People often ask me how I can stand to see the dogs shut in kennels at the shelter. “Don’t you just want to take them all home?” they ask. I do want each of them to find a caring home (though I don’t think that it particularly needs to be with me), but I also see that many of the dogs are pretty comfortable with the structure of their routine at the shelter. They are well-fed, dry and warm, and get regular walks and play time with the volunteers.
A life with a family that includes outings, animal friends, their own yard, and a cushy bed is definitely a better situation for these dogs, but it takes a little time for them to get used to a new routine. This is one of the reasons that we ask adopters to go slow with a new dog. Even though the people might want to show them all the fun that they’ve been missing, it can be way too overwhelming for the dog to have so much change all at once.
This past week saw the adoption of the shelter’s longest resident, Loki. Loki happily came out to the play yard to meet his potential adopter and was his charming, goofy self. His new friend petted him and played fetch with him for a while and then decided she was ready to adopt. Loki went back to his kennel while the paperwork was completed and leash, collar and toys readied for him. He was very happy to come out of the kennel one more time to see his old and new friends. There were photos and exchanges of phone numbers and information.
I included the trainer’s information and helped Loki into the car, where he set about shredding the new blanket that we’d just given him. As he drove away, I hoped that he was just really confused by the change in routine, like a child staying up way past his bedtime, and was acting out accordingly. I worried all through the next day. Fortunately for Loki, he went home with a kind and patient woman who let him spend his first day exploring his new yard, taking walks around the neighborhood and getting to know his new family. When the text popped up that they all loved him and that he was settling in, I was relieved and very happy!
Not all of the shelter dogs get as comfortable with kennel life as Loki did. Beautiful Luna, a year old shepherd or Belgian Malinois mix, loves the volunteers and going for walks, but finds it stressful to be in the actual kennel. As a result, she doesn’t show very well when visitors walk by. People who take the time to see her outside will be impressed with what a nice dog she is! Volunteers comment on how easy she is to walk. She is not particularly interested in toys or balls, but would make a fabulous agility or sport dog. She is smart and attentive. Luna is on the smaller side of medium, maybe 45 pounds. She seems to be friendly with other dogs and responded nicely when meeting a dog-confident cat, a reasonable indicator that she will be good with cats as well. Luna is ready for a real home and would love the chance to show off what a nice dog she is. She is housebroken, spayed, micro-chipped and current on her vaccinations. Luna is waiting at the Humboldt County Animal Shelter at 980 Lycoming Ave. in McKinleyville, near the airport. The shelter is open Monday through Friday. More information is available at (707) 840-9132.
Redwood Pals Rescue also has a nice dog looking for a foster or adoptive home. Handsome Midnight is a two year old Pit Bull Terrier mix. A black dog, who happens to be male and a Pit Bull, is not always the dog at the top of everyone’s wish list. Meeting Midnight would be a good way to dispel that stereotype. This dog is one of the friendliest dogs at the shelter. He calmly walks by the other kennels, completely ignoring dogs that bark or growl at him. We employ him to help evaluate other dogs as he is so reliably non-reactive. He is also very patient with younger dogs that are trying out their social skills. He has met a few cats through the kennel doors and appears to be fine with them too. Midnight likes to play ball or toss his toys around the play yard. He is making great progress on leash manners and is very eager to please his human friends. We would expect Midnight to really blossom with further obedience training and become a model dog. Redwood Pals encourages our fosters to take advantage of training classes and pack walks that we can provide, which are fun and informative for dog and human alike. For more information about fostering, or to arrange to meet Midnight, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 839-9692.