Dear Fellow Dog Lovers,
This week’s post is a full one. In it there are announcements of five wonderful adoptions, one current volunteer favorite hoping for her forever home, one terrific update, and a memorial for a very special former shelter dog.
There were three puppy adoptions: Petra, Nigel, and Odin. Their families are no doubt very busy! I’m sorry I have no pictures.
Tags has been waiting for his just-right family fit for quite a while, so everyone was thrilled when he went home with his new pet parents.
Charlie went home with two dog brothers. Theirs will be a full house! As always, we are grateful when adopters take home a senior. Charlie is thirteen years old.
I know I will need on-going medical attention, but I promise you won’t be sorry if you adopt me. I’ll be your very best friend.
When Gracie Lou arrived at the shelter in December, she was in very poor physical shape. Her family could not afford her medical care any longer, so sadly they surrendered her, hoping she would get the help she needed. The WHS vet team immediately got to work. Gracie had much hair loss and her skin was inflamed. She has since been treated with both oral and topical medications which have done wonders for both her skin and her outlook. She is also on special food which she will need to continue the rest of her life. Now that Gracie is feeling better, her personality is shining though and her energy is coming back.
Gracie is a six-year-old American Bulldog mix. She is needing to wear a “donut” so that she doesn’t bother her healing skin. Oh, and this is her happy look—she doesn’t smile, but her tail speaks for her.
Gracie will need a family who can afford her lifelong medical care. She has Chronic Allergic Dermatitis which means she is allergic to things in the environment. This condition will have to be managed with medication and diet for the rest of her life.
It didn’t take long for Gracie to become a favorite at the shelter. Marianne was so smitten with her that she brought her to meet me at a park a few weeks ago. We had a great time.
Gracie has a very good home history. Her family had her since puppyhood, so knew her very well. They reported, “She’s a lover.” She slept with her person on the bed at night. She would give a bark when she wanted attention, food, or needed to go outside. She did well with strangers and lived with a cat. Any cat she would go home with would have to be dog-savvy. When left alone, she might try to get into the garbage to see if there were any leftovers, otherwise she patiently waited for her family to get home. She loves children, but because she is on only prescription food and treats, older children who would understand her diet needs would be best.
Volunteers Marianne and Nicola have spent a great deal of time with Gracie and have been overjoyed watching her personality blossom. They discovered last week that she loves a GFB (Giant Fluff Ball) and enjoys running around a yard.
Here’s what Marianne says about her current favorite shelter dog:
“Gracie is such a sweet and affectionate dog who loves butt scratches! What a silly and fun personality she has. She greets everyone she meets with wiggles and happy tail wags. She can have lots of energy and likes to run around the yards at the shelter. She also likes to relax. She walks pretty well on leash but can pull when she sees something of interest. The good news is she responds almost immediately when you call her name. She is smart and very treat-motivated—she will sit down like a champ and wait for her reward. She loves to learn new things since treats are involved. She can get excited and somewhat mouthy but is easily redirected. She bonded very quickly to me, and I have no doubt it would be the same with her new person. She responds very lovingly to kindness and attention. I absolutely adore this amazing dog and can hardly wait to spend time with her when I’m at the shelter.”
It’s going to take a special family to adopt Gracie Lou. We’re hoping that family will find her soon.
If you are interested in Gracie Lou, fill out the Adoption Questionnaire by clicking on Gracie Lou’s picture and then on the link Apply to Adopt found on this page: https://whs4pets.org/dogs/
Everyone who met her, loved Lacey. She was an energetic youngster who loved to play with her friends in playgroup.
We were thrilled when she was adopted.
Last week Adoption Specialist Sasha got a happy update.
“We adopted our girl Dolly (was Lacey) from you in December. Dolly is doing wonderful! We love her and with the help of our family and friends are spoiling her! We can’t thank you enough for all the important work you do. We’re so proud to say that Dolly is a rescue dog! Especially when people say what a good dog she is! Thank you so much for making Dolly part of our family!”
I have been volunteering at WHS for almost fourteen years. During this time, I have loved many, many shelter dogs. But there are three who have a permanent place all their own in my heart. This is the story of one of them.
It was September 2012 when I first met Rockstar in his kennel at WHS. He had been part of a transfer from an overcrowded shelter in California. He was a youngster at ten months, full of enthusiasm for life, totally untrained, and difficult to look at because someone had cut off his ears. But Rockstar loved everyone he met. And he stole my heart.
I found myself spending extra time with him after my walking shifts, getting permission to have mini playdates with other shelter dogs, which delighted him.
I featured Rockstar in many posts of my blog over the next months, and he was adopted twice. He was returned both times, once after only a day. He was not house-trained and his energy level was too much for the families. Rockstar’s puppy exuberance and lack of impulse control resulted in him landing in ten-day bite quarantine—twice. I’ll never forget my conversation with fellow volunteer Linda after his second accidental infraction. Linda is a wonderful dog trainer, but looking at Rockstar’s sad ears had bothered her so much, she had not spent much time with him. As we stood outside his kennel, with his eager face looking up at us hopefully, she sighed and said she guessed she needed to make him a training project. And she did. Rockstar soon adored Linda and she was quickly won over by his goofy, loving personality.
Rockstar was so eager to learn and made great strides under Linda’s patient guidance. Then WHS Behavior Trainer Annie took him home as a short-term foster to work on house-training and to see how he reacted to other animals. She happily reported that he got along with all of her chickens, cats, and dogs. Still, Rockstar continued to wait for his forever home and the months went by. But he never got discouraged and never lost hope.
One day in February 2013, I had lunch with Karen, former WHS Volunteer Manager. As I told her about Rockstar’s personality, his progress with Linda, and the fact that he had gotten along with all creatures, I saw her eyes light up. She and her husband, Charlie, had a farm with chickens, a bunny, a horse and an older dog. They had been thinking of adopting a young dog and Rockstar sounded perfect.
Rockstar became Tanner and he quickly and happily settled into his new home. Of course, bringing a new dog into a family never goes flawlessly, and Tanner was no exception. Karen found that a foam-filled bed was not the best choice for the boy. And, a typical teenager, Tanner tried to blame someone else!
In one of Karen’s early updates, she wrote, “Tanner continues to do really well. Today he invited the bunny to play with a play bow and a jump. The bunny didn’t respond and I told him to leave it, so he now avoids the bunny. I can call him from way across the pasture and he now comes to me like a bullet.” Tanner also loved the baby chicks.
Tanner and Karen came to visit WHS occasionally for a playgroup. We all loved it when they came.
Over the years, Tanner had an incredible life with Karen and Charlie. Karen took him to agility classes, he earned his Canine Good Citizenship Certificate, he went camping in the mountains and at the beach. He was a big brother to many foster dogs. He was also a wonderful breed ambassador for “Pit Bull” type dogs just by being himself. Linda and I loved meeting Karen and Tanner at local parks in the summers and he never forgot us.
Last week Karen asked Linda and me to meet them one final time at Riverfront Park. She said that Tanner had developed a brain tumor that was affecting his ability to walk and eat. When we arrived at the park, Tanner, unsteady on his feet, still tried to wag his tail and seemed excited to see us. We had a wonderful time loving him and talking with Karen and Charlie about his adventures over the years. It was very difficult to tell him goodbye.
On Thursday evening, Karen wrote, “Sadly, we said goodbye to Tanner tonight. Loving Hands came to our house and we were able to be with Tanner at the end. It was comfortable and peaceful for him. We miss him terribly. I’m so glad you were able to see him. I know he always loved seeing you both. He was the best dog ever.”
Charlie made this wonderful memorial to a most amazing and greatly loved dog.
Tanner will always be a rockstar in the hearts of everyone who loved him.
That’s it for this week.
Thanks to my photographers WHS Trainer Jessi, volunteers Marianne and Nancy, and Adoption Specialist Sasha.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org