Dear Fellow Dog Lovers,
I’m going to start this post with a personal account of a very special dog adoption that happened on Saturday. If you read my blog regularly, you know Amelia very well. I wrote about this sweet, happy senior hoping to help her get adopted. I first met Amelia when she arrived at WHS in late August and I loved her from that moment. Amelia is about twelve years old. She was found as a stray, but we know she must have been loved since she is extremely affectionate and gentle. She had the usual older-dog issues including a few fatty lumps, some arthritis, and she didn’t hear well. But Amelia didn’t let any of these issues get her down. She was playful and jumped easily up on the couch in Mary’s Place. She knew basic commands and loved to romp with other dogs in our playgroups. But while she loved to play, she also enjoyed snuggling and was an extremely affectionate girl. She was such a perfect family dog, yet no one seemed to want to adopt her at twelve years old.
Then last week I received an email from a lady who said she was a long-time reader of my posts. She wrote that she and her husband had “decided that our home and our hearts have room for older dogs now” and asked about Amelia. She went on to explain about their pet family (four dogs and two cats) and it sounded like the perfect forever home for our social, loving girl. That brings us to Saturday, when Beth (soon to be Amelia’s new mom) drove the two hours to WHS to meet and take Amelia home. Later that evening Beth sent me these pictures and note. It certainly looked as if Amelia knew she was finally going home. And it seems only right that when you start a new life, you should have a new name. Amelia is now Lottie.
“Everything went beautifully. I’m sure you know, based on experience, what a wonderful time I had at the shelter today. The whole process was warm and smooth. And it was lovely to see the other families there, meeting pets or looking through the windows at the cats.
I believe she has figured out that this is to be her home. Right now she is sleeping—snoring—on a quilt on the floor in the living room; the same quilt is draped across me as I sit on the floor, writing this. Our dog Silas, who is 3 yrs old, is sleeping next to her. Behind me on the couch is our dog Billie, a few feet away is our youngest dog, Cora. Nick, our elder boy, is in his usual spot, a quiet place in the hall. Which is to say, they have made room for Lottie and then gone about their usual evening routines, which I think is a good sign.
It didn’t take long before she was part of a three-dog parade, running all around the yard with Silas and Cora. Nick is too old for those shenanigans, and Billie watched them and joined in now and then, which is the same thing she does when Cora and Silas are playing. Again, that seems like a good dynamic to me. I was impressed with Lottie’s spryness as she climbed up and down the hilly areas of our yard and went up and down some steep paths at a brisk clip. I think she’s a bit worn out with all the fun, but in a good way.
We are so happy to be part of the Willamette Humane Society family.”
Stories like this make me so proud to volunteer at such a wonderful shelter where adopters and our dogs and cats are treated with respect and love.
Checking in with Charlie
If you read last week’s post, you know about Charlie, our neighborhood stray cat who is now residing in one of our large cat suites while he waits for his perfect fit of a family. I stopped in to spend some time with Charlie on Sunday. While he was still very shy and was curled up inside a “cat house,” he came to greet me as soon as he knew it was I. Charlie will need a quiet home with patient people who will give him the time and love he needs to feel secure. He has many volunteer “cat people” who are looking out for him and helping him gain confidence. I’m so hoping he’ll be found by his new family soon.
I stopped to visit with him after my walking shift and cat volunteer Sandy came in, too. I was thrilled when he was totally comfortable with Sandy.
When she brought him some canned Fancy Feast, he was so excited. He couldn’t wait for her to get it ready!
After his snack, he enjoyed Sandy’s attention. I am over the moon that Charlie has gained confidence and now will be seen by potential adopters as the wonderful cat that he is!
A Note on Family Recommendations
I’ve been asked an excellent question by one of my readers. What do the Family Ratings mean for our dogs? When a dog is surrendered to the shelter by a family, they fill out a questionnaire about the health, personality, and behavior of the dog. Based on the dog’s experience with children, a behavior assessment by staff, and their behavior once at the shelter, staff decides on one of the following ratings below. If the dog is a stray, it is observed during its stray time, given a behavior assessment, and then assigned a rating. The ratings are adjusted as the staff and volunteers get to know the dog. The ages associated with the ratings can be adjusted, based on the individual child’s and the family’s dog experience. The exception to this is the “NC-17” rating. Children must be at least 15 .
G: Likely to be appropriate with toddlers and young children. Tolerant, resilient and forgiving.
PG-5: Likely to be appropriate with young children, but may not be appropriate with toddlers.
PG-8: Likely to be appropriate with older children.
PG-13: Maybe should not be placed with young children; needs considerate, respectful kids.
R: May not be appropriate to be placed in a home where children live or visit. Dog may have issues with handling, food/toy aggression, or dog-to-dog aggression, or a known history of problems with children.
NC-17: Can only go home with families with children fifteen and older.
I’ve got a lot of energy, but if you’re up to it, we’ll have a blast!
Dancer‘s name certainly fits him. This boy loves to move! He’s a youngster at seven months, so is much more of a puppy than an adult Australian Shepherd mix. Dancer is quite shy when he first meets new people and can be sensitive to touch. The Behavior and Training team has been working to build his confidence and he is making great strides. Once he feels comfortable with a person, he becomes a happy, bouncy, extremely playful clown. Dancer LOVES all toys and will keep you entertained with his antics. He was adopted once, but returned because he had too much energy for the family and he chased their three cats. However, they also said that he has a “gentle soul.” Dancer will thrive in a home with reward-based training and a job to keep his mind and body busy. Food puzzles? You bet! His adoption includes two classes which will be great fun for both Dancer and his new person. Dancer is a very quick learner and will be a joy to teach new skills to. He can’t wait to go on adventures with his new family and hopes they come soon. Here he is with Gracie.
I’m 83 pounds of love!
Yep, that says it all. This big lug of a dog is a two-year-old Mastiff mix named Titus who has no idea he is such a BIG boy. His goofy, affectionate personality has won him many fans among both volunteers and staff. Since he was found as a stray, we have no history on him, but his friendly, playful nature makes him such fun to hang out with, as Caitlin and Marianne found out on Sunday.
After his walk, Caitlin couldn’t wait to take him into Mary’s Place. When I arrived a little while later, this is what I found. What a big ham he is!
I’m not a youngster anymore, but I can still be a best friend.
Tyrion is looking for a retirement home. At eight years old, this senior Lab is ready to lounge with his people. Short walks around the neighborhood will be all that he will need. He lived happily with children when he was younger, but now with his back end being tender to the touch, he would like to be in a family with older kids who would respect his need for gentle handling. Since Tyrion has been house-trained for years, he will not be any trouble to have around. He has lived with other dogs, but would not like to live with other male dogs or pushy females. He loves tennis balls, though he can’t chase them as he did in his youth. If you have a soft spot in your heart and home for this senior sweetheart, he would be happy to fill it. Here he was with Sandra, one of his fans.
I have two wonderful updates for you!
I was thrilled to get this happy email from Laura, former dog walker and now Roscoe’s person.
Here is one of my favorite Roscoe pictures during his shelter stay.
“Roscoe and I thought we should give an update on how things are going in his forever home. He knows his fans want to know and he owes it to his public!
He has been in his forever home for about a month and it did not take long for him to settle in at all! He has the run of the house and is perfectly fine while I am at work. He has figured out the routine and just hangs out in the bedroom on my work days. We go for two walks every single day; even in the pouring rain! It sure is different getting used to walking in a neighborhood instead of in the turn outs at the shelter or even a park, but he is getting the hang of it. We are frequent visitors to Willamette Mission Park as well as Keizer Rapids. It has been very fortunate that Roscoe’s best buddy, Francis (a very dedicated Sunday walker), has been able to come take him for outings. He LOVES their time together and when he has to come home he is pretty sad that Francis has to leave. He has a feline brother and they have gotten used to each other, even hanging out in the yard in the sun. Roscoe does love being out in the yard, rolling in the grass scratching his back. Of course he has a collection of assorted tennis balls, naturally! Whenever we go out for walks he frequently gets compliments about how well behaved he is and of course how handsome! He was a hit at the vet and gave everyone kisses. We have gotten to go back to the shelter to get help with “fine tuning” training from Marilyn from the behavior team. Thank you Marilyn! He is very well loved, gets belly rubs and plenty of treats!!
He could not be where he is now without all of the hours of tireless dedication by the Behavior Training Team, shelter staff and all of the volunteers who love him. Thank you to everyone who worked with him during his 10-month stay—all of your effort was well worth it!!!!”
Rocket was another one of our long-termer. Here he was at the shelter. He was not a dog for just anyone, so we were thrilled when his perfect family found him.
“Sorry for the delay in updates; we have just been so busy loving and getting to know our new fur baby! In the short time he has been with us, Rocket has filled a space in our hearts and home we didn’t realize were so empty. He is extremely smart and has even learned a few new tricks, but he is still a little nervous on the stairs. He has been very spoiled with us (he gets the pick of any blanket he wants with lots of snuggles), and he gets to be a lap dog whenever he wants! Rocket enjoys going for walks around our neighborhood, working out with us in our gym room, and my husband loves his “Air Jordan” symbol on the back of Rocket’s head (as seen in the photo of him on a walk). Who knew we could have so much love for a dog that’s been with us such a small amount of time? We can’t wait to see what adventures Rocket will take us on in the future!”
On a personal note, I am going to Michigan next week to visit family. My next post will be on October 25th.
That’s it for this week!
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