Monday, May 9, 2011
The Luckiest Dog
That's Bubba to the left of Lily (your left, not hers). He's a GREAT dog. And a very, very lucky one. You see, Bubba has two strikes against him - his coat is black and he's shy.
Black Dog Syndrome - Black dogs, especially large breed dogs, don't fare well in the shelter system. They're euthanized at a much higher rate than their light coated counterparts. Different reasons have been given when adopters are polled - some people are superstitious, black dogs tend to get overlooked in dimly lit kennel runs, they're harder to photograph, they look "meaner". Coming in, Bubba already had a huge strike against him.
The second strike was not his fault either. His first owner had failed him. Bubba grew up in a backyard with little to no human interaction. His interaction with men seems to have been particularly negative. When he was brought to the shelter, the man claimed he had found Bubba running the streets. The staff scanned him and Bubba had a microchip. When they dialed the number on the microchip, the man's cell phone rang. Caught.
Bubba was left at the shelter by the only owner he had ever known and loved despite the poor treatment that he received. He didn't show well. He ran from potential adopters or barked in his kennel run. He was scared. He had never been outside of his backyard, had never been around people. He didn't like this new world. It was big and full of things that frightened him. That's not something most adopters look for in a dog. No one wants a project.
Mel saw past all of this. She loved his black coat. She didn't care that he was scared. She adored this dog. As a volunteer, she showed up to walk him day after day. Her heart broke for him as his kennel mates and friends got adopted or were euthanized. When Mel bought a condo, she came for Bubba.
He's the luckiest dog in the world. If not for her, he would be dead. He has the best life now. He gets several walks a day, fun trips to Santa Barbara, hikes, the dog beach. She has opened up his world. He still finds it scary at times, but he's made huge strides in the past two years. It takes him a few visits to warm up to you, but once he does - his love knows no bounds. He's been a great friend for Lily. They've enjoyed playdates and hikes and trips to the beach together.
He's the luckiest dog in the world. But Mel is pretty lucky too.