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Your Dog Rescue Kit

You never know when someone will need your help.

You'll always be prepared for a canine emergency if you have a dog rescue kit. From first aid supplies to food, water and more, guest columnist Wendy Nan Rees lists the most important items needed for a rescue situation.

An Eventful Day

This is a heartwarming tale I just had to share, with a few tips to remind all of us the importance of keeping a few rescue items with us in the car at all times. Most of you know that I host a weekly radio show "Wendy's Animal Talk." What you may not know is that most of the time when I am doing my show, I am interviewing a guest in another state or country, and very often another time zone.

This Tuesday, I was lucky enough to interview my guest closer to home since Andi Brown, founder of Halo cat and dog food, was actually in Los Angeles. After we finished the radio show, I had the privilege of having lunch with Andi, which very rarely happens.

A Call for Help

As we were on the grand tour of Los Angeles, my cell phone rang. I was driving a stick shift in traffic and asked Andi to answer my phone. Andi just happened to be the perfect guest to help the person who was calling to ask for advice. Whatever you choose to call it, it is funny how life, fate or the powers-that-be come into play when you least expect it.

"Hello, Wendy's phone," Andi said.

"Hi, this is Bill, and I need help. I have found the most wonderful, frightened dog. I have been trying to get him/her off this highway in Palmdale for the last two hours. He will come to me and then run back to a safe distance. What do I do? I will not leave this dog to die in the road. He looks like he has been out here for quite a while; he is very thin and dirty with long hair and nails. He has no collar or tags. He is starving and has drunk all the water I had with me, which was almost a gallon."

Andi reassured Bill that everything was going to be okay, but that he needed to call someone closer to him (since we were about three hours away), and that person should bring him a hamburger (which is Andi's favorite bribe food for catching a rescue dog). His helper should also bring a collar with a leash or rope. Andi told Bill that he was doing the right thing, and most importantly to keep talking quietly and calmly to the dog by telling him, "I am here to help you. I am here to help feed you; to save your life. I will not let you die on this street. I will stay with you because I am as stubborn as you are doggie."

A Hero

How wonderful is Bill? He's now 2-1/2 hours into this journey, over three hours from home, and he was not about to quit on this dog. He hung up, called the client he had left a few hours ago, and asked for a McDonald's hamburger and a collar and leash. Within 20 minutes, both were in hand.

Within another 45 minutes, we received a wonderful call from Bill. He told us the new love of his life, now temporally called Palmdale, was stretched between the backseat and middle console of his car kissing his right cheek, and now tears were running down this grown man's face, which in turn had the two of us in tears of joy that a life had just been saved! The plan now was to find out if the dog was missing. Did he have a chip? Did someone lose him? Was he a runaway, or was this the unthinkable - was he a drop off?

A Happy Ending

Today Golden Joy, as he is known, has a loving home with Bill and his wife Susan and has been owned by them for eight days. He has been to the vet, now has a chip, a haircut and all his shots, and we found out that he has previous training. Now with a haircut, we find he is a lovely Labradoodle.

When Bill had stopped at the local vet in the area to leave pictures, he found out others had called about this dog for the past two weeks and had tried to catch him. Even the dogcatcher had been on the lookout for him, but Golden Joy had been on a mission, which I believe was waiting for Bill, and Bill was coming!

Assembling Your Dog Rescue Kit

These are things to keep in your car at all times in what I like to call my emergency box. Please note: this is a smaller box and not the same as my earthquake kit. I have always kept a small toolbox-type kit in my car at all times just in case something like what happened to Bill ever happened to me. I have to date rescued five dogs and one cat, all of which have been given back to their owners I'm happy to say. I've also been called so many times in my neighborhood that I couldn't give you a count. I feel proud that I have such a solid reputation in my neighborhood that they know to knock on my door if they don't know my phone number.

  • Begin with buying a plastic box with a locking, secure top. I like to use a tool-type box. It's not expensive, has shelves, moves easily and can be stored in a car. It's also made to withstand both hot and cold temperatures.
  • If you have an old leash and collar, put them in your toolbox. I have one collar in each size; small, medium and extra large. I have two leashes, and they are regular six foot nylon leads.
  • Go to a large drugstore and buy a travel first aid kit to keep in the box. This is great in case you mistakenly get bitten or the dog has a cut or needs a splint.
  • I keep a photocopy of my notes for making a splint and a few other first aid things that I know. Sometimes we can become nervous in a stressful situation, and it never hurts to have notes to look at.
  • Keep one medium-size bowl that will fit inside your box to use for water. A collapsible food bowl works well, and it's not too costly.
  • Add a towel, a blanket and some freeze-dried food from a camping store. It may not be a fresh hamburger, but it will work well in a pinch.
  • Purchase special water from the camping store that will keep for a longer time in extreme conditions. Don't forget to change it out from time to time.
  • Add a camera to take pictures, so you can put up signs.
  • A pad of paper and a pen can also come in handy.
  • Also keep the phone number of a vet that you know offers hours 24/7, so you can call him anytime to ask what to do. You might also want to keep on hand the number of a friend who knows a lot and will be happy to guide you through the process.

Saving a life is a wonderful feeling and a good deed. You are also quite possibly saving someone's best friend that maybe got out by mistake. Whatever the case may be, both owner and/or dog will be thankful forever and a day.

More Tips from Wendy

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Your Dog Rescue Kit