It was a few weeks ago that the email came across my desk about May the “aggressive Sharpei” at the local animal shelter. The very next day I went down to see the little killer, all 30 something pounds of her. She was alone in a kennel, and cowered in the back. When the kennel attendant went in to get her, she crouched in the corner, tail between her legs, and yes, she bared her teeth. Once noosed (the term used to get a rope around a dogs neck to lead them out of the kennel), she was a little reluctant to come out.
Lets backtrack a little. We don’t know her whole history, as it is against animal shelter policy to disclose the event that led to the incarceration of the animal. I did find out that she was adopted to a person through a “rescue” and was then dumped at the shelter by the person who adopted her because “she tried to escape from their yard.” Remember, most of the time people will make up an excuse to give up a dog so they don’t look bad. Personally I’ve never met a dog that doesn’t have the urge to try and get away. Dogs like to run and play and don’t like confinement much. However, my point in all this is to look at the background of what we know of a dog. At 2 years old she’s been pushed around at least 3 times, and ended up in a shelter.
When dogs end up in shelters they often develop kennel syndrome, a condition that makes them go either very submissive or aggressive. It’s a tough place, much like a human jail, only worse: These “criminals” did nothing wrong and are more likely to die than get out.
Back to May. I led May to the “get acquainted” area and released her from her rope, let her run around a bit, do her duties and observed her. Within a few minutes she had her tail up. I approached her and touched her, played with her and soon afterwards, was able to rub her ears, head and legs… all trouble areas for an aggressive dog. I asked the kennel staff to reevaluate her and they said they would. She would be taken off of the “Red List.” May was safe. I would begin networking her for adoption and move on to other dogs to save. No more than a week later I received and email on a Friday that May would be killed on Sunday for aggression. I was floored. Nothing I could do to change the plan, May would die. Over my dead body. I sprung into action, called my good friend Melanie from Bark Avenue LA, and with her help I pulled May out of the shelter. I would need to board her until I could find her a forever home. I boarded her locally and asked everyone for donations. People pulled through. I would take May for regular walks and emailed, called, begged and pleaded for a home and funds for May. This went on close to 2 weeks. I took her to the beach, shopping and anywhere I thought I would find her a home. Several came forth, but none were just right for her. May had several good possibilities, but many fell through, others I didn’t like. Oh yeah, and about her aggression, it would become very obvious as she would sit in the back seat of my car and step up on the center console, rest her head on my shoulder and lick me while I was driving.
Last week I went to a party and took May with me. Many loved her, but one guy stood out when he met May. She took to him and he took to her. I thought it might be a good fit. Chris and I talked and emailed. I knew it would work just great. Wednesday April 23, I drive May to her forever home. Chris just adores her and the same holds true for May. In the two weeks I’ve been watching her, I never saw her roll onto her back, and within 10 minutes with Chris she was rolling on her backs and he was giving her belly rubs. It’s a match made in heaven. It just took some time and money… and if that’s not worth it to save a life, then nothing is.
Another happy ending. Thanks to everyone who helped….