“Don’t try too hard to find the owners. They don’t deserve her.”

First, let me start off by saying that I think breed rescue is a valuable link in the chain. Right behind responsible breeders who stand behind the dogs they produce and responsible owners who care enough about the animal that they purchase to obtain the training knowledge necessary to not ever have to turn an animal in to rescue in the first place. Way back in the dark ages before Al Gore invented the internet, breed rescue filled the gaps created by irresponsible breeders and irresponsible owners. Now it seems to be more about inflating ego and enabling irresponsibility than helping.

The first two of these quotes below were read in online blogs or forums in the last 3 days. The third was said to me by a shelter worker when I was transporting a dog for rescue. A dog, btw, that also turned out to have had a compound fracture of the femur who sat in their shelter without any medical attention for two weeks.

“Don’t try too hard to find the owners. They don’t deserve her.”

“Do you think those of us in rescue have the luxury of choosing who we want to help? Sadly, they choose us because we are the only ones who will help.”

“No we don’t scan for no microchip. Whoever turned him doesn’t deserve to get him back.” 

Now, I understand. There are folks out there who shouldn’t own a dog in the first place. But if you are a rescuer, and are convinced that every dog out there has been dumped on a street corner, dumped in the country, or that you are the only one capable of caring for the animal, you are part of the problem!

I live with a large pack of dogs. They are all microchipped, some of the older ones have ID tattoos. But the dogs are really allowed to behave like dogs. They wrestle. They play. They dig holes that are sometimes more like caverns. They argue. They bark –sometimes more than I feel is appropriate. They growl. Sometimes, they even eat shit or roll in it. And much to my horror — I still have nightmares about The Great Baby Bunny Massacre of 2009 — they embrace their inner carnivore. That’s why I bought 30 acres of wilderness, 15-miles from the nearest gallon of milk for sale, and completely enclosed those 30-acres inside of a 4′ high fence. So dogs could be dogs. I spend more at my vet in one year that most people will spend in a lifetime –solid four-digits, on a bad year five-digits every single year. The dogs eat a super-premium kibble that is alternated with raw. They have stuffed Kongs, Kong Wobblers, Squeaker Mats, Loofa Dogs, grass-fed organic beef marrow bones, organic chicken frames, blankies, chewies, birds to hunt, and stuffed toys to kill.

But here’s the thing; Even with 30-acres of land that is equally divided between open pasture, grouse woods, and wide trails and with all the vet care, toys, and training in the world…every so often, someone has to be that asshole who climbs over or tucks-n-rolls under my fence. Sometimes it’s because the bear have left a half-eaten Bambi on the other side. Or maybe they just felt like it. I don’t know, they’re not talking about their motivators. The point is that sometimes dogs are dogs and for whatever reason they decide to go on a walkabout.

walkabout

Background: Australian. Given to us by Crocodile Dundee: 
A spontaneous journey through the wilderness of one’s choosing in an effort to satisfy one’s itchy feet, a need to be elsewhere, the craving for the open road, that space over the horizon…yes… something like that… you can’t quite touch it so you have to go find it because it’s you just know it’s there…Or maybe it just feels good to go walking around  😉 Yeah. It’s WALKABOUT.

When these walkabouts happen, the dogs usually return in less than an hour. Sometimes eight. It doesn’t matter. I am in a panic the entire time, envisioning worst case scenarios, and realizing that I have absolutely no idea where my dog has gone. None. You suddenly realize how large the world is and how many different travel options were available to the dog once free.

A dog I know was once missing for 10 days. He was found 14 miles away, living in a culvert behind a truck stop and hotel where patrons were feeding him raw hot dogs, double cheeseburgers, and pizzas. 10 days in 20-degree temps for a short haired dog and he gained weight. Nobody could catch him by hand or by live trap, but he’d get close enough to lure strangers into tossing food his way. This dog was obedience and agility trained, by the way, not some neglected or abused dog. He just went on an adventure. Once caught, he had over 70 engorged ticks removed from his body and needed staples to repair his torn ear. His 10 days on the road turned him from a beautiful, fit, healthy looking individual to something that looked like he’d had years of neglect. It took a couple of months for the wary behaviors that had both kept him alive and made him hard to capture to fully disappear.

The arrogance and ignorance of some folks who call themselves rescuers leads me to believe that had one of them found that dog, he never would have been reunited with the correct person. They would have invented some long, elaborate, story about how he was abused and neglected. Then they would have decided that whoever owned this dog didn’t deserve to get him back because he was covered in ticks and had an injury. In the meantime, there is some distraught person searching for the dog in the opposite direction.

So, you own your dog. He went under the fence after a rabbit, and decided to take a walkabout to satisfy some primal instinct. He’s a pretty fit sporting or hound breed developed to cover several miles of ground in an hour. Where do you begin looking? How big of a radius do you cover? How many authorities do you notify? What if the person who finds your dog decides to just keep them? What if they took the dogs into an entirely different county or state? What if they decide that you are not worthy of dog ownership because your dog was being a dog and escaped one day?

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