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They Need To Adopt A Better Attitude About Pitbulls

, , , | Right | January 3, 2019

(I work in an animal shelter. I’m out walking one of the rescues, a beautiful black and white pit bull who just loves meeting new people. This is probably the friendliest dog I have ever met, and one who has bonded with me over two months.)

Little Girl: “Puppy!”

Mother: “Oh, no, honey, don’t go near that; you might get bitten.”

Me: “I really appreciate you not letting your daughter run right up to her, but if she would like to pat Jazz, she’s definitely welcome to.”

Mother: “Oh, no, never. I saw one of those on TV once; it mauled somebody. I will not allow that beast to hurt my precious little angel. Maybe if it were a beagle, but not that monster.”

Me: “Oh, I understand the fear of pits for sure, but I assure you, Jazz is a really good girl. She loves children.”

(Jazz lays down and rolls onto her back as I scratch her belly.)

Woman: “How can you touch that thing without being afraid? It could bite your hand off!”

Me: “Jazz and I are best buddies; I’ve been with her since she got here. Now, I don’t want to scare you with her anymore, so I’ll continue going this way. The shelter is back the other way a little bit.”

(I continue my walk into the woods, where there are a nice set of trails. The customer decides to yell out to me.)

Woman: “It’s a monster! It could hurt you very badly. I suggest you leave it in the woods. Tie it to a tree and never come back!”

(I ignore her and continue my walk. When I return to the building, I put Jazz outside in one of the pens and walk in to return the leash. I see the woman and her daughter looking at the different dogs with the shelter manager. She spots me out of the corner of her eye.)

Woman: “Oh, it’s you. I’m going to guess you didn’t leave that monster out in the woods, did you?”

Manager: “The monster?”

Woman: “Yes, this boy had a pit bull. I told him he should just tie it to a tree and leave, but I guess he decided not to.”

Manager: “Yeah, I’m sorry, but suddenly all of our dogs have been adopted already. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Woman: “Is this about the pit bull? I’d never hurt an animal, but I think you should put a bullet in the head of every one of those.”

Manager: “Out.”

(The woman’s name was put on the cannot-adopt list, and to my knowledge never came back. I will never understand why this woman would say any of that, especially in front of her daughter, but I suppose that’s one less neglected dog in someone’s house.)

This story is part of our Animal Shelter Roundup!

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When The Cat’s Away, The Liars Come Out To Play

, , , , | Legal | December 26, 2018

During a recent wildfire, a group I volunteer with is tasked with sheltering over 1,000 animals whose owners have been evacuated from the fire zone, as well as a couple hundred animals who have been brought into the shelter by fire, police, and other emergency workers. We immediately try to match those lost animals with their humans and reunite the extended family.

For about every hundred people looking for their lost pet, we match one very happy family. A mother and daughter couple come to the shelter looking for their lost cat. We start with a picture and try to match with an animal in the shelter to avoid crowds in the building.

English is the mother’s second language, and she is having some difficulty explaining the color and breed of her missing cat. After a couple of minutes, the mother and daughter start speaking an Asian dialect I can sort of understand, but can not speak. The daughter, upset that her mother dragged her down to the shelter to find her missing cat tells her mother, “Just find a picture of a cat you like and I will tell them it is yours.”

Nope, time to let them speak to someone with a badge.

It’s A Catty Christmas

, , , , , , | Hopeless | December 24, 2018

I’ve been volunteering with an animal shelter for a few years now. About a week before Christmas, I go with the owner to open the main building, and there’s a huge bag in front of the door. To our surprise, there’s a ton of stuff for cats: sealed bags of dry food, cans of wet food, old — but clean — blankets, cat collars, toys, flea treatments, and even a carrier.

We bring everything inside and are shocked that someone would just drop this all off and not want to get recognition or anything, but then we see a note attached to one of the food bags. It reads:

“I adopted my cat from this shelter many years ago. He recently passed away, and while I knew it was coming, I’d hoped I could have one more Christmas with my best friend. Since I can’t, I’m donating some of his old things, along with a bunch of new things, so that the cats still waiting for their forever homes can have a happy holiday. Thank you.”

We showed the note to every volunteer that came in and, needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the shelter for days. We still have no idea who left all of those wonderful gifts, but if you’re out there, rest assured that the cats in the shelter had a very happy holiday, thanks to you!

Four Little Magical Paws

, , , , , | Hopeless | November 27, 2018

My husband and I decided to adopt a dog. We picked one out right before our wedding and took her home about a week or so after. She had been abused in the past — beaten, shot at, etc. — and had behavioral problems that came out once she got comfortable with us. While at the shelter, she’d been too scared to “show her true colors.”

Our vet directed us to a behaviorist who helped us out, and literally changed my life, how I viewed dogs, and my relationship with them.

Fast forward a year. We decided to go ahead and adopt a second dog. This time I was determined to pursue the passion that I’d acquired for training and helping needy rescues, and I knew I wanted a special dog. While I loved our dog, she had been my husband’s pick, and I wanted to choose this time.

I set my sights on an 11-year-old mutt, who had been in the shelter for more than ten years. The shelter had a pretty awful past, where they’d basically abused their dogs and refused volunteers, and that had only changed within the past year or so — now it’s literally, hands down, one of the best in the country — but it meant that for about nine years he had no human contact and was severely neglected.

Needless to say, he was a basket case. I spent four months dedicating almost every free minute and weekend I had either visiting him at the shelter or at a course I was taking to be able to offer him the therapy and help he needed. I was finally able to take him home, and shortly after, I passed my course and was certified to work with dogs.

If I thought my life changed before, he was the final straw. My trainer and behaviorist both have called him one of their most difficult cases, and he isn’t one of those miraculous “changed overnight” dogs, but he is my absolute pride and joy and sunshine and everything good in this world. He sucks up every minute of my free time, but that’s all right. He has separation anxiety that prevents me from being able to leave the house without either finding a babysitter or arranging for him to be taken care of — no hopping out to the store to grab that one thing I need for dinner for me — and poses a huge problem to every aspect of my life, but I wouldn’t give him up for the world.

It’s such a joy to see such a needy dog that doesn’t know how to function properly go from terrified to entire body wagging with joy when he greets me, and proudly walking by my side on walks instead of running around in terrified circles trying to drag me back to the shelter. Everybody who’s seen his progress keeps telling me that he’s an entirely different dog, and he just makes me so proud. I have crippling depression at times, and he’s the only thing that keeps me going on a really bad day. I might be able to convince myself that the world would be a better place without me, but then I remember those four little paws that panic and freak and forget all the things he’s learned when I’m not around.

Needs To Adopt Some Knowledge On The Subject

, , , , | Right | August 15, 2018

(I volunteer at a local animal shelter once per week. Since I worked part-time there last summer, the employees and I are on very good terms, so they don’t mind me offering advice to customers and getting them set up with the proper assistance. On this day, a woman I’d estimate to be about 60 comes into the shelter and stops in front of me while I’m folding laundry.)

Me: “Hi. Do you need any help?”

Customer: “Yes, I’m here to pick up Mack.”

(Mack is a very cute German Shepherd mix puppy we are accepting applications for; with puppies we tend to accept more than one applicant and then choose the best a day or two after the puppy is made available.)

Me: “Oh, um, do you mean you’d like to meet him outside the kennel?”

Customer: “No, I’m here to pick him up.”

Me: “Um… One moment, please.”

(I go and get [Employee], who runs the dog team.)

Employee: “So, I hear you’re interested in Mack?”

Woman: “Yes, I’d like to bring him home.”

Employee: “I’m sorry, but we’re not reviewing applications until tomorrow due to the high interest in him.”

Woman: “Applications?”

Employee: “Do… Do you have an application in on him?”

Woman: “Application?”

(It turned out the woman had no idea she needed to apply to adopt a dog! I later found out she had come by to try and adopt before with similar results. She didn’t get Mack, but she did fill out an application for another dog, so I guess she figured it out eventually. We all found the whole thing funny more than annoying, since she’s hardly the first one to make that mistake!)