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Adopted Dogs: Little Stories of Hope

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Sometimes it can be difficult to volunteer at an animal shelter. The animal shelter is the place where you hear sad stories of pets who lost their home when their owner died or became disabled, or where they were given up because the couple had recently had a baby and their dog became more work than they could handle, or the cat was given up because it became ill or needed medication. If you’ve worked in a rescue organization or in an animal shelter, then you know what I mean.

But, every once in a while a story comes along that lights up your day and leaves you with a smile on your face, and if the story is really touching, it brings tears to your eyes. Today was just such a day.

Two very special dogs that we have had at our shelter recently found new homes and today many of us volunteers got not one, but two, e-mails giving us an update on their progress. I couldn’t help but share the joy.

The first dog, a Beagle, came to us so massively overweight that he could barely walk across the parking lot. The owner hadn’t been able to walk him due to a disability, and so she fed him lots and lots of treats instead. When he came to us, Bear (name changed for privacy purposes) was clearly miserable and he had a hard time moving his body. The poor boy was so sweet that he was an instant hit with the staff and volunteers. Everyone worked with him and walked him slowly around the property so he could work his way up to a longer walk. We all worried that potential adopters wouldn’t see the beauty that lay within this sweet boy. Well, today we found out that Bear has not only lost weight, but he is very close to making a 3/4 mile walk down to his new owner’s mailbox in the morning! A very big accomplishment indeed! In his new home, Bear enjoys walks along the country fields and roads where he now lives (could there be a more perfect place for a Beagle?) and he is starting to climb snowdrifts. According to his new owner, he actually started to run the other day! To see what Bear looked like when he came to us and know that he is well on his way to enjoying the rest of his life with some very loving and dedicated parents was enough to bring tears to our eyes. Bear is one very lucky boy!

The second e-mail update came from the new owner of one our very special dogs that stayed with us for a very long time. Ralph (name changed for privacy purposes), is a high-energy Springer Spaniel, who just needed some additional training and someone very special who could continue to work with him and exercise him on a regular basis. Back in November, Ralph had been adopted only to be returned when the family realized they couldn’t handle his high-energy needs. As you can imagine, it was very disheartening to all of us to see him come back again. No one wanted him to go to another home unless it was a very good match. Lucky for Ralph, his special family was out there, ready and waiting for him. He got adopted by a family with children. The e-mail shared all the wonderful news of how well he has fit into their family and how he goes on daily walks and is already enrolled in a canine training class. It even shared some of his obedience successes! It appears Ralph is even more affectionate with the kids than their last dog. And he is showing some promise as a hunting dog! The e-mail ended with the phrase “We cannot understand why the family in November returned (Ralph), but we’re sure glad they did!” That one phrase brought tears to my eyes.

Yes. It can be hard to volunteer at an animal shelter, but once in a while the good stories make up for it all. I hope that more people choose to adopt a cat or dog and add to the list of good stories. I promise you, those are the ones we want to hear anyways.

Ocean + Sharks + Island + 4 months = One Amazing Dog

April 8, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve been coming up a bit dry in the blogging department this past week. When I mentioned this to friends on Facebook they responded with a few topic suggestions.

This one (Thanks Kakie!) struck my fancy because it is a perfect example of the things we can learn from our dogs – if we just pay attention.
Things like…

Perseverance
Never giving up or in
Dedication
Loyalty
Adjusting to a changing environment (i.e., flexibility)
The importance of family
Love

What messages do you see in this story?

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