Monday, October 25, 2010

Focusing on the positive

I think my posts to date are following a positive/negative back and forth.  So going with that, this one needs to be positive :)

First off, Ink's return has not been held against him and he is not in danger of being labeled "unadoptable".  Thank goodness!!!  I also believe that should that ever become the case, the shelter staff will contact me an allow me to adopt him.  Granted, that would not be the best scenario for Ink, my dogs or me, but we'd make it work.  But I am committed to finding him the RIGHT home!

My 2nd favorite dog who was adopted out the same day as Ink was also returned a week after he was.  This time the reason was divorce/separation.  Come on, you didn't see that coming 2 weeks ago when you adopted her?  And one of you couldn't keep her?  Okay, back to the positive.  I was really worried about this one because she was already on the "evaluate" list that we volunteers know as evaluate for being labeled "unadoptable" versus the evaluate for testing/training that it is claimed to be.  Ginger is a small pittie who got bullied by the lab she came in with (who was adopted out we so often see with the non-pitties).  She seems to compensate for being bullied by bullying other small dogs.  However, she easily redirects -- except in the case of one basset hound; she hates him with a passion for whatever reason!  And she is WONDERFUL with people.  She doesn't like being offleash, she likes the connection. She likes to be in your lap, cheek to cheek, hugging and held.  She LOVES kids.  They can climb all over her.  But having a small dog restriction and the fact that she's got food allergies and top it off with being a pittie...well, I was just thrilled when she finally got adopted.  The postive is, she was immediately put back on the available list, put back in the main kennel and is being her sweet self.  Because I already have a small dog who is dog aggressive himself, it would be a recipe for disaster if I ever needed to take her in.  But we'll find her the RIGHT home too!

So on to more positives.  First, I've been lax in posting because now I have taken on the responsibility of being volunteer coordinator.  Previously I was the volunteer events coordinator -- now I've got it all.  The positive is that another wonderful volunteer created a Shelter Improvement Team which she and I are leading and we've got an abundance of wonderful volunteers organized and making significant changes.  The energy and exuberance is just amazing.  My email overflowth with all the changes they are taking on, the ideas that they have and the actions they are taking.  It is truly inspiring.

Speaking of inspiring, I did have another feel good adoption (I'm scared to type about it, lest I get a text message that she gets returned tomorrow!  No more jinxes!)  This time, for me, it wasn't so much the feel good about the dog, it was feel good about the adopter.  I really didn't know Roxy that well.  She was another volunteer's favorite, and I tend to focus on dogs that others haven't already focused on so that more of them get exposure.  But some folks were interested in her, and that volunteer wasn't there at the time so I brought her out and spent a bunch of time with the people.  The actual adopter was an elderly woman who had recently lost her ill husband who she had been taking care of for years.  She said she missed having someone to nuture.  In addition to being a very sweet woman, the other people with her were her brother and sister-in-law.  Her brother was very knowledgable about dogs, their behavior and training.  So while when the adopter took the leash and let Roxy pull her around, her brother took over and showed her how to be in control and vowed to help her.  Plus she's got a big fenced in backyard.  And Roxy likes to be a bit of a couch potato herself.  So I really feel like they are going to be wonderful for each other.

My third favorite dog was also adopted (essentially on the same day as the first two favorites) and I have no worries at all about him coming back.  He had to be neutered before he could go to his forever home and our shelter vet was on vacation for 10 days.  His new family came in EVERY day to visit him until they could finally bring him home.  I can envision him now curled up next to his 2 new greyhound family members who he instantly loved or more likely sleeping with one of the teen girls.  They were looking for a cuddlebug since the greyhounds were really not the lapdog type and Tubbs fit the bill immensely.  All you had to do was sit down and your lap would instantly disappear.  Tubbs was my easy adopt favorite.  No restrictions and a total lovey dovey dog.  They always go fast....pittie or not.

I've also been loaded up with volunteer orientations.  Our local colleges have animal clubs who come to volunteer and this semester they seem to be incredibly popular.  Besideds the clubs, I've got fraternities and sororities and a number of high school students who are doing projects for the shelter.  Orientations usually take up my entire time at the shelter though and then I don't get as much doggie time myself.  But this week I am orientation free, so I'll be getting all the sloppy kisses I desire.  And Sunday we'll be dressing them up in hula skirts and leis to prance around in a halloween parade....which is more great exposure for them!  Here's hoping November will be even more successful than October and tons of furry friends will be sleeping in their furever homes soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

And my bubble bursts again...

I won't be changing the picture above.  At least not yet.

After my thrill of getting Ink adopted - and to someone who works at the same place I do - I get plummeted on the roller coaster again with a text message from a volunteer friend that he was brought back.  After a day and a half.

They said he was "too destructive and wouldn't go in the crate".  This after they promised me they'd give him time to adjust, take him to obedience training, and call me if there were any issues.  Nope, let's just dump him back at the shelter.

I'm working from home today so I can't seek him out to get further info on what "destructive" was and I'm afraid to email him because technically if he complained about it, I could get in trouble for using work email for personal use.  I could use my personal email since he's actually employed by a different company (that provides tech support for the the company I work for) but again, god forbid he claims harassment or something.  I'll just wait until I nab him on a smoke break and will try to be as civil as possible to find out exactly what happened so I can prepare the right adopter for him.

The thing is, I'm worried this may be Ink's 3rd strike as he was returned twice before.  In those cases, it was a small child issue.  He should have never been adopted out to a home with small children the 2nd time.  Now, he could be deemed "unadoptable" because he's been returned 3x.  I've got to find him the RIGHT home quick!

What is it with people?  Why don't they understand a dog needs time to adjust to a new home?  (I've seen it with cat adoptions too)  Why do they believe they're going to get a perfectly behaved dog?  Even if you BUY a puppy (ugh), you have to do the work.

And how do we as rescue folks identify those that don't get it?  People may seem committed, they say all the right things, tell you they're going to do all sorts of stuff.  How do we know when they're not?  Once again, this is what ends up making the adoption process harder and gets people annoyed when they have to jump through a million hoops to adopt.  I could say too bad if they're annoyed, then they aren't committed.  But that's not necessarily the case.  Before I myself got involved with shelters, I thought what the heck, why do they have to make this so difficult, the dog is homeless for crying out loud.  (of course I still jumped through the hoops and was approved so maybe that's still evidence of commitment)  If people get sick of the runaround and go elsewhere for a dog, does that mean they wouldn't have been a good home?

But back to Ink.  I ADORE that dog.  I also know my limitations.  I have 3 at home.  If I take in another one, I won't be able to still spend the time that I do at the shelter while giving my own the attention they deserve.  Plus, thinking in the long term, I have a teenage son who will be going off to college in under 2 years.  Could I honestly take care of 4 dogs by myself when he goes?  It will already be a big adjustment for the 3 I have.  Before I talked myself into the 3rd, I had said 'no more dogs than people in the house'.  If I didn't work in addition to volunteering....oh to be independently wealthy.

Well, I just got more of the scoop.  The new owners went grocery shopping Sunday morning (they adopted him Saturday afternoon). They couldn't get him to go in the crate, so they put a muzzle on him (which he's never had on him before) and locked him in a bedroom.  When they returned....ooh wait here comes the shocking results of that brilliant decision....the rugs was all torn up and the wall scratched.  Couldn't have seen that coming, could ya?  Now we all know that they have those amazing time sensitive deals at the grocery store, so there's really no time to spend working on getting a dog into a crate.

If someone I had only known for less than a day, no matter how nice they had been to me, locked me in a room and put something strange over my head and nose and mouth, you can bet the rug and the wall wouldn't have been the only things destroyed.

I better stop typing now before my sarcasm gets too out of control.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oh Happy Day!

Today was a fantastic day for adoptions!  Not only were 8 adopted out, there's also additional 2 applications that I know of that are looking very good.  And, 2 of the dogs were my "focus" dogs and one of the apps is on my 3rd "focus" dog.  Time to pick my next 3!

One of the volunteers said again, "see, you're the good luck adoption charm!"  The thing is, my first streak of dogs was really on some easy adopts.  They were well behaved, no restrictions, incredibly friendly.  They just needed the exposure.  But today's two -- they were challenges.  The first (who's actually pictured above -- time to change my picture too :) couldn't go to a family with young children because he gets a little mouthy when he plays and he was brought back once before for nipping a child.  The second is a sweetheart, loves all people, loves to be held and hugged, loves kids.....but she had a big issue with little dogs even though she was pretty little herself.  She had come in with a bigger dog that used to bully her -- I think that was her way of compensating.  Anyway, her new momma was thrilled when I told her how she liked to be held and hugged and liked being on a leash better than off -- she likes the connection.  Her new family wanted a dog that would sleep in their bed and she's going to be thrilled to accomodate them!

There's still all kinds of people petty issues going on and I've just taken on even more responsibility because of it (hence the drought in my posts) but today was one of those days that really makes all the BS worthwhile.

I can't wait to see how many we get out the door and into their furever homes tomorrow!