• Brian D. Hinson

Lost Dog, Busy Road

The little short-haired dog, still mostly a puppy, trotted right in front of my car, but I saw him in time and slowed down. “There’s a dog in the road,” I told my passenger.

She looked ahead from the back seat and let out a sympathetic, “Ohhh.”

The dog crossed and made it to the opposite sidewalk.

“Should we get him?” she asked.

“Okay. Poor guy doesn’t even have a collar.” I pulled over to a side street. It was about 10 at night, and the road was Lomas, a five-lane boulevard that’s busy about any time of day. We got out of the car, the scared, barking little guy just a few yards from us.

She knelt down and tried to entice him with baby talk. He made no motion to come to her “Oh, he’s scared. I wish I had food.”

“I do.” I popped the trunk. Inside my cooler were two chicken sandwiches. Armed with a piece of meat, I also knelt and waved it at him, marshaling my least threatening falsetto.

He ran back into the street.

“I can’t look,” she said.

The street wasn’t that busy, and the dog made it safely to the other side.

“Well, we tried, right?” she said, looking very disappointed.

We did, but with a little research the next day I found out we did a few things wrong. When trying to capture a scared dog, never approach the animal, and never make eye contact. Both of these things display dominance and even make you look like a predator. One technique I learned may have worked in our situation. If you sit on the pavement with food and eat it noisily and happily, never looking directly at the dog, it might come over. Since you will appear to not even notice the dog, they will not perceive you as a threat. Allow pieces of the food to drop and back away, scootching, allowing them easy access. They might end up in your lap, wanting more food.

Sometimes there are dogs out there in the middle of the night. With this bit of knowledge, maybe I can get one back to its owner before a tragedy happens.

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