It’s a strange coincidence that, on both of the past two days, I’ve met random, ownerless dogs.
I came across the first halfway along my road: a cockerpoo which was terribly pleased to see me. Two lady walkers not far behind asked me if it was my dog or if I knew who it belonged to. I didn’t recognise the dog which had a harness but no name tag. So I took a photo and posted it on Facebook under ‘missing dog’ while the ladies walked on, hoping to catch up with the owner.
The very next day I was on the same stretch of road when another hairy mutt bounced up to me, tail wagging and apparently alone. This doggie, however, had a tag with a phone number and address, where I was due to walk past. Along with my new companion, we progressed, meeting some neighbours along the way who helped me return no 2 dog to its rightful owner. They told me that both dogs are serial escapees and are often found exploring the area unsupervised.
I was slightly horrified (in a Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells way) that the owners hadn’t, for one reason or another, dog-proofed their gardens sufficiently. Worse was that the first dog seemed to have no return address. I thought of how distraught I would be if my pet went missing and how much it could cost to get them back. Then I wondered – can you get missing pet insurance?
Of course you can! I assumed pet insurance was just for vet fees but most policies have some kind of safe return cover as standard. It tends to include money for advertising or rewards, or even replacement at market cost (what a horrible thought) if your dog is stolen or permanently lost.
Microchipping, which involves putting a computer chip with ownership details just under the skin, is also a solution, so long as the data is regularly updated. It's actually a legal requirement for dogs now. In the past, I’ve thought about this for Darling Son. Not for the Boy Wonder himself, he is surgically attached to his phone which serves a similar purpose, but for his games kit which regularly disappears into the vortex at school. If only his football boots were fluffy with a wet nose, we might see them back home more regularly.
TOP TIP: If you find a missing dog, call the local dog warden or take it to an animal shelter (but notify them in advance). You should call the police only if the dog is dangerous. And see our SMM guide to pet insurance here.