October 25, 2006

Shelter Stories

(click for larger version)

This is a sad story, readers, which I hope will have a happy ending. Pooh is a medium-sized male, neutered, seven or eight year-old Yellow Lab-Shepherd mix. His owners moved and surrendered him. (Dogs are disposable items, right? Wrong.) He has a tattered left ear and is very gentle.

The first few weeks after he was surrendered, he didn't eat and lost weight, but since then, his appetite has picked up. He's still thin. The trauma these poor dogs endure at the hands of people that don't deserve them is awful. I seldom say this (except about the Golden Retriever mix, King, left tied to a vet's office door, who loves him, and has kept him alive), but Pooh breaks your heart.

He's so timid. He appears to have not been treated well. He cringes when you go to pet him and has a worried look on his face — like he's done something wrong. He looks so nervous, poor thing, but he's anxious to please and is learning commands well. Good news. He's in very good health and trusts the volunteers. First step.

Pooh's only issue is shyness. Trust and a loving owner who will reassure him that life can be fun and that people won't hurt you is the medicine he needs. Please call RSVP about Pooh at (631) 728-3524.

Lots of calls about our "junkyard dog," Kisses, the beautiful boxer mix who lived on a two-foot chain, but RSVP is screening all calls very carefully as they must. This dog needs the right owner. They all do. That's why RSVP is so careful.

Some lovely dogs are adopted by front people who then sell them to labs for testing or to fight. You can't be too careful. RSVP does follow ups to be sure that the animals are safe. This is hard work, readers, volunteering. You see the best and the worst. And the worst breaks your heart.

Tigger, the Golden Lab mix, is getting a lot of calls. None about my joy, Spades, a Black Lab mix, who's so smart and knows commands. I don't understand why no one checks him out. The volunteers love him. Summer, Trevor, the great dog living at the farm, and now King again, are still waiting. Same thing with Sheba, who needs a home without other animals. She's the small dog with the great face who I featured a few weeks ago.

We had King's and Sheba's behavior tested by a famous board-certified behaviorist and I'll tell you more about what he said in another column. All positive — things that can be corrected. You'll learn a lot about animals from this column. Poopsie, the Great Dane mix, has had a successful adoption. Scoobie, our young dog from last week, has had many calls. A home without other animals would be best for her.

As colder weather comes on, RSVP needs dedicated volunteers. Come visit these wonderful animals and get to know them. They need you to help them get adopted. Socialization is a must.

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