November 22, 2006

Shelter Stories


Let's start with the good news. Holly the cat, whose young owner was sick and couldn't be around animals, is in a wonderful new home, as is Spades, our dog of last week, the black Lab mix with the smiling face. Received some calls about King, the Golden mix, and Kisses, the Boxer Pit mix who has as many fans as King, but they weren't right for these dogs. These dogs need quiet homes, a loving family with older children and a place to run — a fenced-in yard preferably. Don't forget them; I won't let you.

Now, let me tell you about Bugsy. He's a young, beautiful male brindle Pit mix, who weighs about 50 pounds. A stray, Bugsy was found in Riverhead. He's been at the Riverhead Shelter for two months and that's too long for this great dog. My heart goes out to him and the others there, spending long days in small kennels, with minimal interaction with people. The one constant is boredom. The highlight of their day is their meal. Nice, eh?

Volunteers can only spend a short time with these dogs because of sheer volume, so if it rains or someone can't make it, the dogs are out of luck. This is the plight of the shelter dog you don't hear about. A canine tragedy that's swept under the rug.

It's especially tough for Pit mixes. I have one. Daisy. When I give a party, she's the dog I let mingle with the people just to show people there are wonderful Pits out there. The bad ones had bad owners and ruined the reputation of this noble breed for the good ones like Bugsy and Kisses. A dog column in the New York Post every Sunday has done a great job of educating people about these misunderstood dogs as I will try to do in the coming weeks. It's so wrong what's happened to the reputation of this breed.

Please keep an open mind. I wouldn't recommend a dog I didn't trust.

Despite this sad scenario, Bugsy knows basic commands and walks well on a leash. He loves to jump in the air for a ball. He also returns balls and drops the ball at your feet. His favorite game is tug-of-war with the rope toy.

Because he's strong he should be in a home with older children. He's loving, affectionate and gives kisses, like the Boxer mix at Riverhead Hospital, Kisses, who was saved by the police and the Humane Society she was so exceptional. Lots of calls on her but RSVP wants the right owner. Same with Bugsy. Visit him. See for yourself. Get past the kennel barking, and give him a chance.

Bugsy is not good with cats. Neither is my 20-year-old, Mr. Ben. That's the way it is.

For more information, please call RSVP at (631) 728-3524. Ask to be a volunteer. These dogs are so alone in the world. We're all they have.

Last week we showed you a picture of King instead of Summer, a small senior citizen who thinks she's a pup. Seniors and Pit mixes are the hardest dogs to place and the most grateful to have homes and people to love. They make great canine citizens.

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