by Wendy Hunter
Wendy Hunter is a volunteer with the Animal Rescue of Fresno. ARF will be sharing their animal rescue adventures with us now every month.
A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.
So it’s a typical morning at Animal Rescue of Fresno (ARF) and you’re hanging out by the food bowl with your buddies, and wondering who ate all the chewy chicken pieces again. Probably that new pug mix, who’s always rooting around, taking your favorite poultry flavor, and leaving behind that dreaded morsel of misery reviled by small children and dogs all over the world—liver. Bleah. Just when you think the day is getting off to a rocky start, you see them: A whole herd of humans strolling out to the yard, lead by a knowledgeable volunteer, heading straight in your direction. This is it.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting and hoping for, holding your breath, longing for that one chance to show ‘em what you’ve got. You try to play it cool, sauntering nonchalantly over to the gate, pausing slightly to give them a good, long look at all your majestic wonderfulness. You are cool as a cucumber. You are a rock star. You are the MAN. Yeah baby, that’s me.
They don’t know that on the inside you’re running around like a little girl on a cupcake frosting high, screaming “Pick me! Pick me!” at the top of your lungs. And you’re wondering if your fur looks okay, and if you woke up with a bed head and nobody bothered to mention it, and if maybe you should have wolfed down one of those minty green tidbits for your breath. Darn those smelly salmon treats! But this is your big break, so you pull it together, dance around like a wind-up toy, and sit when asked, and come when called, and cock your head to one side because people LOVE that, and basically throw yourself at their feet, and you’re thinking smugly to yourself, “Hey, that went pretty well!”
And then they walk away. The whole lot of them. And you keep watching in anticipation for them to return, because surely they can see what a perfect dog you are, and how much love you have to give, and how fabulous you’d look on that plaid blanket at the end of their bed, and because, well, after all, you’re YOU. But they never come back and you’re left to ask, once again, WHY? Why NOT me? Why don’t these people get it? Am I too young? Too old? Am I not as adorable as I think I am? Naaah…I’ll just blame it on the fish breath.
Well, if I was a shelter dog, that’s what I’d think. It has to be disappointing. It has to be discouraging. Getting so worked up when folks come around, tail wagging, tongue dangling, ears flapping, heart pounding, eyes lit up like the Fourth of July. Only to see yet another potential person you’d like to call your very own, pass you by, with the obligatory once over and a pat on the head. For some dogs, being overlooked on an ongoing basis is just part of their daily life at ARF. It doesn’t seem to matter if you have the most beautiful coat on the planet, the sweetest disposition this side of the Rockies, or eyes the shade of melted caramel; you just can’t get invited to the prom.
It’s like being the awkward kid who never gets picked for Dodge ball. On that note, meet Logan, a delightful licorice-colored Min Pin possessing many of the aforementioned attributes, and then some. Originally a stray from Orange Cove, he came to ARF in 2012 at the age of 9-12 months, and was quite shy and fearful of strangers. Our volunteers have described him as sweet, calm, well-mannered, loving, sharp, and very treat motivated. Treats? Did someone say treats? Best of all, because of that smooth coat…hardly any shedding! Logan’s favorite pastimes are cuddling, playing fetch, and napping in someone’s arms. If you’re real lucky, he’ll let you scoop him up and cradle his inky body like a swaddled newborn, all happy and relaxed, while you rub his baby-bottom smooth tummy. And if it’s particularly warm outside, that little stomach is like the surface of the sun. S’mores, anyone?
Although Logan still has a few trust issues, and has overcome some of his shyness, he still can be a bit skittish. Logan, like so many other ARF mutts, really needs something a lot of people just can’t seem to spare these days: time and attention. My volunteer coordinator puts it this way, “Logan is just misunderstood. He is a tough cookie to crack, but has just not been given enough time.” For anyone interested in making this amazing dog a part of their family (no rambunctious children, please) several meet-and-greet visits to ARF would be required on their part. After Logan became familiar with his potential new owners, this marvelous little creature would be the most incredibly faithful companion anyone could ask for. And hey, who wouldn’t want that?
Dogs like Logan are sometimes referred to as “sanctuary” dogs. Animals often overlooked for various reasons including, age, appearance, behavioral and/or health problems. It’s not uncommon for these dogs to live at a rescue for the remainder of their lives, even though they have more good qualities than meet the eye. For example, Lizzy, a charming cinnamon-sugar terrier mix rescued from a local hoarding situation. Just look at that delicious face; you could spread her on toast and eat her up! So endearing with her little white socks and upturned nose, she’s always the first one to run and greet you at the gate.
Amongst the 13 dogs saved, she was one of ten pregnant mommies, all of whom gave birth within a day of each other. Despite her hardscrabble background, five-year-old Lizzy is very trustworthy and makes friends easily, both human and canine. Just like all rescue dogs, her main goal in life is to stockpile as much love and affection as possible—the more attention, the better. If one of YOUR life goals is to have a lap dog that will unabashedly cover you in 10,000 slobbery kisses every day, then Lizzy is the gal for you. But beware of her “Taco Tongue,” as one of our volunteers calls it, because it curls like Christmas ribbon when she’s really excited. Now THAT’s entertainment!
There are instances when age can play an unwelcome part in the world of shelter dogs. I am constantly, admittedly, touting all the fantastic benefits that come with an older animal. They’re generally house-trained, they don’t require as much round-the-clock attention as a puppy, they’re quick to join the family pack, they’re mellower and won’t bounce off the walls, and since their teething years are long gone, your brand new Birkenstocks are safe!
That being said, let me introduce you to Carly, a mocha cream cutie of a critter (that’s right, all dogs in my mind are food colored), who just happens to be seven years old. Carly is a delightful Chihuahua mix with a calming personality you might desperately need in your crazy, stress-filled life. Despite her age, Carly has plenty of time to shower you with warmth and adoration and all the other appealing displays of affection you crave. Another lover of the lap, she finds that spot atop your knees the finest place to take a snooze, and dream of soft beds, biscuits, and balmy afternoons. If you’re searching for someone to share a siesta with, Carly is more than happy to slumber by your side. Just don’t hog the covers.
Logan, Lizzy, and Carly are all available for adoption at ARF. Come by and see their fuzzy faces in person. They will be happy to make your acquaintance. Learn more on the ARF website.
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue.