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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: Some great dogs who need help

Here are some dogs who, for some reason, are not getting the attention they deserve. They are all at the WLA Shelter and available NOW! Only Eli is to rescue only, so please circulate his info. I know, it seems crazy that no one wants these beautiful animals...

914086 Princess
This girl has not been doing well. She's been losing weight and getting very stressed from captivity. She is normally a calm and sweet girl. Active but not hyper. Terrific dog!
907431 Joey
This guy is very strong and large. Beautiful dog who is active. Crazy for the ball. Needs a good leader to bring out his best. Not for newbie owners but still a terrific dog for the right person.
904369 Princess
What a sweetheart. Seems great with everyone. Super strong, but very gentle and sweet disposition. A lover girl who needs a loving home!
901017 Eli
The poster boy for Big Black Dogs. Unfairly labeled as "aggressive" due to rough play. RESCUE ONLY and his days are numbered... Sweet guy, just needs a good leader. Loves to play. Easy to correct. Great dog.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: The forgotten dog

This girl wants to know, will YOU take her home?
Brianna A893324
Shepherd mix
6 years old

Brianna, Brianna, our forgotten doggie. Why oh why is she still at the shelter? Yes, she did get adopted once and then returned about a week later. Very sad for Brianna.

Not sure why she was returned, I believe it was ALLERGIES! That's one of the worst lame-ass reasons for returning a dog that drives me crazy! How can a person go to a shelter, take home a dog, decide after bringing the dog home that they are too allergic to have a dog? How did they not know this before hand? Unbelievable!

But I digress, what I really want to talk about is this lovely girl Briana who loves everyone! She is such a nice dog who really needs a family to get her out of this mess! Somehow she has been overlooked by potential adopters. How can anyone miss that face?! I mean she is on the quiet side and does not demand attention from passerbys. You've heard that saying, the squeaky wheel gets oiled...

More importantly, Briana has good obedience training and would enjoy learning more. She loves to play fetch, it's one of her favorite things to do besides getting major love from anybody! Bri's only issue would be her leash manners which volunteers are working on and seeing excellent improvement! This girl has energy, so she can use a good run now and then and lots of long walks. Don't forget playing fetch! She's perfect for anyone looking for a workout companion or just a great friend.

Not sure about her with other dogs... I think handled correctly, she'd be fine! But what about you single types who just want one good dog?! I know you're out there!!

Come see her at the West LA Shelter right now!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: So many dogs...

So little time...

Well, we seem to be under a little more pressure than "normal" (whatever that is) to get our long termers adopted! Currently, there are several dogs who for various reasons have worn out their welcome at the shelter. Every day seems to be a new day at WLA and change is just something we have to get used to as it is inevitable.

Sadie A#909848 (photo by Seth Casteel)
A very sweet girl! Medium size/3 years/ Bulldog/Pit mix

This is Sadie, a dog who has been consistently overlooked for some reason. I think part of it is that she is a little reserved in her kennel and is not super licky lovey with those she doesn't know. I have been taking her out pretty regularly lately and she has definitely come out of her shell. She is a darling dog. She has pretty light brown eyes and a funny wrinkled ear. My favorite thing about her is that she snorts! She sounds like a little piggie! So cute. Plus, she is the perfect size dog for most households.

Sadie, doesn't seem to know much obedience. She does sit in her kennel and appears to have pretty good manners. I think it's hard to see her true personality because she is stressed by the environment. However, I have gotten glimpses of her vivacious side! She likes to play and run around. She sometimes runs right into me with a huge smile on her face! She also loves belly rubs and I think this is when she's happiest.

On walks, Sadie is a good girl. A little pulling, but not terrible. She isn't super reactive to other dogs and situations so I feel she is fairly easy to control. Still, she's strong so probably not a great choice for seniors. I think she likes other dogs, but this would need to be tested further. I don't see any aggression, but again, sometimes it depends on the situation. Sometimes we see jealousy in kennel mates at the shelter which is misinterpreted as aggression. Overall, I would say she is a wonderful little girl who really needs a break!

West Los Angeles Animal Shelter
11361 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025

P.S. Good News, Missy got adopted!!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: stuff

It was a busy weekend with only a few adoptions but lots of dog time!

The Mar Vista Day of Service adoption event went off pretty well. We even had some brand spanking new volunteers who wanted to help out. Plus, a friend of the WLA Shelter had a birthday party at the event and lots of attendees who wanted to hang with the dogs as well. This event was a great experience for the dogs, as they were handled by lots of new people in a new venue so this was a very "stressful" day even though it was lots of fun.

You also learn so much about a dog based on their behavior at these events. For example, dogs display stress in different ways so one must temper any judgments made based on this fact. Some dogs act very hyper and others seem to shut down. A calm dog could be jumpier than normal and even lash out at a person or dog he already knows. I feel that all behavior needs to be taken into consideration regarding the dog's temperament, but obviously, most dogs aren't usually exposed to super stressful situations all the time. So a dog who is testy at an event may be a completely chill dog in a normal situation. However, what you do learn is HOW the dog handles stressful situations, and you get a clue as to how long the dog's fuse is to some degree.

People who handle dogs at adoption events should educate themselves on dog behavior. All too often I see people just holding a leash with no attention given to the dog they are holding. Even worse, they may be chatting on the phone! Meanwhile, the dog is getting too close to other people and other dogs without knowing how this dog may react. Some dogs could be leash aggressive or just stressed by the event and close proximity to dogs and people. Plus, the handler is missing out on the opportunity to learn more about the dog who they hope will be adopted that day.

We are so lucky at West LA because we have amazing volunteers who have made the effort to learn about dog behavior and also know the WLA dogs at these events. There are tons of great sites on dog behavior and training on the Internet so there is no reason that a volunteer who is about to participate in an adoption event can't start to read up on dog behavior and how to handle a dog safely. I mean, seriously, we can't expect to get training through the shelter although, the dog walking class that is given at the shelter does give some of this information.

There are also tons of great books that can be purchased through www.dogwise.com that discuss dog behavior. One of my personal favs is The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. She gives fantastic insight into dog behavior and training, plus it's a fun read. One book does not an expert make, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. Wouldn't it be great if all the nice volunteer dog handlers who have their hearts in the right place could actually talk to people about the dog they are handling at an adoption event in a way that could assist someone in making a good decision about adopting a dog!

Anyway, that's my opinion...

As for adoptions this weekend:
  • Pearl (a friend's dog) got adopted by a nice family
  • Tony, my little Chi friend, was adopted
Other adoptions recently:
  • Baily Rae went to rescue
  • Shane went to the same rescue
  • Boo was adopted (again)
  • Shawnee was adopted (good fit!)
There have been many other adoptions that I haven't mentioned so don't be alarmed! I'm only mentioning those dogs that have appeared on this blog. :-)

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: A Pearl of a Girl!

Pearl, she's just a pearl of a girl...

Who is she? We may never really know. This kid was found walking the streets of LA. From the looks of her, it seemed as though she'd been on the street a long time... However, due to some good luck, some really nice folks took her in and are helping to find her a new home! Pearl has no ID, no chip or nothing! Look at her sweet expression. She is just precious!

This is what we know:
  • She appears to be a Bulldog mix (or she just looks like Winston Chruchill).
  • She weighs about 55 lbs.
  • She seems very young, almost puppyish.
  • She has very soft fine fur, kind of puppy-like
  • She is very sweet and gentle. Loves a belly rub and giving kisses.
Tomorrow, this lovely lady will be at the adoption event at the:
The event is at Mar Vista Park, on Palms Blvd and Sawtelle Blvd.
Dogs 4 adoption will be in attendance by 11am.
In addition to Pearl, LOADS of shelter dogs from the WLA Shelter will also be there and they are all dying to meet you. We've got all kinds of dogs from Pitbulls to Chihuahuas... Small and Large, pure breed and the All American Mutt! Not to mention the other groovy events going on at the park to, so come check it all out tomorrow, March 15th!

Be there or be square people!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: I love this little guy

AWWWWWW.... what a cutie patootie!
Tony ID A921002 @West LA

Okay, this dog is not big, not black and not old. A little change of pace... Rather, he is extra small, light in color and fairly young. He is also one of the cutest little stinkers I've met in a while!!

This is Tony! He is a 2 year old Chihuahua. He weighs in at about six lbs and is extremely shy. You will find him huddled in the corner of his kennel, probably shivering and looking worried (see picture). Yup, that's our Tony.

Tony came to WLA from the SLA shelter. He had been fearful and aggressive when he arrived there, in other words, a fear biter. The nice folks at SLA helped him out and allayed his fears enough so that he finally stopped biting. Then they transfered him to WLA in hopes of finding him a home more quickly.

Just a note, a lot of these little dogs can be fear aggressive. Usually this is due to a mixture of genetics, lack of proper socialization and lack of training. People figure that a little dog doesn't need training since they are easy to handle, but what they don't realize is that training gives a dog confidence and social skills. Plus, if the dog came from a backyard breeder, he may have been taken away from the mother and siblings too soon. Thus, a maladjusted little doggie!

For example, our little Tony here is afraid of everyone. Most likely he wasn't exposed to many different people. He is also a little fearful to walk on leash which is manifested by his freezing in place, he just stops walking. Luckily, this little cutie is VERY tiny and easy to carry around, but we don't want to indulge his fear. We've already made such strides in his development that I'm certain he will begin to enjoy being walked once he gets used to it.

Interestingly, Tony is comfortable around all kinds of dogs, even huge ones (not that I would recommend it), and seems fearless in that respect. I do think it would be great for him to be around a friendly dog who is close to his size. I also don't think it would be wise to have little Tony around little kids. I say this mainly due to his record of fear aggression and that a child's unpredictability could trigger that response.

In a nutshell, Tony needs to find an understanding adult home. One who is willing to help him work through his shyness so that he can enjoy a happy life. He is so sweet and unbelievably adorable. His ears are HUGE! I love to carry him all around the shelter when I'm there, but I also try to walk with him on leash. Although he is shy, everyone loves him once they meet him. With all this attention I expect that he will come around and start to love people very soon. Yay, Tony!

Mar Vista Animal Adoption Event 3/15!

LAAS will be having an adoption event at the Day of Service. The adoptions will be held at Mar Vista Park located on Palms and Sawtelle. There will be lots of dogs who are looking for homes so come visit us!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: Oldies but Goodies

Sam and Dino

It always seems that we have some very sweet older dogs who need a new home. There are a few right now who are waiting patiently, but time is passing and months have gone by with no interest. Considering how lazy most people are about training and exercising their dogs, an older dog is actually a much better choice for most people looking to adopt!

I realize that I have posted these dogs before, but it's the older dogs who really tug at my heart strings. Older dogs usually make great pets as they are already trained, mellow and ready to settle down for some reality TV (on Animal Planet of course). They are undoubtedly lower maintenance than a puppy! I just love these older guys who are so giving with their affection and are just yearning to spend time with people. Please, please consider an older dog when you go to the shelter!

First we have Dino and Sam who I feel should stay together. Sam, in particular, needs the security of Dino's calm demeanor. Sam is very sweet himself but not happy unless his boy Dino is nearby. Plus, Sam isn't into other dogs besides Dino. He kind of raises his lip in a snarl when approached by unknown doggies.

Dino, although more independent, also loves the companionship of having Sam by his side. I think they are both such easy going dudes that they would be successful in most any situation. They don't needs tons of room, although a small shady yard would be perfect. Sam seems to have some stiffness which may be arthritis. They are content to chill out by your side so couch potatoes are encouraged to apply!

Cole (he's cuter than this picture)

Then there is Cole. He is tall, dark and handsome. He is a Black Lab, who is quite thin right now, but ball crazy as are many Labs. He's probably about 9 years old and is slightly arthritic in his hind quarters. He's really a character though and a very good boy. When not chasing a ball, he'll follow you around probably in hopes of more ball throwing. I think Cole would be fine with a couch potato as long as the person is willing to toss the ball! I mean, you could be sitting or even lying down, he doesn't care!

Again, as with Sam and Dino, this guy would be fine in most any home. Cole just needs someone to give him a break so that he can live out his last years in the comfort he deserves. Come on you Lab lovers, come see Cole!!!!

P.S. Don't judge him by how he is in his kennel, he's much more chill outside of the cage!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: Roxbury Park Adoption Event

Missy A828619 Pointer mix
Great Dog! Active, very smart, sweet, highly trainable!
Westchester A896771 Pit bull
Shy Boy, very sweet, likes other dogs, needs a buddy, adorable.
Boo A892330 Cattle dog mix
A beauty! High energy & smart. She needs training and a job to do! Fun girl!!
Angel A919365 Pit mix
Very sweet, easy on the leash, super friendly!
Tiger Lily A908657 Pit mix
Amazing tiger coat! Friendly and sweet! Needs a lap!!
Bailey Rae A858630 Boxer mix
Smart, friendly, well trained, active and gorgeous!

Meet the STARS at Roxbury Park in Bev Hills this Saturday, March 8th!
(located on Roxbury Drive and Olympic Blvd.)

These beautiful dogs will be just a few of the STARS appearing at Roxbury Park in hope of meeting some nice people who are looking for a new star in their lives! All these dogs are beautiful, friendly AND available for adoption immediately!
What are you waiting for?
You want a dog, right?
You want to be a part of the solution, right?
Well, here is your chance to adopt a terrific pet for yourself and your family while also contributing to society in a positive way! See you there!

Adopt a Shelter Dog at Roxbury Park this Saturday!

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: More Big Black Dogs...

This is just a sampling of the BBDs at West LA right now!

There are so many great dogs who happened to be black or mostly black just waiting and waiting at the shelter. It drives me crazy!!! These dogs need homes and they will be great companions for whomever takes the leap of faith. (sorry for some of those sad photos...)

One of the things that I notice at the shelter is that when I have a dog out and it is running in the yard or walking on leash, people are so much more interested in that dog just because they can see it outside their kennel. This is exactly how we got Rocco #1 adopted. His new family saw him on leash and thought, WOW! No one had even noticed him much before because he didn't seem like the calm and intelligent dog that he really was when he was behind bars. Walking on leash he seemed regal and proud, which of course he was and is, but it is amazing to me that people don't see that when the dog is in a kennel. Be sure and ask to see a dog outside of his kennel if you are interested!

Dog behavior in the shelter situation is very interesting and often tragic. It's such a high stress environment due to the sites and sounds bombarding the dogs every day that it's a miracle that any of them can acclimate. The dogs who don't, can become very depressed or incredibly restless and neurotic. Some dogs also develop separation anxiety from the trauma of being at the shelter. Of course, not all the dogs are doomed to have post traumatic stress disorder! Some do fine and make the shelter their home. But what a difference we see when they get adopted into a REAL home where they are loved and nurtured. It's truly miraculous how they blossom in the right environment. We see it all the time. Patience and understanding with a good portion of training seems to do the trick for most shelter dogs.

Hey, save the date, MARCH 15, Dog adoption event to take place at Mar Vista Park on Sawtelle and Palms Blvd. It's the Mayor's Day of Service in Mar Vista so lots of events are happening around the neighborhood. The WLA Shelter is bringing a bunch of dogs down to the park, so here is your chance to adopt a shelter dog without having to go to the shelter! I know a lot of people find the shelter too sad to visit (which is silly, but...), so now you can just mosey down to the Mar Vista park and take your pick of gorgeous and wonderful dogs to adopt. We will have plenty of dogs from which to choose, big, small, tall, short, long hair, short hair, you name it. Most, if not all, will be pre-neutered or spayed so that you can take that dog home the same day! Oh yea, we are all about the spay and neuter....