You Can’t Catch a Stray—You Can Coax It


If you see a loose dog that you’d like to help but the dog is afraid and keeps moving away from you as you try to approach, you will not be able to catch it. A dog can run close to 30 miles an hour; a person, closer to 8 miles an hour.

Better to try to coax the animal with treats, or perhaps some water in a bowl that you keep in the car for just such an emergency. If he approaches and your soothing talk makes him calm enough to let you touch him, you can check for ID and put a leash on him that you keep in the trunk. If he doesn’t approach despite your offerings and cooing entreaties, call the animal control officer or the police — whichever deals with animal rescue in your area. Then try to keep an eye on the dog until help arrives.

With the help of good samaritans, more than 100,000 lost dogs are returned to their owners each year, and almost 200,000 are adopted.


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