Monday, October 13, 2014

A Chance Meeting; How I Became Mom To A Shelter Dog

I blinked because I couldn't believe such a large dog was not at the end of a leash.  Feral cats are a dime a dozen in my neighborhood, but to see a dog running loose was limited to the one neighbor around the corner whose dog was part German Shepherd, part escape artist.

But this was not a neighbor's dog.  This was a pit bull.  The name alone creates panic for many, and even though I was raised around them, I knew enough to be cautious of one I didn't know. Stereotypes follow the breed closer than the Animal Control truck that could not catch this one for weeks.  I began to actually call it Phantom, because it would appear from nowhere, on the move to nowhere in particular, leaving a path of nervousness and aromatic gifts on lawns.

The worse encounter for me was one early morning, as I headed out to to take Zora for her walk.  After locking the door, I turned to see it standing on the sidewalk in front of us.   Like a scene out of a horror flick, I shook as I stabbed my key back into the lock to get back in the house, praying I didn't drop it!

Frustrated, I called the city to complain that the dog has been seen WAY too many times for it to still be causing paranoia in my neighborhood.  I continued to get the same response of, "We're trying".  And to add insult to a potential injury, I was told by the driver - after me and my 12-pound Min Pin had a standoff with the pit - that the dog was not aggressive.  

In my world, trying is not doing, so I called the mayor's office.  Low and behold, the wheels were in motion; I received a call from a neighborhood services organization, which was then followed by a call from Animal Control with what I wanted to hear; they picked up the dog.

Usually the story would end here, but my husband and I are dog lovers who had just found out a litter failed that would have produced a big baby brother for Zora , so I inquired about the stray.  I was told by Animal Control that the stray was required to be held for so many days for the owner to come forward, but we could come down and visit her.  Yet when we went down there, it turned out that my intuition was on point.  Once she was captured, she began showing signs of aggression, and therefore being held in the impound section.  Translation; no visitors. 

Seeing no reason to waste the trip, we strolled through the kennel. Talk about your cast of characters! One pit bull was so charismatic that she pressed her nose along the cage and SMILED at me!
After playing with the caged pups, we headed out to go home.

Right before we made it to the car, this flash of red was being walked back into the building by a volunteer.  "LOOK!" I shouted to my husband, to which the dog walked right up to us, tail wagging.

It was love at first lick.  Chance was his name, and we were told by the volunteer worker the procedure was quite simple, so we followed him back in.  Right away, we felt resistance by a female worker who quickly told us it was "first come, first served" in the adoption process.  Her energy became even more negative when she asked if there were any other dogs we would be interested in.  Undaunted, I asked about the hold time for Chance, to which she said "the owner had come forward" and had until October 1 to pay the fees and retrieve him.  I told her we would see her again on the October 2 to fill out the adoption papers...

The day we picked up Chance to bring him to his forever home, I found out the stray pit bull was euthanized because of her aggression.  She is in doggy heaven now, but her journey as a stray angel here on earth was literally divine timing, as she led us to Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. And right to our 7-month-old, 48-pound baby boy Chance.

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