Unfortunately, a really nice dog finishes last
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By Mickey Zeldes  June 6, 2014 12:00 am

Why do some of the nicest dogs sit here for such a long time? We can have a dog with all kinds of problems come up for adoption and walk out the door the same day, and a really great dog will sit here for months. I have a hard time figuring it out and all but gave up guessing which animals would be popular and adopted quickly. I often tend to be wrong.

We, as well as every shelter in California, have an abundance of Chihuahuas and pit bulls – and they are getting harder and harder to find homes for. Myths, fears, media hysteria, landlord restrictions and peer pressure all add to the difficulty in finding homes for pit bulls, and for Chihuahuas, it’s simply a matter of more supply than demand.

You would think something different like a sweet little poodle or nice tempered little terrier mix would fly out our door, but they don’t always. You can never predict what will grab someone’s heart, which is also why it’s impossible to adopt an animal for someone else.

We currently have one of the nicest dogs that has come through here in a long time, and he’s been sitting here since February. He’s very friendly, greeting people with a lick and wag when he is in the front office and tries to engage you with a game of fetch. We’re trying to figure out why he is continuously overlooked.

Is he not being adopted because of his size? At 75 pounds, he isn’t small, but he’s nothing compared to the 90-pound Labradoodle that just flew out our door. Is it because of his age? At just over 1 year, he is sort of a goofy teenager and certainly in need of more training. Because he was available when the students from Bergin University learning about dog training did their internship here, he got the benefit of some skilled handling and training and proved to be a super smart and motivated student. He actually has improved during his time here – whereas most dogs would start deteriorating with cage stress.

Could he be overlooked because of his skin rash? It’s not serious and doesn’t even look that bad and could just be how he is showing his stress. We have him on a special diet to avoid common food allergens and a treatment of antibiotics. Certainly, this is nothing as severe as many other dogs that have come and gone in the past few months.

Is it because he is not rated to go to a home with a cat? We don’t know he would hurt one, but because he is such a rowdy player we thought it best to not put a cat at risk. He certainly does not have a history of being a cat killer, and we often have dogs available that we know would bark endlessly or annoy cats too much (which he doesn’t do) and they find homes.

He has an endearing name – Hero – that lends itself to all sorts of marketing jingles. Everyone loves a Hero. Need to be rescued from loneliness? We have a Hero just ready to save you. He is a handsome boy, friendly with other dogs and very people social. He loves to play fetch and splash in our kiddie pool and would be a great dog for sturdy kids.

So, could it just be that he is a pit bull mix? Really? Is there no one out there that can see past the breed name to the wonderful dog sitting in our kennel? Come stop by and meet Hero – maybe you can save each other.

 

Upcoming events 

• Summer Camp: Registration is now open for our popular Kidz ‘n Critter summer camp program. We are offering seven one-week sessions of fun for kids in grades 2-7. Check out the complete schedule and download an application at www.rpanimalshelter.org or stop by the shelter to pick one up.

 

• Fix-it clinics: Free cat spay/neuter surgeries and low-cost dog altering for low-income residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati are available. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.

 

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at mzeldes@rpcity.org.

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