Dear Fellow Dog Lovers,
It’s perfect fall weather here in the Northwest and both volunteers and dogs are thoroughly enjoying our time outside together. Our adoptions have slowed down some with families busy with school activities, but we still found some fantastic forever homes for seven lucky dogs. Here are the Blog Dogs who were adopted since my last post.
We were especially excited about DJ’s adoption. This irrepressible character had been waiting for his perfect person since August 22nd! He was getting pretty stressed after being at the shelter so long, so volunteers had been taking him on different adventures. In fact, the day before he was adopted he had had a sleepover at volunteer Allen’s house, where he was a perfectly behaved house guest, then had gone swimming the next morning with volunteer Joan, after which he was adopted! The boy had quite an amazing day!
I’ve been waiting so long for you… will a hat help you find me?
A few days ago, some staff and volunteers were discussing one of our long-term dogs, Icabaud, and how we could help find him his perfect home. Though he’s been waiting at WHS since August 24th, he has remained in good spirits and is sure his new family will come any day. Staff member Chelsea said she’d bring a hat and scarf to show off Icabaud’s lighthearted side, and he was game for anything to help his forever person find him. Icabaud is a two-year-old Pit Bull Terrier mix. He was found as a stray, so we don’t know his history, but he knows some commands and loves his time with his peeps. He’d need to meet any potential canine siblings, as he is nervous around some dogs. Icabaud is affectionate, loves belly rubs, and has excellent leash manners. We’re hoping his WHS stay will be over soon!
I’m looking for a very specific retirement home. Is it yours?
River, an eight-year-old Lab mix, is waiting for just the right fit of a home, and she’s hoping her new person will come for her soon. She was originally found abandoned by a river (hence her name). She was surrendered because she needs to be the only pet in a home. She LOVES adults, as you can see in the pictures below with Caroline.
Given the invitation, River will crawl into your lap to snuggle. While she will be a devoted companion to a single adult or couple, she is not comfortable around children or other animals. River’s perfect home would be one with a large fenced yard (no dog parks for this girl) and only adult interactions. While River’s needs in a home are restrictive, she is an affectionate, sweet older gal who just wants to relax with and hang out with her peeps.
Sure I’d like to go for coffee with you…and then home with you?
Volunteer Linda’s current shelter favorite is McGruff, a nine-month-old Terrier mix. This youngster LOVES life! He is an extremely playful, happy little guy who enjoys lap time after adventures. He’s been adopted twice, but neither home was the right fit. We’re hoping the right family will find their new best friend soon! On Sunday he got to go with Linda and Harmony on a coffee run. He loved it!
I won’t be racing around for a while, but I’m still very adoptable!
Of course Jolene spent time on Sunday with Opie, our long-term two-year-old Plothound mix who has been anxiously waiting for his perfect person since June 28th. He has improved so much in his behavior since volunteer Jolene has been working with him. She often takes him on respites to parks and here was her report from Saturday. “Opie was a very good boy. We walked the parameter of Bush Park twice, with many stops along the way. He liked looking down at the water from the foot bridge, and even walked in the shallow water later. He walked very nicely and was polite when passing people and dogs. Only barked at a large dog once, then moved on. Even the squirrels weren’t a big challenge, and a “leave it” was enough to get him to refocus. Opie was tired and very relaxed when we headed back to the shelter. These outings are so good for him as he loves to look at everything around him. He’s a fun boy to spend time with.”
During her time with him on Saturday and Sunday, Jolene noticed Opie was favoring his back right leg and asked for a vet check for him. On Monday our WHS vet, Dr. Harter, took a look and poor Opie has a tear behind his right knee (like a human ACL) and can only have walks for the next two weeks. No playgroups, no racing around with McGruff, which he loves. Wish us luck in keeping this active boy in check! This was his reaction when told he was going to have to take things easy for a couple of weeks. However, the GOOD news is, he’s still very much adoptable!
Won’t someone realize that an older dog still has love to give you?
I keep hoping to get word that Sally has been adopted into a loving retirement home, but so far it hasn’t happened. You’ll remember Sally from previous posts. She is an eleven-year-old Australian Shepherd mix and has been an outdoor dog most of her life. Now she needs a calm home where she can live inside with her people. She’s a little timid and loud noises startle her (fireworks are the worst). She is fine when left alone and is house-trained. She has won the hearts of so many of us who spend time with her, including new volunteer Caitlin. Here they were on Sunday afternoon. I’m hoping that next week I can tell you she has been adopted.
What’s the scoop? Why haven’t I gotten adopted yet?
I can’t tell you how many times volunteers who have spent time with Marbles have said to me, “I don’t know why she hasn’t been adopted yet!” Volunteer Francis said those very words on Sunday after taking his current favorite dog out twice for rousing games of fetch. Marbles is a four-year-old Whippet mix. She needs a home without cats or small dogs. She is a wonderful ball-playing dog with a ton of energy. She’d be a terrific hiking or running partner and would probably love agility training. She will be a great dog for an active person who likes spending time in the outdoors.
What’s better than one Chihuahua? Why, two, of course!
Yes, it’s another bonded pair; this time it’s two Chihuahuas named Anna and Elsa. They are strays and obviously have been together for a long time. The first time I met them, they were curled up together on their bed, trembling and very frightened. I went into their kennel and just sat with them and it wasn’t long before they ventured slowly from the bed and hesitantly took a hot dog bit from me. A couple of days later when I saw them again, they bounded to the front of their kennel for treats. They are still a bit shy, but their favorite thing to do is crawl into your lap. Anna is about one and Elsa is about six. Anna has a deformed front foot, but it doesn’t slow her down (though she loves to be carried). They need to go to a home together and will be a pretty low-maintenance duo. And their adoption price is two for one! Here they were (Elsa left, Anna right) hanging out with volunteers Esme and Caitlin.
Yes, I am an older girl but I’ll love you just as much as a young dog! (Maybe even more!)
Gidget is a twelve-year-old Chihuahua mix who is looking for a retirement home without cats. She gets along with some dogs, but not all, so would need to meet any potential canine siblings. This sweetheart is house-trained and, though shy at first, she really just wants to be loved for the rest of her life. She has never lived with children, so only older kids who would understand how to respect an older dog would be okay for her. Gidget doesn’t understand why she is at the shelter and I hope she isn’t there for long. Here she was with Marianne getting acquainted.
Caroline’s Pick of the Week!
Caroline had no hesitation at all today in deciding her Pick of the Week. She couldn’t tell me enough good things about Paulie, a seven-year-old (or so) Australian Shepherd/Cattle Dog mix. Paulie came to us from another shelter where she had been found as a stray. But someone obviously has loved this sweet girl. Caroline reported that she is extremely well mannered. While walking on leash, she repeatedly looks up at you to check in. She knows “sit” and “down.” She takes treats very politely and is an all-around perfect girl. She will make a terrific family addition.
In Memory of Cooper
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will remember my posts about Cooper.
Cooper was one of those dogs I instantly fell in love with. An eight-year-old Hound mix, he was a calm, quiet boy with a furrowed brow which made him look worried. He was surrendered in late July and his sweet personality made him the perfect Jr. Trainer Camp dog. I wrote about him several times, hoping he’d be adopted, but several weeks went by and he was not. He had become a dog much-loved by volunteers and staff. Then on September 17th, I was thrilled when I heard that another dog-walking volunteer had adopted him. I was deeply saddened two weeks later to learn that Cooper had died. I happened to see his person at WHS and she was heartbroken. I asked if she would like to write a tribute to him for my blog and she agreed. This is Cooper’s story.
“Cooper was a nearly nine-year-old Vizsla Pitbull mix that I happened upon in July after the death of Beau, our 14 year old Wheaten. I went to WHS just to see dogs. I passed Cooper’s kennel several times but dismissed him as being too big, too old. I could feel Cooper’s big eyes follow me each time I turned the corner.
When I took the volunteer class, Cooper was the first dog I walked under Nancy Sanchez’ direction. Leashed and out of the kennel, Cooper knew exactly where we were going. It felt like I had saddled a horse that knew the trail. He trotted, gracefully cantering as if he were swimming, and I realized what a gentle soul Cooper was. Cooper was the cause of my daily stops at WHS. I hung around his kennel like a used car salesman trying to “sell” Cooper to every visitor that appeared worthy. Cooper’s needs were simple. He wanted a nice bed, fresh water and a good home.
On September 17th, we adopted Cooper. When we walked in the door, he went straight for the open 4’x6’ pen with thick mattress in our kitchen as if he knew it was his. Later I realized he always wanted to be in the sun, something not possible for a dog in a shelter, so I placed a second bed near a window for a lounging couch.
Cooper enjoyed four walks a day. I arose early and entered his pen every morning while he was still asleep. Surprised and happy, he would beat the mattress with his tail. As I stroked his side speaking to him about the plans for our day the rhythm of his tail wag got louder with each mention of his name, his soulful eyes fixed on mine. He looked at me as if he had never been loved this way before.
As dogs tend to do, Cooper gave us so much. He stopped us from working too hard to relax with him every day. He made me trade in my walking shoes for more comfortable running shoes for longer walks. He went everywhere with me and I abandoned our car for my husband’s truck because Cooper loved the back seat. I felt proud but protected walking this gentle giant.
One day we had to leave for several hours and it was not possible to bring Cooper with us. When we got back home and entered the house, he ran through the dog door and pranced around the room in circles leaping up like a deer several feet in the air. He celebrated our return by running in and out of the dog door and around the room, nearly knocking us over. All we could do was duck and cover until the dance was over and he could steal a kiss or two.
One morning we awoke to the realization Cooper was sick. The urgent care vet hospitalized him for 10 hours with aggressive medical treatment. We left with optimism and made an appointment for the first thing the next morning. As we lay with Cooper through the night, my optimism turned to hopelessness as he declined. He never made it through the night. We were heartbroken.
No creature has ever impacted me more in such a short period of time than Cooper Dog. I know that Cooper’s place in my heart will never be replaced. I have no regrets in taking this senior dog to live his last days with the dignity that he deserved.”
“There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings or walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.” ~Suzanne Clothier
Goodbye, sweet boy.
Remember, if you see a dog on my blog whom you are interested in meeting, try to make arrangements to get to the Willamette Humane Society soon. Some dogs are adopted more quickly than you might think.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org