Story One: Five to Thirteen
Last November, we received a call from someone who was overwhelmed by the dogs they had taken in and needed immediate help. There were five lab mix dogs in the backyard, and the owner could not adequately care for them or train them. Instead of dumping them, euthanizing them, or letting the situation further deteriorate, they did the right thing by reaching out to Second Chance Humane Society.
Five young dogs quickly became thirteen dogs. A female dog, Shy, delivered pups the day before we were to pick up the dogs. Susie’s litter arrived a few days later at the shelter.
The intake and evaluation of these dogs gave us a better understanding of what we had taken on. They are what we call project dogs. Although they are all young and smart, they have developed some challenging behaviors in their short lives.
At first, the mother dogs were very protective and did not allow us to get near the pups. Our staff worked very hard to gain the trust of these new moms. Now we can interact with the mother dogs and play with the puppies.
All five dogs are under-socialized and need training and patience. George and Shy are escape artists, Latte has some anxiety when alone, and Squeaky gets nervous around new people. All of them seem to get along with other dogs and would benefit from having a “mentor” dog in the home.
While we have talented and committed staff and volunteers, the best place for these dogs to learn to be part of a family is, well, with a family. In all cases, they should not be in a home with small children. They will need supervision and training, hopefully by compassionate and experienced dog people. We truly believe they have the potential to be loving pets. We would consider foster placement or adoption for George, Latte, Squeaky, Shy, and Susie.
Story Two: Labeled as Feral
Last spring, at the Ute Mountain Shelter, we first met Chip and Gretel. They were at the shelter when our team arrived to transfer some dogs to us. They had already been in that shelter for more than six months. They had been trapped, brought to the shelter, and were considered to be feral dogs. No one interacted with them or took them outside. They just sat in kennels that entire time.
A fellow rescuer who works in the four corners area had tried to find placement for these dogs at shelters and sanctuaries with no luck. It was decided the most humane thing was to euthanize them. When our clinic team arrived, the brown dog ate from our vet’s hand- and she couldn’t bring herself to euthanize them after all.
Since then, they have been in foster homes or at the shelter. The male dog, Chip, was in a foster home until recently. There he learned to play with the other dogs, sleep in a house, and even started to welcome interactions from people. His sister, Gretel, has been at the shelter where she is still unsocialized but will take treats and allow people to be in her space.
Second Chance Executive Director, Nicholas Gilman says, “It’s never good for animals to be in shelters long term. We’re committed to responding to urgent cases when we can. Now, we’re asking our community to help us help these dogs.”
George, Latte, Squeaky, Shy, Susie, Gretel, and Chip need people to give them a chance. We don’t like to keep dogs in the shelter long-term. It’s not good for them. It’s not good for us. We need to be able to bring in pets who are waiting on our lists to be surrendered, and right now these seven dogs are taking spots that we could use for adoptable pets. Being at Second Chance is better than being where they were, but it’s not a long-term solution. Whether it’s transferring to another organization equipped to work with them or finding foster or forever homes, these dogs need a change. If you think you can help, please visit the shelter, call, or email us. If you cannot help, please share their story.
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have served San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties since 1994. In addition to pet rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption services, Second Chance offers a range of community outreach programming. View shelter pets and services online: www.secondchancehumane.org