As a double-coated, long-haired breed, Chow Chows tend to "blow out" (i.e. shed) their winter coats in the spring. For some people, having to suddenly pick up or vacuum mounds of shedding hair becomes reason enough to dump their pet dogs or cats -- though of course few actually admit to that. In most cases, the owners will drop the animal off at the shelter with the claim that they found him/her as a "stray." Such frees the person from either having to answer questions about the dog (or cat) or pay an "Owner Surrender Fee."
Unfortunately, it also leaves both the shelter and any possible rescues in the position of virtually knowing nothing about the dog or what kind of environment s/he came from.
Well, it didn't take long for my "prediction" to come true.
Spring is not officially here yet, but just in the last week, three "stray" Chows came into the Manhattan animal pound.
One of the dogs was reclaimed by the owner, but we were requested to take the other two.
Both Chows are red in color, about the same age (3-years-old) and heavily matted. Nevertheless, it's clear that both dogs came from homes as they are fully socialized and easy to handle.
I am fortunate to have a woman experienced with Chows and a lover of the breed willing to take the female dog, Lilly.
The shelter is arranging transport of Lilly to Dottie in upstate New York.
Unfortunately, the male dog, Tommy, I am going to have to bring to a boarding facility today.
I am not happy about having to put still one more dog into boarding.
We have, however, been pretty lucky with Chows lately.
All of our recent Chows have been successfully adopted in recent weeks.
The most recently rescued Chow Chow, "Blacky" only had to spend two days in boarding before being adopted by a man who had previously had a rescued Chow for many years.
"Michael" left a telephone message the other day, enthusiastically thanking me for Blacky (since renamed, "Brad") and indicating that he was extremely happy with the Chow.
It's always nice to get feedback like that from our adopters. Too often, in this line of work, the main times you hear from adopters is when they have some sort of complaint.
I don't know that I am going to be so lucky with Tommy, as we have been with Brad, Ellie, Shadow and Poochie over these past few weeks.
But, I'd better hope that we are.
The coming of spring means we are going to see many more Chows (and other long-haired breeds) suddenly arriving as fully socialized "strays" to our shelters.
One reason to regret the arrival of otherwise the most beautiful season of the year to New York.
The other reason of course, is all the "spring litters" of kittens and puppies soon to be born.
Many or in fact most of them soon to show up in shelters come the very dreaded summer just now a few months away.
How ironic to think that the otherwise regarded "beautiful and fun" seasons to most people are in fact, the mean seasons for our pet cats and dogs.
I am already missing December........PCA