A dog left alone in an unfamiliar place, wondering where his owner is going — it’s a scene Pippa Jackson unfortunately knows too well.
Jackson is the founder of and executive director of Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi (ARF), one the state’s largest no-kill animal shelters. She started the shelter in 2005 to help the countless animals affected by Hurricane Katrina. Today, one specific dog is keeping her up at night.
A young canine was recently left outside of ARF’s entrance by an individual — a regular occurrence for the shelter. But unlike most animal abandonment cases Jackson and her staff handle, this dog wasn’t left in a box or carrier, but pushed out of car and left in the parking lot, causing it to frantically chase after its former owner.
Jackson discovered this heartbreaking event occurred after checking her shelter’s security footage in hopes of finding information on two different abandoned dogs that were both left at the shelter’s gates shivering and crammed into a carrier “too small” to comfortably hold both pets, she told PEOPLE. Combing through the security footage, hoping to find who left behind these two dogs, Jackson found the clip of a dog being dumped from the car.
After working in the animal rescue world for more than 14 years, Jackson is often understanding when it comes to owners who choose to surrender their animals.
“We are not here to chastise people,” Jackson told PEOPLE. “Life happens. We don’t want to make a difficult decision more difficult.”
What make this case different for the ARF’s founder is the lack of regard the individual had for the animal’s safety. According to Jackson, the full footage of the incident shows the person with the dog parking at the shelter during business hours, walking up to the front door alone, but instead of knocking at the door, or talking to someone inside, returning to the car, pushing the dog out and driving off.
“They almost ran over the dog when they were backing out,” Jackson said, adding that the person who left the dog could’ve placed the dog in one of the crates or pens outside instead of leaving the animal out in the open parking lot.
After being removed from the car, the dog chased after the vehicle, likely thinking this was a “fun game,” added Jackson.
“There is no way the driver didn’t see them.”
After following the vehicle out of the parking lot and losing it on the road, the dog, Jackson said, began to run around between the shelter and business across the street before disappearing from view. The dog is still missing.
Jackson and her team have been looking for the abandoned dog ever since seeing the footage. Volunteers are searching the surrounding area, increasing their range by one mile each day the dog stays missing, and Jackson has set up humane traps in the woods near the shelter in case the canine decided to hide out there.
“When dogs are discarded they generally stay in the same area waiting for their owners to come back,” Jackson said. “But this dog appears to be young and may not have those survival skills.”
The animal lover hopes the increased news coverage of the dog’s situation leads to the animal being found, so ARF can work on finding the pet a loving home.
For those out there who might be struggling with providing for their pets and are thinking of surrendering their furry family members, Jackson suggests talking to a no-kill shelter in the area. She said that many shelters, like her own, will help owners with pet food and medical costs, or, if necessary, help find animals new homes.
“That’s the business we are in, the business of help,” Jackson said.
To support ARF, a non-profit that depends on donations, visit the organization’s website.