Dear Fellow Dog Lovers,
I’m going to start this post writing about the life of a very special shelter dog.
Her name was Cassidy when she arrived at WHS on December 2, 2012. She was a Pit Bull Terrier mix and she wasn’t pretty. She always looked worried. She had been found as a stray wandering the streets in California and was transported to our shelter. She was a mess. She had serious ear infections and a damaged ear canal. She had old wounds on her body, a torn ear, showed signs of arthritis in her hips, and had worn teeth. The vet guessed her age at about seven. To top it off, Cassidy showed no expression in her face, probably due to a damaged nerve. But all that didn’t matter. Her tail and eyes spoke volumes. Cassidy waited and waited to be adopted. And while she waited, she won the hearts of everyone at the shelter who spent any time with her, including volunteer Sarah, who said she was her favorite shelter dog EVER. We worried if anyone would adopt her.
Weeks passed and still Cassidy waited. Finally, in March of 2013, she was adopted and everyone was thrilled as we told her goodbye. Time passed.
A new volunteer, Marianne, started walking dogs in December of 2013 and soon was coming several times a week to help wherever she was needed. Marianne had two dogs and two cats and though she loved many of the dogs who came through WHS doors, she would always say she was “at capacity” in terms of animals of her own.
On November 7, 2014, Cassidy was surrendered back to our shelter. We were sad that she was homeless again, but happy to see that she was still the same gentle soul, though now nine years old and with a grayer face. We worried again about who would adopt her. Here she was with volunteer Diane.
Marianne decided to take Cassidy home for a short respite—just for a day, to give her a break from her kennel. One day turned into two and Marianne started saying things like, “I don’t think I can bring her back to the shelter.” Then she emailed me, “Cassidy may be my undoing. I can’t stand to look at her without wanting to give her the life she deserves.” So on November 13, 2014, this very lucky and deserving old girl got a new name, Patience, and the best forever home she could ever wish for. Here is Patience’s going-home picture.
And this was in my 2014 Thanksgiving blog post.
The last four years have been the best for Patience. She has visited the beach; represented WHS at various functions; tolerated being dressed up for my photos; greeted school kids on their way home; eaten the strawberries out of Marianne’s garden; insisted on sleeping on a bed that was clearly too small for her; and fostered several sets of kittens.
Marianne couldn’t figure out what was happening to her strawberries. Then she looked out her back window and saw this.
At home, Patience had several large beds from which to choose. This small one was bought for one of Marianne’s fosters, little Romeo.
We were absolutely amazed at Patience’s love for her foster kittens. She took her job very seriously.
Yesterday it was time to let Patience go. At fifteen, with increasing health issues, life was no longer fun, and Marianne faced what every dog lover dreads, the heartbreak of saying goodbye. There was a small gathering of some of Patience’s biggest fans, a cheeseburger which she greatly enjoyed, and some tears.
Our Executive Director, BJ Andersen, once wrote about Patience in an issue of the WHS newsletter. She cited the children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit, and concluded it with this quote about how a stuffed animal becomes “real.” It fit Patience perfectly.
“‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand. But once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.’”
Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
I may take a little extra time to get to know you, but oh boy, am I worth it!
Bonsai is a stunning four-year-old Alaskan Klee Kai mix. This breed looks like a smaller version of a Siberian Husky.
Bonsai is part of our Behavior and Training Team and is looking for a special type of home. This boy is quite shy at first meeting and it takes him time to feel comfortable with new people. Volunteer Jolene has taken Bonsai under her wing and spent many hours with him. She reports that once he feels safe with a person, his delightful personality blooms. He loves to jump into her car for a coffee run and is perfectly behaved in the back seat. He leans into her for petting and body rubs.
Bonsai is nervous around new places and experiences. He is looking for a quiet home with adults who will be patient and give him the time and space he needs to feel comfortable and safe. He will never be a dog for grand adventures or dog parks. And he would like to be an only pet. Bonsai loves nothing more than spending time with the people he trusts. He is a quick learner and very smart, so will thrive with reward-based training of new skills. On Sunday I asked Jolene to bring him into Mary’s Place. He was hesitant at first, but with some cheese bits and letting him initiate contact, he took treats out of my hand and let me pet him. It was obvious how much he enjoyed being with Jolene.
Bonsai will be a wonderful companion for the right person. We’re hoping that person will find him soon.
I may look a little worn, but I am such a lover!
We don’t know a lot about Champ‘s history, as the family who surrendered him had only had him a short time. But from his looks, it seems Champ has had a rough start in life. He is a six-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix. When he arrived at WHS, he had painful ear infections and dermatitis, a skin irritation that especially affected his feet. He is now well on the way to recovery and is feeling so much better. His happy-go-lucky, affectionate personality is shining through. Here he was when he first came and wasn’t feeling top-notch.
On Sunday we took him into Mary’s Place and he had a blast. Look at the difference in how he feels now!
Ayla is one of his fans and discovered his love of belly rubs.
He also LOVES toys, all toys, but the Giant Fluff Ball (GFB) is a favorite.
Did I mention that he also LOVES people? And snuggling with them?
Champ is waiting for a family with older kids; he loved the ten-year-old he lived with in his previous home. He will need to meet any potential dog siblings, as he can be picky about his canine friends.
We’re hoping this slightly bedraggled boy will soon be in his loving forever home.
I know I need to lose a little more weight, and with your help, I will!
Jacob is a seven-year-old English Cocker Spaniel mix. And yes, he knows he’s a bit overweight. But since being surrendered in early November, he has already lost almost five pounds! Jacob arrived with some skin and ear issues which are being treated, and he probably will have to be on some medications for the rest of his life to prevent chronic ear infections and dry eye. He also came extremely matted and in great need of grooming and a bath. Our wonderful volunteer groomer, Ayla, gave him a very much appreciated makeover. It was obvious how much better he felt afterward.
Here he is shortly after arriving at WHS…at a whopping 45 pounds.
Here he is now at 39.80 pounds and with much more energy!
Jacob does fine in our playgroups; he doesn’t exactly play, but mingles with the other dogs and is very polite. He is house-trained and rated PG+8. We decided to take him into Mary’s Place on Sunday and boy, did he enjoy his time with us! It turns out he is quite a clown.
We really enjoyed our Mary’s Place time with Jacob and are hoping he’ll soon be falling asleep with his new family.
I didn’t think there would be any updates this week, but then just yesterday afternoon I got this wonderful email about Biscay/Jake!
Biscay arrived February 3rd from a Texas shelter to which he had been transferred from still another shelter. We had no idea how much of his life, about two years, he had spent in shelters. While he arrived at WHS with a few issues, among them poor kennel presentation, he blossomed with staff and volunteer attention and training into a sweet, loving boy.
I featured him over and over in my blog posts, but still he sat in his kennel while potential adopters walked past him. Then in June a couple contacted me through this blog. They had fallen in love with Biscay’s pictures and story and were coming to meet him. They did and our boy finally found his perfect people! Here was his going-home picture taken by Marianne.
And here is his update!
“We couldn’t be more blessed to have found Jake, he is the perfect boy. We adopted him at the end of June and he has truly brought so much love and entertainment to our lives. This boy just can’t get enough lovin’, when anyone looks at his face he is just so cute, he melts your heart, you can’t help but give him more. He is such a happy boy and he hasn’t met a stranger yet. For a while, we wondered about this guy…he never barked and then one day he and I were working on the yard and all of a sudden I heard him bark and off he went in a chase…hmm? He was protecting his mama from a shy blue heron that came up from our pond and was flying overhead. He does not like those birds at all! We took him camping this summer and he loved exploring new things. This boy is also a chair stealer! He stole his dad’s chair in the garage in no time and, of course, we had to take it camping with us. Weekly baths and nail trimming are big challenges but we manage to get through them. Also we wanted you to know that he seems to love kids. We are very watchful over this and play dates aren’t very often, but he loves our nephew, Brennen. He guards him (as in practically lying on his heals…haha ) and he loves playing with him. Brennen laughs and laughs and you can see that Jake loves it, too. Sorry to go on and on but we just LOVE our “Jakie boy” (this is what our nephew calls him), he has claimed him as one of his dogs. We love to read about the adoptions that have taken place. Jake seems to be happy here in the country and we couldn’t be more blessed that he chose us.”
On that happy note, that’s it for this week!
Remember, if you see a dog on my blog whom you are interested in meeting, try to make arrangements to get to the Willamette Humane Society soon. Some dogs are adopted more quickly than you might think.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As the 2010 Humaneitarian Award recipient, her passion is promoting dogs for adoption through her engaging blog: adopt-an-oregon-dog.com.
Martha and her volunteer team interact with dogs each week on their walks, take photos, and post profiles and adoption updates to supporters.
Her intimate view of the dogs and the shelter highlights the joys and triumphs of volunteering.