Thursday, April 8, 2010

"The More Things Change......."

(Picture Left: "Manny." Memories of my dog, Tina and not at all what had been indicated to us.)

Never "ass-u-me" anything, as they say.

When pulling Manny off the Euth list about a month ago, the information on him indicated that he was an "8-year-old Pekingese mix" who arrived at the shelter with a "broken leg" and multiple bruises. He was apparently nervous in the shelter and his temperament was "questionable."

Virtually none of that fits the dog my friend, Kathy and I went to pick up yesterday from my vet.

First of all, Manny appears to be far more of a Tibetan Spaniel than a Pekingese, though its possible he is a mix of both (or other) breeds. It wouldn't surprise me if Manny was, in fact, a purebred Tibetan. But, more than questionable breed identification, it is unfathomable that anyone could have looked at Manny and determined him to be a senior dog!

Manny reminds very much of one of my dogs, Tina when I picked her up from AC&C in 1997 -- thirteen years ago.

Back then, the shelter indicated Tina to be "5-years-old" (which would make her 18 now).

She was just barely fully grown -- about a year old.

Likewise, It is hard to imagine Manny being more than two or three years of age.

It turns out that Manny did not have a "broken leg" after all.

Apparently his hip was dislocated which did require a surgical adjustment.

Manny was bouncing around last night like he was ready for doggie Olympics or a Frisbee contest!

Not at all what I expected -- or, what I told potential foster people!

Pekingese are not active breeds of dogs to begin with. And a "8-year-old" Peke with a "broken leg" conjured up the image of a dog who would barely be able to get around.

Kathy and I had a hard time just holding on to Manny yesterday. Though only 15 lbs, Manny has the vitality, enthusiasm and agility of a much younger and more active type of dog.

Walking Manny was, in fact, like trying to walk a fox! He was pulling and zig-zagging all over the streets and seemed like he could run a marathon!

Kathy, who is a long-time volunteer and rescuer in her own right, was kind enough to offer temporary foster for Manny -- at least for a few days. I wanted to get a better idea of Manny before sending him to a new foster person.

This was a wise and prudent decision, as everything told to potential new fosters was wrong -- from breed, to age, to medical condition to temperament.

Manny is an extremely gentle, gregarious, trusting and well socialized dog. I have no idea where the "questionable" temperament label at the shelter came from. If it wasn't Manny's picture on the shelter record form, I would swear he was mixed up with another dog! Almost none of the information given us turned out to be correct.

Then again, according to Animal Control records, my dog, Tina is now 18-years-old.

Most people don't believe me when I tell them Tina is 14. "She looks so young!" they say.

The problems with poor shelter evaluations and descriptions go back a long way.

It is unbelievable that a small, extremely loving, adorable,and otherwise young and healthy dog like Manny could have ended up on shelter "Euth list."

Then again, so was my Tina thirteen years ago (for "Kennel Cough.")

"The more things change, the more they remain the same." -- PCA



Shadowlight said...

Perhaps it's different when dogs are concerned, but is it always easy to determine how old a pet is? I got my cat Simba as an adult, from a shelter about three and a half years ago. His description then said he was five years old, his provisional medical records said he was four, then a while later when I took him to the vet for the first time, the vet said he could just be three years old. Some months back, Simba was diagnosed with (and then had surgery and thankfully made a full recovery) from a rare cancer. According to those previous estimates, Simba was no older than 8. Except his oncologist swore that she had never seen a single case of this cancer in a cat that young, that the cancer never developed until the cat was at least 10. On the other hand, I got complimented on what magnificent health he was in otherwise, that he acted just like a young cat. Which he certainly had not acted at all when I adopted him, sight unseen, to find a severely depressed and almost catatonic cat. What I'm trying to say is, although it sadly seems many shelters err on the side of negligence, perhaps there are cases when they will do things like underestimate a dog/cats age, or misrepresent the breed, in hopes that that will increase the pet's adoption chances? (For the record, I would have adopted Simba however old he was. I'm just sad to think I may have fewer years to enjoy with him.)

Shadowlight said...

Just wanted to add--it also seems nutrition and other conditions, or the lack thereof, can also drastically change a pet's appearance and personality. Simba looks and acts completely different from the massively shedding dull-furred, obese lump he was when I first saw him. I don't get the sense animals who get dumped at shelters have had a very pleasant background, which often makes them arrive in pretty bad shape. Which can also lead to a pet being misrepresented, although it does seem in your particular case, the negligence was just as much the fault of the shelter's...