This coming Fourth of July, while celebratory, is also the time of year that many dogs go missing.

According to Gordon Willard, the executive director for the Connecticut Humane Society, it’s because dogs are affected by fireworks.  

“They get nervous, freak out, and run away in any direction — away from the sound,” he said.

According to Willard, 53% of the dogs that run away are not returned to their owner.  

“Get identification on a collar and keep the collar on the dog at all times so that a Good Samaritan and/or animal control can connect with you,” he advises.   

I am that Good Samaritan.  

I’ve risked my life to save several dogs.

I say “risked my life” because as Willard cautions: “When a dog is highly stressed and frightened out of its mind, it’s behavior can be very unpredictable.”  

Two weeks ago, I was pulling into my driveway when a big black dog was nearly hit by the fast moving cars turning onto my street.   

I jumped out of the car, grabbed some saltine crackers from the glove compartment, and lured the dog into my finished basement where I knew he’d be safe and comfortable.  I cautiously examined his collar, but there was no tag or identification of any kind.    

After calling Trumbull Animal control and getting a recording, I dialed 911. The police said the control officer was out on a call and would come as soon as she could.  Upon arriving, she put a leash around his neck and placed him in her vehicle.  

So what did I do during the time that I was waiting for her to show up? I stood at the edge of the curb and waved down passing cars, hoping that the owner was out looking for the dog.  Even in this world where people are understandably cautious, everyone stopped.   

Two women that I flagged down said, “It’s not our dog but we’re going to visit “________” and she knows everyone.”   

Ten minutes later, one of my neighbors pulled into my driveway.

“Is it your dog?” I asked incredulously?   

“No,” she answered, but turned her head to the teenager in the passenger seat. “It’s her dog.”

They both look surprised when I said I had called animal control and no longer had the dog.  Feeling I had to justify my actions, I told them: “The dog almost got hit by a car. He had no tags so I didn’t know where he lived.” I did not recount that in corralling the dog I had slipped and cut my knee on the driveway.  

They left to retrieve the dog.   

As the days went by I thought that the dog’s family who lives a few blocks away would thank me.  A note, a phone call, something. But not a word.  

Willard says, “Owners need to thank any Good Samaritan or animal control officer that helps an animal.”

In the event that the next dog I rescue is yours, please make sure your dog has a collar with clear identification.  

And while implanted microchips are helpful, Willard says, “It’s an added step because you have to bring the dog somewhere to scan the chip.”

This Fourth of July and every day after that, please protect your dog. Please make sure that if and when he goes missing, someone like me will be able to help him.   

Trumbull resident Phyllis Pierce submitted this piece to The Times.