No collar. No tags. No microchip.
Those were the facts about a dog that was walking down the middle of Bellevue Road in Merced on a foggy morning this week.
At first, it was so foggy that I couldn't even tell what was in the middle of the road. I thought it was a pile of trash. But as I got closer, I could see that it was moving. Then I saw that it was a dog.
A purebred dog at that. I stopped my truck, and called the dog. She came right up to me and put her front feet in the truck, and then looked at me, asking for help to get in.
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I could tell that she was an elderly dog, she was gray in the face and that big truck was just a bit too high of a step for her. I can empathize with her -- that step is a bit too high for me, too.
I helped her in the truck, and the dog crashed on the front seat of the truck, out like a light. I was on my way to work, and I didn't have time to take her home, so I left her in the truck with the windows cracked, figuring that she would be OK for a couple of hours.
The dog never even lifted her head when I parked and got out of the truck. She opened her eyes, looked at me as I told her to stay, then closed her eyes and back to sleep she went.
Later that day, I took her to a vet's office to scan her for a microchip, but no luck. So back in the truck, some water and a treat, and she was sound asleep again within minutes.
I know that dogs' collars can get caught on a fence or something, or can mess up the coat of a dog that is being shown. Collars are good, but they can be easily taken off if the dog is found by someone who wants to keep the dog.
All of my dogs wear a collar with tags, even Peg, even though sometimes I wish that she would run away. And they are microchipped. Because microchipping a dog can be the best way to get that family member back home.
A few months ago, a friend and I were driving down busy G Street at the lunch hour, when we saw a big dog walking through thick traffic in the pouring rain. We stopped, got the dog in the car, and then took him to a local veterinarian to be scanned for a microchip.
The nice people at the office scanned him, and not only was the dog microchipped, but his owners were clients of that veterinarian. The owners got a call, the dog was put in a dry kennel at the vet, and the dog was home within hours.
There are a lot of things that can happen that will end in a dog being lost. From an open gate to an escape through a front door, dogs can end up wandering the streets, lost and wondering where their owners are.
I personally know of a dog that was lost and ended up more than 30 miles away from the place he was lost from. He made it back home for one reason -- he was microchipped.
So the next time that a low-cost microchipping clinic comes along, or your dog makes a visit to his vet, get your dog microchipped. Hopefully it will help him get home if he is ever found walking along a busy road on a foggy morning.
It could even save his life.
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org