If you've ever seen a dog all alone with no owner in sight, you know the feeling that crawls into your chest. It's a feeling of wanting to help however you can not only to keep the dog safe, but to help reunite it with it's owner.

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My family was headed back home home from vacation and as we were traveling on Route 26 just outside of Vestal Center, we spotted a dog walking down the middle of the road. We pulled over, turned on our hazard light, and motioned for traffic to stop so we could move the sweet girl from the middle of the road to safety.

My husband put the dog in the front seat of our car with me while he walked door to door to ring doorbells and see if the dog belonged to anyone in the nearby vicinity. She didn't.

It was a hot day and the poor dog was panting so we knew we needed to get her cooled down. We stopped at the closest store and bought her a collar (she didn't have one) and leash (so we could walk her), some food, and some toys.

Once we got the dog home, we gave her food and water, a bath, and then lots of cuddles. We knew that someone somewhere was missing her and while my son and I loved on her, my husband got to work trying to find out who her owner was.

Many people are under the wrong impression that if you find a dog with no collar or tags, you can keep it with no questions asked. This is definitely not the case! As a matter of fact, most states have a law in place requiring people to make a formal report of a found dog. Using some of the methods below, we were able to reunite the dog with her owner just a few hours after finding her.

What To Do if You Find a Lost Dog

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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