This morning a little white dog was running up westbound Highway 44.

She took the Sundial Bridge exit, ran around the Convention Center and eventually made it under the chainlink gate into the Rodeo Grounds. Multiple people stopped to call, whistle, and coax her. I got my friendly dog out to greet and try to lure her in but after a quick nose touch, she was on her way again. I have animal control's number programmed into my phone and an officer quickly arrived. We stalked, whistled, and held out treats. Nothing tempted her; she was running scared. So far as I know she is still running in the brush by the river.

Tonight I see on Facebook another lost dog with a very different story. He is relaxing on someone's backseat, looking relieved, with the caption "He came to a whistle and sat on command, loaded right up in my car, does anyone recognize him?"

The moral of the story is, make an effort to teach your dog to come to friendly strangers. It could save their life. Practice "call betweens" with various friends in your backyard-- a fun game to wear out your dog. Have the friend use a common beckon like "Here doggie! C'mere!" rather than your personal "come" cue and reward with a high-value food treat while touching the dog's head and neck. Teach your dog that the picture of someone crouched down, holding out a hand, is a safe and familiar thing. Some dogs will never like to be handled or get close to a stranger, especially when they're running scared, but making the picture familiar could lessen flight distance enough to corner and lasso the lost dog. 

I was also glad I had taken the time to program Animal Control's number into my phone. Here is that info:

Shasta County (530) 245-6065

Tehama County (530) 529-7900

Trinity County (530) 623-1370

Shasta Lake City (530) 275-7480 

City of Anderson (530) 378-6624

City of Redding (530) 241-2550

Chico (530) 891-2907

Oroville (530) 538-7409

Lake County (707) 263-0278

Siskiyou County (530) 841-4025