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Guest View: Shelter dogs are only temporarily less than perfect

Cherie Owen

Every day, people come into the Douglas County Animal Shelter looking for the “perfect dog.” While we do have some perfect dogs, we also have a lot that aren’t. Just like people, they are less than perfect.

Many of our dogs are the product of irresponsible people, who do not spay or neuter and allow their dogs to breed. Then the people who get the adorable puppy, possibly for the kids, discover that a puppy is a lot of work. There is housetraining, interacting, exercising, socializing with people and other dogs, and obedience training. When they realize what it takes, the dog normally gets dumped in the yard.

Every time the owner goes out to feed the dog, they reassure themselves that they did the right thing. After all, doesn’t the dog go wild when they come out, jumping on them, getting them dirty and even scratching them?

These people just don’t get it. First of all, a dog is a social pack animal, and even though you have only two legs, you are part of its pack. Secondly, a dog is like a child – it needs training and guidance so it can become the best it can be.

Some of the dogs the shelter gets are actively abused. Then there are the poor old dogs that are suddenly found wandering down a street alone. When they come into the shelter, we see age-related medical issues that the owner had not wanted to deal with. It may be eye problems, bad teeth, tumors or cysts. The look in the eyes of these poor, sad creatures is enough to break your heart.

They are so lost. They can’t seem to figure out what happened to their family. The lucky ones end up in a temporary foster home, of which there are very few. The rest are in a kennel in doggie prison. No matter how nice a shelter is, and how hard the DAWG (Douglas Animal Welfare Group) volunteers try, it is not a home.

However, what DAWG can do is evaluate the needs of each incoming dog, then get it help: training, medical attention, socializing or whatever the need is we try to meet that need. Everything that DAWG does helps, but it still is not a home, and the dogs still are “less than perfect.” When they find a responsible, loving, caring, involved permanent home that will give them the security they need, they do become the “perfect dog.”

So many wonderful people already have adopted from the “less than perfect” group. We could provide many testimonials about how great these dogs are now. There always are more of these dogs needing families.

Please open your hearts and homes to our “temporarily less than perfect” residents at the shelter. It will be a very rewarding experience.

Please call (775) 267-7325 and make an appointment with a DAWG volunteer who will assess your wants and needs and bring you to meet your new, soon-to-be-perfect best friend.

– Cherie Owen is founder and past president of the Douglas Animal Welfare Group.


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