This is Shiva before she was Shiva. The photo was taken by the volunteer staff at the Metro SPCA shelter in Dartmouth. Her name back then was Tessa. (A sweet little name, I think, and we debated keeping it. But that’s another story.)
A few people have said, “sometimes you don’t get the dog you want; sometimes you get the dog you need.” While I don’t recommend everyone choose their new companion the way we chose ours – under pressure and kind of on a whim – Shiva was absolutely the dog I needed. I’ve talked about it ad infinitum around these parts. Adopting a dog saved me in a million ways. Shiva is the real hero in this house, not me.
Here are some other future heroes, waiting for those who may not even realise they need saving.
This sweet-looking lab-mix is Smokey. He’s around three years old. They say he’s a little shy but very gentle with everyone he meets. He doesn’t have any separation issues when left alone. He also likes cats – not an easy trait to come by. Smokey would be super happy in a home with children over 8 years old. I could gobble up his cute little white paws.
This is Bella. She’s just a baby. Bella is an Amstaff mix who adores other dogs and people. They say she is very well-mannered for her young age. She would be happiest in an active home with older children. If I had the energy, I bet she and Shiva would be instant buddies.
This gorgeous husky is called Fenrus. He’s ten years old, fully trained, and very well-behaved. Fenrus is also special because he has one blue eye and one brown eye. He’s also unique because, unlike most huskies I know, he tends not to be a runner when off lead. His foster parents say he is very affectionate and gets along famously with other dogs. If he isn’t scooped up soon I would be very shocked. Actually, I kinda want to take him for myself. Think the husband would freak out?
This lovely girl is Shandy. Isn’t that a happy face? Shandy is a 5 year old rottweiler mix. She is calm and easy-going but they report she is a little timid until she warms up to you. But when she does, you’ll be best friends forever. Those floppy ears look super soft. I think she’d be an expert cuddler.
All of these dogs – and too many more – are available for adoption at the Metro SPCA. This shelter is not unique. There are organisations just like this one all over the country, filled with dogs waiting to meet their lifelong friends.
According the the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, almost 37,000 dogs were admitted to shelters in 2008. Out of these, around 29,000 were either adopted or returned to their original owners. Is that a fantastic improvement? Absolutely. Could we do better? Obviously. In 2008 19% of dogs admitted were euthanised.*
Petfinder.com – a serious addiction of mine – is the ultimate place to go for anyone even thinking of adding a dog to her life. The website is full of useful information on choosing the right pet, tips on preparing one’s home and family, and advice for any problems one may encounter along the way.
If you decide you’re not quite ready yet I totally get it. Dogs are a huge responsibility. Adopting one should never be a rash decision. But, you can still help. Shelters are always in desperate need of bedding, food, and medicine. Donations of money or time are always enormously appreciated. Shelters couldn’t run without volunteers willing to clean up after the messy buggers. You never know, you could be cleaning up the poop of someone’s future life-saver.
*For a really glaring number, in that same year 54% of all cats admitted were put down. Fifty-four percent!! It’s a subject for a future post but I had to share immediately. That is just way too freaking high.