Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

Today is April 30 and it’s also Adopt a Shelter Pet Day.  Now none of us came from a shelter – although my human often threatens that we could end up there.  But there are many wonderful dogs who, due to NO fault of their own, end up in shelters.  And they deserve a good home.  The key with shelter pets is matching them to the right homes.  Some shelter pets come with baggage – and I’m not talking dog toys and leashes.  I’m talking about a start in life that may not have been good – so they may have behavior problems.  The crucial point is in knowing what those problems ARE and whether the prospective human can tackle them.   There is probably nothing more sad than seeing a dog go to a home, only to be returned a short time later.  So matching dogs and homes is CRITICAL.  Now not ALL shelter dogs have behavior problems – some may have ended up there due to their human becoming ill.  No matter what the reason though, a good match is very important.

My human’s first dog (as an adult), who I have probably written about before, was Barney.  He was a terrier-something cross.  Pretty darn cute to look at, but his nick-name at the shelter was “The Biter.” For good reason.  But my human, being somewhat naive,  judged a book by it’s cover, and took Mr. Sweet-looking, home.  And probably within an hour of arriving home, he bit her.  She learned QUICKLY that Barney didn’t like to “give things up” and he was somewhat “protective” of his belongings.  He also did not particularly care for other dogs – he would look all sweet and waggy tailed and then promptly attempt to bite them.  Obedience classes for him BEGAN but never finished – because it was too much of a challenge holding onto the whirling, snapping machine.  My human simply learned to avoid other dogs when walking him.  Barney also had a “thing” for large trucks.  He would go into a frenzy – and one time put a hole in my human’s boot (while she was wearing it) in his frustration at not being able to “catch” one.

Every now and then, he loved to get into the garbage, not to EAT the contents, but rather to HIDE them.  There was that turkey carcass he hid under the cushion on the sofa – and the chicken bones in the suitcase of my human’s sister, who was visiting. 

When my human traveled to visit her parents and their Golden Retriever, Barney tried to take over Midas’ food bowl- with Midas standing right there.  Midas was a pretty laid back dog – but it was the first and only time they saw him lose his cool.  Barney learned quickly that “size matters.”  Not that it totally deterred him throughout the whole visit – he was just more cautious – and he certainly didn’t try to challenge Midas again!

When Barney was about 10 years old, my human decided to take a chance and add a new dog to the household – a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy.  She had wanted a Bernese for a number of years – and while she initially THOUGHT she should wait until – well until Barney was no longer around – she came to realize that Barney was one hardy little dog.  So she took a chance – KNOWING that Barney was not all that fond of other dogs. But Barney surprised my human – as he often did – and he didn’t mind Schubert at all.  Barney outlived Schubert, and went on to live with two other dogs as well – another Bernese, named Guinness and a yellow lab named, Beamish.  Throughout his life, Barney WAS in charge of the household – and everyone respected his status!

Barney and Schubert

My human owned Barney back in the day when vaccinating almost EVERY year was common protocol.  He also ate cheap dog food – the kind that LOOKS like meat but is probably 95% fillers and plastic.  It was actually probably mostly chemicals and preservatives.  Barney lived to the ripe old age of 17 1/2.   And besides his yearly vaccination visit, she can’t recall him being sick.   Maybe it was all those chemicals that preserved him!  Go figure. 

Barney liked to run away, if let off leash, but he usually came back.   When he felt like it.  My human often said that even at age 17, if the door was left open, he would have said  “see ya later – I’ve got places to go. Not sure when I’ll be home.”

When he went to the Rainbow Bridge it was a sad day indeed…  

But my human often wonders if she had not taken Barney, where he MIGHT have ended up.  He clearly wasn’t a “family dog” – and NOT a dog for everyone – but just like every dog she has been owned by – he was just perfect for her.  

So today we think about those dogs who have still not found a home – and are living in shelters.  We hope that they find their loving, forever homes SOON!!!!  

***One final thing to note…most dogs in shelters are not purebred.  Two probable reasons why – IF you get a purebred dog from a RESPONSIBLE breeder, that breeder will take the dog back at any point in his/her life and will find a good home.  Those breeders will ALSO insist when you get a puppy that he/she be neutered – and NOT bred.  The other reason you don’t find as many purebreds in shelters – IF a purebred DOES end up in a shelter, most purebred breed clubs will rescue the dog, and find a good home.  Dogs in shelters MOST likely did NOT come from responsible breeders.  That is not to say they don’t deserve a great life – and being there is not their fault.  But sometimes people WANT an older dog – and they may not be aware that breed clubs can often HELP them find a dog of a desired breed – who also NEED loving homes.  So when you are ready to take a dog into your home and heart – please know that there are a NUMBER of ways to do so!

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