Monday, March 22, 2010

The Lucky Ones

(Picture Left: "Dina." A dog with seemingly no chance in the world for placement, but who ironically turns out to be "the lucky one.")

The past week has been busy. Several new rescues (and thankfully, two adoptions) over the weekend.)

But, sometimes the most satisfying rescues are those that you don't actually have to rescue and take in. -- The dog or cat fortunate to find his/her forever home without fanfare, advertising or sheltering.

Usually, such animals are the young, fancy little breed dogs for whom some rescues luckily have "waiting homes."

One would not expect to get lucky with a dog like Dina.

Dina is at least ten-years-old and appears as if she has been through the mill for at least nine of those years. She arrived at the shelter as a "stray" with absolutely no history.

What's more Dina is a black Chow. -- a breed we normally don't have "waiting homes" for.

Despite the odds against an older, filthy and disheveled black Chow, one of the shelter volunteers took a shine to Dina.

Evelyne sent me Dina's pictures a few days ago and said the dog was an extremely gentle and sweet soul. "No aggression whatsoever."

I told Evelyne it was extremely unlikely I could pull Dina because we had already taken in several new rescues and the age of Dina was against her, even assuming we could clean up the severely matted and uncared-for Chow.

Still, I kept Dina's image and circumstance in the back of my mind.

One never knew if a miracle could come up.

Late last week, I received a call from Marcia, a long-time Chow lover and a woman who, over the years has adopted several Chows from me.

Marcia has a house and several acres of property in Pennsylvania.

"I see you have several new Chows lately. Jada looks very sweet. Do you need a home for her?" Martia asked.

"Jada is a lovely, older gal. Very sweet and gentle. Currently she is in boarding, so yes she needs a real home and we need the space. Are you interested?"

Marcia was very interested and after speaking a little while longer, it was arranged that she would send her driver in on Sunday to pick up Jada.

But, on Friday, another woman called interested in adopting Jada.

"Christine" already has a younger, neutered male Chow and was interested in a friend for her dog, as well as a second Chow for herself.

She sounded as though she could provide a wonderful home for Jada.

I explained to Christine however, that I already had a home lined up for Jada. I would have to ask Marcia is she would be willing to take a different Chow.

Later that day, I called Marcia and told her about Dina -- the older, messed up Chow still sitting at Animal Control and for whom, there would be no chance for rescue and placement.

Marcia has a special spot in her heart for the older, neglected Chows no one else wants.

In the past, she has adopted senior blind and deaf Chows from me. "Malcolm," was Marcia's first adopted dog from us about 10 years ago. Malcolm was an older, blind Chow who I had in boarding about 8 months and worried would never get adopted.

But, he was lucky to find Marcia and she him. In many ways, Malcolm inspired Marcia's love and devotion towards the breed. She had Malcolm a number of years before the well cherished Chow finally succumbed to cancer.

Currently, Marcia has three Chows from me, including a deaf one. The new dog, whoever it would be, would be her fourth.

I of course, told Marcia about the younger and more robust Chows we had in boarding. But, her heart was already set on either Jada -- or Dina!

"You know me, Patty. I am a sucker for the older ones who have been so neglected and need the love and care. They are usually so happy and grateful for the attention."

I knew well what Marcia was speaking of. It has also been my experience that the older, neglected dogs (or cats) usually turn out to be the most devoted and appreciative. One of my dogs, Chance is a good example of that. Though I only have the 12-year old Pomeranian a couple of years, I truly think Chance would throw himself in front of a train for me.

The following day, (Saturday) Christine adopted Jada and so far things are going very well.

Meanwhile, Marcia was kind enough to switch plans and told her driver to meet at the shelter to pick up Dina.

Although Evelyne had sent several pictures of Dina and warned about the dog's condition, I was not at all prepared for the shock of this dog's truly wretched state!

Dina's dirty matted fur seemed to go in all directions, giving her a somewhat comical appearance.

Dina's hair was completely bare on her tail, making the tail appear more like that on rat than a Chow.

The black Chow was truly pathetic looking. One had to suspect Dina either spent years in a junkyard or roaming the streets as a true "stray."

I said to Lisa, one of the shelter Rescue coordinators, "Certainly no one could have walked this dog on the street without getting reported to the ASPCA for cruelty."

But, despite her abysmal appearance, Dina was nevertheless, everything Evelyne indicated her to be. -- Extremely gentle, affectionate and seemingly thrilled to be getting any attention at all. A truly lovely and cheerful dog in contrast to her dark, dreary and even scary appearance.

Last night, Marcia called to tell me how happy she was Dina. "She's given me at least a dozen kisses since she arrive here. What a sweetie!"

I apologized about Dina's condition, but it didn't bother Marcia at all.

"I have grooming equipment here and do my own grooming. I will bathe and shave her down in a couple of days. Want to give her a little time to settle in. So far, Dina is doing wonderfully. Perfectly mellow around the other dogs and just a total sweetheart!"

Thank God for the rare people like Marcia willing to take in the animals who most need them and for whom, normally there would not be a ghost of a chance to be placed.

But, it is Marcia who considers herself, the lucky one.

As said, sometimes the most gratifying and rewarding rescues are the ones you never have to actually do.

Today, I consider myself the "lucky one."

But, it is really Dina, a lost and pathetic soul, if ever there was one, who is now, the luckiest one of all. -- PCA


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