Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lucky Tails - Rescue Outing

Today we went to the Bridgeport Animal Shelter.  My daughter has worked very hard over the last few months to get her animal rescue, Lucky Tails started and today we went out in search of her first rescue.  She called Bridgeport Animal Control.  They were extremely friendly on the phone.  Come and take as many dogs as you want.  There were some cute dogs on their website.  We decided to go and have a look.  I am now an official "shelter" Mum.

Apparently they have updated the facility.  Scary to think what the old one must have looked like.  It is a series of buildings where they process the dogs, mainly Pitbull purebred and mixes that they find on the streets of Bridgeport.  Some dogs are surrendered by their owners.  Others were strays.  Still others looked like they might have once been fighting dogs. They are in enclosures next to each other.  They can't see each other and the majority of the dogs bark loudly when anyone enters.  They all want to go for a walk and are begging for attention, barking or whining.  A few sit and look at you longingly.  There are some that break your heart and others that make you want to run for the hills.  The smell is also overwhelming.  It is not an easy place to visit.

My love of dogs is quite new.  Tuggles, our gorgeous rescue Claire found last November won me over.   It takes a lot for me to immerse myself into dog rescue when it is not my thing but this is my daughter's passion and I will support it.  It's a good thing but not my thing.  It is a new thing for Claire to do also and a big and complex challenge.  She has trolled rescue websites for many years and visited a few shelters here and there but now she is serious and has work to do.

She is looking for very adoptable dogs.  Pitbull dogs, by reputation are not highly adoptable.   It was difficult to objectively look at the dogs and not want to rescue them.  She made a plan.  She wanted to pick a handful of the dogs that most closely fit her guidelines, take them on a walk and do a preliminary behavior assessment on them.

We discussed what would make a good family dog.  She decided she would look for the calmest dogs that didn't bark and jump all over her, ones that would sit when asked to.  We would give preference to female and spayed dogs so they would get along with our Tuggles.

As we visited with the dogs, it became quickly apparent that there were very few that met that description.  We picked three to take on a walk.  Two were Pitbull mixes.  The first one, a cute male was very calm in his enclosure but when on the leash, he pulled so hard and seemed oblivious to us.   I am sure he had really missed being outdoors but he was such a strong dog and I didn't get a good feeling about him.  The second one, a female was Claire's favorite.  She was very cute  and would roll over showing her tummy when you walked up to her.  We got the leash on her and didn't even make it to the door before deciding she wasn't the one.  She was out of control, jumping all over Claire and knocking her glasses off.  We then took a Shepherd mix out and she was a lovely color and disposition until she saw another dog and became very aggressive and difficult to control.  It was tough.

We then went into a calmer area with dogs with special needs.  Claire found this poor dog (Pitbull mix again) that was emaciated with only three legs.  It had been surrendered by its owner.  She had to take it out.  It was missing a front leg yet still managed to get around pretty well.  It was very funny, playful and had a contagious smile.  The dog was in heaven outside in the sunshine and we played with it on the grass for a while.  Claire fell in love with this dog.   Despite all that this dog had been through, its big heart was shining through and it was very well behaved, responsive and kind.  Claire felt this dog would definitely be overlooked because of its disability and that it embodied the reasons she wanted to start Lucky Tails in the first place.

We went out to lunch following the visit and talked everything through.  A special needs dog will not be very adoptable and on top of that she is a Pitbull mix, which sadly are often viewed through the prism of the fighting dog stereotype.  This one will need to be spayed and will probably have some issues with her front leg that she depends on so heavily.  On the other hand, my girl does not shy away from a challenge and this dog's heart won us over.  We decided to keep the dog on hold until tomorrow so we can sleep on it.

1 comment:

  1. You must be such a proud Mum! My heart is swelling with pride for Claire. It is so exciting to see a project move from the planning stage to actually being implemented!

    There is a local rescue that Claire may know of that handles special needs dogs. She may be able to get information from them on how best to find a forever home for this dog, should you take her in.