January 31, 2007

Shelter Stories

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The Cruelest Month

January is the cruelest month for dogs needing homes. Frigid temperatures don't tempt volunteers to venture out and walk these poor animals in the snow and rain — walks they desperately need to reduce stress. And so they sit in their kennels, listening to endless barking, waiting for the one meal, which is the highlight of their day. Big time boring. Please call R.S.V.P. at (631) 728-3524 and offer to volunteer. You'll feel so good afterwards. Being thrown out of your home is traumatic enough for these poor creatures, readers, so find some time to see the dogs. I'll tell you about them again now.

Tigger, a seven-year-old yellow Lab mix, is in foster care on a farm. I can't understand why no one goes to see him. He's a great guy. And then there's Summer, a seven-year-old female Beagle mix, also on a farm. Both Tigger and Summer have no issues and are "walk out the door" dogs.

Bugsy was taken out of a shelter by R.S.V.P. and is loved by all the volunteers. He is young, smart and knows all the basic commands. Handsome, too. Because of his playfulness, he'd work out best in a family with children over 10. Tug of war is his favorite game. And he gives kisses, as does Kisses, our lovely Boxer mix. A lot of the wrong people want Kisses so we're extra careful about the screening process. Like Lady, a young Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. Lady is a great family dog but she needs to be top dog. Lady likes children and cats but not other dogs. And she's so smart she goes to the back door to let you know when she has to go out.

As I've said before, dogs with Pit in them are exceptionally smart and learn quickly, but there are many bad people out there who want them for the wrong reasons or won't adopt them out of fear and ignorance. If ever there was a canine tragedy it's what happened to this breed because of their intelligence and strength.

And then there's Sweetie, a young Terrier mix who's been at Riverhead Shelter too long. Volunteers and kennel attendants have transformed this hard luck dog with lots of tender loving care. She is friendly, affectionate and gets along well with children but not other dogs. Sweetie lets you know she has to go out by whining. (Young children should be so smart.) She got her name because of her great disposition.

Last but not least there's Trevor. Trevor was a stray — a longhaired Shepherd mix. Why no one has taken him, I don't know. Fortunately, R.S.V.P. received a call from a kind-hearted, generous man with a farm who read about Trevor's plight in The Independent. He was concerned about Trevor's hardscrabble start and wanted to help.

Trevor left the shelter where he faced euthanasia and now lives on this man's farm in his own stall with other farm animals. He loves horses and gives them kisses, no less. His behavior with other dogs has improved as a result of his unique lifestyle and peace and quiet, away from endless barking. But it's time for Trevor to have his own home and a family to love. Please don't forget him or any of the dogs I've told you about.

We've had many adoptions, most recently the Lab Parto and the senior Cocker Spaniel Teddy. But the dogs I just wrote about need to be remembered and seen. Make time.

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