Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Person for Every Dog (Reply)


(Picture Left: "Demon Dog," Bernie. He just needed to find the person meant for him.)

Shellie Writes: Anyone who is in shelter or rescue can sympathize with your frustration. Our shelter took in two purebred pups this week--a 5 month old German Shepherd surrendered due to divorce; and a 4 month old Chocolate Lab given up for "moving". Luckily, such pups are fairly easily placed in our semi-rural area and should find adoptive homes quickly.On a happier note "Dash", whose story you shared a couple weeks ago, has been adopted for a third time; this time to a home which seems to have much promise for him. He was adopted this time by a middle-aged couple and their two teenagers; they live on a small farmette with a few cattle and several goats, which should give this happy boy a "job" to do. And their 15-year-old daughter is a junior handler with the local kennel club and also has begun some agility training with their other dog. So Dash's future is looking much brighter this time around. We all have our fingers crossed that the third time will be the charm for him.

Reply: Thank you for sharing the update for Dash. That is good news and it sounds like this pooch has finally found the people meant for him!

I do believe there is a right person for every dog. -- Even so-called, "demon dogs" or dogs from hell.

Case in point:

Last year, I rescued a small and adorable Tibetan Spaniel mix named Bernie from the pound where the dog was facing euthanasia due to questionable behavior.

Bernie was an older dog who was dumped by a family with the excuse, "no time for." I sent Bernie to one of my very best foster homes, but I soon learned that what I thought would be an "easy dog" was anything but......

Over the years, Carrie (the foster) has taken in around 50 dogs for foster. She and her family have taken in Pitbulls, German Shepherds and many, Chows and mixes.

I thought this small, older and (at least with me) very sweet pooch would be a piece of cake for Carrie, her husband and two daughters.

But, after having Bernie for about a week, Carrie informed me that he was, in fact, the most difficult dog she had ever fostered.

Bernie was not good with the family's cats. And he turned into an "attack dog" any time visitors came. He bit at least two family friends and Carrie's Mother in law.

Things were not looking good.

But, the final straw came after Carrie had Bernie for about a month and he bit one of her kids.

I was forced to put Bernie into a boarding kennel.

Although Bernie was always good with me when I walked him, he was not so friendly with the kennel staffers who had to feed and care for him on a daily basis. After Bernie attempted to bite two handlers, I was informed that I would have to remove him from the kennel.

I was then out of options and places to send Bernie.

I was looking at having to send Bernie back to Animal Control and almost certain death.

But, then I received a call from a woman willing to help save a life by fostering a dog.

"Darlene" was very experienced with dogs, had a home in New Jersey and had a good heart.

I told her honestly that our most desperate case for needed foster was Bernie and I explained why.

Seeming to like a challenge, Darlene agreed to meet with Bernie that afternoon.

Although initially a little nervous when meeting Darlene, to my relief, Bernie did not attempt to bite her.

To my amazement, Darlene agreed to take Bernie. I told Darlene truthfully, that, due to his bite history, Bernie would be a very difficult, if not impossible adoption. He needed intense "work" on his behavior. But, Darlene was not deterred. Having recently lost her senior spaniel to terminal illness, Darlene was open to the possibility of adoption of Bernie.

The first few weeks with Bernie were not easy for Darlene.

Bernie bit her boyfriend, as well as he attacked the boyfriend's Lab mix dog.

Bernie also acted as "guard" or attack dog any time Darlene took him for rides in her car. No one could approach the car or get in with her.

But, as temperamental and difficult as Bernie may have been, he totally adored Darlene and was entirely devoted to her.

She in turn loved Bernie, treating him as her "baby" and even dressing the little dog up in clothes and hats.

Last Christmas, Darlene sent me the above "Christmas Card" which I immediately printed up and showed to the people at the boarding kennel, as well as Carrie.

No one of course could believe that the adorable, happy and sweet little dog in the Christmas greeting was the same "demon" animal who aimed to take the fingers off of almost every stranger he met, as well as some people Bernie actually knew.

A few weeks ago, Darlene called to tell me of Bernie's progress over the year.

Yes, he is still very "protective" of Darlene and his home, but Bernie at least accepts Darlene's boyfriend as well as the other dog. Darlene described Bernie as the "love of my life!" and told me how much the little dog loves being dressed up.

"I have to send you pictures sometime of Bernie in his little motorcycle outfit and sunglasses! He looks soooooo adorable!"

As said, there is a person for every dog.

The question is, can we find these people before "time" for the animals runs out? -- PCA



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