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What To Do IF You Find A Stray Pet

A Stray Dog

You’ve just spotted a fury little blob with four legs and it seems to be completely… utterly… ALONE. (cue the sad music). Now what to do? Your heartstrings have been tugged and your gut tells you this little critter needs your help, but you’re in your car and you’ve just whizzed past. Do you turn around and pull over to where you can safely stop to get a better look at the fella or do you continue on? Or are you out walking with your pet? Firstly, you need to determine if you are in a position to safely help, meaning that by helping the animal you won’t cause harm to yourself, anyone with you (animal or human) or anyone around you (making a dead stop in traffic is NOT a good idea). If you’ve decided that you CAN safely help and are now in "operation rescue mode", there are a number of things to consider. But let’s start with the two scenarios just described: 1) you’re in your car; or 2) you’re out for a walk.

In Your Car: You’ve SAFELY pulled over and just so happen to have a towel, or a shirt, maybe even a leash (!) in your car. And wouldn’t you know it… you’ve got some treats or some other food! With these items in hand, around your neck or in your pocket, approach the animal with caution, very slowly and VERY calmly. If you hastily rush toward her, she’ll understandably scurry off in fear, so be calm and do try to channel your inner Zen. Once you’ve reached her, don’t expect her to immediately cuddle up and jump into your lap. It may take some time for her to relax and feel at ease (if at all). If she does allow you to approach and you do see a collar, she just might have an identification tag (wouldn’t that just be TOO easy?). If she has no tag or no collar, there’s a chance she’s got a microchip. After some time and finagling, you’ve now got the critter in your car and are headed to … oh boy… just where are you headed?

Out for a walk: You’re clipping along out for your walkies with your pup or your cat (?)…. (wait! you walk your cat???), and there she is… an off-leash dogaroonie, or a seemingly malnourished and unkempt stray kitty-cat. If it’s a dog and he seems interested in your pooch and is not aggressive, he may just decide to join your walk and follow you home. If that’s the case, what to do next will come in a moment, so keep reading. However, if it is indeed a kitty-cat, your dog may very well send her running, so you may need to get him home and return later. Now that you’re armed with some irresistible tuna or some other hard-to-resist food, a leash, a towel (or better yet a small pet carrier), and you can safely convince her to enter the carrier, or get her wrapped in the towel (cat scratches are joy for no one) or, you’ve now got him on a leash (if it’s a dog), you’re ready to head to…

Well, before you decide just where exactly you are headed, here’s the million dirham question: do you now accept the responsibility that scooping up this creature entails? You’ve just now opened yourself up to a whole host of scenarios, such as finding her owner (if she was lost and not DUMPED), paying for any treatment she might need, fostering her until she can be placed in a new home or becoming her forever home? WHOA!... Didn’t expect all that did you? You acted on impulse and don’t know WHAT… TO… DO!!!  If you end up at your home, it’s a good idea to keep her separated from your pet (if you have any) as she could be carrying some disease or there may be an aggressive exchange between them. If she has no visible ID tag, you can take her to your vet for a scan to determine if she is indeed chipped. Do know that not every pet will be registered with every vet in town, so you may need to contact the Dubai municipality to see if you can track down the owner, or take on the task of contacting every vet to see if there is indeed a record of her somewhere. If that fails, certainly, there are some rescue groups in the UAE to help with abandoned pets.

But do know that these organisation are almost always beyond overburdened, so the task is now most likely all yours. Of course, there are online social groups and community forums where you can try to find her owner or find her a new owner, yet that’s not ALWAYS a guarantee. So just be aware that your act of heroism may very well result in a new addition to your family.

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