I Support Pet Adoption

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: The Kids are Alright!

This is the first time that I'm publishing an email from a person who adopted from our WLA Shelter. The dogs she adopted are a wonderful pair of senior Shepherds, Ed and Karen. Senior dogs at the shelter often are a tough sell to the public, but when it happens it's the GREATEST! Plus these two who had a long history together got to stay together! I had to publish this email because it says it all...

Dear Lola4Dogs,

Just to let you know that Ed and Karen, now Boomer and Sandy, are incredible dogs. You knew this, but I did not. They are wonderful. It is that simple. Someone put all sorts of training into them, and all sorts of love, and I cannot understand how no one came forward to claim them. But, it is my gain.

Boomer and Sandy were trained to stay in the kitchen. They do not come out into the rest of the house unless I invite them. They wanted their doggie beds in the kitchen and so that is where they sleep. I have no doors to shut for my kitchen, but they do not wander about at night and need no doors to keep them in the kitchen. I have 2 very large round doggie beds now on the kitchen floor, and while it is a bit crowded in the kitchen, I have adjusted. :-> Boomer and Sandy sleep all curled round each other. It is an incredible sight. I have walked them and they are leash trained. They walk together on my left side with Sandy on the inside and Boomer on the outside of her. I do not even know they are at the end of the leashes. They do not pull nor lag behind and are unbelievably easy to walk.

I feed them in the early AM when I get up for work and then again at night about 6 pm when I return from work. They get Avoderm dry and canned--Chicken and Rice. I fed this to my other dogs and they seemed to like it. Boomer and Sandy really enjoy having the canned food mixed in with the dry--they are relaxing now and are hungry. But I will not let them get fat, trust me!! In the AM, I let them out as soon as I get up. Then, they come back inside and hang out in the kitchen while I get ready for work. Then I feed them and right after they eat, they go outside and do their duty. I clean it up, water down the grass and they are pretty much set for the day. They have dog beds outdoors and lots of water bowls--3---to choose from. I have toys and they play with me! The dogs are a wonderful gift to me and I will take very good care of them. I wish I was not at work so long--I am gone almost 10 hours/5 days a week. Thank goodness they have each other--one dog in that situation would become too lonely. I am taking them to my veterinarian this Saturday for an examination and baths. I will keep you posted as to how they continue to thrive. Please let your friends at the shelter know that they have found "home." These dogs have incredible temperaments. i have never had such remarkably gentle and well trained and well behaved dogs. And I really do not know which dog takes the most care of the other. They definitely need and love each other.

Thank you.

The Shelter Chronicles: Old King Cole

Another great dog story by contributing author, Mirja Bishop!

Cole A0910874

Old King Cole was a merry old soul and a merry old soul was he.” Those were the words of an old children’s nursery rhyme but how appropriate they are for our wonderful, old Cole.

Cole is a 9 year old black Labrador Retriever who has been at the West Los Angeles Shelter since March 8, 2008. For reasons not understood by me his owner decided at age 9 that Cole was “aggressive”. Give me a break! He’s an old, arthritic man. Life has, indeed, dealt him a nasty blow.

Cole is a funny guy. He is very, very tall and lanky with long skinny legs. He looks like he could gain a little more weight but maybe it’s better for his arthritis if he a little bit on the skinny side. He stands straight and stiff legged because of his arthritis but it doesn’t seem to faze him. Whether it’s to get a treat or to chase his precious tennis ball he lets you know with his low, low, and even lower baritone woof that he is ready and willing. “Give me a ball and I’ll show you arthritis!” He loves his tennis ball. He chomps on it like it was his last meal. When out on the play field he drops the ball at your feet then gets into his “ready, set, go” stance and takes off, stiff legs and all. He never looks back as he lopes across the grass to retrieve his ball then quickly brings it back and drops it at your feet as if to say “well what are you waiting for? Let’s go”. Cole also loves his treats. He begins to bark that baritone bark of his long before I reach his cage. He is ready and willing and most eager to take his treat and maybe a second or a third. “Keep them coming he says.”

Cole’s muzzle is grey and yes he looks like an old boy but his heart and spirit are young and eager. He has been in a cage for almost 5 months now with little to look forward to other than an occasional ball game or a trip to an outside adoption event. People look at him probably more because of his size than anything but to date no one has wanted to take him home and still he waits and watches. His eyes reveal the sadness that he must feel in his lonely cage. He never did ask for much just a warm place to spend his remaining days and a few extra tennis balls to chase and chomp on while resting his weary bones. He is a sweet old man. Aggressive???-- towards that tennis ball perhaps but to me he seems like a very special old dog who is suffering the plight of so many old dogs whose owners decide that they are more trouble than they are worth and so they discard them like a pair of old shoes. Cole is a free spirit and he hasn’t given up. He still believes that someone out there will see something in him that will make them smile and will warm their heart and once again he will have a home and this time it will be a forever home. That is the very least that this big boy deserves. A bunch of tennis balls and a few treats would make it perfect!!!!!

Written by Mirja Bishop on July 20, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: Tres leches

A few sweeties to munch on...

Skiper A0958137
Skiper is a total babe! He just wants some loving and a place to hang out. Oh yea, who would want a low maintenance dog, that is loving, and a great companion? That's just too easy! This cutie pie gets along with other dogs. He's a little older, but I think that dogs are like a fine wine...better with age.
Come meet him and see for yourself!!

Blue A0937889
Blue is named for his coloring, definitely not his disposition! Blue is one hopeful dude. Like, who has time for being blue when there is so much fun stuff to do?!! This guy is full of fun and energy, not one for the lazy types. He is so full of life, really exuberant. A real sweetie too. Pretty easy to handle once he settles down a little! Hey runners, do I have the dog for you!!

Barkley A0936070
Barkley loves his food, hence the thick girth, but, hey, there's just more of him to love! Barkley is a good boy. Maybe he has some gray on his muzzle, but he is strong and happy! He's got a lot spunk and energy left for many good times ahead. Barkley would be a nice family dog and a great companion for anyone. Mr. Barkley seems to like other dogs and is currently rooming with Skiper!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Shelter Chronicles: My beautiful Pit Bulls...

So many of our wonderful volunteers share their time, expertise, love and generosity towards animals. It's rare though, for someone so eloquent to share their thoughts through the written word in such a profound way. I felt that I needed to share her story with you and the story of our beautiful Pit Bulls...

There's a Pit Bull in My Lap!

By Mirja Bishop (WLA Shelter Volunteer)

Ivy A0941267

Ivy sat in my lap today!! Ivy is a 2 year old white and brown pit bull. Before I started volunteering at the West L.A. Animal Shelter I had never even been close to a pit bull and here I am with one in my lap. The awesome physique of a pit bull – the muscle bound shoulders and hips were enough to make me keep a safe distance away, that is until I met Ivy. Sadly most of the pit bull stories that I had heard or read about were the ones that my friends still recount to me. A pit bull attacked a child, turned on his owner etc. and yet pit bulls are one of the most trustworthy of all dogs. Yes there are pit bulls that have been bred to be aggressive but there are others like Ivy or Caramel or Cabesa who are among the sweetest most loving dogs that I have ever met.

Ivy likes to hang out!!! I had never paid much attention to Ivy before but a week or so ago one of the volunteers brought her out onto the grassy area to run. Forget the running, forget the ball. Ivy just wanted to hang out with the girls. She moved from one of us to the other sitting on our foot, looking up at us and pleading with her eyes “please scratch me right here!” A scratch in the right place took her feet out from under her and she rolled over onto her back and waited for her tummy to be rubbed. “Oh this feels sooooo good!” is what her pale brown eyes spoke so clearly. She reached to the sky with her legs and stretched them back and forth in sheer delight. Her face was the essence of pure joy. She was one happy very large girl!! That was my first introduction to Ivy. I was anxious to see her up close again and in a few days that chance would come.

Ivy was brought into the smaller exercise area to stretch her legs and get out of that awful, confining cage that she calls home. She did the obligatory sniff around the grass then came over and sat next to the bench where I was watching her as if to say “what are we going to do now?” She looked up at me and in a moment plunked her front paws on the bench. The next thing I knew that muscular brown and white body had crawled onto the bench and very casually stretched herself onto my lap. So here I was with a 60 or 70 lb. pit bull sitting on my lap. Well not all of her but most of her. She looked straight at my face and I remember thinking at the time that she was about 6 inches from my jugular vein! That was an interesting few seconds until I realized what a gentle giant Ivy was. She squirmed a little to get into a better position then looked at me as if to say “OK you can scratch me now”. I ran my fingers up and down her muscular chest and watched as her eyes almost closed in complete satisfaction. Never had I been this close to an animal of this size and strength. I could tell without question that all she wanted to do was be next to a human person who would treat her with love and respect and would scratch her tummy. I loved that moment with Ivy and I will never forget it. For a few brief moments Ivy was just one of the girls and I was her pal.

Caramel A0915679

There is another pit bull girl that has my heart. Caramel or Wiggley as I have named her has been at the West L.A. Shelter since November 2007. I have heard A. C. T’s and volunteers who know her describe her as being an “awesome” dog. She loves her treats. When she sees me coming she begins to gyrate. From the tip of her white tail to the tip of her nose she moves in rhythm. She almost closes her eyes when she reaches to take her treat. Never once in spite of her excitement has she grabbed at a treat. She loves to have her head and chest scratched. She plasters her body close to the cage door thereby giving you the full benefit of her broad chest. She is a smiling dog and the smile is even broader when she is being loved and paid attention to. At some point during the petting she rolls onto her back revealing a pink tummy ready for that special tummy rub. I love this brown and white pit bull girl who seems to be smiling all of the time. I saw her on the grass one day and watched as she ran and leaped with sheer delight. She looked like she would never stop. The absolute happiness that she felt could be seen in every muscle of her body. I would love to have her find a home and I know she would make an awesome friend for someone. I would miss that smiling face though that after all these months in a cage still manages to exude love and sweetness.

Cabesa A0701490

I don’t know Cabesa very well.. When I walk down the aisle where his cage is I see him quietly watching me, waiting patiently for his treat and for a few words of kindness. He wags his tail ever so slightly as if to gently say “thank you”. He is a giant dog with scars on his head but with sweetness in his eyes. He is so large and so awesome in appearance that it’s hard to imagine him being adopted and yet he seems to me to be a gentle giant whose eyes weep with the sadness of the life that has been given to him.

I love these pit bulls. There are many others. I would guess that a good half of the dogs at the West L.A. Shelter are pit bulls. Many are strays whose owners never came to claim them; some were turned in by owners for various reasons. There is a true sadness in the eyes of each one of these mammoth dogs whose reputation precedes them. I, for one, will never again assume that to be a pit bull is to be vicious. Yes they are dogs that command respect and proper handling but they can also be sweet, loving companions to a human friend. They have found a way to my heart and I am better for having met them.

Thank you Mirja!