For those considering a canine companion, the choices can be overwhelming. There are newspaper ads with dozens of dogs and a variety of breeds. Humane societies and animal control shelters in cities have dogs that need homes too.
Often overlooked are breed rescue organizations which are made up of volunteers across the country who step up by adopting and caring for animals in danger of abuse, neglect or being put to sleep by overcrowded shelters. These caring people are devoted to finding proper homes for dogs through important standards they’ve set for themselves–and potential adopting families. Home visits are common as the rescue groups want to make sure they are not putting the animal into another negative situation. While the wait and the paperwork can be frustrating, the rescue groups have learned through trial and error that it’s a must.
Many stories end with dogs finding loving “forever homes” after spending part of their lives in dangerous, lonely situations.
Teeka was a very scared, skittish Keeshond when we rescued her from a shelter in May 2006 at the age of two. Her previous owner claimed that Teeka did not get along with the other dog in the house. When we arrived home, we let her outside to explore the fenced backyard, but could not convince her to come inside. When we finally did, she did not want to go back out. Because of this, housebreaking Teeka was a bit challenging. We spent months carrying her in and out, trying to convince her that the big, scary backyard was a safe place for her to be.
She soon discovered that she could take refuge under our bed, but in order to get there, she had to army crawl. This behavior earned her the nickname Sneaky Snake. We decided that the best thing we could do for Teeka was to stop that, so we set up a barricade. This forced her to spend time with her mom and dad and her furry family which includes eight Keeshonden and one bad kitty. It was a turning point, as she began to play with a toy from time to time, and with some of her canine brothers and sisters. She also started going outside on her own, which meant she was finally housebroken.
Once we felt that Teeka was ready to go to a permanent home, we realized she was already there. She is a sweet, unassuming girl who has come out of her shell. She and her dad finished a beginner obedience class recently and Teeka was named the ;most improved student! She went from having to be carried into the training building to walking in willingly and greeting her instructors.
She can jump like a deer, effortlessly bounding over the 4-foot high gate that separates her room (our den) from the hallway.
Teeka adores her dad and the feeling is mutual. Mom is okay too, but in her eyes, Dad is the best. She loves to have her belly rubbed and although still a bit wary of going outside, she seems generally happy and is a pretty good watchdog to boot. She is so docile we can’t believe there were ever any issues with other dogs, but whatever the reason for her surrender, she is now where she should be.
Millions of dogs and cats are seeking new homes at shelters across North America. Many appear scared and wary while confined to their cages but turn out to be wonderful companions. Be sure to visit your local shelter or animal control office when you decide to add a family member. These homeless pets will love you for life and deserve a second chance. We offer one example of a dog who has blossomed since being rescued from a shelter where she had been dumped by her owners, unfortunately a sad scenario repeated each day no matter where you reside.