herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

When the dog went missing

It's the moment that every owner dreads, when suddenly there's no sign of that animal and hallowe'en is an especially scary time for sensitive pets

John EAkin took Morgan on from a rescue centre. The dog must have been traumatised when he was young, and he has never been the relaxed type; he's a restless, nervous dog. He enjoys John's company but he doesn't like to be "crowded". It wasn't even possible to persuade him to pose beside John for long enough to have their photo taken together.

If he's in the house and there's any sudden noise, such as a door bell or telephone, he'll jump up and run to the far side of the room.

When there are visitors, Morgan prefers to be outside in the garden, well out of the way of any unfamiliar people.

He's the perfect watch dog, barking loudly in an agitated way to alert John whenever there's any unusual activity.

John has a large garden and Morgan enjoys spending time in it. Last week, John went out for the evening, leaving the dog in the garden as usual. It's well fenced in and there's a secure front gate, so he didn't expect any problems.

But when he came home, for the first time ever, Morgan had gone missing. The gate was closed and there was no sign of any other unusual activity, but Morgan wasn't there.

It was late in the evening, but John searched for Morgan as best he could in the dark. He checked the garden first; could Morgan have collapsed somewhere? But there was no sign. Then he walked around the local housing estates, but to no avail.

In the build up to Hallowe'en, fireworks were being set off at regular intervals, with bangs, squeals and whooshes of rockets, firecrackers and bangers.

Morgan always reacted nervously to these, even when he was indoors. If someone had let a firework off close to Morgan (eg thrown one over the wall into the garden), the dog would have panicked, and he'd have been able to leap over any gate in his terror. John left the garden gate open overnight in the hope that Morgan might come home on his own, but there was no sign of him the following morning.

The dog was microchipped and he was wearing a collar and tag, but there was still no guarantee he would be found and safely returned.

John started the process of putting the word out that he'd lost his dog. He contacted the local dog pound, he set up an advert in the Lost section of the Herald classified adverts, and he posted Morgan's details (and a photo) on www. irishanimals.com and www.lostandfoundpets.ie.

He also phoned around local vet clinics in case Morgan had been injured and taken to the vet.

This did produce some useful information -- that morning, a vet nurse from one clinic had seen a frightened greyhound-type running along the pavement, not far from John's house.

He went to bed that night dispirited, but again leaving the gate open in case Morgan found his way home.

The following morning there was a happy surprise at the back door. Morgan had come home. He was tired and hungry, but otherwise healthy.

John has since changed his routine; if he goes away from home for more than a few minutes, Morgan is confined indoors, with a radio on beside him. One "escaped dog" saga is more than enough.

Visit Pete's webite at www.petethevet.com

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