How to Lend a Helping Hand to Lost Dogs

Every day, we see posts on assorted social media sites about finding abandoned, injured or lost dogs. Many people genuinely want to help these poor creatures but don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to go about rescuing them.

Well here are some pointers.

Is the dog lost? First you need to establish if the dog is lost or not. Many dogs are walked without their leash or let out onto the road and after they trot around the neighborhood, they return home. So if you find a dog roaming around with a collar, before you swoop down to rescue it, ask the local shopkeepers or auto stand guys if the dog belongs to someone.

Do you rescue stray puppies? If their mother is alive and the puppies are healthy, it’s better to let them be. These mongrels adapt well to the road. Having said that, many puppies get knocked down in traffic once they start walking and exploring their surroundings. So you could find a safe place for them to take shelter. You could also post their pictures on social media and request people to adopt them.

What do I do if I see an injured dog? Unless you are experienced in handling dogs, you need to be careful. Many injured dogs could bite you in fear or pain. If the injury is very bad, by moving the dog, you could injure her further. It’s always best to call an animal rights organization or a vet. Some injuries can be treated on the spot; others will need the injured dog to be transported to a hospital.

Is the dog abandoned or lost? Most lost/abandoned dogs will be in a panicked or bewildered state. Once you have established that the dog has not just come out to answer nature’s call or take a solitary walk, approach the dog and gauge its temperament. Remember, the dog is frightened. Be gentle and don’t scare it. If you can, take it home or else ask a friend to foster it. Alternatively, drop it off at a shelter. Take pictures of the dog and post it on social media sites immediately. If the dog is lost, there’s an anxious owner looking everywhere for his/her pet. If no one comes forward to claim the dog, put it up for adoption.

Points to note:

  • If you rescue a dog, it is your duty to find him a home. Don’t dump him back on the road
  • Only rescue dogs that need rescuing. Most dog shelters are already overflowing with dogs. They have limited resources and are struggling to provide the dogs and pups in their shelters the best possible care.
  • If you drop off a dog at a shelter, it would be a good gesture for you to donate something to the shelter. They are always in need of funds for medical care, food, beds, kennels, etc.

An App for lost & injured animals

Sagar Sheth, an enterprising twenty-one-year old has created an app called AnimApp. Smartphone users anywhere in India can now geo-tag lost or injured animals. In Chennai, he has tied up with the Blue Cross of India where drivers working with the Blue Cross’s rescue team will instantly be given details of the animal’s location. Seth calls it an ‘Ola’ for injured dogs and cats. If someone spots a lost or injured animal s/he just has to click a picture using the app, which is automatically integrated to Google Maps.  And similar to an app-based taxi service, the driver who views your appeal is given details like distance to the rescue spot, directions and a likely time of arrival. Plus, once the task is accomplished, you get an update on the animal for whom you have given a lifeline.

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Dogs, books, music…that’s what makes life tick for me. And of course, writing. I’ve been writing for 17 years now and have enjoyed every bit of it. My idea of a great time – blast some music, cuddle my pets and gorge on pizza. Or curl up in a cozy corner with a good book. That’s bliss. And now, I’ve discovered a new bliss – yoga. Maybe, I’ll turn spiritual some day with a halo around my head! On a more serious note, I’m actively involved in animal welfare and saving abandoned dogs. I firmly believe dogs are much better than most human beings. In addition, I champion the cause of making our planet a better place. And do my bit in whatever way I can, and urge everyone to do the same.