This month (May) a special documentary will be airing on several PBS stations around the country. The movie, Shelter Me, is hosted by actress and animal advocate, Katherine Heigel, and focuses on the success stories of several shelter pets after they are adopted.
Episode one shows how shelter pets are helping returning war veterans cope with PTSD.
Episode two goes inside a women’s prison to show how inmates are training shelter dogs to become service animals for people with disabilities.
And lastly, episode three features the journey of two stray dogs, “from the day they are picked up on the streets and brought to the shelter until the day they become a beloved family pet.”
To find out when it is airing in your state go to ShelterMe.com. You can watch a preview of the film below.
For my Minnesota friends: Unfortunately, there are only two Minnesota PBS stations airing this special film at this time (Appleton -Pioneer Public TV -KWCM, Thursday, May 24 at 9 pm and Austin -KSMQ, Monday, May 28 at 9 pm) but I hope TPT will choose to air it soon.
With nearly 3-4 million pets euthanized annually, it’s encouraging to see some big names promoting how wonderful shelter pets can be, if only given the chance. Don’t Shop, Adopt!
I had planned to do a post on less adoptable pets earlier this week, but I didn’t think I could do Lady justice in the short time I had available each weekday evening. An unadoptable pet that just happens to be your foster dog deserves more time and attention than just a quick blurb on your blog, don’t you think?
I began fostering Lady, a Shetland Sheepdog (i.e., Sheltie), a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect when she and her former foster mom first arrived. Would she be afraid? Would she hide? Or, would she quickly adjust? I didn’t have a clue. What I did know was that she was very attached to her former foster mom. This became very evident when she left and Lady paced beside the back gate looking for an escape route. She couldn’t understand why she wasn’t going with her. It nearly broke my heart. She had already been through so much.
You see, Lady’s past is littered with puppies, lack of human contact, and little to no exposure to the things that most dogs experience they are puppies. People were scary things to her and not to be trusted. New places? Forget it. Too overwhelming.
But, that was a few years ago. Lady is a much different dog now. She LOVES attention (and when I say love, I do mean love!). She is extremely affectionate with “her person”. She loves belly rubs, a good scratch behind the ears or just dozing on the couch beside you, or on the floor at your feet. She also loves car rides, stuffed toys that squeak, Kongs stuffed with frozen peanut butter, belly rubs just before bed and a little sniff-n-stop on her walks, whether they be in the woods (as long as it’s fenced in like our dog park) or on a leash in the neighborhood. She’s a joy to have around.
So you say, what makes her less adoptable?
Well, I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder. If you prefer an exuberant, active and puppy-like dog, then Lady is not the dog for you. Oh don’t get me wrong! At 6 years of age, she still gets the zoomies sometimes, they just aren’t as frequent as the ones my dog Jasper gets. Lady prefers to run around the yard for a bit and then hang out on the grass or patio and watch the world go by. She’s actually a pretty mellow little girl.
If you are looking for a dog that doesn’t take medicine every day, then Lady isn’t your dog. Lady’s past left her with some internal scars, so she takes Clomipramine (a very inexpensive anti-anxiety drug) to help her to be less fearful. It has allowed her to be able to learn more about her world and people. As her foster mom, I have to admit it seems to have done wonders for her. She also is on Proin for spay incontinence. The Proin obviously works, because we have had no issues in this area at all.
Lady is also a shy girl. She needs someone who can be patient and give her a little space when she first arrives home. It only took her about a week to get acclimated in my home, but my dogs are pretty mellow and affectionate and I didn’t try to force my affections on her but waited for her to approach me on her own terms and when she felt comfortable in doing so. I’m also a pretty laid back and calm person when it comes to my dogs and my home. No chaos. No extreme moods or crazy schedules. Lady seems to thrive here. So, I believe she would do well in a calm home that doesn’t have a lot of chaos or crazy schedules. She loves consistency.
Minnesota Sheltie Rescue has several wonderful dogs also available for adoption (like Lady). Interested? Go here.
Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!
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Daisy, my first, lives with me and is doing very well despite a rough beginning. Clyde (formerly Pixel) is a Dalmatian and came to me scared, unsocialized and very attached to his sister. He is a wonderful dog. I really had a hard time giving him up. Fortunately, he was reunited with his sister, Bonnie (to which he is very attached), and both were adopted together. They now live with a wonderful woman who has been patient, understanding and kind with both of them. I even get to see them on occasion at the dog park!
My last two foster dogs, Jasper and Jasmine, are Shelties and were purchased by a kind woman who just wanted to get them out of a pet store that was in a deplorable condition. Both came to me scared, unsocialized and very attached to one another. I considered adopting one, but couldn’t choose between them so I eventually returned them both to the shelter to be adopted. As luck would have it, Jasmine passed her assessment with flying colors and was adopted right away by a couple. However, Jasper did not pass his assessment. He was too afraid to do all the things necessary to be assessed properly (he prefers to eat his food in private). So, he came back to live with me and Daisy. They have since become great friends and companions.
As a foster parent it is always hard when you have to say goodbye, but the “not-knowing” is the worst part. You can’t help but wonder how they are doing in their new homes with their new parents. Are they okay? Do they miss their sibling? What do they look like now that they are healthy and grown up?
All I know about Jasmine is this… she attended doggie daycare one day (soon after she was adopted) at a facility where my friend works and her name had been changed to Casey. That’s it. Nothing else.
So, day after day I look for her. Every time I see a Sheltie that looks like Jasmine my heart jumps a little. “Could that be her?”, I wonder. My deep desire to know how she is doing makes me approach the owner to ask “Is your dog’s name Jasmine or Casey?” Time after time the answer has been a curious “no”. It is then that I explain the purpose for my question. Everyone is kind and understanding, but unfortunately, they cannot help me. And so, I continue to search.
It is my one great desire to see her again, to know she is okay. It would be great to reunite her with her brother, Jasper, just for a play date, but I would be happy with just knowing how she is doing. So I continue to desperately search out that one dog, that one Sheltie, that looks like Jasmine in hopes of finding the answer to my questions. My hope is that I will someday I will get my wish.
Dogs are amazing animals. They love us without requiring something in return. They make us laugh, comfort us when we cry and give us companionship throughout our lives. And, on rare occassions, they do something else as well – become heros.
Here’s a great story of a boy kept alive in the Yukon bush by a dog that wasn’t even his… or, maybe it was his all along.