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Approaching a Lost Dog

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Earlier this week, it was reported that actress Jennifer Aniston found and rescued a lost husky on Sunset Boulevard. All had a happy ending as the star of “Marley and Me” was able to calmly encourage the dog to come over until she could hold him by the collar while an onlooking photographer (there’s always one around!) went to the house to alert the dog’s family to his whereabouts.

What should you do if you come across a lost dog? It turns out that the actress had just the right idea. First, pull off the road and make sure you’re not putting yourself in danger. Turn the car off and put your hazard lights on. Put your cell phone in your pocket before you leave the car.

Next, keeping yourself out of traffic, get to a position where you can see the dog. Quickly access the dog’s mental and physical state: is he hurt or aggressive, both which could lead to a bite? (Remember, if you are bitten by an unknown dog who then turns and runs, you’ll need to receive rabies treatment. If he’s injured or aggressive, call for help first.) If he’s not injured or aggressive, calmly try to call the dog over to you. If you have some dog treats with you, take them along as a lure to try to attract the dog.

If you can lure the dog toward you, try to reach his collar and, if possible, put him into your car. Check his collar for identification and a phone number. The best scenario (assuming you don’t have a photographer following you to help out!) is to put the dog in the car and call the number on the collar. It’s best if you don’t have to drive with a strange, unrestrained dog in the car. Alternately, if you can call a friend or family member to come help, that’s a huge help as well. If there’s no collar or no tag, you’ll need to next take him to a veterinarian or shelter to see if he might have a microchip and a family that’s desperately seeking his return.

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