For the second time in two years, an abandoned dog was found at the Destin dog park.
The puppy was wearing a pink collar and was discovered by a city employee around 6 a.m. Monday morning.
“We think maybe she ran away and somebody found her and put her in the dog park,” said city employee Barbara Telford.
The dog was taken to the Airport Road Animal Clinic and examined by Dr. Misha Ratcliff, determined the female dog was about 3 or 4 years old and was in heat.
“After we found out the dog was in heat, we thought ‘Oh my God, someone opened the door and she just ran,’” Telford said. “She’s definitely a runner because as soon as they opened the gate to the dog park, she dashed across the street and they had to track her down.”
Telford posted about the found puppy on the Friends of the Destin Dog Park Facebook page and it soon went viral.
Hundreds of concerned citizens commented on and shared the post, many of them volunteering to foster or adopt the dog if no one stepped forward to claim her.
After another dog was found in the dog park last year, the family came forward after a Facebook post about it went viral. Because of that, Telford said they’re waiting seven days before they let the dog become adopted.
“The first priority is making sure, if there is a family, that they’re found,” she said. “Knowing what happened last year, we didn’t want to just take the puppy and let someone adopt her in case someone is looking for her.”
So far, no one has stepped up to claim her but in the meantime, the pup is spending the waiting period at the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society.
Telford said she believed people are hesitant to take dogs to PAWS because “we all know what may happen if they aren’t adopted,” so she understands why people decide to leave dogs at the dog park. But she wants to encourage citizens to take the animal to the vet and discuss different options or utilize social media to find them a new home.
“Their heart was in the right place,” Telford said.
But this story will have a happy ending, even if a family doesn’t come forward to claim the dog.
“We have a new family that has been calling every day to check up on her,” Telford said.