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Helping out the shelter animals

By pams
Saturday, September 5, 2009 21:11 EDT
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You might recall that when Kate and I had our flight to Pittsburgh canceled (resulting in a reschedule for the next AM, arriving just in time for my panel at Netroots Nation), we said we blew off steam by doing something productive — going to the store and buying needed supplies for the Durham Animal Protection Society.

Sorry, I look like *ss in the video (makeup works wonders, doesn’t it); I couldn’t get supplies there earlier because I was so weak from my fibromyalgia flare that I was unable to carry the supplies (Kate could have taken them, but I wanted to be able to go). So today I was well enough to help load up the car and go.

There are so many adoptable dogs, many pit bulls and pit mixes, as well as adult dogs that were given up because of the economy. We brought 2 big bags of dog food, Kongs (for the pit bulls), soft toys, Milk Bones, tennis balls, peanut butter and some treats to help the pooches and the shelter out.

We donated them in the name of our pets that are now over the Rainbow Bridge: Addison, Red, P.D., Tonka, and Bailey.

More on adopting below the fold. I always remind people — ban the deed, not the breed — when it comes to pit bulls. But by the same token, this is not the breed for a first time dog owner or someone who doesn’t have the capability to frequently socialize and exercise a pit (that would also go for Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers and Weimeraners, a few examples of great breeds that are often bad fits for those who don’t take exercising the dog and obedience training seriously). For those who are thinking of saving a pit, my advice is that you may be better off getting one from a shelter that’s NOT a very young puppy, since you have no clue what its adult temperament may be (and shelter staff may not either). And saving an adult dog really feels good – they have a second chance at finding a loving home.

Many of the adult pits, since they are very human-focused, take well to kindness and patience after being mistreated. They are forgiving dogs.

Another caveat — if a dog is a male, unneutered, canine that has spent its life chained outside, this is a poor adoption candidate unless you are The Dog Whisperer. These dogs have so many emotional difficulties from lack of contact with humans or other dogs, that sadly, they are a handful to rehabilitate.

Casey was about nine months old when we adopted her and her personality was quite evident by that time – gentle, skittish about anything new, high-energy.

We’ve had Casey since last October, and she’s blossomed into a very social dog — with other dogs and people, rides wonderfully in the car, is not a barker, cuddles on the couch and loves walks. I do plenty of basic training with her (she knows oral and hand signals), she picks up quickly and is very sensitive — she doesn’t respond well to being loudly scolded. Many pits are like this, contrary to the general nightmare impressions out there. The key issue is how does the dog get along with other dogs, and if you have a good shelter like the Durham APS, they have temperament tested them enough to only place the most adoptable ones out there, and say what kind of home they are suited for.

 
 
 
 
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