Years ago, I had a female Dane named Kyra who could open doors. Deadbolt locks and doorknobs would not slow her down. I found this out the day before the 2011 tornados. It was dark that evening when I got home. Have you ever driven at night and had your lights reflect back from an animal’s eyes? Usually when you see quite a few at night together that is an indication of a lot of deer. Well, as I was coming up to my driveway, I began to see a lot of these eyes reflecting back, moving around in my front yard in the dark. As my headlights fell onto the holder of the eyes, I saw it was Kyra and all my other Danes playing in the front yard! I quickly pulled into the driveway yelling out my window that they had better get back in the house. The whole situation caused me to laugh and shake my head as they all ran back into the open front door of the house…all but one. Kyra stood there, her black and white body standing with an attitude like, “What?! You think you can make me go back in?!” I again told her to get in the house and she refused.
Sometimes when we have a stubborn dog the size of a Dane, we have to be inventive. First, I tried to coax Kyra in with a treat. Then, I tried a toy and she still refused. I even asserted my voice and commanded her to come in the house. She stood there in the dark and gave me the attitude many of us know so well. So, finally I told her that if she did not come in that “Boogie Claus” was going to get her. Folks, “Boogie Claus” was a Santa Claus hat with an attached beard; so here came my inventive side. She stood there as I closed the door. I waited and peeked out the window to see if maybe she was at the door. Nope! She still was refusing to comply.
So, I got “Boogie Claus” and went out the back door into the dark. I then jumped the fence and stayed in the dark watching Kyra who was getting spooked by the noise I was making. I pulled the hat and beard on then readied myself to run at her. Let me say that before ever doing this, know your dog or there could be serious hospital repercussions… lol. Anyways, with a howl like a banshee and that beard flying sideways, I ran out of the dark after Kyra and she yelped running for the front door which was now closed. This dog stood on her hind legs beating on the front door with her paws. As she was still pining at the door, I retreated back into the dark and watched her for a second to see if she would leave the front porch. When she saw I was not chasing her, she stood and looked out to where she last saw me. I scared her so bad she would not go out into the yard, and when I made my way back through the house and opened the front door, she almost knocked me down getting back in the house. I acted surprised and asked her, “What is it baby girl? What’s wrong?” She stood behind me just like Scooby Doo would have done and stared out the door like there was something out there!
I shared this memory with everyone to make a point. Know what to do if your dog should get out and get lost. I would not recommend what I did, but sometimes it works. Make sure all your dogs are collared and tagged with not just a rabies tag but an engraved name tag on a secure ring. I recommend that the tags have the dog’s name on the front and the owner’s contact information on the back, if possible. Microchipping is another option that I personally am starting to endorse. There are other options, such as GPS tracking, and there are volunteer websites that people use like “Track My Paws” or the “Athens-Limestone Lost and Found.”
In the event that a dog is lost, I recommend checking the Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter as soon as they are open. Folks, don’t just call them and ask if your dog is up there. Describing your dog over the phone may not always be accurate enough for the person answering the phone. Get out there and see who they have on stray hold. Stray holds are dogs that have been found and turned in that have no identifying tags and are being held for their possible owners to reclaim them. Another method that has some success is using Facebook. Posting pictures and information is very helpful because many of us share your posting and that has led to many dogs getting back home. So, when your dog is missing, try not to panic, and use these methods to assist in getting your loved one back.
By: Joel Allen