To Catch A Dog

This post is a continuation of an earlier thread that actually began about a year ago.

Sugar was feeding a dog on his postal route.  She looked like she could have been a hunting dog that got lost, perhaps, and delivered a litter of pups in a rural neighborhood.  The dogs were living in a culvert at an abandoned house.

He has not seen the mother dog in months, but one of the puppies has stayed in the general area.  We’ve gone over and over a plan for catching her before she becomes a mother herself, and we couldn’t hatch a viable plan.  What to do with her when we catch her?  Where to keep her?  Will she go to the shelter?  Will she even be adoptable?  Will the shelter perhaps put her down?  When can we possibly make all this happen?  The variables were too great and too many, so he just continued to feed the dog by putting food out on the roadside, not knowing if she was going to eat the food before the wildlife got to it.

He came up with the most recent plan out of concern for her health.  We’ll take the ancient trap, set it, go off for a bit, and then come back and remove the trap whether she’s in it or not.

We found her lying in the sun enjoying the warmth, or at least that was what we hoped she was doing, because she was laid out on her side like she was dead.  She didn’t move when we pulled the van in the abandoned driveway and got out the trap.  She still didn’t move when we moved the trap under the trees and set it up.

Suddenly she jumped up and ran off like she was completely spooked.

Empty house beyond. The dog just lives in the neighborhood, mostly in the front yard of this house.

Then Sugar baited the trap with some canned food, and we left her, in hopes that she would go into the trap, because canned food is irresistible to most dogs.  To most dogs, except this one, at this particular moment.

Fearful, fearful.

We left her for about 20 minutes, mostly as a test to see it she would go in the trap.  We drove out of the neighborhood entirely.  When we returned, she was close to the trap but completely ignoring the food.  We reloaded the trap into the van, trying to be quick and cautious because people were out and about and we didn’t want to draw any undue attention to what we were doing.  But really?  White folks in a mostly black neighborhood trying to trap a wild dog?  It’s a pretty tolerant neighborhood if they tolerate this dog living there.  No one has shot at her or tried to harm her, and it appears that some folks might be putting out food for her.

So we’ll try again another day, and we hope that day comes before there’s another litter of pups in the culvert…

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3 Responses to “To Catch A Dog”

  1. leo Says:

    I’m wondering if leaving the food outside but near the cage for a day or two, and slowly moving the two closer together before actually putting the food within might work?


    • ruthrawls Says:

      Leo, that makes sense, but the sheer logistics of the situation confounds the matter. The location is at least 30 minutes from where we live, so it’s not like he/we could set the trap, go away for a bit, and come back. He’s at work, I’m at work. The weather comes into play when setting the trap – it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s raining, it’s too dark, etc.
      He’s concerned that someone will contact his supervisor and complain that he’s feeding a dog. People get quirky about stuff. They could complain that he’s leaving food out and it’s drawing ants, flies, what-have-you, or that he’s sticking his nose into somebody else’s business. Then there’s the problem that this is a really poor area in general, not just this neighborhood, and there’s a thriving metal reclamation business. The trap could be stolen and sold for the metal.
      So we just can’t leave it sitting there. He tried again yesterday when I was at work. No luck.


  2. To Catch A Dog, Part 2, Or Perhaps Part 3 « Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] time passed, and he didn’t see the mother any more, only the puppy, who was rapidly becoming a young woman.  We tried to trap her, but she was trap-wary. Then he saw the grown-up puppy with puppies of her […]


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