Recently, a stray cat found her way to my house. Though we are a family of animal people, we have two dogs who do not like cats at all. So, we couldn’t very well take the cat in as our own.
This put us in a pickle. Of course we wanted to help the seemingly homeless cat as best we could, but we were unsure of how to do that without sacrificing the comfort of our dogs.
Eventually, we did find her a good home, but the encounter got me thinking about stray animals. With that being said, this post is going to be a guide of some steps that you can take if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
While I personally dealt with a stray cat, there are plenty of stray dogs roaming around too. The number of homeless animals keeps increasing. This is because of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, people have been turning out their pets. Whether that means to the streets or to shelters, the results are the same— more helpless animals are in need. Early on, many people were under the false impression that animals could transmit the virus to humans, thus making people more willing to get rid of their pets. To make matters worse, the economic downturn that has also ensued due to the pandemic, has many people unwillingly to take in strays or even feed them!
In short, there are more strays, cats and dogs alike, than before. Hopefully, this article will help you care for them to the best of your ability.
First of all it is important to recognize the risks of helping stray dogs. Even if the animal seems friendly it is best to proceed with caution, as even the nicest dogs can snap, especially if they are nervous, lost, hungry, or any combination. In order to get the dog to trust you, start from a distance away and sit so that you are less threatening. Direct eye contact may also come across as a threat to the stray animal. Instead use an averted gaze with a calm voice and try to coax the animal with appropriate treats or food.
Avoid chasing the animal because that’s dangerous for both you and the dog, especially if you are on a busy street. Additionally consider other animals in the picture. Do you have pets of your own? How will they react to the new stray? How will the stray react to your pets? Once you have the stray, the safest bet is to immediately go to a no-kill local shelter. Some shelters euthanize animals that have been in the facility too long— be aware of what kind of facility you are going to in order to ensure humane treatment. Most shelters provide medical evaluations and check for previous owners.
Only after you get these results should you consider taking the stray dog home. Otherwise, you may risk infecting yourself, your home, and/or your other pets with any unknown diseases or parasites that the stray may be carrying.
With the number of strays increasing, any charitably you can give can help. If you don’t have the time or means to take in the stray or get it a check-up, simply feeding him/her can make a huge difference in the animal’s life!
As always use your discretion and be safe. It’s better to be over-cautious than under-cautious.