First of all, if you haven’t already, please head on over to www.trailsisters.net and check out my guest post on Why Running is Better With a Dog. Trail Sisters is an awesome site and I’m suuuuuuuper jazzed to write for them!
So yeah, dogs are great, but there’s only so much they can do for themselves. Having a responsible human calling the shots is pretty damn necessary if the furry little buggers are going to stay out of trouble.
The simplest and most important thing an owner should do for their dog is this: Buy them a collar and attach appropriate tags! By appropriate tags, I mean:
- Rabies vaccination tag
- Name tag with owner’s contact info
- Dog license
It’s easy, relatively inexpensive, and (I think) required by many city ordinances.
Bruce didn’t always wear a collar. The family I adopted him from let their dogs roam naked. I completely understand why this seems like a more natural option, but it’s also kind of stupid.
Before you get mad that I called you stupid, read these two stories.
Getting bitten by a JRT from Hell
Straight from hell, I tell you.
Before I left California, I was running on a dirt road past a small farm. In addition to the horses, turkeys, donkeys and peacocks, there were a bunch of tiny dogs running around the property. Two of them, both Jack Russell Terriers that looked similar, were scampering about in the road and started chasing me as I ran past.
One of them caught up and actually bit me. It didn’t hurt much, but broke the skin and left a bruise. None of the dogs were wearing collars, so I had to call the county health department to report the incident.
When I finally tracked down the farm owner, she seemed very annoyed at me for having such delicious ankles. Things got defensive right away, so I guessed that the little fur-demons weren’t wearing rabies tags because they’d never been vaccinated.
Now, I love dogs (even obnoxious little ones that bite me.) I did NOT want them to be quarantined because I wouldn’t want my dog to be quarantined. But there was no proof of a vaccine, so I had to do what I had to do.
I couldn’t tell which one bit me, so, sadly, both dogs were taken away for observation.
The good news is- neither one showed signs of sickness, and I’m still alive!
But seriously, get your dog vaccinated. Even if you have a super sweet one who “never bites people,” just do it. Dogs are animals and therefore unpredictable. Do the right thing!
Bruce’s Self-guided Tour of the Neighborhood
Another lifesaver is an ID tag engraved with the owner’s contact info. I really dragged my feet on this one, but am so glad Bruce had a tag with his name, my name and my phone number on it before he ran off on me tonight!
On our evening walk through the neighborhood, I decided to take a shortcut through the woods to a little park. Bruce instantly got excited and started tugging on his leash hardcore. I didn’t see the deer he was hunting until he had already broken free from my grasp to chase them.
As he ran off into the woods with his leash and gentle leader still attached, I scooted back home to pick up a headlamp and my cell phone.
But as soon as I picked up my phone, I noticed a missed call 5 minutes earlier from a sweetheart who found my dog!
The time and energy this ID tag saved me felt good enough, but the absolute best was knowing my dog was safe nearby and waiting for me to pick him up.
It was getting dark, and I worried about finding him. I also worried about his leash getting snagged on something, a deer kicking his butt or a car hitting him. There are just SO MANY ways a dog can get hurt.
But my fast and furious furbaby is home safe and sound, thanks to my nice neighbors!
Freelance writer. Trail runner. Relentless savage.