It’s often said in rescue that we don’t know an animal’s past, but we know that animal’s future.
This was the case with five Lhasa apsos whose owner was referred to Critter Mama Rescue, Inc. in Ruskin, Florida, in February. The dogs’ owner met the group’s founder, Robin Roberts, and several volunteers in a parking lot because he said his landlord didn’t know about the dogs and he didn’t want to get caught with them.
“The concept of having five adoptable, well cared for Lhasas sounded fine,” Roberts, whose group helps people who can no longer care for their animals due to illness or hardship, told The Dodo.
Roberts soon found out this was not to be the case. Roberts and a Critter Mama volunteer, Connie Phoebus, watched anxiously as the owner reached into his van and pulled out the first dog.
Chevy was only meant to be a temporary member of Davis’s family, but that changed quickly.
“I did not need another permanent member for my canine family, but there was simply no way that I could let him go,” she said. “He has never had an accident, chewed anything that he wasn’t supposed to or caused a single issue in or outside of my home.”
Chevy’s story is part of my Pit Bull Picture Project. The goal of the project is to show how goofy and lovable pit bulls can be to inspire more adoptions.
Cassie’s unique looks make her stand out at the shelter, but she is still struggling with her rough past. Rachel Gentz is the dog trainer and rescue coordinator at the Humane Society of Macomb and lead facilitator at Teacher’s Pet, Dogs and Kids Learning Together, a program that pairs troubled kids with shelter dogs in a training workshop so that the kids learn empathy and patience and the dogs become more adoptable.
Cassie will be visiting a juvenile detention center twice a week to work with her human partner. She’ll learn how to trust people, and that she’ll never have to worry again that she won’t get enough food. The young person Cassie is paired with will help Cassie stop jumping on people out of excitement, for instance, by teaching her how to alter that behavior in a positive way. In return, Cassie will help her human partner gain self-respect and pride in the work he or she accomplishes as Cassie improves.
Vector, my 6-year-old rescue dog, was suddenly acting twice his age.
He was wincing, doddering, balking at easy jumps on and off the couch. His back was hunched, his gait narrow and tepid. He wasn’t even greeting his favorite human at the front door upon my return from work.
“Not again,” I thought, kneeling over to caress Vector on the living room floor.
I’d barely crouched down when a rolling blur rounded the corner from the dining room. At a speed seemingly impossible for a 13-month-old to reach, my human son, Nicholas, was bearing down on Vector in his walker – an infant Fred Flintstone about to mess up Dino’s day.
I managed to scoop up Vector a split second before his baby brother’s attempted fratricide. Instead of Vector’s head, the walker slammed into my knees. Nicholas shrieked with laughter while I groaned in pain.
“This is what neglect looks like,” one commenter observed. “Fleas and flies draw blood and attract more fleas and flies that lay eggs, larvae eat away at flesh, the more blood, the more larvae … Look at this beautiful spirit, she has a spark of happiness in her eyes, when a caring person is near her.”