If you find a lost dog, here are the steps to take

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If you’ve ever seen a dog on its own with no owner in sight, you know the feeling that goes through your chest. It’s a feeling of wanting to help, but you can not only keep the dog safe, but also help reunite him with his owner.

My family was driving home from vacation and as we were traveling on Route 26 just outside Vestal Center we spotted a dog walking in the middle of the road. We pulled over, turned on our hazard lights, and waved traffic to stop so we could move the sweet girl in the middle of the road to safety.

My husband put the dog in the front seat of our car with me as he went door to door ringing the bell and seeing if the dog belonged to anyone nearby. She did not do it.

It was a hot day and the poor dog was panting so we knew we had to cool her down. We stopped at the nearest store and bought her a collar (she didn’t have one) and a leash (so we could walk her around), food and toys.

After we got the dog home, we gave him food and water, a bath, and then lots of hugs. We knew someone was missing her somewhere and as my son and I loved her my husband got to work trying to find out who her owner was.

A lot of people have the misconception that if you find a dog without a collar or tag, you can keep it no questions asked. This is definitely not the case! In fact, most states have a law in place requiring people to make a formal report of a found dog. Using some of the methods below, we were able to reunite the dog with his owner just hours after finding him.

What to do if you find a lost dog

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To prepare for a potential incident, always keep your veterinarian’s phone number handy, as well as an after-hours clinic that you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline that you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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