Radar with owner David Silverander.
Tales of Redemption from S.B. Animal Shelters
Happy-Ending Stories for Dogs and Cats
Thursday, December 10, 2015
The statistics are difficult to swallow: According to the Humane Society of the United States, 3.4 million cats and dogs were euthanized in 2013. Many of those critters were put down for no other reason than overcrowding. It’s a sad, seemingly endless cycle that the animals are powerless to change. However, humans can ameliorate the crisis, and fortunately many do, providing love and care and homes for shelter denizens.
Santa Barbara County has its fair share of success stories where shelter staff and the community come together to give a second life to the incarcerated. It’s a reality that keeps volunteers and animal lovers motivated to continue campaigning and caring for our furry friends. Read on for a handful of happy-ending tales submitted by staff at Santa Barbara shelters.
• Santa Barbara County Shelters: Check out the following list for where to find your next pet.
• Anemia in Dogs and Cats: Dr. Carol Haak explains the causes and symptoms of this common problem.
This is the story of Radar (pictured above with owner David Silverander), a 2-year-old German shepherd/Malinois mix. Radar came from a county shelter up north, where he was out of time on death row. The good people at that shelter contacted DAWG in hopes that we could save him.
Radar was deemed unadoptable due to his severe dog-aggression issues, so our trainer/behaviorist Brian Glen worked with him on dog socialization. Glen’s initial response to Radar was that he was highly trainable. He introduced the big German shepherd to our little dogs and took him on “pack walks” with our big dogs.
Soon, Radar turned the page onto a new life, showing no aggression, just an abundance of energy and over-excitement that would lead to frustration. We sent Radar off to his forever home with an amazing adopter. Radar gets a second chance at life, and his new owner gets a hiking buddy, a running buddy, a biking buddy, and a lifelong companion. This is what we live for here at DAWG.
By Courtesy Photo
Moto was brought to the Santa Barbara Humane Society in March 2014 by his owner who couldn’t keep him anymore. Moto is a sensitive dog who had severe separation anxiety, was afraid of loud noises, and would repeatedly injure himself trying to escape from his kennel.
But over time he began to bond with the staff, and his personality started to shine: He loves squeak toys and spending time with people, and he has a goofy sense of humor — he even greeted everyone who came into the shelter office. To help Moto feel more comfortable in his shelter home, we let him hang out in the office, clinic, and administration areas as much as possible during the workday; we also built him a special kennel door that wouldn’t hurt him when he scratched it out of fear.
However, during a loud thunderstorm, Moto tore up his paws on his kennel walls overnight. We knew then that we needed to find him a solution beyond what we could provide — he was not thriving, despite how much we loved him, and we needed to get him into a home. No fosters were able to take him home, though, and we were getting desperate.
But then the stars aligned when a man looking for a dog came to the shelter. Tyler Erman and Moto hit it off immediately; the moment Erman presented Moto with a squeak toy, the two became inseparable. Now Moto spends his days with Tyler, and they could not be happier.
By Courtesy Photo
Lucille and Zippo
Lucille and Zippo
Lucille came to the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society defeated, shut down, and starving to death. Our staff knew that she would quite literally die without help, so our veterinary staff quickly got to work diagnosing her condition. We soon learned that she had pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, a disease that prevented her from absorbing the calories and nutrients from the food she ate.
After several months of expensive medication, Lucille doubled her weight to a healthy 70 pounds. As she became physically healthy, she also strengthened her social skills, interacting with our kennel staff, but she frequently became overexcited. We weren’t sure if she would get along with other dogs.
We worked with Lucille for more than a year. Then a dog named Zippo was brought to the shelter; Zippo and Lucille were instant best friends. Although we knew it wasn’t likely, we hoped they would be adopted together.
A few months ago, our dreams came true: A woman was looking to adopt a pet to fill the void her precious Charlotte had left in her heart when she passed away, and Lucille fit the bill. Not only did she decide to adopt Lucille, but she also wouldn’t take her without her companion, Zippo. Now the two dogs romp around several acres all day every day, and Lucille, who took a liking to climbing in her water bowl in the shelter, has a pond in which to swim.
By Paul Wellman
from left: Conor, Heidi, and Griffen Phillips with Alfalfa
Alfalfa is a 6-year-old Brussels griffon mix who was dropped off at Animal Control after being hit by a car. Alfie had suffered from a left pubic-bone fracture, but once he arrived at DAWG, we also realized that he had road rash all over his body, his hair was matted, and he was infested with fleas.
From day one, Alfie was nothing but trusting of us. He knew that he needed some special care and allowed us to provide it for him. Alfie remained on bed rest for about 12 weeks, during which time he received extensive medical care, including initial and follow-up X-rays, medication to alleviate his pain, and lots of love and care from both staff and volunteers. He eventually was neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated and received dental care.
In January 2015, Alfie was released for adoption. He was introduced to our Little Dog Land, where he was able to socialize and play with our other little dogs. His confidence grew and grew, and his bold little personality came out. Alfie was a staff favorite here at DAWG. It took a few months, but Alfie found his forever home with the Phillips family and the love he so much deserves.