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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.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Somebody's Destiny Awaits

Destiny is one of our long-term dogs, and she is my staff pick. She has been here for over four months, and may be here for quite a while longer before she finds a home. But she will find her home eventually, and whoever adopts her will count themselves blessed. I am sure that Destiny is somebody's perfect dog.

Long-term dogs stick around for a number of reasons. Sometimes only because they're old or plain looking. Some dogs are shy or aloof and don't sell themselves; these dogs have to wait for someone who takes the time to get to know them. Some dogs have behavioral issues which require a home that is just right, such as with someone who's home all day, doesn't have children, or is willing to commit to a specific training and management plan in order to prevent problem behaviors. For all these reasons, some dogs are less desirable to the general public.

But here's the thing. Once long-term dogs are adopted, they're not less desirable at all. In fact, many of our former long-term dogs are living happily ever after in homes where they are cherished, and their owners wouldn't want any other dog. These people didn't pick the dog that no one else wanted because they felt sorry for her, they picked the dog that was perfect for them.

Long time blog readers will be familiar with Simon. Simon was blogged about a second time, although not by name, in Searched and Rescued. Now here's the rest of the story: Simon was indeed accepted into Search and Rescue training, and we all celebrated. But then he flunked out, and was returned to the shelter, unwanted, unmanageable, and incorrigible. We feared that he might be one of the dogs we couldn't save, but he was given one last chance. He managed to behave himself long enough to be put up for adoption, and on his very first day in adoptions, he found his person. Simon has been living in his forever home for over seven months months now, and is doing well. He's still a butthead, but his owners love him for it, and at the ripe old age of two, he's mellowed into a more manageable butthead.

Sugar found her perfect people just a couple weeks shy of her one year anniversary at the shelter. This spring, she will be celebrating a much better anniversary: one year in her forever home.

Every day as I walk from the front of the shelter to the back, I pass by pictures of Stella out and about with her canine brother, wearing a spiffy collar and looking so very happy. These photos were sent to us by Stella's owners to show us how perfect she is for them.

Smiley is living happily ever after. She has three cats to play with, and she gets to go everywhere with her person. She is off her medication, and hasn't destroyed so much as a sock in her new home.

Bridget was never blogged about, but she was my staff pick before Destiny, and one of my all-time favorite dogs. She was a middle-aged, plain brown shepherd mix, who needed a home without other animals. She is now a pampered family member, and her nametag reads, "Princess Bridget."

Destiny's time will come, I know it. But waiting can be hard, and some days I feel sad and frustrated as I watch people pass Destiny by, and shower their attention on smaller, fluffier, cuter dogs.

In the meantime, I'm having a blast training Destiny. She is smart, athletic and fun! She's not the cuddly type, but is always ready to go for a hike or play a game of fetch. Just the other day, she surprised and delighted me by jumping up onto a countertop and standing there to survey the room. Now, I realize that jumping on the counter may not be a selling point for most people, but I can't help but admire a dog who has the athleticism, curiosity, and confidence to jump onto a counter just to see the view. (In a home, proper use of tethers and tie-downs will help Destiny to learn that such behavior isn't appropriate.)

Destiny is very well crate trained, and doing well with her house training. She loves stuffed kongs and chew toys, and can entertain herself for hours. She doesn't bark much, and has a short, clean coat. She would do quite well in a home with someone who works full time, provided she got daily walks and play time, and some vigorous exercise on the weekends. She's not a good candidate for the dog park, but loves to play with rough-and-tumble boy dogs and sturdy puppies. Because Destiny can be a bit possessive of her food, she needs to go to a home without children.

I can't wait until Destiny finds her forever home. When that time comes, I will rejoice for her, but I will also miss her, and I will be just a little bit jealous of her adopters. They will be very lucky people indeed, to be able to share their life with such an awesome dog.

Sarah, this story and how you've written it really touch me! Are you still working with Destiny? I especially love the second photo of Destiny, the movement and playfulness that it captures.

 

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