For reasons that I cannot at all explain, we tend to get similar breeds of dogs in waves. For example, one week we may get three or four Jack Russell Terriers, either stray or owner surrenders. Then we may get four or five Chihuahuas all in a row. It’s uncanny and almost funny. And we are always interested to see what the next breed du jour will be!
Apparently, we are in the German Shepherd period. A couple of weeks ago we had two stray German Shepherds, each found separately, which was followed by someone needing to surrender their one-year-old Shepherd. Later that same day a woman pulled up and said she was frantically trying to place her dog because her landlord threatened eviction and she had to have her out that day. Want to guess what kind of dog it was? Yep! A-10-month-old German Shepherd.
Shepherds, like any breed, have their issues. They are very prone to hip dysplasia and can go overboard with the guarding tendencies that they were originally bred for. They also do not kennel well for long periods, quickly deteriorating when confined. Shepherds are a very active and intelligent breed and don’t have very good coping mechanisms for that kind of stress. Which means that we need to give them extra attention and exercise and try to move them through the system quickly.
One problem with finding them a home is this breed is often on the restricted list for many condos and insurance policies. Meaning some of the best families are not allowed to own them, which limits our available pool of adopters. Such a shame. I really believe that restrictions should be based on the individual animal’s behavior and that landlords should require proof of altering, licensing and training rather than basing permission on a weight or breed type. So often I hear of people who get a small Jack Russell Terrier because it was of the weight permitted where they live but they are not really prepared to deal with the exercise requirements of a hyper little dog. In contrast my 84-lb. Bernese Mountain Dog (adopted from the shelter) was like having a carpet in the house. He was satisfied with just two short walks each day and was very mellow and calm in the house.
Some people are surprised that we have these purebreds in the shelter. They think we only have mutts. Not true! Somewhere between 25-40 percent of our dogs are recognizable as a specific breed. We can’t say its purebred unless we get papers with them when surrendered (which, in fact, has happened before!), so we always say it’s a mix but sometimes they look just like the breed standard. Besides, our “mutts” aren’t any different than the new designer dogs that people are selling for hundreds of dollars. I just heard of someone who bought a “Havejack,” part Havanese and Jack Russell Terrier. Didn’t want to ask how much he paid for this mutt!
So, if you know anyone interested in a Shepherd, we have a few “in stock” right now. If you are looking for a specific breed, feel free to stop by and fill out an adoption profile. There is a place to write in what breeds you are most interested in. Who knows what will come in our next wave!
Bark After Dark – Dinner and Auction for the Animals, a fundraiser for the RP Animal Shelter, Sat, Nov. 5. Tickets now available at tinyurl.com/Barkafterdark2017. $20 person/$35 couple in advance. Won’t you join us!?
No More Lost Pets – free microchips and pet ID tags for residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati City. Stop by the shelter during our open hours with your pet to get one! The shelter is open Wed 1-6:30 p.m., Thurs.-Fri-Sat 1-5:30 p.m. and Sun 1-4:30 p.m.
Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.