Today I spent my time with the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society. We held an adoption event at PetSmart in Valdosta with 8 dogs and 2 cats. This isn't an appropriate outing for Axle or Bobob, so they stayed home - Axle, buried under the covers in the bed and Bo, curled up on the couch with his favorite blanket. Ah, to be a dog.
Anyway, we had 2 puppies around 6 months old, and everyone else was 1 year or older. The main focus was Holly and Tooky, hound mixes that had been at the shelter for a long time. Between myself and the executive director and his wife, we got Holly adopted to a nice home with a little boy to play with. I helped the new dog owner to pick out a collar, leash, dog bowls, a bed, and toys. I'm hoping she's going to do well with them. :)
One of my favorite shelter dogs, Spudet, an AmStaff mix female, got adopted not long after hitting the floor. A lot of people showed interest in her while we were waiting on her new owner to come back to take her home, and we were proud to announce she already had a home.
Next, there was Joe, a 1 1/2 year old English Setter. A man and his girl approached me, asking about German Shepherd Dogs. He was really interested in finding a breeder and buying a puppy to raise with his 5 Yorkshire Terriers. I (politely) informed him that we were supporting rescue and adoption, and I honestly didn't know any breeders...and even then it's hard to find a good one. I asked him if he had checked rescues specifically for German Shepherd Dogs, and he had not. In the meantime, his little girl seemed to be falling head over heels for Joe. He was really doing a great job being himself, which showed off his easy-going temperament and friendliness. It took about 30 mins, but by the end of our conversation, the man had totally forgotten about breeders and GSDs and just had to take Joe home.
Then there was Dutch. Dutch was a very sweet, calm Labrador Retriever mix. She was a pretty yellow color with small white markings. A man and his boy had been browsing the dogs and kept stopping in front of her kennel. The man was obviously not certain, although I'm pretty sure his son was. Through conversation, I was able to ease his fears about introducing a new dog into their home, which already has an adult male Labrador Retriever. Although all dogs are individuals, most labs do seem to have an easy-going temperament and get along great with people and other dogs. A pair of the opposite sex, both fixed, should do great together. I mentioned walking the two dogs together, just letting them see each other and get to know one another rather than just throwing them in the fence or house together. He was convinced and Dutch was adopted. :)
In the midst of the happy endings, there was a lot of wasted time and tongue-biting. The wasted time involved people that weren't serious about adopting, but just kept looking and asking questions, taking time away from potential adopters. The tongue-biting involved the know-it-alls that just KNEW what breed each dog consisted of and how they would or wouldn't react to certain things. The tongue-biting also included hearing statements like the following:
"We have a cat, but she has fleas and had to live outside."
"We had just one girl cat, but she keeps multiplying and now there's millions!"
"I don't think that's a shepherd mix, that dog definitely has Chow and those will bite." (This statement was made about Sue, a super sweet "shepherd mix" that really loves kids.)
"These dogs are way too skinny. It's obvious they have worms. These people don't take care of them at all!"
"Which one is more aggressive?"
I have to stop there, because I have to tell you about the man that made that last statement. I'll write it as I remember it.
"Hi, are you looking for a new fur-baby?"
"I got a full-blooded red nose pit."
***silence*** (Here there was tongue biting. Okay, so you have a color and a nickname given to multiple dogs. So what kind of dog do you have?)
"I bet they won't let me adopt a dog cuz I got a pit."
"Well, I have an American Pit Bull Terrier at home, and I'm a recent adoptee. We aren't breed-specific. Do you have a male or female dog?"
"I got a boy. Yeah, he's not so good around people, he hasn't been around many. I don't know if he'd like another dog, you know, they gotta be tough for him. I had a puppy but I had to give him back to the people cuz my dog play rough, know what I'm sayin'?"
"If you don't think your dog would get along with other dogs, I don't recommend adopting another one."
(Wow, is he stupid or what?) "Well, because that can lead to fights and the dogs can and will get hurt. You don't want that to happen."
"Oh, so which one is more aggressive?"
"Um, none of those are aggressive dogs. They'll bark if the see a strange dog, but they don't bite and they get along with others."
"My dog, you can't go to my house. He bite you. So, if I adopt a dog, are they gone keep coming to my house?"
"Part of the adoption process IS agreeing to allowing shelter staff to inspect where the dog will be living. They sometimes show up randomly." (Please go away, guy!)
"Oh. So they let me get one even though I got a pit?"
"Like I said, we aren't breed-specific. We do take into consideration where you live, where the dog will spend most of his/her time, if you have other pets and what kind, and also if your pets are spayed/neutered."
"Why that is? My boy ain't fixed."
"Sometimes, intact males and neutered males don't get along very well. All dogs are individuals, and you have to be sensitive to their feelings and emotions. You already said your dog doesn't get along with others, so you shouldn't bring another one home."
At this point, the people that ended up adopting Dutch had walked up. The guy asked the people, "So, you taking this dog home?"
To that the man replied, "I don't know. We're just looking right now."
THEN the guy wants to know how we came to be in possession of Dutch.
"How you get this dog?"
"She was in the night drop."
"What that is?"
"It's where people put dogs and cats they pick up as strays or don't want anymore. It's some outside kennels people can put the animals in while the shelter is closed. The next morning, the kennel staff takes the animals in to be checked out. If they have a microchip that can be traced to the owner, they try to find out if the owner dropped the animal off or if that is their lost pet."
"Can't they get in trouble for that?"
"For dropping off a dog? No."
"But, they was loose."
"No, that would be a dog running at large."
So, here the guy was super confused...or maybe he was trying to start something, I don't know. I really couldn't figure out his angle, and he was starting to get on my nerves. He had already admitted to having an intact, dog-aggressive male dog that also doesn't like people and had shown interest in "aggressive dogs." He wanted some sort of reassurance that no one would see where the dog would be housed, and he seemed very interested in the night drop off, though I'm not sure why.
At this point, I literally turned my back to him and engaged the man and his boy in conversation about Dutch. The guy went away, just to start making the same kind of awkward conversation with the other woman working about the cats. I made sure to mention to the director that the guy gave me a bad vibe, and he had picked up on it, too.
Besides the random guy and the tongue-biting moments, it turned out to be a really good day. I was told there have been visits where no one gets adopted, so 4 is really good. Success!
When I got home, Bobob and Axle had a fit over all of the different smells on me. I swear, they didn't stop sniffing me for an hour. Is there really that much to smell? Axle is now curled up on the couch, asleep. Bobob is busy pouncing on a squeaky Skineez raccoon. I guess that means it's been a good day! :)