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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!)

Some Customers Should Be Spayed

, , , , , | Right | July 10, 2018

(My mother volunteers for a local golden retriever rescue group. All of the dogs who are old enough are spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted puppies. If you adopt a puppy you are required to spay or neuter them at six months, or the group will take them back. We get a lot of stupid questions from potential adopters, but this email to my mother takes the cake.)

Email: “I’m really interested in [Three-Year-Old Dog], but I notice she is spayed. Can you tell me how to un-spay her? I want to breed her to my dog.”

(My mother spent a good twenty minutes trying to figure out a professional response.)


This story is part of our Golden Retriever roundup!

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She’s A Salty Cracker

, , , , , | Right | July 5, 2018

(I do community service part-time for a local wildlife hospital. My job is mainly to clean bird cages and provide them with food, but I answer emergency phone calls when no one else is around to take them. Today, I’m about to clock out and we get a call. I accept the request to rescue a bird on the beach at the other side of town. It’s inconvenient, but rescues are usually more interesting than cleaning cages, so I accept. Halfway to the bird, I get a call back from the person who called the bird in.)

Caller: “Hello, uh, miss? I think someone’s trying to drown it.”

Me: “Maybe you should get them not to do that. I can’t give a bird CPR, and it’s not much of a rescue if it dies.”

(Ten minutes later, I got to the beach. A woman who was clearly a tourist had been dunking the poor bird in seawater because she thought it looked thirsty. While some birds actually can drink seawater without a problem, this was not one of those birds. The bird was still alive by the time I picked it up, but it was choking from the salt the whole way back to the rescue center.)

A Weighty Request

, , , , | Right | June 28, 2018

(I’m a volunteer at an animal shelter. A woman comes in wanting to adopt a cat.)

Woman: “Do you have any fat cats?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Woman: “You know, obese? Plump?”

Me: “Well, we try to maintain the health of the animals here, so any overweight cats are on strict diets. May I ask why you are looking for a, um, fat cat?”

Woman: “You may not.”

(She leaves the shelter. I hear her yell outside.)

Woman: “Honey, they were out of fat cats!”