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A Change of Mind Often Softens the Hardest of Hearts

By PhotoLori on Jul. 6, 2017

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"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. An open heart is an open mind." Dalai Lama

One of the biggest challenges for me when I go into the shelters is to not judge the people who bring their animals there. And yes, it’s very, very hard. But I try and remember that I can’t always understand other people’s lives and the circumstances that have brought them to make the decision to give their pet up.

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I remember the first time my heart went out to someone turning in their dog. I had been photographing for a few hours and was taking a water break, when I saw one of the shelter workers standing there with a big old dog next to him. A few feet away stood a woman. She was wearing a flowered dress and reminded me of my grandmother. She was crying. Actually, crying doesn’t really justify what I saw. This woman was sobbing. Her shoulders shaking, her face tear stained and red. She was gasping for breath. I felt so bad for her. I had no idea why she was there. Maybe she found a dog that had been hit by a car. Maybe she was a rescuer and was overwhelmed with being at the shelter. I turned away not wanting to make her feel like she was being watched.

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I went on photographing for a few more hours and with my camera bag packed away, headed home to edit. When I entered the lobby area, I stopped dead in my tracks. The woman I had seen earlier was still there. She was still crying, but now the dog that was with the shelter worker was in her arms. She was sobbing in his fur. Her gray hair had come undone from her bun and it covered half her face. I approached her to see if there was anything I could do to help. That’s when I learned that this big, old dog was hers and she was surrendering him to the shelter. She told me that her husband had recently passed away and that he was the sole breadwinner in the family. She had no children. She rented her home and was being evicted because she had no job to pay rent. Most of her family lived out of state and lived paycheck to paycheck and so they could offer no financial assistance.

She was being forced to move in with a nephew and his family into a small one-bedroom apartment that did not allow pets. She was heartbroken and devastated that she had to bring her beloved dog to the shelter. She stayed there all day clinging to him. Giving him one last scratch behind the ear. One last belly rub. One last sniff of his fur so that she would remember every detail of him. She turned to me and in a very soft voice she said, "He's a good boy. He will find a nice family here to take him home." All I could do was nod my head and say a silent prayer that indeed, the perfect family would take him home.

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I felt her pain to the very core of my being. Every ounce of judgment left me and all I wanted to do was hug her. I couldn’t imagine what she was going through. In that moment I felt so blessed that, should the unthinkable happen, I had options. And she made me think about what I might be forced to do if my options were nonexistent. It was the catalyst for me realizing that judgment doesn’t serve anyone. 

A few weeks later, I was at a different shelter. I had been there about an hour. Gone through the dog runs. Passed out treats. Scratched a few ears and muzzles as best I could through the chain that separated us. Now I was standing in the office waiting my turn to inquire about one of the dogs.

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I was second in line. I watched the soft-spoken young man ahead of me. His voice didn’t match his look. Tattoos on his neck and forearms. Baseball cap. Flannel shirt. A thick gold chain around his neck. I wondered why he was there. And then I heard. The woman behind the desk handed him some paperwork. He was here to turn in his dogs. Two of them. She explained the process. He thanked her and walked out as she got on the intercom to call a shelter worker to bring his dogs to intake. I could feel myself starting to judge him. I was getting angry. I wanted to give him a piece of my mind. But then that woman’s face entered my mind and I didn’t know what to think. What was his situation? Was he a cold-callused man, tired of his pets or was he in a hopeless situation?

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It was my turn at the desk and for a moment I forgot about the man. My mind was occupied with the task at hand. I asked to meet the dog. The shelter worker pulled up his records. She explained that the dog hadn’t been temperament-tested yet, so I couldn’t see him out of the cage. I could leave my name and I would be called in 3–4 days if he passed. I wasn’t sure what to do, since I had no intention of adopting him. I just wanted to show him some kindness right now. Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the soft-spoken young man with the tattoos enter the dog runs. I told the lady I would look at some others.

I was curious why the young man was looking at other dogs when he had just turned in his own. Curious and yes, the judgmental side returned full force and I began imagining the worst of him. My hackles went up thinking that he could desert his two pets and replace them without a second thought.

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And so I followed him. Pretended like I was also looking for a dog. He walked up and down the rows, stopping to look at the pits and rotties. I made eye contact with him and said hello. Again his soft, gentle voice threw me as he said hello to me. I walked behind him. I had to know what he was doing.

And so I asked him, “Did you lose your dog?”

“No,” he replied.

I don’t think I responded.

We walked through the kennels together. We were quiet. I wondered what he was thinking as we passed cage after cage. Then I asked him if he was getting a dog. Again his response was no.

And then he turned to face me. “I just brought my two in.”

All I could say was, “Oh.” Our eyes met and held for a second. Then he turned away and kept walking. 

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He looked back at me and smiled a very sad smile. When we got to the end of the row, I couldn’t help myself and asked him why he was getting rid of his dogs. The look on his face was pure torture. He explained that he had just moved here from Texas and that the apartment manager told him to get rid of the dogs or find a new place to live. His voice cracked as he told me he’d had the dogs since before his son was born. They came with him from Texas. He’d had them since they were puppies. Then he looked at the floor, unable to continue.

By this time we were at the front of the shelter where two dogs in temporary kennels were being processed. His dogs. As soon as they saw him their tails started wagging with joy. He bent down to put his fingers through the bars. I heard him call the pit bull Hazel. The other dog was a German shepherd and started barking for his attention. The young man obliged, as I pet Hazel.

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He then turned to me and said, “Hazel hates being in a cage.”

He stood up and walked over to me. Again our eyes met. Mine had begun to tear up. He met my gaze and I could see that he too had tears in his eyes. He touched my arm and said quickly, “I gotta go….I just can’t…” His voice trailed off as he quickly made his way to the parking lot.

I watched him walk away. His dogs’ eyes glued to him. Hazel started to howl. He turned back to take one last look at his beloved dogs. There was no hiding his tears. I don’t know if my heart ached more for him or his dogs.

For the last time he met my eyes and said, “It was nice meeting you.” And then he was gone.

I stood there a minute. It was Hazel’s howls that brought my mind back. When I turned to look at her, that’s when my tears really began. She was trying to get the young man to come back. The shepherd was just gazing in the direction he had gone. Silent. Watching.

I walked to the bathroom so I could pull myself together. When I emerged about 10 minutes later, the two dogs were still starring in the same direction. Not moving. Alert. Wondering.

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The tears began again and I decided it was time for me to go home. I don’t know when the tears stopped. Somewhere along the 405 freeway. And somewhere along the way, I decided that yes, I was going back. To check on Hazel. To make sure she and the shepherd were OK. And to try and help them.

That day, all my judgment left my mind and now I see that not all people are cruel and heartless when it comes to their animals. Quite the contrary, most are just regular folks whose life has taken a turn for the worse and they have few options. I’ve softened my heart and realized that these people, as well as their animals, need our help, our love and our understanding. Harsh judgment only makes things worse and in the end does no good for anyone. I did go back to see Hazel and the shepherd. And I got them out of the shelter and found them new homes. Oh how I wish I could get in touch with that young man and let him know that his babies were safe and that the few moments we spent together changed me forever.

If you're ever faced with the heartbreaking decision to re-home your pet, there are steps you can take to make it easier on everyone.

Professional photographer and dedicated animal activist Lori Fusaro takes photos of shelter dogs and cats at Best Friends Animal Society - L.A. in hopes that the images will help them find their forever homes. She also has a soft spot for pit bulls. Be sure to check out "My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts," a book written by Laura T. Coffey, with photos by Lori Fusaro.

Read about Sunny, the most successful failure ever.

Love pit bulls? So does Lori Fusaro

To love or not to love, that is the question.

A dog is a dog, or is it?

23 Comments
Comments
by
‎07-14-2016 09:44 PM
What beautiful children. Open your heart
What beautiful children. Open your heart
Posted on Jul. 14, 2016
by AnimalFan
‎07-14-2016 09:45 PM
This was a very touching story. I know an acquaintance who lost his job, lost his home, and now is losing his 3 year old pitBull do to being homeless. Some friends and I went to work to help him get his dog into temporary boarding until he can pull his life back together. It's a great feeling to know we saved his dig from being euthanized at s shelter. The dog now has a future!
This was a very touching story. I know an acquaintance who lost his job, lost his home, and now is losing his 3 year old pitBull do to being homeless. Some friends and I went to work to help him get his dog into temporary boarding until he can pull his life back together. It's a great feeling to know we saved his dig from being euthanized at s shelter. The dog now has a future!
Posted on Jul. 14, 2016
by
‎07-14-2016 11:38 PM
So cute, what an extremely heartful pets..😚😚
So cute, what an extremely heartful pets..😚😚
Posted on Jul. 14, 2016
by
‎07-15-2016 01:32 PM
I hope that the owner of Hazel & the German Shepherd somehow found out that his dogs were saved, or that by some chance he saw your story. What you did for them was such a wonderful thing, and I thank you for that! I would also like to thank you for this article, because like you, I judged as well until I spent more time at my local shelter, and came to the same realization. I've since realized that the time & energy wasted on judging could be better spent helping the many pets that end up at shelters. ❤
I hope that the owner of Hazel & the German Shepherd somehow found out that his dogs were saved, or that by some chance he saw your story. What you did for them was such a wonderful thing, and I thank you for that! I would also like to thank you for this article, because like you, I judged as well until I spent more time at my local shelter, and came to the same realization. I've since realized that the time & energy wasted on judging could be better spent helping the many pets that end up at shelters. ❤
Posted on Jul. 15, 2016
by
‎07-15-2016 07:11 PM
That is the sweetest story sad and happy at the same time u are a good person for doing that. U don't get many people to do that. Animals are just like people if u just give them. A chance. They are much like children. I have three dogs and they are my everything
That is the sweetest story sad and happy at the same time u are a good person for doing that. U don't get many people to do that. Animals are just like people if u just give them. A chance. They are much like children. I have three dogs and they are my everything
Posted on Jul. 15, 2016
by
‎07-16-2016 04:41 AM
I would starve to save my dogs. When your poor do you give your kids away. I do not get it the old women yes but the other story no. I already have a back up plan my best friend will take in my 2 dogs if I die. They love him about as much as me. Think ahead life throws too many curves.
I would starve to save my dogs. When your poor do you give your kids away. I do not get it the old women yes but the other story no. I already have a back up plan my best friend will take in my 2 dogs if I die. They love him about as much as me. Think ahead life throws too many curves.
Posted on Jul. 16, 2016
by
‎07-16-2016 07:10 AM
Hi my name is Dan and I have a Beagle he's now 13! I got him 5 years ago! The doctor prescribed him to me! Because the pills wasn't working for me! I wanted to die because my kids grew up an did like me an my family deleted me! I said this dog ain't going to help me! Well I went from living in sleeping rooms to one bedroom in witch I've never had! I'm 55 I've never owned a new car in my live! I made a promise I would get a card for my dog to hang his head out the window if he came home with me! I got a good job now! I haven't worked in 25 years! Didn't want to! Now today instead of asking God why do I got to live another day to thank you God for my dog lucky! His name is lucky because I'm lucky he came into my life an I'm lucky to own him! I'm always afraid because I live alone an don't have to many friends who will take care of my buddy Lucky, if I get sick ,or if get into a car accident ,who will feed lucky? I'm trying so hard to take care of him! But its hard for me to trust people not to keep or hurt or worst take him to the pound! I promised him he would never go back ,I promised him he would never feel pain ever again! He really healthy for being 13 years old! I want to give him the best retirement ever! I love you lucky an never want you to go away , I won't have no one to care an love ever again if you go away from me! That's why I Keep him close! I got paper if I need him to go into a store he can go! Please god help me keep him an find some one to care for you if I can't! Because you are never going back to a dog pound ever again your going to only feel love if I can help it! I wish I could post a picture of him ,I'm just so proud of him an very fortunate to have him in my life so great full , that he's in mine, he saved my life! An I'm going to give him the very best of life back to him! Thank you for letting me share my story!😂
Hi my name is Dan and I have a Beagle he's now 13! I got him 5 years ago! The doctor prescribed him to me! Because the pills wasn't working for me! I wanted to die because my kids grew up an did like me an my family deleted me! I said this dog ain't going to help me! Well I went from living in sleeping rooms to one bedroom in witch I've never had! I'm 55 I've never owned a new car in my live! I made a promise I would get a card for my dog to hang his head out the window if he came home with me! I got a good job now! I haven't worked in 25 years! Didn't want to! Now today instead of asking God why do I got to live another day to thank you God for my dog lucky! His name is lucky because I'm lucky he came into my life an I'm lucky to own him! I'm always afraid because I live alone an don't have to many friends who will take care of my buddy Lucky, if I get sick ,or if get into a car accident ,who will feed lucky? I'm trying so hard to take care of him! But its hard for me to trust people not to keep or hurt or worst take him to the pound! I promised him he would never go back ,I promised him he would never feel pain ever again! He really healthy for being 13 years old! I want to give him the best retirement ever! I love you lucky an never want you to go away , I won't have no one to care an love ever again if you go away from me! That's why I Keep him close! I got paper if I need him to go into a store he can go! Please god help me keep him an find some one to care for you if I can't! Because you are never going back to a dog pound ever again your going to only feel love if I can help it! I wish I could post a picture of him ,I'm just so proud of him an very fortunate to have him in my life so great full , that he's in mine, he saved my life! An I'm going to give him the very best of life back to him! Thank you for letting me share my story!😂
Posted on Jul. 16, 2016
by
‎07-16-2016 12:22 PM
This broke my heart and i have tears in my eyes. When I was younger, my mom let my sister and I take in my dad's cat. Then, she brought home a cute little kitten later on, and another a long while later. We weren't allowed to have pets, yet she kept bringing more home. I still remember giving up my favorite, Pumpkin. She was like my baby, I loved her so much and the lady at the shelter who took her let me pet her one last time. When we got home, my sister and I went to our own rooms and cried for hours. I was so young and I wish I could see if they're okay now, if they're even alive. It's been about 12 years now and I still pray that they're okay and to rest in peace if they're no longer around.
This broke my heart and i have tears in my eyes. When I was younger, my mom let my sister and I take in my dad's cat. Then, she brought home a cute little kitten later on, and another a long while later. We weren't allowed to have pets, yet she kept bringing more home. I still remember giving up my favorite, Pumpkin. She was like my baby, I loved her so much and the lady at the shelter who took her let me pet her one last time. When we got home, my sister and I went to our own rooms and cried for hours. I was so young and I wish I could see if they're okay now, if they're even alive. It's been about 12 years now and I still pray that they're okay and to rest in peace if they're no longer around.
Posted on Jul. 16, 2016
by Penny D
‎07-16-2016 09:10 PM

This story is very touching, and yes there are extremely sad circumstances like these, but unfortunately there are more owner release cases that are far more unacceptable in my eyes. In 2000 I worked at our local animal shelter. There were cases that broke my heart daily.

I have seen owner releases such as:

"She went off and got herself pregnant and I don't need a bunch of puppies!" 

"We bought new furniture and her coat color clashes with the design of our home now."

"He's 8yrs old and doesn't play as much and a friend of ours has a new litter of pups so we are getting a younger dog. One that will play with the kids."

Yes, I have truly heard these excuses ( and many more ) with my own ears. I would always remain professional, but inside I would be furious! 

 

 

This story is very touching, and yes there are extremely sad circumstances like these, but unfortunately there are more owner release cases that are far more unacceptable in my eyes. In 2000 I worked at our local animal shelter. There were cases that broke my heart daily.

I have seen owner releases such as:

"She went off and got herself pregnant and I don't need a bunch of puppies!" 

"We bought new furniture and her coat color clashes with the design of our home now."

"He's 8yrs old and doesn't play as much and a friend of ours has a new litter of pups so we are getting a younger dog. One that will play with the kids."

Yes, I have truly heard these excuses ( and many more ) with my own ears. I would always remain professional, but inside I would be furious! 

 

 

Posted on Jul. 16, 2016
by
‎07-17-2016 05:47 AM
Tears in my eyes🐶🐕 prayers in my heart🙏
Tears in my eyes🐶🐕 prayers in my heart🙏
Posted on Jul. 17, 2016
by
‎07-17-2016 08:26 AM
Just bawled my eyes out. I still have my dog Farley but I can assure you it hasn't been with out extreme difficulty. Surrendering him was something I just couldn't bring myself to do and I also tend to be judgemental on situations of giving up pets. Reading this literally hurt my chest but it was an amazing read. Ty.
Just bawled my eyes out. I still have my dog Farley but I can assure you it hasn't been with out extreme difficulty. Surrendering him was something I just couldn't bring myself to do and I also tend to be judgemental on situations of giving up pets. Reading this literally hurt my chest but it was an amazing read. Ty.
Posted on Jul. 17, 2016
by
‎07-17-2016 10:24 AM
My eyes teared up and were streaming down my face reading this article. I don't know what I would do if (God forbid) I was in that position. I have 3 dogs that I've raised since they were all 6 weeks old. They are my children, my rock, my reason for living. My heart goes to all those who are FORCED to make a heartbreaking decision like that. To know that there are still people out there who would do anything for their furbabies but they're dealt with these types of cards breaks my heart. I wish those people didn't have to go thru that heartbreak. I'd literally die.
My eyes teared up and were streaming down my face reading this article. I don't know what I would do if (God forbid) I was in that position. I have 3 dogs that I've raised since they were all 6 weeks old. They are my children, my rock, my reason for living. My heart goes to all those who are FORCED to make a heartbreaking decision like that. To know that there are still people out there who would do anything for their furbabies but they're dealt with these types of cards breaks my heart. I wish those people didn't have to go thru that heartbreak. I'd literally die.
Posted on Jul. 17, 2016
by
‎07-17-2016 06:45 PM
I want to volunteer very much...but im afraid that i will always be crying and praying..this was a very nice story..i know how you felt..
I want to volunteer very much...but im afraid that i will always be crying and praying..this was a very nice story..i know how you felt..
Posted on Jul. 17, 2016
by Community Manager
‎07-20-2016 01:53 PM

One of my favorite blogs to date. Thank you for sharing @PhotoLori!

One of my favorite blogs to date. Thank you for sharing @PhotoLori!

Posted on Jul. 20, 2016
by Susangh
‎07-21-2016 07:27 AM

I worked at a tough municipal shelter for about 2 years.  It didn't take long to see these sad economic stories play out repeatedly.  I always thanked people for doing the right thing and bringing their pets to us. (Even the ones who clearly had plenty of money.) It was so much better than giving them to strangers or simply dumping them into the street. With us they had a second chance, with our network of rescues and our own adopters. The animals were pretty traumatized if they came from a home and relieved enough to sleep if they had been living in the street. Sadly, not all souls made it out alive. I always figured going to Heaven was better than the tortured life of being a fighting bait dog.

Personally, I'm down from 9 to 7 big dogs. It's expensive but they are God's creatures,  dependent on me for their physical and mental health.

Want to reduce violence? Never hit or humiliate a child or an animal. Fear ultimately causes us all to bite. 

I worked at a tough municipal shelter for about 2 years.  It didn't take long to see these sad economic stories play out repeatedly.  I always thanked people for doing the right thing and bringing their pets to us. (Even the ones who clearly had plenty of money.) It was so much better than giving them to strangers or simply dumping them into the street. With us they had a second chance, with our network of rescues and our own adopters. The animals were pretty traumatized if they came from a home and relieved enough to sleep if they had been living in the street. Sadly, not all souls made it out alive. I always figured going to Heaven was better than the tortured life of being a fighting bait dog.

Personally, I'm down from 9 to 7 big dogs. It's expensive but they are God's creatures,  dependent on me for their physical and mental health.

Want to reduce violence? Never hit or humiliate a child or an animal. Fear ultimately causes us all to bite. 

Posted on Jul. 21, 2016
by Joanne Griffin
‎07-26-2016 05:59 AM

I just read this entire article and am sitting here with tears streaming.   I've just been through this with my cousin.   She has just turned 60 this year, she owned her own home, when she got her pets (and she was also always active in rescue groups and totally loves all animals), she was younger and healthier.   She got M.S. and it changed her life completely, and she lived alone in the mountain area of Pennsylvania.  Physically, financially, medically, personally she has faced so many hardships in the last ten years, but the worst of it came just a few weeks ago.   Due to the tremors and the weakness in her legs she fell forward tumbling end over end off of her porch while trying to put out her dog.  She has had dogs and cats since we were young children and loves them all as "family".   She got badly hurt and because the M.S. has been so aggressive, I knew and she knew that it was time for her to be in a full time care situation.   Financially, there was no way to keep her at home with a full time nurse and she needed full time.  I don't live anywhere near and I have my financial limits of pets here or I would have helped ut she had to give up her dog and cats and it was the worst thing she has ever gone through.   She told me, the M.S. could take her, she has been extremely lonely and they were truly, what got her through.   The pain she has gone through letting them go to rescue groups ... I can tell you, you cannot miss.   There is no way that this woman would have ever let them go if she had any choice.   She very much wanted to keep them but her health is so deteriorated that she simply cannot take care of them any longer and they need love and care as much as she does.   Thank You for writing this.   Not all people that have to give up their pets are "uncaring" or "abusive".   Many of these pets in shelters and rescues have been totally and truly loved and part of the family.   Good Article.

I just read this entire article and am sitting here with tears streaming.   I've just been through this with my cousin.   She has just turned 60 this year, she owned her own home, when she got her pets (and she was also always active in rescue groups and totally loves all animals), she was younger and healthier.   She got M.S. and it changed her life completely, and she lived alone in the mountain area of Pennsylvania.  Physically, financially, medically, personally she has faced so many hardships in the last ten years, but the worst of it came just a few weeks ago.   Due to the tremors and the weakness in her legs she fell forward tumbling end over end off of her porch while trying to put out her dog.  She has had dogs and cats since we were young children and loves them all as "family".   She got badly hurt and because the M.S. has been so aggressive, I knew and she knew that it was time for her to be in a full time care situation.   Financially, there was no way to keep her at home with a full time nurse and she needed full time.  I don't live anywhere near and I have my financial limits of pets here or I would have helped ut she had to give up her dog and cats and it was the worst thing she has ever gone through.   She told me, the M.S. could take her, she has been extremely lonely and they were truly, what got her through.   The pain she has gone through letting them go to rescue groups ... I can tell you, you cannot miss.   There is no way that this woman would have ever let them go if she had any choice.   She very much wanted to keep them but her health is so deteriorated that she simply cannot take care of them any longer and they need love and care as much as she does.   Thank You for writing this.   Not all people that have to give up their pets are "uncaring" or "abusive".   Many of these pets in shelters and rescues have been totally and truly loved and part of the family.   Good Article.

Posted on Jul. 26, 2016
by NancyNurse
‎07-29-2016 06:10 AM

If your dog does anything special, like shaking paws, highlight that. I remember hears ago, in a.munishelter,where the dogs were in Chao. link kennels, a d you couldn't ta!e the. out at all. This cocker Spa iel kept sitting at the front of the cage,offering a paw. It won us over, and we adopted that dog. (And with full disclosure, he never, not even once, would do it again!)

If your dog does anything special, like shaking paws, highlight that. I remember hears ago, in a.munishelter,where the dogs were in Chao. link kennels, a d you couldn't ta!e the. out at all. This cocker Spa iel kept sitting at the front of the cage,offering a paw. It won us over, and we adopted that dog. (And with full disclosure, he never, not even once, would do it again!)

Posted on Jul. 29, 2016
by Luckytohavehim
‎07-29-2016 07:03 AM

I was about to lose my best friend, My companion through a marriage to a cruel, unappreciatve woman that abandoned me and my dog 'Rosco'. I had adopted this incredible animal from a shelter. He was malnourished, losing hair and teeth and was so submissive it reminded me of myself as an abused child. 

Love and kindness were all he recieved since. That person didnt really want me to adopt him - warned me there would be issues. One day at a remote campground, her premonition was brought to light. She had a Boxer - $1600 of puppy-mill dog, but only by label. Even this dog bonded with me as it had triple valve failure of the heart and was not to be with us long. 

Ill shorten this 'cuz of my tears; getting hard to see what Im typing,                           Wire with sick Boxer on boat dock, Me with boat and Rosco 300 feet away, 2 large black dogs enter from the woods and attack wife and Boxer without me seeing,      My pal Rosco saw, he wined a bit to say HEY DAD! Let me go help them, He asked first (He is so polite and non-aggresive despite the results of this situation)   I had to give him the go command, I have never seen a animal move that fast. When he reached them, my wife was on the ground with leash around ankles, tangled, injured, (two ferel?) dogs attacking the weak Boxer, Rosco saved both of them - details are not as important as the lesson of this. Maybe I am a little too proud of my Boy - now almost 11 years old; The day I adopted him was the day after he was scheduled to be put down because 3 previous adoptions had resulted in runaways, I guess he was running to me.                                                 I could write a book on how often he has kept one of the kids from falling or the grand-daughter away from the edge of the pool, or how he knew not to challenge the Black Bear that found us sleeping one morning in another remote camping area. It was spiritual to lock eyes with a bear at 48 inches and have the bear turn and run - well, yeah I had a 95 lbs. dog between the bear and I.                                Later, I was threatened with eviction for not giving Rosco up. I promised him I woiuld live under a bridge rather than be away from him,                                   Never forsake those that have shown loyalty by fighting for you. This animal has offered his life for me and "his" family. I made a choice not to ever give him up. I feel sorry for those that can't do so. The woman with the grey hair fallin in her face breaks my heart. I wish I could adopt her dog, Hazel, and the thousands of otheras that are hungry, or just starved for attention and human kindness.                Not everyone can have a big pet, but maybe you can make a donation to your local shelter or volenteer some time.                                                                           I heard the other day that animals do not go to heaven. "They do not have souls" this religious representative said.                                                                                If they wont let Rosco in - I'm not going in either.                                                       

I was about to lose my best friend, My companion through a marriage to a cruel, unappreciatve woman that abandoned me and my dog 'Rosco'. I had adopted this incredible animal from a shelter. He was malnourished, losing hair and teeth and was so submissive it reminded me of myself as an abused child. 

Love and kindness were all he recieved since. That person didnt really want me to adopt him - warned me there would be issues. One day at a remote campground, her premonition was brought to light. She had a Boxer - $1600 of puppy-mill dog, but only by label. Even this dog bonded with me as it had triple valve failure of the heart and was not to be with us long. 

Ill shorten this 'cuz of my tears; getting hard to see what Im typing,                           Wire with sick Boxer on boat dock, Me with boat and Rosco 300 feet away, 2 large black dogs enter from the woods and attack wife and Boxer without me seeing,      My pal Rosco saw, he wined a bit to say HEY DAD! Let me go help them, He asked first (He is so polite and non-aggresive despite the results of this situation)   I had to give him the go command, I have never seen a animal move that fast. When he reached them, my wife was on the ground with leash around ankles, tangled, injured, (two ferel?) dogs attacking the weak Boxer, Rosco saved both of them - details are not as important as the lesson of this. Maybe I am a little too proud of my Boy - now almost 11 years old; The day I adopted him was the day after he was scheduled to be put down because 3 previous adoptions had resulted in runaways, I guess he was running to me.                                                 I could write a book on how often he has kept one of the kids from falling or the grand-daughter away from the edge of the pool, or how he knew not to challenge the Black Bear that found us sleeping one morning in another remote camping area. It was spiritual to lock eyes with a bear at 48 inches and have the bear turn and run - well, yeah I had a 95 lbs. dog between the bear and I.                                Later, I was threatened with eviction for not giving Rosco up. I promised him I woiuld live under a bridge rather than be away from him,                                   Never forsake those that have shown loyalty by fighting for you. This animal has offered his life for me and "his" family. I made a choice not to ever give him up. I feel sorry for those that can't do so. The woman with the grey hair fallin in her face breaks my heart. I wish I could adopt her dog, Hazel, and the thousands of otheras that are hungry, or just starved for attention and human kindness.                Not everyone can have a big pet, but maybe you can make a donation to your local shelter or volenteer some time.                                                                           I heard the other day that animals do not go to heaven. "They do not have souls" this religious representative said.                                                                                If they wont let Rosco in - I'm not going in either.                                                       

Posted on Jul. 29, 2016
by Cynthiaft
‎07-29-2016 12:23 PM

I teared up reading this. 

I teared up reading this. 

Posted on Jul. 29, 2016
by Leia Walters
‎07-30-2016 06:34 AM

I lost my Taiko (Westie) in March of 2014, he was almost 18 years old.  I had him as an 8 week old puppy.  After he died I have never been the same again.  I grieve and cry every night when I go to bed because I miss him so much  - he gave me reason to live and laugh.  These stories touched my heart and have a change of heart about adopting animals from shelters, although I am not yet ready.  It is heart wrenching when I see the ads on TV from shelters asking for donations.  I often wonder if they really give the monies for the care of the dogs or line their pockets with the donated monies, hence I refused to donate.  I would rather go to the shelters and give blankets, etc. but not money.  Thank you for this eye opening article.  Animals are so healing, they love us so much and we love them back.  I wish everyone can give them the love they deserve.

I lost my Taiko (Westie) in March of 2014, he was almost 18 years old.  I had him as an 8 week old puppy.  After he died I have never been the same again.  I grieve and cry every night when I go to bed because I miss him so much  - he gave me reason to live and laugh.  These stories touched my heart and have a change of heart about adopting animals from shelters, although I am not yet ready.  It is heart wrenching when I see the ads on TV from shelters asking for donations.  I often wonder if they really give the monies for the care of the dogs or line their pockets with the donated monies, hence I refused to donate.  I would rather go to the shelters and give blankets, etc. but not money.  Thank you for this eye opening article.  Animals are so healing, they love us so much and we love them back.  I wish everyone can give them the love they deserve.

Posted on Jul. 30, 2016
by ConnieCM
‎07-30-2016 07:04 AM

You are so very kind to do what you do with photos and stories.  Your observation of the people turning their pets into shelters is very kind and of course, you are right about life throwing curves however, scenes like this might be able to be handled a bit differently.  There are two options, think ahead about what you want to happen to your dog if you are no longer here or cannot keep your pet.  If it is an elderly pet and had a wonderful life with you, make arrangements with your vet, relative or attorney to have your dog humanely euthanized.  It is sad but beats spending it's last days being panicked in a shelter only to die there.  Often it

really is the very kindest alternative.  The other is to make plans ahead of the last minute, to either find a friend or relative (if there is one) who will take your dog and really commit in writing to become the caretaker or speak with a well screened rescue group to which you can save a small amount of money over time to donate to the care of your dog until a proper adoptive home is found.   Anything beats putting a dog that is used to a loving home into a kill shelter--it is just their last days that are so horrible.  

You are so very kind to do what you do with photos and stories.  Your observation of the people turning their pets into shelters is very kind and of course, you are right about life throwing curves however, scenes like this might be able to be handled a bit differently.  There are two options, think ahead about what you want to happen to your dog if you are no longer here or cannot keep your pet.  If it is an elderly pet and had a wonderful life with you, make arrangements with your vet, relative or attorney to have your dog humanely euthanized.  It is sad but beats spending it's last days being panicked in a shelter only to die there.  Often it

really is the very kindest alternative.  The other is to make plans ahead of the last minute, to either find a friend or relative (if there is one) who will take your dog and really commit in writing to become the caretaker or speak with a well screened rescue group to which you can save a small amount of money over time to donate to the care of your dog until a proper adoptive home is found.   Anything beats putting a dog that is used to a loving home into a kill shelter--it is just their last days that are so horrible.  

Posted on Jul. 30, 2016
by LaDawna Saylor
‎07-13-2017 08:53 AM

When I see a person on the corner begging and they have a dog, I go buy them dog food.  At least the dog will have food and the person is grateful.  I believe the person can survive but the animal is usually dependant on her person for survival.

When I see a person on the corner begging and they have a dog, I go buy them dog food.  At least the dog will have food and the person is grateful.  I believe the person can survive but the animal is usually dependant on her person for survival.

Posted on Jul. 13, 2017
by Bluest
‎07-14-2017 12:31 PM

A family member came across a puppy she just had to have. It was, as she said, 'her dream dog'. The breed, the age, even the color was exactly what she had always wanted, and she had the means to care for it, so it seemed fate.  But the dog just did not like her.  She did everything right, she didn't mistreat it, he got all the care and attention a dog could want, but he just did not like her. He listened to me, a complete stranger, before he would listen to her. She knew it was time to rehome him when he started snapping at her when she would tell him NO for getting into things he shouldn't. She was unhappy, and the dog was unhappy, and she knew it was time for him to find a new home with people he liked.  She interviewed a lot of people, but the ones he went to made him happy. Sometimes, the dog just isn't a good personality fit, through no one's fault, and it's hard to know that the animal you wanted so much to love doesn't even like you. But of course, that's the hard part of loving something. Doing the right thing for them even if it hurts you. 

A family member came across a puppy she just had to have. It was, as she said, 'her dream dog'. The breed, the age, even the color was exactly what she had always wanted, and she had the means to care for it, so it seemed fate.  But the dog just did not like her.  She did everything right, she didn't mistreat it, he got all the care and attention a dog could want, but he just did not like her. He listened to me, a complete stranger, before he would listen to her. She knew it was time to rehome him when he started snapping at her when she would tell him NO for getting into things he shouldn't. She was unhappy, and the dog was unhappy, and she knew it was time for him to find a new home with people he liked.  She interviewed a lot of people, but the ones he went to made him happy. Sometimes, the dog just isn't a good personality fit, through no one's fault, and it's hard to know that the animal you wanted so much to love doesn't even like you. But of course, that's the hard part of loving something. Doing the right thing for them even if it hurts you. 

Posted on Jul. 14, 2017
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