Have you ever been driving down the road and noticed a stray animal wandering around by itself? Perhaps your heart sank a little bit because you wanted to help, but you weren’t sure what was the best way to handle the situation. After all, if that was your dog by the side of the road, you would want someone to take time out of their day to help find its rightful owner. In case you aren’t sure what to do in a situation like this, here are some tips to help keep you and the animal safe and sound.
Prioritize Your Own Safety
Don’t get into an accident trying to navigate traffic to reach the animal, or get run over by a car trying to chase after it. Pull your car over to a location that is somewhere out of the flow of traffic. Set your parking brake, turn on your hazard lights, and turn off the ignition.
Observe the Animal’s Behavior
Before luring the animal into your car, pay attention to their behavior. When you approach them, do they seem aggressive toward you in any way? If so, it may be a better idea to go ahead and call animal control instead of risking getting bitten or scratched trying to get them inside of your vehicle.
Check for Identification
Try to safely lure the pet into your vehicle, using food if you have some. See if the animal has a tag affixed to its collar. If so, you might choose to try to contact the owner. If not, contact your local animal control agency to come and pick them up.
Taking the Animal Home With You
Keep in mind that you still need to try and locate the former owner first. Calling your local animal shelter is still the right thing to do, as the owners of the pet may have contacted them already to look for the pet. Consider placing an ad in your local newspaper that you have found the animal to give the owners a fair shot at finding them.
Giving the Pet a Forever Home
Keep in mind that your roadside rescue is going to need to visit the veterinarian. Its health will need to be checked out, and it may need vaccinations before it can safely be around your other pets. After it has been checked out and you feel comfortable with the way it behaves around your family, try not to become too attached as the pet’s owners may still be frantically searching for it. Have a flexible attitude when it comes to your new family member and things will work out just as they should.