I have lived in my house for nearly four years now and three times, my dog has alerted me to strangers in our back yard. These strangers have been dogs, not people (thankfully). One of them belonged to the neighbor, whose adorable chocolate lab had been left outside for the weekend while his family went out of town. Side note: this dog is outside year-round and is hungry for attention. I have been tempted to find him a more suitable home - especially if he crashes through my fence again.
Twice, I have found dogs in my back yard that I had never seen before. The first time, they were boxers. They had collars, but no tags. I don't have a leash for a dog that size, and since they listened fairly well, I opened the gate and followed them as they made their way to another back yard. I never saw "missing dogs" posters, so either they weren't missed or they went home.
Yesterday, my dog barked to wake me. I knew I hadn't missed someone knocking on the door, so I checked the back door. Not one, but TWO schnauzers. By the time I got dressed (it was in the 20s with strong winds - too much for my pjs to handle), I only found one in the yard. He was calm and cold, so I invited him in.
this website, entered the code from the tag and learned his name was Luke Skywalker. FOR REALS. I shouted, "LUKE!" and he came running to me. Then, I called the number listed. His owner had no idea he and his sister were outside - they're inside dogs. I have no idea how they escaped their home, but I'm glad he had a tag that made it easy for me to find his home.
I am especially happy to have reunited them so easily. I have a tag on my dog (the cat is on his own - not that he has tried running outside since he clearly knows he has it good inside). The dog is micro-chipped. But I would be devastated if I came home and my dog was missing. I panic a little when he decides to run along with the UPS truck that he might dart out into the street. At least once a week I have to lecture him about walking behind me in the street (I think he does it just to get me to tell him to get back up on the sidewalk - wienerdogs are rebels, y'all).
I write this not to tell you about my crazy dog adventures, but to beg you pet owners to put some sort of ID on them. Whether it's your phone number (make it a cell in case you're away from home), a website or a microchip - anything will make it that much harder for the person who finds your pet to decide he/she could give it a better home. The relief you'll feel when someone lets you know that they have your pet is worth it.