When a dog runs away

When a dog runs away it’s a learning experience. Because I learned something from the experience of losing my friend’s dog when she was in my care last week I wanted to share with others.  I originally posted this on Craigslist under the “Pets” section but someone flagged it as inappropriate – still a bit confused about that one – so it’s no longer available there. In its place an abbreviated form of this monologue went up in the form of a poster. I put it at the park where my friend’s dog began her escape. I hope the people who take their dogs off leash there, next to a busy road, are more mindful in future. And I hope people will consider helping next time they see a dog obviously out of control and in potential danger.

When a dog runs away: OBSERVATIONS & THANKS

On Thursday July 19th I was walking my dog and a friend’s dog through this park when a black lab came bounding across the park to greet us rather excitedly, its owner attempting to recall it without much success.

That event triggered a series of events that could have ended tragically. My friend’s dog was instantly spooked, slipped out of her collar and ran clear across the park into the four lanes of 4th Avenue traffic at rush hour. I doubt you’ve ever heard a woman shriek like I did. This is not the sound you want to hear on a warm sunny beautiful July afternoon.

She was eventually cornered at 8th and Alder moments before what could have been her ultimate demise attempting to cross Broadway to get home because that’s clearly where she was headed.

Observation #1
If you have a dog that you don’t have voice-control over, please don’t take it off leash in a non-off-leash park beside a busy four-lane street at rush hour. That’s just not smart and it’s not considerate of other park users.

Observation #2
Not everyone cares. People who don’t make even a half-hearted attempt to grab an off-leash dog that’s galloping along the sidewalk beside a busy city street clearly either don’t have a dog or don’t give a rat’s ass about dogs. A dog owner will almost always, in my experience, try to help in some way. I saw at least one person who did not make even the most miniscule effort to help me despite the danger of the situation.

Observation #3
Some people do care and will offer to help when they see a person in distress. Two people came to my aid including the lady whose lab scared my dog into traffic and for that I am grateful.

Observation #4
People with dogs understand the horror of seeing a dog loose on city streets and will stop at nothing to corner and capture that dog. They’d want you to do the same for them.

I didn’t get the names of the people who helped me — except the little boy named Brian — but I want to extend my deepest deepest thanks to the two couples in two cars who saw it all unfold and took the time to pursue the dog and ensure her safe return to me. They did not have to help me but they did. They didn’t have to go above and beyond to make several efforts to corner and capture a dog that didn’t want to be captured, but they did. You have no idea how grateful I am to those people.

I too have captured lost dogs and helped ensure their safe return to their owners and I would do it again in a Vancouver minute. I hope you would too.

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