On Saturday, my son went to a birthday party at a nature center in a park. It was a magical place with lots of walking trails, plants and wildlife. The park offers birthday party packages for frantic moms like me who stress trying to find the perfect party place. The group of kids who came spent time making fossils and exploring the water area with the guidance of a park naturalist to see if they could find any dinosaur tracks.
After pizza, cake and, lots of running around to get rid of the sugar high, the party was over. I was exhausted and ready to head home, when Emily, the naturalist at the park, came running over to tell us that there was an injured dog in the park and that she could use some help.
As an animal rescuer, you are never off duty, so off I jumped into action. First, I needed to make sure my son and his friend who was coming home with us for a sleepover (you are never off of mom duty either) were sufficiently occupied at the playground. I did not want them to possibly interfere or get hurt by a scared dog. Next, I grabbed my equipment, a leash from the car–I always carry one as it never fails that a stray animal will cross my path–and some leftover pizza to give to the hungry dog as a lure.
As we arrived at the parking lot, we found a very scared Aussie mix under a car. Was she lost, wandering to the closest open area? She was pretty clean and chubby, but she had no tags or a collar. Was she abandoned? Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Owners drop off an animal thinking someone else will deal with it, not taking into account that she could get hit by a car, bite someone or starve to death.
Emily and I crawled under the car and were able to easily put a leash on her neck to pull her out so we could examine her. She gobbled up the pizza pretty quickly. When the animal control officer arrived, he gently placed her in his truck and took her to the local shelter where they named her Nature.
The same officer had originated from a call to assist with some ducks that appeared to have been accidently poisoned by cracked corn that was left to feed them. Animal control officers are often dispatched to parks to investigate dogs that are let off the leash and subsequently bite someone, pet animals like turtles and rabbits that are released back “into the wild,” and more stray dogs and cats that people find.
California parks are beautiful places that are meant for people to enjoy, not places to abandon or hurt animals. I encourage everyone to go to your local city website to learn more about the rules and regulations of park use and to find out where you can take an animal if you cannot keep them any longer. Animal abandonment is against the law, and you will be in trouble if caught.
The next day I called the shelter to check on Nature and was pleased to find out that she was picked up by her owner that evening. The shelter gave the owner a warning and Nature left with a brand new collar, tag and microchip.
Current identification is always your pet’s best ticket home. An ID tag should be worn on your pet’s collar, even if they are kept strictly or primarily indoors. Get your pet microchipped. And don’t forget to update the microchip information if you move or change your phone number.
Photo: Pasadena Humane Society