Walking with a friend in the dark is better than
walking alone in the light. Helen Keller
When your mission is to find every adoptable animal a loving home, it helps to be part of a network of shelters and rescues.
While most of our animals enter the shelter either as strays or owner surrenders, we find the time to go to other “high kill” or overcrowded shelters and transfer adoptable animals to our care. We do this when we have the space and because we believe in doing what we can for abandoned animals, regardless of their zip code.
A Recent Transfer - Luna (ID #A046818)
Similarly, most of our animals leave the shelter with their forever families. However, there are times when we work with rescues who can take a few of our long-time residents who haven’t found their match. These rescues often have their own network of foster families who can give these animals the time and patience it takes to find the right placement.
We are also very thankful to work with rescues who can handle special needs. It is heartbreaking to see an animal come into the shelter who needs a lot of extra TLC and a relief to know there might be a rescue who can help. Here are two wonderful examples.
Xander was found as a stray and brought into the shelter at about five to seven days old. His eyes and ears were still closed. He was not eating and declining fast. That’s when Peggy and Brenda, two of our dedicated staff members, nursed Xander back to health and helped him on his way to finding a forever home. Here is the story in Brenda’s words.
The first 48 hours were very touch and go. It took the patience of Job to get him to eat. We had to drip formula into his mouth and wait for him to swallow because he didn’t have a sucking reflex. He slowly improved into a voracious eater and began to grow quickly.
At first, Xander developed normally with his eyes and ears opening right on schedule. However, as he began to walk, he was extremely clumsy and walked into nearly everything. He also had the tendency to lean to the left when walking after waking up from naps. The leaning would slowly go away the longer he was awake, but it was a noticeable issue. Also, when he walked he ‘high stepped’ like a pony prancing rather than having a normal gait.
After a visit to the veterinarian, our suspicions were verified: Xander was most likely blind. Although a blind dog can live a happy and full life, it requires a special home that is willing to make accommodations for his special needs. For example, a pool without a fence is deadly. Gates that don’t close all the way would allow him to wander out of the yard and potentially into traffic.
Napping on a Very Comfortable Foot
What a Cutie!
Placing a special needs dog requires an intensive application process as well as home visits both before and after the placement. Xander also needed specialist evaluations from an ophthalmologist and neurologist.
When Xander was only a couple weeks old, we were curious about his breed so they had a DNA test done at our own cost. We discovered he is a purebred German Shepherd. This helped us decide to contact Southern California German Shepherd Rescue based in San Diego. Even though San Diego is some distance away, we were willing to transport him wherever was necessary to ensure proper medical care and placement.
Marcy, the founder of the rescue, quickly began to work on a plan to place Xander. She found a foster home for him and set up the necessary medical appointments with specialists they frequently use.Xander’s new foster family drove up from San Diego and met us half way to transition Xander to their care. They must have thought we were “nuts” because we sent Xander home with his beds, the lion that he sleeps with at night, lots of toys, food, potty pads, and a collar and leash.
Xander has gone to multiple medical appointments and it has been confirmed he is totally blind in one eye but he has some sight, although limited, in the other eye. He is doing amazingly well and Southern California German Shepherd Rescue is vetting people as potential adopters for him.
This story highlights (again) what we know to be true. It takes the efforts of many, all working together, to have successful outcomes. And, it’s not only working with other rescues that make these victories possible, but also the efforts of our own staff and volunteer fosters who offer respite for a time and are part of the process of placing an animal in the best situation.
To see more about Xander, click here to go to Southern California German Shepherd Rescue's website.
Angel, a senior dog approximately 15 years old, was found as a stray in Upland in February. When she came into the shelter, she was in need of a good grooming. Once her hold period passed and no one came to find her and take her home, she got a day of pampering at Alta Pet Center. After a few days of little interest by adopters, an alternate plan was needed for her.
This is when shelter staff reached out to Leave No Paws Behind, who quickly found a hospice foster for her. Leave No Paws Behind is an all-breed, all foster-based rescue, specializing in seniors, terminal and end of life animals, and pets with special needs.
As LNPB’s founder says “…we will pull an animal to safety when no one else steps up and all hope is lost. We cannot leave them behind to die alone and forgotten. It does not matter to us if they have 1 day, 1 week, 1 year or 1 hour of life left in them and we don’t care if they are deemed ‘unadoptable’. What we do care about is the quality of life we can give them in the end and the love and companionship we can offer them so they do not die alone and wondering.”
On February 24th, Lenny a volunteer with Leave No Paws Behind, picked Angel up, with Elaine Creel, a long-time Lead Volunteer for the shelter, there to send her off.
Angel spent a couple days at their veterinarian before going to her foster home where she was loved and pampered.
She passed away surrounded by love on March 10th.
We are so grateful to Southern California German Shepherd Rescue and Leave No Paws Behind for taking care of these precious animals. And we are grateful for the working relationships we have with other shelters and rescues in the area. This is partly why we host an annual Spring Pet Faire and invite other rescues and shelters to attend at no cost…because we know we can all accomplish more together for all the lost and abandoned animals.
Click here to see who's coming to the Spring Pet Faire
Click here to learn more about how to become a foster.