Hardy Plumbing
November 29, 2006

Shelter Stories

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Happy update: Spades, the senior black Lab mix, has a home. King, the Golden mix, sadly, is spending Thanksgiving in a kennel and not with a family. Don't forget him, or Summer, our other senior, a Shepherd mix who weighs 40 pounds. Older dogs make great pets. They're grateful and easy to manage.

Now let me tell you about Sweetie. (These dog names are a bit too cute for me.)

She's a spayed, female brindle-colored young Terrier mix. About a year old. She's been a shelter dog for far too long — since last June. Now you understand why I advocate spaying and neutering.

Sweetie was a stray. A throw-away dog. (You know. Dogs don't have feelings, right?) Sadly, people do this all the time to wonderful living breathing creatures that only want to give unconditional love and protect their owners. When RSVP first met her, Sweetie's coat was peeling off. That's right. Peeling off.

My own Jenny, another throw-away, had the same problem, but she was covered with ticks and had to be completely shaved. Eventually, Sweetie let volunteers brush her, and in no time, she began to shape up and look the way she should.

Her name comes from her great disposition. Like Kisses, the RSVP boxer-Pit mix that is also spending the holiday in a cage. Sweetie knows basic commands — sit-paw-down — and likes to play ball. She also lets you take the ball back — showing that she's not possessive. Strays often hate to give something they love back. They call it a guarding problem. Sweetie doesn't have that problem.

She had a home once but was not good with cats. RSVP recommends that Sweetie be in a home without another animal. (Mine have the same problem.) Four out of four. Shelter dogs usually aren't socialized early, if at all. Sweetie, however, gets along well with children and adults, which is most important, and she whines when she has to go out. Housebroken, too. Two real pluses in an adoption.

Volunteers say Sweetie likes to go "belly-up" and have her neck and stomach rubbed. Same as Kisses. Why are such potentially great dogs in such terrible situations? Because many people consider them as "objects," disposable items without feelings. Visit a shelter over the holidays. See the RSVP dogs. You'll learn a lot about love and the human cruelty that brought these dogs there.

For more information, please call RSVP at (617) 728-3524. I know it's holiday time but don't forget the animals. Remember, as I always say, we're all they have. Fifteen minutes of your time makes their day. And you'll feel so good giving them that little bit of time.

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