Dog has its day at the Rose Parade |

Dog has its day at the Rose Parade

Dawn Armstrong, executive director at the Lade Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.
Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society/S.P.C.A.Rosie has gone from homeless to celebrity status.

Rosie, a Labrador mix, will represent Lake Tahoe at the Rose Parade on Jan. 1. Her photo and story will be part of the presentation carried on the Pasadena Humane Society’s 100th anniversary parade float and viewed during the post parade exhibition activities.

The Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. was invited to submit a recent rescue story to be considered for the float — and Rosie’s story fit the bill.

No one knows exactly how long Rosie wandered the streets of Carson City. She eluded Carson City Animal Services offers for many months. Finally, she was caught. Thus began a saga that would take Rosie through three states and many hearts.

The Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. serves a bistate area known as “Greater Lake Tahoe.” When there is room the society networks with other California and Nevada shelters, transferring adoptable dogs who will be euthanized for lack of kennel holding space elsewhere. Carolyn Bigley, our animal care and services manager, visited the Carson Valley shelter to help relieve their overcrowding by selecting dogs to transfer to our shelter. As soon as Carolyn saw Rosie she knew she couldn’t leave her. Old and crippled, Rosie was surely destined for euthanasia to make room for more adoptable dogs. It was a miracle that she had been held a full month already. It must have been those eyes.

During the hour drive back to Tahoe Carolyn thought about how she would explain her selection of Rosie to the staff. A potential adopter would see medical bills and a short term relationship at best. As Carolyn got out of the van the staff came out to meet her, eager to see what wonderful pets she had selected. Carolyn helped Rosie out last.

During her time with the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A., Rosie had to be watched. Her dementia led her to wander out the gate during her free roam time. Rosie didn’t really go anywhere. She’d just stand, feel the sunshine, and move her head from side to side as if she forgot why she went out.

Rosie was affable and loving. Her eyes were soft and soulful, full of street stories one imagined. That’s what got to Carolyn at the other shelter. Quite surprisingly, after three months as our shelter dog, Rosie was adopted. It happened like this. A family vacationing at their second home in Tahoe came to tour the shelter. They asked to see our oldest dog. Out wandered Rosie.

It seems that this family made a point of adopting older dogs and had the resources to care for them. They had recently lost one of their elderly canines and had room for another. Staff was, of course, much attached to dear old Rosie by now. She had a job as the greeter. She maintained her “top dog” spot in relation to other dogs with little fuss. She was content.

Since the prospective adopters lived out of the area most of the time, extra calls were made to check out references. We were determined that our Rosie was going to live out her time in the best situation possible. This turned out to be a forested, 40-acre ranch in Utah. The older dog who traveled with the couple came to meet Rosie. The two geriatrics were relaxed together. Things looked good.

An e-mail two days after the adoption informed us that Rosie had made the car trip to Utah with ease. She had settled in gracefully and had already been to the family veterinarian. A phone call some time later indicated that Rosie had become the husband’s gal pal. Previously, he had not been all that enthusiastic about his wife’s selections. We weren’t surprised.

How fitting that Rosie will represent us at the Rose Parade!

Dawn Armstrong is the executive director at the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.

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