4:48 am   

Roadside Rescuing

Sometimes we see a distressed animal running by a roadway. Volunteers Brian Daugherty, Suzanne Arnold, Joan Dickie and Dolly Goldfarb offer the following tips from their years of experience rescuing dogs. There is a special place in heaven for these and other brave rescuers who risk their lives to help the helpless.

Note: if you find a stray animal, also check out this webpage for advice:
http://www.hsus.org/programs/companion/pet_care/stray.html

Roadside Rescuing -- Advice from Experienced Rescuers

(Suzanne and Joan) Be very careful or you could cause the dog to run into the traffic; this could cause an accident and the dog might be hit by a car.

(Brian) You can contact animal control but by the time they get there it could be too late. I personally am not against getting involved, but some folks are less comfortable playing in traffic. Don't be afraid to slow down traffic or stop it all together. If someone is with you they can drive slowly behind you as you attempt to get the animal. Stay calm and try to get the animal to come to you or direct him to a less trafficked area -- parking lot, woods, different street. If you are alone you can block traffic, block one lane of a road, etc. while you do the best you can.

I always try to have a loose nylon leash that can be slipped over the dog's head. Treats are sometimes helpful, but dogs in this situation are much more concerned about other things than the treats. If you have no leash, take your belt off and make a loop out of it. Yes, you look a little goofy when your trousers fall down and there you are in boxers on the side of the highway with a scraggly pooch at your side with a belt around his neck.

Although none of us want to be bitten, if you are aware of general dog behavior, you know what to watch for. Much of it comes down to being patient and moving slowly and confidently.

Blankets or towels in your car help to keep your car clean (not that any of us care about that) and can also help you to have a few layers of fabric between the dog's teeth and your flesh if you need to pick them up.

Don't get run over by a car. Sometimes it's easy to concentrate on the animal too much without paying attention to where you are.

(adds Athena Schaffer) Any injured or frightened animal may try to bite, even an animal you know. So it's advised to cover the animal's head with a towel, t-shirt or some other cloth material before attempting to examine or pick up the animal.

(Suzanne) I always carry a training collar and a leash in my car at all times...you can just loop them over the dogs head. In some cases, that is too risky and using your leash like a lasso can be easier; you still have to be quick and pull up to not lose the dog by his backing out of this type of restraint.

I like to have something to try to entice them with...but he may not be too interested in food especially if he is scared.

You have to decide what to do if the dog tried to bite you either on or off the leash. Also, [you need to be] able to "read" a dog to see if he is fearful or aggressive and keep your eye on the dog at all times to protect yourself.

Some dogs will come up to you and be friendly but others won't and chasing them down doesn't work because they can run faster and you are just scaring them more.

If a dog is in the middle of a beltway on the median strip, sometimes if the dog stays in that area, you can call animal control (or the police and they will notify animal control). Animal control may be able to get him. He may already be injured so any attempt by you, unless you are experienced and willing to take a chance on getting bitten, might not be a good idea.

Setting a trap for a dog is great if the dog frequents the same place daily but won't come up to you.

(Dolly) Successful rescue on a busy street when you are alone is often dependent on how weak the dog is.


Last Updated: July 02, 2013 (LET) PawSupport