I knew Kate for almost a year before she was adopted. It was a rough year for her. Her family gave her up relunctantly. They wanted to come back for her, and almost did the next day, but then they decided that, for whatever reason, they couldn’t.
A Sensitive Lady
Kate is a sensitive dog who was overwhelmed at Animal Services. She had terrible kennel presense. She growled and lunged at every dog who went by, slamming her paws against the fence and snarling with her head low between her shoulders. If anyone she didn’t know approached the door of her kennel, she slunk back into the sheltered part of the kennel.
Out of the kennel, Kate was reserved with people and dogs alike until she got to know them. Once she warmed up, she was an enthusiastic playmate. Some dogs were overwhelmed by her intense playstyle, and other dogs responded with too much enthusiasm for her, causing her to correct them loudly. Most of the time, however, Kate played very well with other dogs and with people.
I always thought of Kate as a princess. She has a clear idea of what she should get from this world and the dogs and people in it. She is willing to give all of her intelligence and loyalty when she gets what she deserves, and she really doesn’t ask for much.
Once she got to know me, Kate was loving and cuddly. She would rub against the bars of her cage when I came to take her out. At adoption events at the shelter, I would station myself in front of her crate so that people could see this other Kate, this sweet kitty cat of a dog.
On outings Kate was perfectly polite. She joined group walks with other dogs and met all kinds of dogs politely. She couldn’t care less about strangers, but she loved to sprawl out next to me in the grass and lay her head on my lap.
Paws on Parole: Magic Kate
After being at Animal Services for nearly half a year, Kate was pulled by the Paws on Parole program. This program matches an inmate to a dog and conducts training and socializing, as well as having adoption events for the dogs.
Kate had the same problem in this program that she had on outings from Animal Services. She didn’t care about the strangers that she met. She didn’t understand that these people were potential new homes. She just wanted to be with the people she knew and loved.
The Problem with Loyalty
Loyalty is usually said to be a good trait in a dog but too often when people see loyalty in a shelter dog, they think the dog is just reserved, shy, or indifferent. In fact, the dog is waiting for you to earn her love, because she doesn’t care about just anyone.
Kate graduated from the Paws program without being adopted and went back to her old kennel at Animal Services, where she showed the same old terrible kennel behavior. She was happy to see me again, playing like her crazy self running in circles all over the pen.
I was happy to see her, but it broke my heart to see her in the kennel again. This petite, adorable girl was having such a hard time in the kennel, no one could see her, much less get to know her.
Relief in a Temporary Foster Home
One of the volunteers took Kate home to foster for a little while, to give her a break from the shelter. Kate was very well behaved in the home, settling right in like she owned the place.
After a week, Kate went back to Animal Services.
Then, suddenly, miraculously, someone chose her. They couldn’t believe she’d been there so long. They saw a gem. She was loyal, house-trained, calm, loved toys and cuddling, and cute as a button.
Kate’s story just goes to show: it just takes that special person to see the dog beneath the kennel presense.