On my bike ride home from school yesterday, I noticed a few concerning signs lining the Ballona Creek Bike Path.
Written in multi-colors and scattered east and west of the 405, signs bemoaning a lost Chi-Weenie sought to let people know that a special little dog went missing. I wondered how it disappeared. Did its owners lose it by the river? Did it run away from them, somewhere in the neighborhood? Did it slip out of its collar and was too spooked to return?
I do not know but I thought about my own new dog and how that little one barely knows his name, let alone how to get home. I became very stressed for those finding their missing dog, feeling that I would become them, knowing that this phenomena is destined for all dog owners – and my day is still on the horizon.
So what would you do if you lost your dog? I think I would first cry and then assume the dog was dead and then, finally, consider doing something to get them back. Like what? Apparently leave your clothing around your neighborhood. Why? I’ll let this random Tumblr (And Reddit!) post I bookmarked months ago explain, as I’ve been holding it close to my breast just in case a dog in my life ends up missing.
Scent is so important to dogs! We know this and we can use this to our advantage when getting puppies back. Lifehacker has vaguely verified this in relationship to rescuing cats. Time indirectly verified this by noting the following.
“An eleven-mile distance is actually not terribly long for a dog,” says Bonnie Beaver, the executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and a professor at Texas A&M University. “If the dog had walked both from and back to his home he’d be following his own scent trail.” In this case, the dog was instead probably following an equally compelling smell: that of its owner, a type of navigation that is entirely possible over long distances as long as the wind is right.
How good is this to hear? I’m already less stressed and less anxious about potentially losing my own dog.
Fear not, friends: if you lose your dog, leave things marked with your scent to help your animal find you out in the world. Fingers crossed this works – and I hope the Chi-Weenie that inspired this finds their way home.