A few months ago, my friend Olive, a Miniature Dachshund who lives in New York City, went lost. Her owner, Contessa Brewer, the WNBC New York anchor, was frantic and had us all worried about Olive’s whereabouts. It seems that Contessa and her family were at the airport on their way to California when they got a call that Olive was gone. A contractor at their place accidentally let her get out. Contessa and her peeps came home immediately and began to search for her. They posted signs in Lower Manhattan and contacted the local SPCA. Contessa also posted a picture of Olive on Facebook. I helped, too. I shared Olive’s picture on my Facebook page. Contessa got some good tips from Facebook friends. Her husband went out to look for Olive and finally found her by the Staten Island Ferry. I think that Olive was very smart and wanted to go on vacation, too. And she did get to go. The next day she flew to California with her two twin baby brothers, Contessa and her hubby.
Even the most conscientious dog owners like Contessa can lose their dogs. I thought this was a good time to write about what to do so your dog doesn’t get lost and how to be prepared if it should happen.
Here are some tips to follow:
• Know where your dog is all the time.
• Your dog should wear a collar and have ID. (I wear my dog tag proudly.) Have your cell phone number on the tag. That’s important if you are out looking for your dog and not home to answer your phone.
• Maintain an up-to-date license for your dog. Registering your dog is important. It’s another good way for your dog to be identified if you two get separated.
• Have current photos of your dog on hand in case you need to post a picture. Be sure it is one that would easily identify your dog.
• Keep all your ownership papers in one place.
• Get your dog microchipped. Be sure your information is up-to-date with the microchip company.
• Spay or neuter your dogs. There’s less chance they will want to wander off.
• If you’re not home – and even if you are – keep your dog in a safe place when you have people working in your house. That way, I feel safe and don’t have the temptation to go out the front door if someone leaves it open.
• Make sure fences, walls or hedges are tall enough and strong enough to keep your dog from going off your property.
• Have an emergency preparedness plan (fire, etc.) that includes your dog.
• Keep your dog on a leash when you go out. There are places where dogs are allowed off the lead, but it really is the safest thing if we wear a leash.
• Don’t leave your dog outside a store unattended. There is a black market for dogs. My owner’s friend Ernesto Quiñonez, the author of “Bodega Dreams,” told her of a scam he ran in Spanish Harlem when he was a teenager in the late 1970s. He and his friends would steal dogs on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and then bring them back to the owner for a reward, saying that they found them. They took small dogs leashed to lampposts and stuffed them in a laundry bag. Quiñonez told my owner he would never do that me. That made me very happy. But things like this still happen, so it isn’t a good idea to leave your dog unattended. You’re asking for trouble.
My owner says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That makes sense to me. Take these precautions so that your dog doesn’t get lost. Olive’s story had a happy ending and I’m really glad about that.
Maggie Mae lives in Chappaqua with her adoring owner Ronni Diamondstein, who, when she isn’t walking Maggie, is a freelance writer, PR consultant and award-winning photographer. Contact Maggie Mae Pup Reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her blog at maggiemaepup.com.