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Lessons Learned from Almost Losing My Dog

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February 07, 2012
Lessons Learned from Almost Losing My Dog - 8

I had a life-flashing-before-my-eyes moment at a sportsman’s show last week when I nearly lost my dog Kona for good. I worked this show with him last year, and since Kona was so adept at attracting people to our booth, we were asked to do it again.

This year, however, Kona wandered away from the booth. My mind could only focus on three things during the time he went missing: every moment I’ve spent with him from when he was six weeks old (he is 7 and a half-years-old now), how he wasn’t wearing an ID on his collar and the microchip under his skin had an old address and phone number on it.

It all started when I took a bathroom break. I put Kona on sit and told my buddy Ray to watch him; that I’d be back in a few. Kona wasn’t on a leash – he’s done these shows before and is a very obedient dog in and out of the hunting field. However, Kona had other ideas this year. He waited for Ray to look away for a second and then took off after me. The people at the booth at the end of our aisle said they saw him zip by in the direction of the bathrooms. With thousands of people wandering the packed corridors, it didn’t take too long for him to get confused, lost, and I imagine, panicked.

And that was it. Within seconds he was gone. Ray met me halfway down our aisle.

“Kona’s gone,” he said.

“What do you mean ‘gone’?”

“Gone, gone. Like not here,” he answered.

The panic I experienced was almost like losing a child (not that I’ve done that…). My mind raced with possibilities of where Kona could be; what might or might not have happened to him; if someone would turn him in or if they would just walk off with a well-trained hunting dog; and if he was in a panicked state of mind. As my mind and heart raced faster, my stomach sank and twisted from thoughts of all the bad things that could happen to him.

I learned a valuable lesson from this situation: this was, with a few exceptions, almost completely avoidable. A set of dog tags on the collar and an updated microchip would get him home from anyone kind enough to want to return him. That failure of responsibility cut deep. It wasn’t Kona’s fault; the blame rested squarely on my shoulders.

In the end, an announcement came over the speakers: “If anyone has lost a black Lab, he’s in the show office.” Ray and I raced to the show office.

Kona is back home now. I’m working on updating his microchip and looking at some nice leather collars with brass nameplates. I do think I’ll take the advice of pro trainer Sharon Potter and put “needs medication” on the plate along with my phone number, instead of, or in addition to his name. This message can help get your dog back faster because someone of dubious intent might not want a dog that needs regular medication and/or the concern for the dog’s health might cause them to reach out a little sooner.

Comments (8)

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from BigBrownDog wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

I thought he was headed back to NJ to play with Divot and friends. Brian - Glad to hear Kona was safe and sound. Good idea about the "needs medication" on the id tag and advice about keeping microchip info updated. - CG

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dustin-dogIDs wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Thanks Brian. I'll look out for you e-mail!

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from Tyler Mountain wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Thanks for the reminder. I have an old phone number and address on Whisky's chip. Calling today to change that.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Lynn wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

It was scary but we got him back, thanks much guys! Dustin, I looked up Dog ID's website and those are some nice-looking collars, with some interesting twists (i.e., the QR code on the collar). I'll shoot you an email and get your input on which you think is best. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

B

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from Montanagyrene wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Been there!! We have a German Shepherd cross that we SHOULD have named Houdini!! That dog can find an escape route that one would think a Chihuahua couldn't get out of. One day, we forgot and left the dogs in the back yard while we were gone for most of the day. When we got home, Rusty was gone. After REPEATED visits to the dog pound, Mrs Gyrene & I had ALMOST convinced Little Miss Gyrene that he wasn't coming back, when he showed up at my Brother's house several months later. I've gone around that back yard I don't know how MANY times, fixing holes he's found, only to have him find/dig ANOTHER one!! We'll keep him, because that's pretty much his only flaw, and he's the 1st pet Little Miss Gyrene ever had.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dustin-dogIDs wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Hi Brian,
Glad to hear you were able to find Kona safe and sound! We'd like to make sure nothing like this happens again. Would you be interested in a Free collar from dogIds.com? If so please contact me at dustin@dogids.com and I'll make sure we get Kona a new collar.

Our Scrufftag collars are great for any hunting dog!

Best,
Dustin

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from sangcoacc wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

RFID chips are great when the info is accurate and up to date. Thanks, Brian, for sharing the story and glad your situation had the right outcome. I work in animal control and I can tell you that far too many dogs are never reunited with their owners because they fail to utilize the various forms of ID available or they fail to update the info when it changes....

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Dang dogs are like kids, literally dog gone in a blink.
So glad you got him back.
Hunting dog theft is unusually high in my area. My turkey dog needs to roam wide and on those occasions when he isn't back when I think he should be; the old heart flutters with a bit a dread.
Are there any tracking GPS chips that are embeddable?
later,
charlie

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Dang dogs are like kids, literally dog gone in a blink.
So glad you got him back.
Hunting dog theft is unusually high in my area. My turkey dog needs to roam wide and on those occasions when he isn't back when I think he should be; the old heart flutters with a bit a dread.
Are there any tracking GPS chips that are embeddable?
later,
charlie

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from sangcoacc wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

RFID chips are great when the info is accurate and up to date. Thanks, Brian, for sharing the story and glad your situation had the right outcome. I work in animal control and I can tell you that far too many dogs are never reunited with their owners because they fail to utilize the various forms of ID available or they fail to update the info when it changes....

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dustin-dogIDs wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Hi Brian,
Glad to hear you were able to find Kona safe and sound! We'd like to make sure nothing like this happens again. Would you be interested in a Free collar from dogIds.com? If so please contact me at dustin@dogids.com and I'll make sure we get Kona a new collar.

Our Scrufftag collars are great for any hunting dog!

Best,
Dustin

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Montanagyrene wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Been there!! We have a German Shepherd cross that we SHOULD have named Houdini!! That dog can find an escape route that one would think a Chihuahua couldn't get out of. One day, we forgot and left the dogs in the back yard while we were gone for most of the day. When we got home, Rusty was gone. After REPEATED visits to the dog pound, Mrs Gyrene & I had ALMOST convinced Little Miss Gyrene that he wasn't coming back, when he showed up at my Brother's house several months later. I've gone around that back yard I don't know how MANY times, fixing holes he's found, only to have him find/dig ANOTHER one!! We'll keep him, because that's pretty much his only flaw, and he's the 1st pet Little Miss Gyrene ever had.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Lynn wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

It was scary but we got him back, thanks much guys! Dustin, I looked up Dog ID's website and those are some nice-looking collars, with some interesting twists (i.e., the QR code on the collar). I'll shoot you an email and get your input on which you think is best. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

B

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tyler Mountain wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Thanks for the reminder. I have an old phone number and address on Whisky's chip. Calling today to change that.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BigBrownDog wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

I thought he was headed back to NJ to play with Divot and friends. Brian - Glad to hear Kona was safe and sound. Good idea about the "needs medication" on the id tag and advice about keeping microchip info updated. - CG

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dustin-dogIDs wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Thanks Brian. I'll look out for you e-mail!

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