Last weekend I was taking care of a very sweet gentle dog while his person was away. I did overnight stays with him in addition to mid day walks. Monday morning we woke up at 5:30am. Brushed my teeth, got dressed, got D in his harness and we left the apartment to go for a walk. As we entered the lobby I heard a dog barking. Next thing I knew there was a small white dog running into the lobby from the other side of the building. He was wearing a beautiful green sweater. I stood there expecting to see his person following behind.
He started to run back to where he had come from but kept looking over his shoulder to see if I was following him. D and I followed the little guy into an alcove that led to three apartments. He stood in front of one door barking. The woman who lives next door and also has a dog came out of her apartment. She said he must have been running loose all night because she also heard his barking.
She said his person loved him and would never let him loose so something must be wrong. We went to the 4th floor where she thought he lived. The dog went to the same apartment door on that line of apartments. We knocked and knocked, the dog barked and barked. No answer.
She advised me to call 911 because her phone was in her apartment. I did. I explained the situation and 5 minutes later the fire department along with an EMS truck arrived. We all stood there knocking. I went to get the super who did not know who the dog belonged too and did not have keys to the apartment. I told him the firemen were going to break down the door.
I took D out for a quick pit stop.
When I came back in the fireman were leaving. Turns out the man lived in the apartment below. Long story short, he came home from work after working a double shift. He took the trash out down the hall. The dog ran out. When he went back into the apartment he assumed the dog was there, sat down in his lazy boy and fell asleep. He woke up to loud banging on his door. Standing at his door was his neighbor, the fireman, the EMS people and his dog. He was shocked to say the least.
The woman who was helping told me this. She had adopted her dog from a rescue. The dog had been alone in his apartment with his previous person, who died, for over a week. Based on how well this dog was taken care of and previous health issues the person had, she thought the worst case scenario and that we should call 911. And so did I.
A couple of things I learned from this.
1/ Know your neighbors. You don’t need to be friends but know who lives next door to you.
2/ Your dog should always wear a collar with id tags. You can obtain a dog license through The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. $8.50 per year for spayed and neutered dogs or $34 per year for non-spayed or neutered dogs.
4/ Resources for locating a lost pet or helping a pet you have found. Mayors’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals partners with the ASPCA and Animal Care Centers of NYC. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene offer suggestions too.
5/ Even if you think you won’t run into anyone at 5:30am, you just might–be presentable.