Last week, I mentioned the lost dogs running free up here in Strawberry after the thunderstorms of Fourth of July weekend.
Two were found right away. The third dog had been seen, somewhat like a phantom dog, appearing throughout the week. Many had seen him. Some tried to get close to him and tried to find the owner.
Originally, he had a collar and dragged a red leash but that disappeared after a few days. There were no signs posted for a missing dog.
No one called the Payson Humane Society or Gila County Animal Control to report a missing pet.
Knowing that this dog could not continue running loose, we contacted Gila County Animal Control. Officer Forest Miller, on hearing that this dog had been running loose up here for a week, said he would come up with a trap.
He set the trap near where I had been leaving food and water. From my office window, I could see the trap.
Within the hour, the dog was in the trap.
He was rather unhappy at first, frustrated because the opening he had just come through had disappeared. But soon he settled down and other than occasional cries, he was quite calm.
The trap is large, longer than the average large dog kennel and certainly very humane. The dog walks in far enough to reach the food that is so tempting and steps on the plate that closes the door behind him.
Once the dog was in the trap, I called Officer Miller on his cell phone.
He was down in Gisela, but said he would head up right away.
I walked up to take a closer look.
The dog was quite calm as I talked to him. It was almost like he knew he was now safe.
Officer Miller, though fairly new to his job, is experienced with dogs and definitely knew what he was doing. First he opened the door to the cage on the back of his truck and set up a ramp leading to it. Approaching the trapped dog, he talked with him and looked him over.
Opening a narrow door on the front of the trap, Officer Miller slowly put the pole with the noose on the end inside and secured it safely around the dog's neck.
Then he opened the larger front door and let the dog walk out under the control of the noose and the pole.
Once outside, the dog reacted like a wild stallion -- rearing up, trying to bolt -- but he never showed any aggression toward Miller.
Miller talked to him constantly in a calm voice. As he settled a bit, Miller began leading him to the truck. The trip to the truck was slow, but Miller did not rush him.
Once on the ramp, the dog decided he would rather just lie down.
With some gentle urging, the dog moved up the ramp and into the cage. Once in the cage, he just seemed to relax. It was amazing to see the change from trapped dog to wild dog to subdued dog.
The dog was taken to the Payson Humane Society where he was immediately checked for a microchip. And naturally, there was lots of paperwork.
Officer Miller called me back later to say there was no microchip.
This dog would be held for three days to see if he is claimed by his owner. If not claimed, he becomes the property of the Payson Humane Society and will be neutered, given all his shots and put up for adoption.
He is a sweet boy who endured a lot in just a few days. How frightening for him.
Somebody must be missing this dog.
If you lose your dog or cat, or if you find a pet, call either Gila County Animal Control or Payson Animal Control. This is the clearinghouse for missing pets. And call often.
Also, post notices everywhere.
Don't allow your pet to wander loose in a strange place. Make sure your pet has a rabies tag, a license and an ID tag. And, get your pet microchipped.
I just checked with the Payson Humane Society. This dog has not been claimed. He will soon be available for adoption.
-- Christy Powers can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by snail mail at HC1Box 210, Strawberry AZ 85544.