David Guindon rejoiced upon learning that his missing service dog, Zeus, had been found.
Trying to get Zeus back has broken his heart.
Two years had passed since Zeus, a Siberian husky trained to do everything from open doors to turn on lights, got loose from Guindon's home in San Bernardino. At the time, Guindon plastered his neighborhood with signs and even hired a pet detective to sleuth him out. Details about how Zeus went missing are unclear.
Since losing Zeus, Guindon has been training Zero, another husky, to assist him with the activities of daily living. Guindon loves Zero, but getting him to do the tasks which Zeus had so readily performed has been challenging.
Guindon had practically given up hope until the company that microchipped Zeus called him a few weeks ago. Somehow, Zeus made his way from San Bernardino to Lake Elsinor, about 40 miles away.
A woman in the sleepy, lakeside community had been trying to register the dog as her own. Guindon has spoken to the woman by phone, describing the special role Zeus had in his life. However, the woman has reportedly refused to give Zeus back, claiming he has bonded with her autistic son. Local law enforcement is getting involved in the case.
Guindon has an iron-clad argument for Zeus’ return. Zeus is a registered service dog who was microchipped - and loved beyond measure. Upon finding a lost pet, any responsible person would have taken the necessary steps to determine whether he or she belonged to a family.
By not taking these steps, the woman from Lake Elsinore has violated California law AND betrayed three lives. Without his beloved Zeus, Guindon bumps along like a ship without a rudder and his heart aches. When authorities almost certainly come to claim Zeus, the woman’s autistic son may incur irreparable damage to his psyche and spirit. And Zeus may find himself confused and bewildered, having twice been torn from lives to whom he has bonded.
We can’t always rely on others to do the right thing. But we can pilot our own conscience and take actions to keep our’s and everyone’s family intact:
- Always keep a collar on our pet and attach metal ID tags engraved with WORKING phone numbers.
- Check leash leads for wear and/or failing clasps, replace as needed.
- Scan our homes for possible modes of escape. Torn screens and unlatched gates are open invitations for a pet to bolt if spooked.
- Are our yards properly enclosed? A three-foot-high fence will not contain an athletic jumper dying to explore the neighborhood - or keep a determined pet thief out.
- Can our dog(s) be “called off” from chasing after a person or another pet? This is an essential skill, especially in any outdoor leash-free zone.
- Get our pet microchipped and ensure that contact information is updated as addresses and phone numbers change.
- Remember, a microchip is NOT a GPS or other tracking system! To be functional, it MUST BE REGISTERED.
- Reliable GPS systems are available to help track our pet’s whereabouts.
- We all need to be responsible and bring found pets to an animal-care facility or vet with a scanner.
For pets lost and found, the only way to “win” is to give back.
Check for updates about Zeus at Lost and Found Husky Paws in SoCal.