After having a nice evening with friends, neighbors, and supporters at the annual Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) dinner at the Golden Island Restaurant in Mira Mesa, I went home to walk my dogs.
While making the circuit around my neighborhood with one of my dogs, leash in hand, a young couple drove up and asked if I knew of any missing dogs in the neighborhood. I said I didn’t. The young man mentioned they’d found a dog the same size as mine on a busy road nearby.
It occurred to me they might’ve found my neighbor’s dog, which is rather small and often gets out of the house and then cries to be let back in. When I looked in their back seat I didn’t recognize the dog, but I could see it was a black and white, medium-sized shihtzu, indeed very similar to the size of my dog. Definitely not my neighbor’s.
The couple said they’d gone to the nearby 24 hour Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Sorrento Valley to see if the dog was chipped with contact information. Turns out it was chipped, but no information on the owner came up. They were also concerned about the dog because its hind legs appeared to be limping, or were somewhat weak. So they came back to the neighborhood where they found it and began asking around.
They had already posted the missing dog on Nextdoor, and I mentioned I knew of a Facebook page called Mira Mesa Lost and Found Pets that I’d become familiar with during my campaign last year. The young man texted me photos they took of the mystery dog at the animal hospital, and I said I’d post them to the Facebook page when I got home. I also mentioned the best option if no one responded on social media was to keep the dog for the night and take it to the San Diego Humane Society in the morning, as many people get their dogs chipped there in the first place.
As I was mentioning a similar incident when my wife and I came upon a lost dog several years ago, I heard some chatter down the street and noticed someone walking a block away on the same road where the couple had found the dog. Despite the fact it was late and long after dark, I called out in my radio voice and asked if they were looking for a lost dog. Without missing a beat, a man said he was.
The man came over to the car and instantly recognized the shihtzu as his, called the dog by his name, and said it had gone missing some time earlier but he’d only just learned about it from his family upon coming home from work. Problem solved.
The young man told the dog’s owner he needed to update his dog’s chip setting and contact information, and it’s a good reminder for me to do the same with our dogs. Hopefully it’s a good reminder for you too. Also, the dog wasn’t injured – just elderly.
I’d mentioned to the young couple just a moment before how kind it was they were doing this, especially since there was surely an owner desperately looking for their dog, and the dog they’d found was clearly not a stray. But as temperatures warm and doors and windows linger open a little longer than usual, or as youthful or aging or preoccupied owners neglect to ensure that a door is closed or a gate is secured, more pets get loose.
We all love our dogs and cats, and with the 4th of July just two months away with the annual heartbreak that comes with dogs and other animals going missing after terrifying fireworks shows and idiot neighbors lighting off firecrackers, now is a good time to ensure your pet is chipped with effective, immediate contact information.
And kudos to the nice young couple I met who spent their Saturday night looking for a missing dog’s owner, and even taking it to the animal hospital. Once again, it reinforced to me the sense of community and decency our neighbors have for each other in Mira Mesa that I often saw while on the campaign trail, along with the sense of concern for animals in distress.
My brewer friend Paul often likes to cite Shakespeare: “So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
If not collared with contact information, make sure to get your pet chipped, and be sure that information is up to date and accessible.
Photo © 2020 Tommy Hough, all rights reserved. Not for republication.