I’m the frickin’ dog helper

Written by Diane on. Posted in on Dagny the dog, on life in France

dog id tag etsy If you were outside and a random dog came your way, clearly someone’s friendly pet with a collar, would you keep on walking like it’s nothing or would you try to find his owner? Maybe it’s the dog-loving American in me, but I will ALWAYS try to help the dog.

A dog found us this morning and…. READ ON!

There are two types of dog owners. The ones who live with their dog and the ones who live for their dog. I’ll happily admit that I’m the latter and go out of my way to make sure my dog is happy and well cared for – and I admit that maybe I’m too focused on my dog (but I have my reasons). Anyway, regardless of which type you are, you’d help an animal in need and not ignore it, right? Well, then you’re clearly not French.

It seems that in France — and I base this generalization on observations over the past year – people don’t really pay much attention to random dogs in the street (no, not strays!). I’ve never been compelled to write about this until now because this morning, which was probably the 10th time this has happened in recent memory, a random, yet friendly, dog approached us without a leash or an owner in sight. Now don’t think my area is overflowing with dogs. Not at all, but dogs that have gotten loose (maybe intentionally?) have found us in our neighborhood when out on walks.

These loose dogs are not strays.

They are clearly pets with collars. Except the one this morning that found us didn’t have an ID tag on his collar. How do I know this? BECAUSE I TOOK A FEW MOMENTS OF MY TIME TO BEND DOWN AND CHECK. Dagny helped. I didn’t recognize him and neither did the five other people that walked by. I asked our building janitor, another dog owner and even a few random people in cars if they knew the dog. Nope. They all seemed too busy to care and curious as to why I cared so much.

But that’s me. I care. And I always will.

I am the dog helper and I call the number on the tag. I look for the owner. That’s what I’d want someone to do for me.

So what did I do? I debated over trying to take him to the vet to get scanned, in case he has a microchip, but he ran off before I could leash him up. I hope the friendly little guy found his way home.

Why this attitude from the French?

I consulted my husband who said these people are morons. The ones who ignore the dogs and the ones who let their dogs roam loose. But it’s a pervasive attitude. Maybe people assume that the dog will find its way home or that it lives nearby and is out for a stroll. Maybe they’re just so damn used to it that it’s nothing to them.

Regardless, the world is a dangerous place.

Aside from getting hit by a car, a loose dog could be attacked by another animal, stolen or worse. I have no sympathy for people who let their dogs roam around randomly. Lucky are the ones who find their way home, but what about the ones that are genuinely lost and need your help, yet no one cares to stop and look at their tag?

I recently read an article on a dog Maddox missing in Oklahoma (not the pic below, that’s my Dagny) and his owner won’t give up even after 100 days. If he went missing in France, he’d probably never be found because everyone would keep on walking by!

(Sorry for the dig on the French, but this has me fired up).

Dagny the Cavalier

And in my case? I can tell you with 99.9% certainty that if Dagny got loose and we weren’t in her sight, she would not find her way home. She’s the sweetest dog and if there’s food involved, she’s extremely smart and will devise ways to get to the food on the table that I’ve never even thought of, but finding her way home? Probably won’t happen. She’s not a furry GPS. That’s why we have her microchipped and her collar has an ID tag with our contact info. If the worst happens, we’re ready. But if she did get loose, I’d hope that some kind soul would reach down and read her tag!

So I’ll ask you, on behalf of any lost animals out there that need a little help finding their way home:

Would you please take five seconds to check for an ID tag on an animal that passes you by?

Dog lover or not, I personally feel that doing anything else is neglectful. I know if I were lost and couldn’t speak, I’d want someone to help me. Why would anyone do anything else?

If we as a society can’t even lend a hand to a helpless animal, well oh my, how far we’ve fallen…

Want more? A few months after I published this post I found a Newfoundland. Read how Dagny helped me get him to safety…

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Comments (22)

  • Kenin Bassart

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    I think you may be experiencing more of a cultural difference than anything else. Dogs have roamed freely for centuries and found their way back to their homes on farms and in towns for years. In the US many dog owners keep their pets inside (like we do) so they don’t learn the skills necessary to navigate through the streets and surrounding area safely. If the dog is raised to have more freedom, it can usually find it’s way home without an issue. I’ve seen the same behavior in rural parts of America as well. At first I felt the same way you did, then I realized that the dogs were just as healthy and happy as mine were.

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Totally agree with you Kenin that it’s cultural. But the issue, for me at least, is that pet owners are too carefree with their pets. If I lived in a rural area, I’d understand but I don’t, not even close. Animals are hit by cars here quite often. I think pet owners are careless with their pets’ lives. And my main point was that animals that really are lost and need a helping hand are getting passed by by people who think he’ll just find his way home!

      Reply

  • Judy Stickney

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    The French are lucky that they do not have the dog theft problem that there is in the UK. Here they are stolen from houses, cars and locked kennels for resale, ransom or to be used as bait for fighting dogs. If you can just pick then up wandering in the street in France it would make things easier. Maybe they do not care if they go missing but sure some of them are expensive pedigree dogs. Keep up the good work on trying to help them.

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    • Diane

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      Thanks Judy, I plan on doing exactly that. Whether the dog will find his way home or not, I feel it’s my duty to check for a tag and call the number. I’d want someone to do that for my dog…

      Reply

  • Jackie

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    I have helped several dogs in my neighborhood get back home. All the owners have been very thankful except for one who said, “Oh, he always gets out.” I wouldn’t be able to leave a stray dog keep wandering and I hope that if my dog got out someone would also help get her back home too.

    Reply

    • Diane

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      I’m with you 100%

      Reply

  • Jen@MyBrownNewfies

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    Absolutely I have taken the time to check for a dog’s ID tag, I’ve taken several up to the vet to have them scanned. I think a lot of people don’t want to be bothered with it. I’ve seen many people look the other way when a dog was wandering around and it’s sad.

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  • Debra H

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    I think maybe those who let this happen have not caught up with modern times when there are new dangers to dogs running loose. Speeding motor vehicles and theft to resell dogs for money. I do see this some in the US and one little terrier specifically that is often loose was hit by a car two weeks ago. He is recovering but I am so angry with his owner. I am most concerned about dogs off leash that are not so friendly. I am hearing more and more stories about bad encounters with dangerous dogs.

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Yes, it’s so scary to think about. I think the French need to get with the program and start taking better care of their animals. There’s more to it than just feeding and sheltering a pet! Ugh

      Reply

  • Donna

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    Why is the poor dog roaming the streets? Dogs should be on a leash, not left to wander in this busy world we live in. If you aren’t going to truly care for an animal, please don’t get one.

    Reply

    • Diane

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      He was out either because 1) He got loose 2) His owners let him walk himself. It’s different here, Donna. But I agree with you.

      Reply

  • Linda

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    I’m with you Diane and Donna. Folks need to be told to take responsibility for their pets. In my town the law says to show rabies vacs and buy a city tag. If a dog gets out and is picked up there could be a fine.

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Funny you should mention stuff like that, Linda. Here in France I asked my husband when we have to register Dagny w/the town (back in NJ you have to get a “license” and show proof of rabies, way for town to make money as well) or you could get fined. Well here, you don’t register your animal and you get the vaccines just for your dog’s overall health, not because the town requires it! So weird the municipalities don’t take an animal census or anything! Ahh, gotta love cultural differences! Thank you for commenting!

      Reply

  • Kimberly, The Fur Mom

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    I’m with you. I live for our dogs and I always check the collar. I actually spent an afternoon with a dog calling multiple numbers to find this dog’s day. I found him!

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  • HumanRescuesDog

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    Great post! I’m tweeting it. I remember a similar thing happening to me. I saw this beautiful rottweiler walking through a busy street at night. It had a collar on, no owner, and everyone was just ignoring it. The poor thing looked so miserable. I didn’t have my phone on me to call any animal services, so I approached a man working at the service station and told him about this dog, who was standing nearby. And his response was .. “So?” I was so furious. How can people be this callous?

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Maybe people were scared because it was a big dog? But really, there’s no excuse. If a kid was wandering around, I think most people would stop and help a lost 3 year old and for me, I think we have the same obligation w/pets. Call me crazy! Glad you enjoyed the post and thx for the RT!

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  • Stella Lee@ Purfylle

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    I’m the stop and check, and wait for the owner to come and get him type. Hubby is more of the, ‘it will find it’s way home’ type and will just keep driving past, so I don’t always get to help the dog. If we have our dogs with us it’s even harder as they don’t get on well with other dogs all of the time and we can have a lot of shouting and carrying on. It just breaks my heart when I can’t help.
    Stella Lee@ Purfylle recently posted…GeriMy Profile

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Hi there! I can understand your husband’s point of view but for me at least, I’m always scared that they will NOT find their way home or they’ll try and get hit by a car. So if I can help, I will. Otherwise the guilt would eat me up. But I know not all people are animal people and while the French love their dogs, it’s a little different here. But I’m still me and help where I can 😉 Thank you for stopping by!

      Reply

  • Karen

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    I think letting a dog roam out alone here is illegal, in the UK. I’m not a dog owner though so I could be wrong. I know I’m Thailand, dogs tend to roam and people ignore them, partly cultural I think and also because of rabies, as you don’t know if a dog might be infected I guess. Seems odd to me but I hope the dog found his way home! Popped over from Animal Tales!
    Karen recently posted…The Kitten that nobody wanted…My Profile

    Reply

    • Diane

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      I think a lot of people here don’t intentionally let their dogs roam but when they do get loose, people just assume they’ll be fine. Luckily the last dog I found (a Westie from the neighborhood) was familiar to me so I was able to bring him home. The owner didn’t even know he was gone ;-(

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  • kidGLloves

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    Lucas says – We live for our Dog, Ash, too. He’s like my brother. The Mother read me this post and we all agree with you. You should ALWAYS try and find a dog’s owner. If Ash ever got lost, we wouldn’t stop until we found him. We really enjoyed reading this post 🙂 #animaltales
    kidGLloves recently posted…Mini Creations Wednesday 4th March 2015My Profile

    Reply

  • Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault

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    You cannot believe the timing of this post. I was out walking my 2 today (with Harry on a lead as he keeps skedaddling off) when I got a call from the boys to say that a dog had followed them home. I got back to find he did at least have a number on his collar so called his owner who came to collect him. He was grateful but not overly worried despite also having another dog missing that the boys had not seen. It is in the culture I think.

    As for Harry he has taken to chasing imaginary hares and whilst he does come back … eventually … I am not happy so he is back on the flexi lead at the moment.

    Many thanks for lining this up with #AnimalTales and good luck with any more last dogs you find.
    Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault recently posted…7 Signs of Spring in NormandyMy Profile

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