During a recent trip to the Oakley post office, I came across a big handsome husky dog running loose near Main Street. Fearing for his safety, I pulled over and opened the back door of my car. Without hesitation, he jumped right in and made himself at home.
He didn’t have a collar or tags to identify him. As a long-time animal advocate I knew local veterinarians are willing to check for microchips at no cost, so after a quick online search that told me Oakley Veterinary Medical Center was close by, I turned the car around and off we went. He had a microchip and his name was Apache.
My email message to his owners came back as undeliverable, but I was able to leave a voicemail at the phone number on his microchip. I also uploaded Apache’s photo and details on several local social media platforms including Nextdoor, Doggy911 East County and Oakley Around the Block in an effort to connect with his family.
What then unfolded is the reason for my letter today. Apache’s family lives in San Leandro and he had been missing since April 2019. From the photos sent to me after I asked for proof of ownership before releasing Apache, I could tell he was a much loved pet. This was reinforced when they were reunited.
What I know for sure is that someone had been taking care of Apache for some time and he could have been reunited with his sad family much sooner. It is my belief that living in a community means we look out for each other, because we never know when you may need help from a stranger. This includes helping our four-legged neighbors as well.
If you find a pet, there are many resources out there to help you reunite it with its owners, or at least keep it safe until someone else can help. If you have a pet, even one that is indoor-only, be sure to microchip (with up-to-date contact details) and consider affixing a collar with full identification, As tempting as it may be to keep a friendly and cute animal you find, the reality is these little lost beings are more often than not someone’s beloved pet and family member. They need to get home safely as soon as possible.
Not only are there laws about not keeping stray animals, you would not keep a child you found wandering alone on the street, and you should not keep an animal either without trying to find its owner.
Finally, if you have lost your pet, do not give up hope you will be reunited. Apache’s story reminds us all that sometimes even after many months have passed there are very happy endings to what started as an emotional and stressful tale.
Thanks to our local animal rescue groups and shelter personnel for all they do to help animals and families in need.