I got myself into a real pickle during the holidays. My goal was to wake up really early on Dec. 24th and head out to my folks. I was stopping at my friend’s house on the way to drop off Morgan (poodle). He had been with me but my friend’s neighbor was going to watch him for the next couple of days. To get to my friend’s house I have to drive down a pretty busy street. I was at a stoplight when a little dog came darting out into traffic and happily strolled to the other side. He looked like he was in good spirits and stopped at everyone waiting at the bus stop and on the street to say hi. I told myself that someone else would help him and then knew they wouldn’t so did a u-turn and headed back.
I knelt down a few feet away from the black and white scruffy terrier mix and he came right up to me. Happy as can be. While I looked around to see if anyone close knew him a mom and daughter came up to me.
“Do you like dogs?” the daughter asked. It was hard to say no since I had two in my car and another in my arms. “Yes.” I replied. “Do you want ours?” she asked. What???? Turns out the grandpa had gotten the family a chihuahua and pets weren’t allowed where they rented. I gave them my card and told them if they still needed help after Christmas to call me and I would help find their dog a new home.
Meanwhile, I popped the scruffy dude, who I started calling Bob, into the car and drove toward my friend’s house. Without much open during the holiday and not many options I left the stranded dog in my friends backyard with food and water. I figured it was a better location than the street and I would come pick him up on my way home the next evening. Of course Bob wasn’t happy about this and caused such a ruckus that my friends neighbor took him in for the night.
The evening of the 25th I picked up Bob and started a search for his family. On the 26th I picked up Sparky, the homeless chihuahua. Now I had two homeless dogs in my house plus my own and those I was sitting. Bob was a charmer and was no problem at all. He got along with everyone and was happy to hang out with me. Unfortunately he had no collar, no chip, no one knew him, and there were no signs for him up in the neighborhood or online. Luckily, he was so good at being a loving dude that the family who had watched him Christmas eve fell in love and ended up adopting him. Whew … one down.
Sparky was another story. That dude was trouble with a capital T. He hated me and all the other dogs and would be really happy to kill us with his itty bitty sharp little teeth. My first night with Sparky I was at my wit’s end. He was a devil dog and I had no faith that he would ever be adopted. He had never been to a vet so had no shots and was not fixed. As a 6 month old he was still a puppy that could learn to socialize if he just wasn’t such an ass. I sat down at the computer and pleaded my case to any and every pet rescue group that was out there. I learned pretty fast that no one would touch him. I was told over and over that I would have to get him fixed and foster him. Given his current attitude and my lack of income this was just impossible. I was really scared that I might have to bring Sparky to the shelter. I knew he was screwed if that happened since he wasn’t really adoption material. Who wants a tiny monster that wants to rip you to pieces living in their house?
I kept him in a crate in the hallway where he could see the action. Then I ignored him except for a couple torturous bathroom breaks. Chihuahuas like attention so ignoring them usually is not okay with them at all. 24 hours Sparky stayed in that crate with the door closed and locked. Then I opened the door and he stayed in it for another 12 hours or so growling at anyone who dared come near him. Dragon was pretty happy with the “let’s piss off Sparky” game which consisted of him slowly getting closer until Sparky reacted and then gleefully running back and starting all over again. I continued to ignore him. That evening Sparky very slowly came out of his cage and carefully came up on my lap. After that he was my BFF and loved me and all the dogs in the house. He figured out playing with other dogs was big fun and, unlike the others, he was small enough to fit under the bed for sneak attacks.
At the same time a few groups finally gave me some hope. By working directly with one of their volunteers that was a friend of a friend Dogs Without Borders offered to get Sparky fixed. That was a huge win and raised my spirits. LUXE Paws actually found a foster for him but it was no longer necessary since I had gotten a call from a woman who was Sparky’s savior! Sheila Choi of the Fuzzy Pet Foundation had contacted me and her group was willing to take Sparky on. They would get him fixed, get his shots up to date, foster him and get him socialized so he would be ready to find his forever home. They also do an extensive home check on any folks looking to adopt. Their goal is to get the dog into a home where he/she will live the rest of their lives. That is exactly what Sparky needed! Since talking to Sheila I’ve done more research on her group and I’m extremely impressed with the work they do. I highly suggest you check them out and, of course, donate to them if you are able. I’m confident any donations will go to a good cause. Something I can’t be so sure of for some of the other groups I contacted.
At some point during all this I took on two more dogs that needed homes. This sweet brother and sister pair were orphaned as their human parents had passed away. As a favor to my very good friend I took them in and kept them while we all worked on getting them homes. Jack, a yorkipoo, ended up being adopted by Morgan’s folks. Morgan’s human dad is named Jack and he melted when Jack dog jumped into his lap. Baby, an Alaskan husky mix, is going to be heading to San Diego to live with a friend. Until she is picked up she is hanging with my gang and enjoying her daily hikes with her new temporary pack.
At one point I had 7 dogs in my house. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ,6, 7 (I feel like the count from Sesame Street should be laughing after that). In case you were wondering that is waaaaay too many dogs to have in your house. A couple of days ago I was driving down Mulholland on the way to the Laurel Canyon Dog Park and saw a dog walking toward me on the side of the road. “NO!” I thought. “NO NO NO NO NO. I CAN’T DO IT. NOT ANOTHER ONE. NOT RIGHT NOW. PLEASE. NO.” Lucky for me it was a coyote and I was able to leave him in his home … outdoors!
Just a note: Sheila of The Fuzzy Pet Foundation would be unhappy with me if I didn’t mention that you should never just hand over a pet that you found to someone. Bad people who use the dogs for backyard breeding and/or bait dogs troll Craigslist, Facebook, and other places to find victims. If you have a dog that has lost his home finding his/her original family should be the goal. If this is not possible make sure the group or person you are giving the dog to will be (or will be the group to find) the perfect forever home for that specific dog and his/her specific needs.