An unexpected shelter day

Several of our SMART team members from the shelter (HSOV) have expressed concern over a nice, medium-sized mix named “Reggie.”  An amazing thing about our local shelter is that they, on a rare occasion, mistake a bitch for a dog, and a rottweiler for a cattledog.  Reggie, a cattledog male, was adopted out last fall and was, a few days later, returned to the shelter as a rotty mix female. Oops!

She’s been at the shelter since August ’08 and would have been PTS long before this if we’d run out of space at the shelter. In the last 2 weeks she’s developed the dangerous habit of ambushing people who walk by her little corner kennel, jumping up and snapping her mouth closed next to their faces. She’s done this to me 2-3 times and I worried she’d become “kennel crazy.”

SMART member Angie asked if we could do something to help Reggie and we decided a 3-pronged approach was called for — 1) get Reggie moved from her high-traffic corner kennel to a quieter spot,  2) get Reggie some intensive training, with a SMART member working every day with her,  and  3) get the weblisting corrected to show her as a rotty mix instead of a cattledog mix.

Today SMART Tracy and I met at the shelter and, within 10 minutes, had Reggie moved 2 doors down to a quieter kennel. She traded with a nice, quiet little black/white dog who will work better on the busy corner.

We took her outside to potty and then into the hallway to train. Within 15 minutes Reggie was lying down at my feet. She’s really a sweet girl and I’m glad I didn’t follow through with my earlier snap decision about her behavior. Our website photographer was at the shelter and, since we were establishing a correct breed description for Reggie, we got new pictures, including her rotty bob tail.

Just as we were finishing up the desk clerk came outside and told me they’d received a call about Reggie. That there was a fellow in Pennsylvania wanting information on her. Since I’d spent 30 minutes with her, I was handed the note and the phone. Nice fellow, had dobermans who both passed away from breed-specific conjenital disease — Reggie-the-mutt is probably going to her new home this Saturday.

Just as I was ready to leave for home one of the college girls I met with Friday walked up. She’s part of the PR class doing a writing project for HSOV. While we were meeting last Friday I held the leash of what I jokingly called “the anonymous brown dog.” They all petted and praised the dog but one girl seemed especially smitten.

So here she was back again. She had talked to her mother in New Jersey and they were both excited at the prospect of adopting this dog. There’s a catch, though. Mom can’t drive here to get the dog for another 4 weeks and Kristen can’t keep the dog in her sorority. She called the shelter this morning and was told they couldn’t hold the dog for her for 4 weeks. She was at the shelter to walk, pet, and schmooze with the brown dog, hoping to keep an eye on her for 4 weeks.

I thought we might be able to resolve the issue, especially if Kristen went ahead with the adoption, had the dog spayed, and compensated the shelter for the cost of care and food for a couple of weeks. We spoke with interim shelter manager, Sue, and were told that was definitely possible. We settled on putting the dog on hold, Kristen’s going to call her Mom this evening, put in her adoption application later this week, adopt the brown dog, have her spayed, and spend the 4 weeks training, walking and bonding with her.

“You’ll be able to take a little bit of Marietta home with you!” I said.  “Yeah! That’s what my Mom said,” giggled Kristen. When I drove away she was out in the driveway, walking her dog. Both looked delighted with each other and made a beautiful pair.

It was an unexpected day at the shelter. Unexpected, but lovely.

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