Our DeeDee had the time of her life on her weekend sleepover. A really nice lady came and picked her up on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I wasn't there, but DeeDee told me she had leather seats and a girl could get used to leather seats. DeeDee LOVES to ride in the car, above all else, so this was a super treat for her.
Her Home for the Holidays mama spoiled her rotten. She got to get up on the furniture and relax with toys. She went for walks and car rides. DeeDee came back to us on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and has not stopped telling us how great her weekend was.
She came back to the shelter with many special treats and toys. She got a new pink collar and the most amazing pink sweater. She wears that thing like a Diva.
I was at the shelter the other morning, just me and the dogs. Everyone was resting, snoozing on their beds and I kept hearing some ruckus coming from DeeDee's kennel. I walked over to see what she was up to and there she was, in the middle of five toys, tossing each one around deciding what to play with.
There was a concern that going home for a couple days may confuse or depress our doggies, but it has been the total opposite. They have more energy and excitement. It seems to have restored not only our hope, but theirs as well and it is SO evident. One of our most committed dog walkers commented that DeeDee looks better, happier, and her coat is more shiny. Sweet, sweet DeeDee. It was great to see that she still knows how to act in a home. Her time will come, I just know it and I can't wait for her to find that forever home where she will be spoiled.
Speaking of finding a forever home. Our boy Cutty has hit the jackpot. He too had a great home for the holidays experience. He was back at the shelter for a couple days and then we got a call...I will let the words of our most amazing Adoptions Coordinator, Leah, tell you the rest of the story:
Cami, Cutty's new mom, started emailing me on Monday. She had found Cutty on Petfinder and was sure he was perfect for her family. Once our emails started I received at least two emails every day from a very excited Cami sharing with me that her family included her husband Cory, herself and their twin 8 year old boys, they had a big backyard and more information to assure me who they were. She also asked many questions about Cutty being sure to let me know that they definitely wanted to meet him but were just curious. Originally the meeting was scheduled for 4:30 this afternoon but Cami and Cory were so excited they asked if we could move it up to 3:30.
Cutty was in the office with me when the family arrived. Earlier today Michelle had taken him for a nice walk and we had visited a little so he was pretty calm, then came the knock on the door. Cutty put his leash on and sat like a good boy until he saw the boys and then he just had to come give them kisses ~ and they LOVED it!! We spent some time in the office chatting while the family slipped Cutty a few doggy treats. Cory asked about Cutty's adoption fee and when I told him it was already paid he asked if we would accept a donation. Absolutely! The boys and I went into the kennel to see the other dogs while Mom & Dad spent some alone time with Cutty.
When we got back to the office we had Mom, Dad & Cutty head back to the play yard with us. We chatted a bit and then I went back to the office to let the family get to know Cutty. These people were wonderful! They had owned a pit bull before and were so understanding and asking all the right questions. After a bit I went back to check on the family in the yard. Opened the door to see Cami sitting on the bench, Cutty had her pinned against the wall kissing her and everyone was laughing :o) The family asked what we had to do for him to come home.
We went back to the office and Cory filled out the paperwork. I grabbed the harness and leash that Michelle had just brought Cutty today and put his name on. One of the boys asked to hold it and he held on to that harness and leash the whole time until we put it on Cutty. The boys were so good with him and if they got a little rambunctious Mom or Cory was right there to gently remind them to settle down. Cory was nervous about the home visit but I assured him I just needed to be sure the home was safe for Cutty.
We headed out and I told Cutty he would ride with me, one last time. Cory had told me at the office we would be going clear out to Felida (NW Vancouver) and he was assured it was no problem. No way Cutty was spending another night in the shelter if he didn't have to. When Cutty got in the car his leash was removed because he chews on them in the car, it was placed on the front seat. Then I remembered that the blinds in the office were open so went back to close those, came back to the car. We followed out to the house and I reached for the leash to put back on. Where was it? I know I put it in the car and took it away from him, what happened? Looked in the backseat and there it was, half chewed through. When I went back to close the blinds he had gotten in the front seat and taken it back. A parting lesson from Cutty!
The house is a split level. Cory's Mom lives in Stevenson and does not like to travel in snow so she stays downstairs when it snows. This is a little bit of a concern because Cory's first pit bull, a female, lives with his mom. In talking with Cory I feel pretty good about his ability to introduce the dogs and handle it but still told him that Katie or I would be very, very happy to help with that. He was planning on taking Cutty out to his Mom's and taking the dogs for a walk. This is the only possible stumbling block I see. The attached picture of the family does not include Cutty because he was SO excited to wander around and check things out. He was very happy to play with the boys and smother them with kisses, stopping to visit with Cami, Cory and myself from time to time.
Cutty came and snuggled me a little so I could say goodbye, I reassured him that this was going to be wonderful and he had waited a long time but they had found him and it was all going to be good now. I thanked Cory and Cami, asked them to call me anytime for anything. Told them we should give it at least a week but anytime after that they should let me know when they wanted to finalize the adoption. They thanked me and I headed for the door. Cutty beat me there and was waiting for me. I rubbed his ears, kissed him between the eyes, assured him again that he should stay and it would be wonderful, told him to go see Cami who was sitting on the stairs with one of the boys. He started up the stairs but as soon as the door was open he came back to me and I just gently pushed him back in, telling him it was going to be wonderful, I promised.
Now, these words for Leah hit me in the heart because Leah has been Cutty's biggest fan. She has worked with him, trained him, taken him to pack play, taken him home, let him be around her dogs, she always brings him in the office with her. When Leah would walk in the front door of the shelter, even though he couldn't see her, he knew. He loved her the most. He loved all of us, but there was a special bond between the two of them and so even thought Cutty was in the shelter, he was a part of a family. He was part of our family and he thought Leah was the head of our family.
Cutty came to us last December, so he was in the shelter for 11 months. It would be easy for a dog to loose themselves, to forget how to be a dog. I won't lie - there were times when Cutty was obviously depressed. We could tell that he was getting sad and loosing hope. We'd all make an effort to spend more time with him and give him extra love. It has to be hard to watch other dogs come and go while you remain. Just because he's a dog, doesn't mean he doesn't know what's going on and it certainly doesn't mean he doesn't have feelings.
Well...I believe Cutty had to wait so long because his family just wasn't ready for him yet, they hadn't found their way to him. But now they have. We get updates every couple of days and it sounds like Cutty is settling into the place where he will live out the rest of of his life.
There are many hard and sad days at the shelter. Then there are the days when dogs like Cutty get adopted by families like this. Its all we can hope for every one of our dogs and cats. When they arrive at our shelter battered and bruised, sad and neglected or just not wanted, I always tell them not to be sad - this is the place where their lives begin.
Our shelter is almost entirely volunteer run. There are three of us paid staff (all part time). So the people responsible for getting things done around here are doing it from the heart, not for the paycheck or the glamour. These volunteers pour their hearts and souls into these animals. There are many tears cried, countless sleepless nights and many heartbreaking days. Of course, there are many amazing days, but its not easy work. We are so fortunate to have such a great team. Cutty was fortunate that we had such a great team. And while we are awesome, we are not unique...shelters all over the country have teams like ours. Incredible things happen every day without any fanfare or accolades. The hard work happens no matter how many people see it.
Please visit your local shelter. Adopt, foster, volunteer, donate. We all have something to give. Give it....give it now.