This section was written with the intention of helping people who come across an obviously friendly stray. Use good judgment when deciding to help a loose dog and always err on the side of caution if you're unsure of a dog's temperament.
We receive hundreds of inquiries from worried Good Samaritans who find friendly stray dogs on our city streets. While we hate the fact that there are so many homeless and unwanted dogs, we LOVE that there are so many kind people willing to get involved and help a friendly dog get to safety! We thank you very much for caring.
But what do you do once you have a stray dog in your care?
With dog overpopulation at an all time high, options can be hard to come by. Here are some suggestions you could consider if you are trying to help a homeless dog:
Plan A - Can You Locate the Owner?
- If the dog has no collar or tags, see if your vet or local shelter can scan the dog for a microchip.
- Post signs, Check the Lost Dog Postings at your local shelters and file a Found Dog notice while you're there.
- Place a (free) found ad in your local classifieds section. (www.Austin360.com for the Austin American Statesman)
- And, make sure and ask the neighborhood kids if they've seen the dog before. Kids are famous for noticing things that adults miss!
What If I Can't Find the Owners?
You can choose to do two things:
- Plan B Try to find a new home for the dog yourself. Blue Dog can help by placing the dog on our Referral Dogs page to help get the dog some adoption exposure. All dogs on our Referral page must be neutered, up to date on vaccinations and current on heartworm preventative. Or, if that's impossible:
- Plan C Take the dog to an animal shelter. If an owner is looking for the dog they should be checking the shelters.
Plan B - Finding a Responsible New Home for a Stray Dog
How Do I Know If A Stray is Adoptable? Good Question!
You might want to have your homeless dog evaluated by a qualified individual who can help you determine if the dog is adoptable. If he is, the next question is: What kind of home would be right? Can he be placed with other animals? kids? older people? Can he go into a beginner's home or only a very experienced home?
Is the Dog Healthy?
Life on the streets can be hard on a dog. Have your dog checked by a veterinarian to determine if she needs any special care beyond vaccinations. Have the dog spayed or neutered BEFORE sending to a new home. PLEASE don't let your found dog be used to make more dogs. Let the littering stop here.
How Can I Make My Foster More Adoptable?
- Spay or Neuter is a must! There are many Free Spay/Neuters available.
- Give the dog his vaccinations. Low cost vaccinations are available at Animal Trustees of Austin.
- Consider basic obedience classes. A well-trained dog makes adoption into a new home much easier (and it helps YOU live with her while you are fostering!). Some trainers may reduce their fees for you. They can also guide you in the process of socializing your dog with other animals.
- We also recommend microchipping your foster dog.
- And of course, make sure she is clean, well groomed and well behaved when meeting potential homes.
Advertising: Where? How?
There are a few key ways to advertise your foster dog. First, learn everything you can about the dog so you can give potential adopters the honest 411. Some of your info can come from the dog's evaluation; much will come from observing as you spend time with him.
Key Websites for Advertising
- Call the Austin American Statesman about a free found ad.
- Craig's List
- Rescue group referral sites
Key Information for Your Ad
- Dog's age, sex, health, and the fact that he's been fixed.
- Has he been evaluated by someone like a behaviorist or trainer?
- His energy level: Mellow? Energetic?
- His known limits with other animals.
- Has he had any training? Is he crate trained? house trained?
- Post one or more great photos.
- Charge an adoption fee to protect against animal research facilities that take free puppies for research.
- Use some sort of adoption application.
Potential adopters will want to know: Where did he come from? How is he with small kids? Can he live with cats? What (if anything) scares him? What is his known medical history? What are his 'bad habits'? Be honest! What are his best qualities? What does he like to do?
How Do I Know If An Interested Home is Right?
Please be very picky about who adopts your foster dog. Someone may be perfectly nice, but this doesn't mean they're the best home for the dog. Ask LOTS of questions. Do a home visit and meet the whole household. We strongly encourage checking with their landlord and their vet - Don't be too shy to ask for contacts. BDR has found that the very BEST homes are happy to share their information. Homes that are reluctant to share info may have something to hide. Take your time with this decision...you've put a lot of effort in saving your dog and you want his next home to be permanent. You may want to meet with a home several times before you know if its right for this dog.
Plan C - When You Have to Take a Stray to a Shelter
THANK YOU for helping your homeless dog friend find a safer place to rest her head. We understand how frustrating and difficult it can be to find positive solutions to a homeless dog's plight. So much of our inspiration comes from folks like you who are so willing to go that extra mile for a dog sweetheart in need!
Thanks to BadRap.com for most of the information and suggestions listed here.