Clear The Shelter Day 2017

Last Saturday was Clear the Shelter day in DFW.  This was my second one.  My first one I wrote about two years ago.

One of my friends on Facebook posted about their confusion about this day.  She said that for the majority of the year, these shelters were pretty particular about who can adopt these pups and during this event, they practically throw a puppy in your lap!  I think this is a very legitimate concern, and while I can’t speak for other shelters, I can tell you my perspective from volunteering at the SPCA.

(I do also want to say that I am in no way employed by the SPCA and I do not speak on their behalf.  I have been volunteering there for 2 years so I will speak from that experience only, though I have volunteered in various parts of the organization).

So to answer this question, I want to address some of the main questions I get from potential adopters, so here we go.

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  • Where do these pups come from?  

The top three places dogs enter the SPCA is through owner surrender, rescue and investigation seize, and other shelters.

Owner surrenders are not horrible owners who stopped loving their pups and gave them away.  Usually, there are extenuating circumstances around the surrender – the owners are moving to a place the dogs can’t go, financial or medical reasons, a new family member is allergic, etc.  Sometimes it’s even a recent adopter returning a pup because it turned out to not be a good match for the family.  This is not a bad situation either.  In fact, it helps us know more about the dog and what might be a better match for them.

Our rescue and investigation department does deal with some abusive situations.  But most situations I have seen were hoarding situations.  The owner, for whatever reason, has become too overwhelmed with their animals, and they are unable to care for them. Neglect sets in and the SPCA steps in.  Our dog Teddy came from one of these hoarding situations.  He is a loving dog that didn’t have a whole lot of human interaction before coming into our home.  Now he sleeps on our couch.

They do also help other shelters by taking on dogs when the shelter gets too overwhelmed.  Sometimes it’s because of natural disaster in that area, sometimes it’s just an influx of animals to that shelter.  The one thing that is different about these dogs is that sometimes they don’t know the history of these dogs.  Every shelter deals with dog intake differently.   However, the dogs do go through the SPCA’s intake process (see below) like any dog coming through the door.

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  • Are they spayed or neutered?

Yes, every dog on the adoption floor has been spayed/neutered, microchipped, and all of their vaccinations are up to date.  Before these dogs go onto the adoption floor, they receive a full check up with our vet clinic and continue to receive vet care as needed. They are also observed for any behavioral issues, though some issues may not present themselves until later, or even after in the home.

If there are behavioral issues, they have animal behaviorists on site to work with them, as well as trained behavior volunteers and behavior fosters (who will take them in their home to observe them in that setting and work with them).  Not every dog works a lot with the behaviorist, though.  Only if they present with major issues.  Our behavior volunteers and dog walking/animal handling volunteers do continue to interact with the dogs on a daily basis, and might even teach them a trick or two.  If they do show some strange behavior, it is documented and the dog is set up for a new behavior evaluation.

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  • Are they housebroken?

The SPCA cannot guarantee that any dog is housebroken, but they can talk about being shelter trained.  That means that within our shelter and on the shelter’s schedule, the dog has had little to no accidents in their kennel.  But in my personal experience being a pet sitter, behavior foster, and dog owner, dogs usually can have one or two accidents in the first week during that transition period.  Puppies will have a lot more accidents.

These dogs are loved daily and well-known by the staff and volunteers.  The adoption counseling volunteers are trained to help find the best matches for the people who walk through those doors.  They love putting the Adopted signs on their kennels, but they also love those dogs in those kennels.  They want the match to be successful because a lot of hard, loving work went into the care of that animal.  No matter if it’s a Clear the Shelter day or a typical Tuesday, they want what’s best for that animal and for the potential adopter.

The SPCA didn’t clear the shelter this year.  They did have some longer-term residents find their families on Saturday, and there were so many happy tears and pictures during that time.  They still had 10 dogs on the floor at closing, but I know that those dogs will go home soon.  Because I’ve seen dogs that never seem to be a match find the perfect home on a random weekday.  They still have a special until Labor day – all dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens are $25.  So, if you weren’t able to get to the SPCA on Saturday, I hope you will stop by and find your perfect pet soon!  Check out their site for the potential pups at spcafindapet.com!

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Gordon, The Foster Dog

This is Gordon.

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Gordon was adopted but then surrendered again.  So, the SPCA behaviorist asked me to take Gordon on as a foster to see how he does in the home.  The surrendering family said that he had problems with housetraining.  He is afraid to go outside so I could see how this might be a problem

But he did great in our home!  Granted, he mostly just wanted to snuggle on the couch (and by snuggle, I mean practically laying on top of me while I was on the computer!).

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But he did go outside and potty.  And he never made a mess inside!  You do have to prod him with a leash to go outside, but he started getting the idea pretty quickly that if he went to the bathroom, then we could go back inside and snuggle.

He got along with my pups as well.  They loved taking naps together.

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He was a big dog, but so sweet and gentle.  He will make a great addition to any family!

 

The Streak is Still On!

So every dog that I have fostered has gotten adopted so far, after being fostered in our home (meaning they didn’t have to go out to another foster or anything).  I thought this streak was going to end with Shayla, the foster I had a couple months ago, but she was adopted in the last week!

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The family who adopted her have another active dog, which Shayla really doesn’t care about, but it will give the family another dog to fill in the affection void while Shayla warms up to them.  I know she is capable of great love and I’m so happy she is finally home!

Another Happy Ending

We had another wonderful adoption at the SPCA this week…MagnoliaAdopted.jpg

I talked about this lovely a few weeks back.  She’s deaf, but oh so smart.  I was told that the family got a sign language book to help communicate.  Granted, dogs speak mostly nonverbal anyway, but it was fun to teach her some signs while she was here.  And I’m glad the family will try to continue that.

Of course, we had several adoptions this past week at the SPCA, but this girl definitely had a piece of my heart.  I’m so happy that she is finally home!

Wonderful Day at the SPCA

So, in this week’s SPCA shenanigans, I got to witness the adoption of these two precious, pair-bonded pups!

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I talked about them in an earlier post.  They came to the shelter with a lot of health problems, but the diligent work of the vets and staff have made them healthier than ever!  And the family that adopted them this week was a perfect match!  They have probably been the longest residents at the shelter while I’ve volunteered there (I think they came in last October).  I will miss seeing these two cuties, but I’m so happy they are finally home!

I did also play with this pup.  Super sweet and beautiful.  I don’t see her on the site, so I’m not sure if she has been adopted already or what, but she would make a loving addition to any family.

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Just look at that blurry tail wag.  So cute!  She reminds me of our sweet Loco who passed away in January.  It might have been a bit therapeutic to get some play time and kisses from this sweet girl.

Do you adopt from rescues or volunteer at shelters?

 

Another Awesome Dog

I had another afternoon at the SPCA, and I met this beautiful dog, Magnolia.

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I absolutely love this coloring.  The white fur and blue eyes are simply gorgeous, but there is another special thing about her!

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She is deaf!  And the coolest thing about that is she is learning sign language!  I know a lot of signs (I used to interpret when I was 12 in church), so I thought I would test her with the simple command of sit.  And she understood!  It was highly addictive to watch her respond to the signs.  Simply a fun dog!  Can’t wait for her family to adopt her.

Oh, by the way, the dog I shared earlier this month?  Jasmine?  She was adopted!  Just thought I would give an update!

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A Foster Update

I haven’t really updated on Shayla, but she is still in our home.

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Shayla enjoys the quiet of our house.  She has a nice little corner in the office that she spends most of her day, quite contently.  But that’s because she isn’t really interested in human interaction, or dogs for that matter.  Her anxiety levels were so high before I got her that she can’t seem to cross that line far enough to really enjoy interacting with others.

So, last week, after some talks with the vet, we have some new, nifty things to try with her, including a little anxiety medication to help her along with a spray that will also help her feel calm.  And she is actually starting to trust me.  In the morning, she stays close to me outside of the crate, which is a huge indication!

And last night, she spent the evening following me around as I made dinner.  And she even snuggled on the couch!  Granted, she still gets very jumpy and when she is scared or startled, it takes a good hot minute for her to calm herself down, but progress is being made!

I’m so thankful for the SPCA.  They have equipped me with training, one-on-one time with the behaviorist and the vet, and all of these tools to provide the best care for Shayla. They truly love the animals that walk through their doors, and they always try to do everything they can to help give them their best chance.

I think she still has a long way to go, but she is making wonderful strides with the new tools we are using to help her.  And some day she will be in her own home, with her loving family, and all of this anxiety will be a distant memory.