By Marianne Curtis
Three years ago, I came home from a weekend away to discover that my beloved husky cross had escaped the gate and he was missing. He was locked in the yard but a careless visitor left the gate open and my pooch outsmarted everyone before anyone noticed.
For four days, I scoured the streets, hung posters, called the pounds and dog catchers – I was distraught. I had just about given up hope when a neighbour suggested I try a nearby RM of Ritchot pound and lucky for me, I found my frightened pup in a kennel in the back. I sprung him from doggy jail and gratefully brought him home. I realize now how lucky I was.
In the past few weeks, I have been actively involved with trying to find lost dogs for some local residents. As a follower of the Southeast Missing Dogs Facebook page, I get updates and posting of missing pups. I’ve hit the streets despite the cold and physically helped search or done something as simple as click the “share” button. It’s a small thing, but if it brings home someone’s family member than it is time well spent.
When I think of what could have happened to my four legged family member my skin crawls. At the time, my worst fear was that he would get hit by a car – I never contemplated that he could have been stolen, forced to fight or even tortured by a budding sociopath.
I am not sure when I became such an animal activist. Maybe it was when I realized that cruelty to animals usually leads to cruelty to people. Maybe it was when I realized my spaniel cross is actually a therapy dog – I was suffering a deep depression and when I closed the doors on all human contact, she never left my side. Maybe I have finally discovered we are the keepers of our pets; when we take in an animal they become family. They have unique personalities, they love, they feel fear and they grieve – there is no such thing as a stupid animal.
Some people were concerned about the feature we are running this month; we were accused of “fear mongering”. But how is raising awareness fear mongering? If there is a possibility that someone out there has targeting our pets, than owners need to take precautions. Not only for our pets – animal abuse IS a gateway crime. If we ignore the fact that someone is sick enough to think it may be funny to skin a “dog like” animal and put it out for the world to see, what else are they capable of?
The point is, we do not know why there are so many dogs missing in the area; it could be a coincidence or it could be by design – the fact is, they are gone and their families miss them dearly. Be a good neighbour – know your neighbours animals and be kind – animals do escape even the best pet owners.
If you see anything suspicious contact your local police department. Last but not least – in the day of the camera phone, take pictures if you suspect that someone is casing your area. If there is something criminal is going on, it will be stopped if everyone keeps their eyes open.