(Surrendered to Shelter) This week I had the privilege of assisting a sweet dog. He had been hiding in someone’s back yard near Mariner High School in Everett. He was happy to accept food from people in the neighborhood, but he didn’t quite know who to trust. He stayed out of reach. A kind person in the neighborhood posted his picture on Facebook, hoping to find the owner. Eventually, people directed them to Useless Bay Sanctuary because we have an excellent record of helping dogs like this.
I went to the area and talked to the residents, getting more information about his habits. I set a trap for him, baited with Vienna sausage. A camera was watching the trap, so I would know when he went in. It only took a few hours for him to go into the trap, and he was caught, safe. I could see on the camera that he was fairly calm in the trap, not too panicked. The homeowners sat with him while I drove to the location. UBS volunteer Dina met me there. We carried the trap into their garage, and we let him out so that we could scan him for a microchip. His collar had the remnants of a leash, and it appeared he had chewed it off. He was intact, which usually means we won’t find a chip. Once we let him out of the trap, he wandered around the garage, casually looking for a way out. We sat on the floor, the four of us, to show calming signals to this dog, to show him we were no threat, and that he could take his time to come to us. Eventually he did, and he allowed the homeowners to pet him. He sat on the lap of each of them, accepting treats. He allowed us to scan him, and we did not find a chip. We spent about an hour just hanging out with him, letting him get to know us. Eventually we coaxed him back into the trap so we could transport him.
I didn’t really have room for a foster dog, but the shelter was closed, so I was the last resort for him. I made a safe place for him to stay, in a kennel, away from my crazy pack of dogs, so he could relax. He was really easy to manage. He warmed up to me quickly. He walked on a leash with better manners than my dogs. I tried to get him to the shelter the next day, but they are accepting dogs by appointment only, and we couldn’t get in the first day. He was no trouble at all, so I didn’t mind having him an extra day. The shelter is very full, so their phone recording says that people who find a dog have the option of holding onto the dog if they can, and just reporting to the shelter that they have him, providing details to try to match the dog to an owner looking for him. It wasn’t practical for me to keep him, even though he was a good dog. All of the fosters for UBS are full, so I couldn’t find anyone to foster him for us.
Today I took him to the shelter. When we got to the shelter, I called them to let them know we were in the parking lot. I got him out on a leash, and I sat with my back against the tire of my car. It was a sunny, cool day. He flopped against me, happy to just be sitting with me, like I was his friend. Although I know the shelter wants to help him find his family, or get him into a new family that will love him, I knew that there was a small chance that he might not ever make it out of the shelter alive. He is a big boy, the type that some might consider intimidating, even though I thought of him as a sweet little baby. I held him in my arms and I told him that I love him. He was happy to sit with me in the sun, to just be. I wanted him to know that there are a lot of good people in this world that wish him well. I think they will treat him well in the shelter and do the best they can to get him out of the shelter safely. But I wanted him to know he was loved, just in case he wasn’t destined to find a family. He trusted me to take care of him, and I was trying, the best I could, which did not feel like it was enough.
I really don’t like saving dogs from the street if it only means they might die in a shelter. I know that most of the hundreds of dogs I have saved from the street have made it back to their families, or found new families. Certainly my four dogs were all saved from death on the streets, and Mu and Tino and Fozzie all became working dogs. Right now, Sky and the boys are asleep on the bed near me as I write this. I want a good life for all dogs, but I can’t keep them all. If my chunky friend was possibly going to die in the shelter, I wanted him to know that I loved him. I wanted him to remember me. Of the hundreds of dogs I have saved from the streets, I know at least half a dozen were deemed unadoptable, and were euthanized. I know I could have saved those dogs, even if they were too damaged to go to a normal home. I can handle the crazy dogs, but I can’t keep them all. I think this boy has a good chance of making it out of the shelter. He is happy and friendly, but he takes a little while to warm up to someone. If people use Calming Signals, then he will relax and he can be a great dog. For the right person, he will sleep on the couch all day and snore beside them all night. I know that he has a better chance of survival in the shelter than he would if he was left on the streets, where he would probably run from someone who was trying to help him, but using the wrong techniques, and if he ran around in traffic too long, it would not end well. I really hope he finds a good home, but if he never does, I just want him to know that I love him.
At the shelter, they named him Bruce, which is not a bad name. I was calling him Chunky. I also named him Vienna, because of his fondness for sausage, and because he kind of looks like a sausage, but Vienna doesn’t really have a ring to it. I also thought of calling him Biscuits N. Gravy. Mostly I just called him Chunkers. Bruce is a fine name, though.
I hope someone reading this can help Bruce. If you are able to foster him or adopt him, please contact the Everett Shelter. Also, please keep in mind that Useless Bay Sanctuary is always in need of more fosters. Every year, UBS saves at least 100 dogs who are wandering stray, getting them back to their families or into new homes. If we had more fosters, we could help more dogs. I hope you can foster or adopt Bruce. If you ever want to foster dogs in the future, please contact UselessBaySanctuary@gmail.com. Fostering saves lives.