of course, you can use a very appealing treat – something meaty and stinky. Also, if she will let you be in her general vicinity, try sitting down with your back turned to her. Just pretend to be disinterested in her. And, be sure to leave food and water for her every day so that she gets used to coming to your territory regularly. Good luck.

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