Saturday, May 5, 2012

ADOPTED: The Buster Effect

This post is long overdue considering that we fostered Buster almost a month ago. With each foster dog, I continue to be amazed with what I learn about animal rescue.

Buster was found as a stray in a local city--emaciated and clearly not cared for. The family who found him tried unsuccessfully to find him a home because they couldn't keep him. They contacted our rescue group to see if we could take him.

One afternoon, another volunteer helped me load Buster into my car. When she closed the door, I looked at him in my back seat at him—ears up, head tiled—and said, "Buster, you are one funky dude." I thought he would probably be with us for awhile because of just how funky I thought he looked, but it turns out that the more unique a dog looks, the more people want to adopt him.

"The Buster Effect," as I've termed it, is the exact opposite of the "I Need a Specific Breed Effect." There are plenty of people out there who only want a Lab that looks like every other Lab and acts like every other Lab on planet Earth. But it turns out that there's another contingency of people who want a dog that looks like no other dog out there.

Well, with those big bunny ears and quizzical look, Buster was that one-of-a-kind dog. It didn't hurt that he had a Prince-Charming type personality. I think he was Missy's best foster friend yet, and he just loved every person he met.

Buster was only with us for a week or two before being adopted by a couple who was instantly won over after one look at those ears. Buster, you're gonna break some hearts, you funky dude, you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ADOPTED: Somebody's Somebody

An unwanted dog dumped in a city shelter. He's a nobody. He's got no name—only a number, 107425. He barks and whines for attention. He jumps on his cage hoping someone will want to play. But nobody wants him. He's a nobody.

I'd imagine this is what life was like for 107425 prior to the day volunteers with our organization visited the shelter. That day, the volunteers left with 107425, a 10-year-old beagle, and a mama pit and her 4-week-old puppies to take into our rescue.

Jonathan and I picked up 107425 and assessed his immediate needs—a bath, some food, a few handsome Petfinder photos, and a name. Oreo, we decided. Definitely Oreo.

Despite the fact that he was a nobody, the truth is that Oreo would be the easiest of all the dogs to adopt out because of his age, size, and breed. So it's not surprising that after a bath, some food, a few handsome Petfinder photos, and a name, several families were interested in adopting him. "We just fell in love with his pictures," one family said. "Look at that beautiful coat," said another. "And we just love his name," they all said. It's amazing what a mini-makeover can do for a dog.

This past weekend we adopted him to a family who had been looking for a dog for some time. We did our home visit and said our goodbyes. As we walked toward the door, he tried to follow us. I thought I had become immune to these goodbyes. After a certain number of them, you know the drill. And having our own Missy at home waiting for us certainly makes it easier. But this one stung a little bit more than the rest.

"Be good, my sweet cookie," I whispered to him.

I couldn't stop thinking about him this week, so I emailed the family to see how he's doing. He's been a dream—crate trained, housebroken, playful, the works. The family couldn't be happier. They directed me to their Facebook page to see pictures of Oreo playing in the backyard, snuggling on the couch, and rolling on the floor.

That's when it hit me. This dog is somebody's somebody.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oreo, One Sweet Cookie

I've always wanted to name a dog Oreo. And when this pup with black on outside and white on the inside came along, I thought "Oreo" would be a perfect fit. (Not to mention he had no name—only a number—in the shelter where he came from.)

I'm stumped as to his breed mix. At 25 pounds, he reminds me of a miniature lab. But he has his ears set high like a Jack Russell. Someone else mentioned he looked like a spaniel/pointer mix.

Petfinder still doesn't have a "mutt" option for breed, so tell me... What do you think is in the mix?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ADOPTED: Joplin, Before and After

Joplin was adopted by one of my colleagues and has since been re-named Tater Tot. Take a look at these before and after shots of "Extreme Makeover: Tater Tot Edition!"

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jumpin' Joplin

We took in Jumpin' Joplin from a shelter in Virginia. We're told he was a stray running the streets dodging traffic. He really needs a haircut, but he's adorable nonetheless.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Missy's DNA Results Are Here!

What do you get when you cross generations of lab mixes? A fuzzy, 30-pound Missy—apparently!

We were quite surprised to see how much lab showed up. And imagine our disbelief when the test showed that, with varying degrees of certainty, there might be skye terrier, cairn terrier, cocker spaniel, and basset hound in her. (Okay, I was pretty sure there was cocker in her to begin with.)

I might think this test is a hoax if I didn't know people who had results that actually resembled their dogs. But it gives me 100% proof that the next time someone asks, I can say Missy is a purebred mutt. Alright, honestly, it was just plain fun to do.

I've included the results here. We used Wisdom Panel Insights. We received their kit in the mail, swabbed Missy's cheek, then dropped it back in the mail. The results came in about 3 weeks later. I'm not endorsing them; I choose this test because a friend recommend it. (Oh, and it was on sale.)

Have you had your dog DNA tested? Were you surprised by the results?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ADOPTED: More Than a Number

A series of numbers are tattooed inside Scout’s long, droopy ears. This was primarily how she was identified at the lab. But then she stepped paw inside our home and was given her forever name—Scout.

My colleague had always wanted to get a female dog and name her after the inquisitive young tomboy from To Kill a Mockingbird. When she took in a male dog, she named him Scout anyway. I hope her Scout Sr. doesn’t mind, but I borrowed his name. It turns out that the name helped find my Scout a home.

A potential adopter was browsing Petfinder looking for a beagle. She told me that as soon as she saw the name Scout, she knew it was meant to be. She had always wanted a dog named Scout. In fact, she wanted a Scout and an Atticus to go along with her current beagle who, although named Gracie, also responds to the nickname Boo. 

Scout (front) and her beagle sister, Gracie
This potential adopter—we’ll call them the Finch family—was quite heartbroken when I told them that our little Scout already had a home visit set up, but I promised to call if things didn’t work out. Well, things didn’t work out. The other potential adopter decided after our home visit and conversation that it wouldn’t be feasible with their schedule to housebreak a research beagle. (Another good example of why home visits are important.)

You can imagine how happy the Finch family was when I called to share this news and ask if they were still interested. We visited their home last night so Scout could meet Gracie (Boo.) It went marvelously, and Scout was adopted as a permanent member of the Finch family.

The dog previously known by the numbers forever marked in her ears will now forever be known as Scout. She’ll be surrounded by love and given everything a dog deserves—Scout’s honor.