Happy Tails

Success stories of our four legged friends who have found forever homes

A Springers Tale

 It is estimated that 25-30% of dogs in U. S. shelters are purebred dogs.  At the Rogue Valley Humane Society, we have a wish list filled with people looking for Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, Basset Hounds, and Pomeranians to name just a few breeds.

Often, people are emotionally drawn to a particular breed.  Sometimes, sadly, the breed’s characteristics do not match a person’s or family’s expectations or they do not sufficiently explore the breed before adopting and that is when shelters, like ours, meet dogs like Otis—a purebred six-year-old English Springer Spaniel.

Otis had not seen a vet in more than four years and he had never been neutered.  His feet were under attack by foxtails that had become embedded and his eyes were diagnosed with conjunctivitis.  This beautiful dog had lived exclusively outside and his coat was totally neglected.  When asked to describe Otis his owner wrote that “he has a ton of energy.”  Regular grooming and plenty of exercise are two of the most obvious needs for this breed and neither were being met.

In a couple of weeks, Otis had been neutered and had regained his health, the foxtails were removed and his eye infection had been cured.  All that remained was to find someone familiar with the breed to love him forever.

This is a Happy Tail so you have probably already guessed that Otis has found a new loving home.  His new best friend grew up with a springer spaniel and she had been looking for one, but only wanted to rescue one–not buy one.  Now, Otis has a family to see to his every need—the wish we wished for him is now his reality.

–Scot

What a Trooper!

Sometimes, the first time we meet an animal they are in crisis.  We root for every animal that comes through our shelter, but when there are injuries involved everybody’s heart becomes much more invested.  Thankfully, our community steps up EVERY TIME with donations to give the dog or cat the best possible shot at a normal outcome.

In this particular case, a tuxedo kitten, subsequently named Trooper, was found near Grants Pass High School with extensive injuries to his right hind leg.  In an attempt to save the leg, he was rushed to Southern Oregon Specialty Center in Medford for surgery, by two generous volunteers—Bill and Sue Bradley.

To keep the leg was going to require skill, hard work, and A LOT OF LUCK as the post-surgery prognosis was only guardedly optimistic.  In addition to a metal plate, he required a bone graft because marrow was missing from a portion of the bone.  Also, of concern was damage to tissue and a shortening of muscle in the leg.  Now, along with managing his pain the cat staff would be tasked with performing physical therapy on him three times a day.  To be so intimately connected to an animal’s recovery creates a special bond and, sometimes, great expectations.

Even when the odds are stacked against success it is still a shock when everyone’s best efforts are repaid with disappointment.  Two months after his surgery the metal plate failed and his femur fractured again in the same spot.  Instead of trying the surgery again the decision was made, with a heavy heart, to amputate Trooper’s leg.

But, challenged again by adversity, Trooper was resilient.  With great human support, he made the adjustment in virtually no time at all and acted like having three legs was not a disadvantage at all.  For the first time we got to enjoy his carefree attitude without worrying excessively about his health.  Love was united with joy as we were able to watch him be a cat with all of the curiosity, whims, and agility nature gives to felines.

It took a couple of months to find his forever family, but that gave us a chance to, finally, just ENJOY him.  We had all been through a lot together.  When his family did find him it was a true HAPPY TAIL because now he had two children who would have to try to keep up with him!

A Volunteer Makes A Happy Tail

 

All of us at some time in our lives are disoriented by life.  Alone and adjusting to new surroundings energizes some people while others become depressed and retreat from the world.  Dogs and cats can struggle, too.  Peggy Sue, a mature cat, newly arrived at Rogue Valley Humane Society in October 2016 was in the struggle of her life:  not only was she shy, but being in close proximity to other cats proved to be incredibly stressful for her.

Luckily for Peggy Sue she was met by Lesse a volunteer blessed with patience and determination in equal parts.  Her consistent attention over weeks towards Peggy Sue paid off in ways no one could imagine.  Instead of hiding when staff, volunteers, and visitors walked into her room, now she wanted to be front and center and was open to affection from everyone.

When Peggy Sue still had not been adopted after three months—surprising us all–we decided she was ready to be a big fish in a bigger pond and transferred her to Oregon Humane Society in Portland through their Second Chance Program to improve her odds at a faster adoption and a new home.

It worked!  A lucky adopter took her home two days after she was made available.

To see a dog or cat like Peggy Sue blossom and find a home energizes the people who work and volunteer at RVHS.  Teamwork was the secret to Peggy Sue’s happy tail.  Thank you to Lesse, OHS, and everyone who helped Peggy Sue thrive!

The Tail of Everydog

 If there is such a thing as an “Everyman” someone whose journey is representative of life’s everyday ups and downs then Fisher, unfortunately, could justly be described as an “Everydog.”  Adopted as a puppy from another shelter his new family posted Fisher on Craigslist a year later to find him a new home.  He had grown up and gotten big and his family “no longer had time for him.”  I printed out his Craigslist post but when we inquired about him he had already been re-homed.  However, a couple of days later his new owner contacted us for help because Fisher was not cat-friendly.

Because no one had ever worked seriously with Fisher he was a lanky and boisterous handful.  Also, as a shepherd blend he did not want to miss out on any action.  And, if there was a hint of excitement in the kennel, he would immediately lose all interest in potential adopters, making it much harder to find him a home.

Thankfully, an experienced dog owner was not dissuaded by his excitement, saw his potential, and adopted him.  And for more than a year, Fisher had guidance, learned things and matured into a more mentally balanced dog.

Unfortunately, Fisher was still riding life’s rollercoaster.  His owner injured his back, required surgery and would no longer be able to give Fisher what he needed.  Like a boomerang, Fisher came back to us.

Now, possessing many desirable qualities and being the picture of serenity in the kennel, we expected that he would be snapped up in a heartbeat.  But it did not happen.  For some reason, whether it was his size or incompatibility with cats, he languished with no prospects.

His luck changed when Glenda, a new volunteer, became smitten with him.  She focused on his needs like a laser beam and even began to take him home overnight so that he could enjoy some quiet, family time away from the energy of the kennel.  Even while he was relaxing at her home it turns out he was working on his future prospects.  Glenda and her husband were still grieving the loss of their last dog and were not sure they were ready to give their hearts over completely to another.  But, Fisher, turned out to be a natural fit and worked his way into both of their hearts.  It became harder and harder for them to bring him back to the shelter after his overnight stays.  He had earned his forever home and he was adopted!

Sadly, not “Everydog” is so lucky.  People give up on dogs just like Fisher all the time.   Fate smiled on him, though.  He had been through enough.

The Tail of Mr Christmas

 

As a new contributor to our Happy Tails Blog, I thought it was only right that I start with my own most recent happy tale.

In January, I became the proud FOREVER FOSTER PARENT of a little dog that I named Mr. Christmas when he arrived as a stray just before the December 25th holiday at the Rogue Valley Humane Society.  He had been robbed of his dignity through serious neglect and needed a name that was respectful, fun, and instantly made it known to the whole world that he had VALUE.  I have named dogs for many years and I can say that I have never received a more positive reaction than I have gotten to this one name for one special dog.

When we first met him Mr. Christmas’s fur was matted from head to toe and flea-infested.  My strongest initial memory was of the fleas crisscrossing the area around his nose and eyes.  I shuddered at how uncomfortable that would be for a minute let alone the days, weeks, months, and (possibly) years that this had been his reality.  And for a little dog his smell could have justified its own zip code.  He had a mouthful of rotten teeth and a strong ammonia smell from urine-saturated fur.  His rear end looked like it belonged to another species:  the feces that matted his tail and made him unable to move it looked like a piece of armor—solid, crusty, and prehistoric-looking.  Additionally, his rectum was prolapsed, his body was severely malnourished, he had never been neutered, and he had no muscle tone in his hind legs.  In the days to come we would discover a urinary tract infection, an ulcer developed in his left eye, and his liver was not working as well as it should.  But, these obstacles proved to be nothing but anthills because Mr. Christmas has SPIRIT!

Mr. Christmas’s road to good health did not happen overnight and he was helped by many hearts:  the staff and volunteers at RVHS and Dr. Glenn Bowman and Dr. Margaret Forsberg and their staff at Valley Animal Hospital all made it possible.

Two dogs, both adopted from RVHS, immediately recognized his seniority and treated him with respect from the start.  Each welcomed him in their own way—Huey offered to play and Blue Boy, sweetly (and without precedent), rolled his favorite ball to Mr. Christmas.  Burdened by a cone to keep him from rubbing his eye Mr. Christmas was not in the mood to play.  But, Huey and Blue Boy continue to make him welcome.  They never bother him when he eats.  They don’t run into him when they ricochet around the house.  And Blue Boy, in particular, is very good about checking up on him and keeping him company.

I never got to see Mr. Christmas in his physical prime, but there are still things he can do better than ever—like making people happy and eliciting smiles.  And he loves to be in the thick of things—at the office, in the kitchen, at an elementary school assembly, and mingling with young and old during the Home Show at the fairgounds as an RVHS ambassador.

Helping a senior dog was something I always wanted to do.  I know my heart will break one day.  I also know that my heart has never been so full.  I will lose Mr. Christmas physically one day, but that will not be the end of our story.  We will be together always.

At this time in his life it is rewarding just to enjoy Mr. Christmas and his tail.  He wags it and, sometimes, while he sleeps it moves on its own—it’s a Happy Tail.


 

Alumni Lilly and Hugo! Our Hearts are Singing!

Nothing brings us more joy then finding a loving home for our furry guests at the Rogue Valley Humane Society. Well…except on one thing….receiving updates from their new families.

This makes all our hearts sing!