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JoAnna Lou
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Almost Missed Connection
Shelter nearly didn't reunite a family and their pup.

A Maryland shelter missed two opportunities to reunite a family with their pup, nearly resulting in the dog being euthanized. Last month, the Turner family was devastated when their dog, Shayla, escaped from their Owings Mills, Maryland backyard and search efforts and calls to local animal shelters were unsuccessful.

Determined to find Shayla, Helen Turner, made a last ditch effort and posted a picture of Shayla on Facebook. She asked friends to spread the word and just one day later, someone contacted Helen with a photo of a dog that looked like Shayla at the Baltimore County shelter--one of the facilities she called several times.

Helen immediately went to the shelter with the picture from Facebook, but was told the dog wasn't there. Fortunately Helen decided to check for herself, and found Shayla within minutes of entering the kennel area. When signing Shayla's release papers, Helen noticed that Shayla would've been euthanized in four days if they hadn't found her.

Shayla is microchipped and has a spay tattoo from another local shelter, so besides the near miss during Helen's visit, the family should have been contacted when the microchip was scanned.

According to the Baltimore County Health Department, which oversees the shelter, their process is to scan all dogs once in the field, and then again during the veterinary exam. But sometimes microchips are missed.

Thank goodness Helen found Shayla before this story could have taken a tragic turn. The reality is, city shelters are swamped and microchips fail. Shayla's story is an important reminder to be as persistent as possible if your pet is lost. Put up posters, call local veterinarians, and visit shelters in person to double check for yourself. So happy that Shayla is now back at home, safe and sound!

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Screenshot from WBALTV.

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