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Welcome to Shelter Life at the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

We began as the Oakland SPCA in 1874. Today, the East Bay SPCA includes two animal shelters and three clinics in our community.

This is our day.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Compromises


Katie went on Paws to Consider the day before yesterday.

Katie is a short, squat, pleasantly round, red dog. People always ask two things about Katie: "What's her mix" and "Did she just have puppies". I honestly have no idea what Katie's breed mix is. I suspect it's a genetic soup of all types of dogs rather than two single breeds. And while she did have puppies, it's been nearly a year now since they were born. Katie arrived at our shelter that long ago, nursing a litter of nine newborn pups. The puppies became old enough to go up for adoption and, being small and adorable, were quickly snatched up into new homes. Katie, on the other hand, is a bit of a "plain Jane" dog. And to that her then-pedulous mammary glands and her aloof response to strangers and you have the recipe for a dog that will sit for a long time in the shelter. Katie has been adopted twice, but neither home stuck. She is one of the few dogs who we've had to revaccinate because her yearly vaccines became due again.

The folks who took note of our red diamond in the rough (er...ruby in the ruff)? An elderly couple. Retired and with an entire acre for their dogs to play on. Their dog history was fantastic, all their previous canines passing away at impressively ripe old ages. Their current dog was a young male. He and Katie took to each other immediately. But, here was the catch: the dogs they owned were not allowed in the house. At all. Period. Both the potential owners suffered from allergies severe enough that indoor dogs were simply impossible. Their resident dog was happy, healthy, with a well-groomed and gleaming coat. They went on camping trips with their pets in tow. The husband had built a two-story barn specifically for the dogs as well as a large enclosure closer to the house. They took their dogs on walks every morning and spent much of the day outside with them. This was not your typical outdoor dog life.

Still, one of the big things we want for our shelter dogs and one of the first things we expect from adopters is that the dog lives inside the house and becomes a part of the family. This couple seemed to have "part of the family" down pat. It's just that in the house bit that they couldn't do.

I spoke with my supervisors. I chewed on the idea. These were the first people to even notice Katie in months. She was snuggling up to them which is rare for her. She was playing benevolently with their dog which was even rarer. But...she'd live outdoors. Still, in the end, it seemed like a good, if unconventional, home.

So, Katie's off on Paws to Consider. If the adoption is finalized, I guess I won't be able to imagine her curled up on someone's couch anymore. I'll have to picture her napping in a sunny spot on the grass instead.

I can live with that.

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Oakland Adoption Center
510.569.0702

Oakland Vet Clinic
510.569.1606

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510.639.7387

Tri-Valley Adoption Center
925.479.9670

Tri-Valley Spay/Neuter Center in Dublin
925.479.9674


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