2011-04-27 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

A chubby pooch boards the train; a Doodle bolts at LaGuardia; an SUV is stolen with a Lab inside lying in his crate. Recently these local lost dogs have made the news. They have been recovered unharmed. A moral attached to each happy ending may prevent future mishaps.

Dashing Dan: The evening of April 13, a chubby Lab/ Pit with a pink nose and a sunny disposition got on the LIRR at the Wyandanch station (without a ticket) and was escorted off at the Farmingdale stop. The police took him to LI Veterinary Specialists in Plainview, probably because the emergency hospital is open 24/7. That night a veterinarian, singing his praises on both News 12 and ABC news, tried to find his owners.

The next morning, Chris Elton, the Babylon shelter director, sent an ACO to fetch the K-9 hobo. The dog was lost in the Town of Babylon so he belonged in our municipal shelter to maximize possibilities that an owner would come looking. The TV cameras followed the dog to Babylon.

Our local train-hopping dog. Our local train-hopping dog. Later that day, we had an orientation meeting at the shelter. New volunteers arrived to a lobby full of photographers. Hopefully, they won’t expect such fanfare every time they visit. A young couple at the counter, redeeming their nineyear old fugitive, had no idea he had ridden the rails or been featured on TV. They just came to the shelter looking for their lost dog. He slipped out when someone left the gate open. They do live near Wyandanch station, and when their paperwork was complete, the trio quietly slipped out the side door to duck the pet paparazzi.

Moral of Dashing Dan’s story: Despite media attention, Dashing Dan went home solely because his owners reclaimed him at their local shelter. Some LI folks are afraid to turn stray dogs into town shelters, but they shouldn’t be. A dog stands a much better chance of being reclaimed at the shelter where found, than he does stashed in your kitchen, your garage or at a clinic in another county.

“Prince William the Beagle” “Prince William the Beagle” Tilly: People from Scarsdale bought a one-year-old Golden Doodle from someone in Canada who shipped the pup to LaGuardia without a collar or tags. Tilly did have a microchip.

On Friday April 15th when the new owners went to LaGuardia to pick up their new dog, they opened the crate in the terminal to put on her collar so they could take her out to relieve herself. The panicked dog bolted towards Grand Central. The couple chased her until she vanished near 82nd Street on the Astoria side. Keep in mind the dog and people had never met before; and in this instance, unlike so many others, the mishap was not the airline’s fault.

“Kate” ~ the kitten “Kate” ~ the kitten The owners were at their wits’ end. They were hunting for a dog they never really met in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Fortunately, their plea reached Bonnie Folz who coordinated the search for Vivi, the Westminster Whippet lost by Delta at JFK in 2006. Since then, Bonnie and dedicated volunteers including Phyllis and Eddie (also unsung heroes in past “Pets” sagas) have helped many owners recover their lost dogs.

The seasoned search party helped comb Queens, plastering a wide area with flyers, which is the best way to get crucial sightings. Unfortunately NYPD now thinks lost dog flyers, constitute littering, and pulled over the owners for a warning. The sanitation crew takes posters down as fast as they go up. Nevertheless, Team Vivi went to look at two phoned-in dogs that were not Tilly.

After the weekend downpour there was a call about a third dog – but near Flushing Meadow Park. A woman coaxed the drenched pup in from under her porch, and let the fluff ball spend the night in her bed. The next day, her husband walked around looking for flyers. Kids remembered seeing a poster in a local Walgreen’s. Bonnie recalls hanging this particular flyer on a vending machine because her tape was not cooperating in the rain.

Eddie, who tracks dogs like a Bloodhound bi-ped had mapped out sightings, and brought his scanner when he went to verify the Flushing fluffster. The microchip matched! By Tuesday, Tilly was reunited with her Scarsdale family.

Moral of Tilly’s story: You can’t open a crate safely in an open airport. Dogs, especially those who have never flown before, are super-stressed after flights. Last summer, a Continental airlines worker lost Daisy, a California Shepherd mix, on a layover at Newark when she clipped the leash on the flimsy tag ring rather than the collar ring. (Bonnie was instrumental in Daisy’s recovery too.) Flyers, tags, and microchips are a lost dog’s tickets home. Dogs need safe collars with ID at all times. When tons of lost flyers go up, it only takes one for the right eyes to make the right connection.

Lucas: This Lab became a dognap victim on the way home from obedience school April 18th. When his owner left the motor running to dash into a Ronkonkoma gas station for cigarettes, someone stole his SUV with poor Lucas in the back in his crate. TV news blasted the story across the metropolitan area. His owners begged for his safe return. First account said one thief; next said a couple. This time media coverage paid off. The following day, a woman in Central Islip called the owners after she saw a truck parked near her home with an unattended dog inside. Supposedly, she traced them via their insurance card. I’m sorry. Decades at the shelter make me skeptical. Why didn’t she just call the police? (Years ago I got a call about a Lab in a car at a shopping center on a sweltering day. After I checked it out, five Nassau squad cars responded immediately. The dog belonged to a clueless construction worker at the grocery store.)

Moral of Lucas’ story: This one is a no-brainer. Never leave your car running when you go into a store. Oh, yeah, and stop smoking.

For Adoption at Babylon Town Shelter (631-643- 9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: You need not go to London for the Royal wedding. “Prince William” the Beagle (#94027) is betrothed to “Kate” the kitten (#20677). Notice the Princess Di engagement ring. Actually the bride and groom would much prefer a forever home.

Males: “Walter” #93861- the friendly Belgian Sheepdog mix has started his thyroid meds; “Alec” #94016-Siberian Husky with an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Baldwin; “Otis” #93997- brindle Pit.

Female: “Mona Lisa, Lydia, Trixie” from the patient Pit contingent.

Cats: “Flash”, “Zena”, “Snowball”, “Jules”- fabulous felines in the lobby.

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