Table of Contents
(scroll down or click below for more success stories)
- Conquering cruelty: Luna’s story
- Joey and his foster bunnies
- Saving Sirius Black
- Charlie: The little Chihuahua that could!
- Newton by the Numbers
- One Dog’s journey to enlightenment: Bodi’s story
- Manning & Monsieur’s story
- Gibson’s story
- Major Mama: Victoria, Loa & Queenie
- Team Topher goes for gold
- Microchip helps Sadie May return to a life of adventure
- Rescued from a dumpster: Boo’s story
- Happy New Year, Happy New Home
Luna, a one-year-old Mastiff, was found by an Animal Control Officer in the spring of 2012. Her mouth was bound shut with duct tape, and she had been tied to the bumper of a parked truck. She was underweight, lacked energy, and had a pronounced limp.
Luna’s owner with charged with animal neglect, and the dog was brought to Foothills Animal Shelter. A local animal hospital helped provide a complete medical evaluation and discovered that Luna was suffering from severe problems due to malnourishment. Sadly, her front paw had been broken in several places. Despite her poor health, there was a great deal of hope for Luna.
We all knew it would be a challenging recovery for Luna, but under the loving care and protection of the Shelter, she made great progress. Over several months, Luna was treated by our health care team, gained 20 pounds to reach a healthy weight, and underwent treatment to correct the damage to her front paw. She was introduced to new canine friends in play groups, and enjoyed long walks with volunteers. Most importantly, she began to trust humans.
To help Luna become adopted, she participated in the Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program where she learned basic obedience skills and manners, and further reduced her anxiety. During this 6-week program, Luna was paired with a handler who kept a heartwarming daily journal of her training and progress, which would be given to her future owners.
Just before Christmas of 2012, Luna found her forever family. Cheryl, Bart, and 13-year-old Mandy welcomed this lucky dog into their home — committed to providing her endless love and the lifelong medical care she required.
“She continues to get better every day,” reports Cheryl. “She is just a wonderful, silly dog! She gets so excited that her entire body wiggles. Luna loves to nap in the grass in the warm sunshine, and lay across our laps in the evening when we’re sitting on the couch.”
April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month
Have you witnessed unkindness to animals? Here are a few resources to protect helpless pets.
Joey and his foster bunnies
- A note from Joey’s person, Laura Jo Glickman
Little Joe, a.k.a. Joey, is a Blue Merle Border Collie with a love for bunnies. It seems that when foster bunnies are brought into the house, his heart grows bigger. Although Joey lives on a little ranch with horses, goats, cats, rabbits and other dogs, it’s as if he knows the foster bunnies in particular need extra love and attention.
When Joey sees me bring kennels home, he gets so excited knowing he gets to care for new foster bunnies. He wants to give them kisses, but it becomes more like a bath! If he notices the bunnies are scared, he just sits with his head by the cage door and patiently waits for them to approach. Sometimes he will stick his head in the cage so the new bunnies can get to know him (or maybe he is just trying to show them he won’t hurt them). When the bunnies come out of the cage to stretch and play, Joey is the first to join in. Recently, Joey had an extra big heart for a Lionhead foster bunny named Freckles. Freckles grew quite fond of Joey, too, and always wanted out of the cage to run and play or curl up for a nap with Joey.
Besides his best dog friends Puck and Mason, the bunnies are Joey’s favorite critters. All you have to say is “go check on your bunnies” and Joey will run downstairs to look in every cage! He would stay down there for hours if he could.
When I introduced a new pup into the family about a year ago, he did not know what to think about these bunnies living inside and started barking at them. Joey ran to defend the bunnies, blocked the cages and set the new pup in his place. Thanks to Joey’s teaching, the new pup now gets along with the bunnies, too.
When the time comes for the foster bunnies to go up for adoption at Foothills Animal Shelter, Joey gets emotional and will bark and cry at the window as he watches me drive away. For a few days he will check the empty cages, just hoping that they are back. Luckily, he has other adopted rabbits that are always home to entertain him. When the next group of fosters come home, Joey gets excited all over again to have new bunnies. This sweet dog has a heart of gold for his foster bunnies and will always make them feel safe and special while they are waiting for their forever home.
Saving Sirius Black
Last February, a long-haired black and gray cat was brought to a local emergency clinic with deep, seeping wounds along his shoulder blades and neck. Found without a collar, license or microchip, the cat was transferred to Foothills Animal Shelter to give his owner an opportunity to locate him. No one ever came.
The cause of his injuries was undetermined. The location and pattern of the wounds were odd. Thermal burns from a car engine? Severe pressure wounds from a harness? No matter the cause, it was clear that healing would take time.
Luckily for this injured cat, the Shelter’s healthcare team eased his pain and began the long process of treating his wounds. His fortune grew when he met Lisa S., a dedicated volunteer that helps care for sick and injured cats weekly at the Shelter and at home through the Foster Care Program. “He never offered any resistance and responded well. He understood that we weren’t going to hurt him and were trying to make it better for him. I wanted to offer him comfort and security in a home environment to help speed his recovery,” said Lisa.
Due to the location of the wounds, the cat could not wear an E-collar (also known as a ‘cone’) to prevent licking and scratching. Lisa lovingly crafted handmade coats out of sweatshirt fabric to gently protect the raw skin. As the skin healed, the cat could wear store-bought coats. A coat with a flared collar inspired his name: Sirius Black after a wizard character in the Harry Potter novels.
Fast forward 9 months, and Sirius Black has been adopted by Lisa’s family. He is curious about the other foster cats that Lisa takes in temporarily, but loves his personal space. While his fur is thin and his skin is still sensitive where his wounds existed, he is almost totally healed. “We just love him to pieces, even though he’s got a lot of ‘catitude’!” reports Lisa.
If you are interested in helping animals that are too young for adoption, sick, injured, or otherwise medically fragile, please consider volunteering for our Foster Care Program, or making a donation. Our Foster Care Program, which helped more than 730 pets last year, is particularly in need of:
- KMR supplemental kitten formula, canned and/or powdered (no 2nd Step, please)
- Esbilac supplemental puppy formula, canned and/or powdered (no 2nd Step, please)
- Purina Pro-Plan or Authority brand canned wet food – chicken & liver entree for cats/kittens; chicken & rice for puppies/dogs
- Clay, non-clumpable cat litter
- Small, low-to-the-ground litter boxes for kittens & adult-sized litter boxes for mother cats
- Sturdy chew toys for puppies
- Training pads
Charlie: The little Chihuahua that could!
Life did not start off so well for Charlie. Born with two deformed front paws, it was difficult for the small Chihuahua puppy to walk. It seems that Charlie was cast aside and suffering from poor nutrition. Unfortunately, this made him a prime target for neighborhood bullies.
One day in mid-July, a Good Samaritan saw a group of children “picking on something.” She went to investigate and saw little Charlie. After finding no owner, Charlie was brought to Foothills Animal Shelter. Upon his arrival, our Health Care staff noted an eye infection, lack of appetite, and overall weakness. It was clear that his two front paws were not completely developed. Because he was so tiny, and not in the best shape, we weren’t sure how this little guy would do. He needed extra attention and the chance to feel loved. Foster Care Manager, Jodi, decided to take Charlie into foster care at her home.
Surrounded by Jodi’s caring and attentive family, Charlie started to thrive. He soon doubled in size thanks to nutritious meals, his eye infection resolved, and despite his disabilities, he was able to bear weight and walk with a cute little “hobble/wobble.” Stairs presented a challenge, but Charlie would let out a small bark and wag his entire body to ask to be carried up or down. He developed an outgoing personality and became well socialized with the family’s dogs and cats. In fact, one of Charlie’s favorite games was to purposely bite the tail of the 65 pound Labrador Retriever, give a loud chirp, and wait for her to chase him. Other favorite pastimes were rolling/romping in the grass, pulling weeds with his teeth, and snuggling on the chest of anyone available. He loved the pond in the backyard and would sit and stare at the water, watching the fish swim past.
Because Charlie’s front limbs and paws are so deformed, there was some question as to what sort of health issues he would face in the future. A local clinic generously donated x-ray services and an orthopedic surgeon also donated his expertise to interpret the findings on the x-rays. It was determined that Charlie may experience some arthritis to his front limbs, and may not have full use of his right leg as he gets older, but he thankfully should otherwise do well.
Once Charlie gained more weight and strength in foster care, he became available for adoption. He soon found a forever family that adores him, including three caring and compassionate children – a strong contrast to the neighborhood bullies that once picked on the helpless pup. Little Charlie loves to wear sweaters to keep cozy, and most recently wore his Thanksgiving sweater decorated with turkeys to the family’s holiday party. “He is just such a happy, well-loved dog,” says his adopter. “His deformities don’t hold him back in the least!”
To learn more about how you can support our work to care for homeless animals, click here to view our Wish List.
We don’t know if our Newton was named after the great English mathematician, but this seven-year-old Lab/Border Collie delivered the winning number for Foothills Animal Shelter on the last Saturday in October. That’s the day Newton went to his forever home and we achieved our goal of 200 dog adoptions during our month-long “Dogtober Fest” promotion.
Newton had come to the Shelter as a stray back in February. While his history was a mystery, the fact that he loved to play, chase after tennis balls and shake hands told us this boisterous boy had known a special someone, his “Number One,” sometime in his life. He found it again when a family adopted him in March. In September, circumstances arose that meant the family could no longer care for Newton. They did the responsible thing and brought him back to Foothills, hoping we could find Newton another loving home.
He was the same affectionate, outgoing dog we had known, with one change: While he had left the Shelter with two eyes, Newton came back with only one.
Minus one eye, Newton still had lots of pluses going for him. His classic black-and-white coloring was what first attracted Kathleen, but his affectionate personality is what really counted. Newton found his new “Number One.” And as for Kathleen, you might say that Newton has become the apple of her eye.
The number 200 was a goal for the Dogtober Fest promotion; it certainly turned out to be the magic number for Newton. We’re pleased to say that we exceeded that goal, helping 214 adult dogs in total to find homes in October (an increase of almost 50% compared to October 2011). Thanks to Kathleen and the hundreds of others for welcoming a deserving dog into your hearts and homes. Because of that, each of you is Number One in our books!
Checkers’ life started a year ago on a farm. Loved and well-cared for, he had one really bad habit for a farm dog: he couldn’t keep away from the chickens. Eventually, the only alternative his owner had was to surrender him to a responsible organization, which is how this handsome Golden Retriever-Australian Shepherd mix found himself at Foothills Animal Shelter.
Twenty-four hours after Checkers checked in, Kate walked in to the Shelter. She was looking for an older dog, a companion for her four-year-old Pomeranian and 13-year-old Lab. A one-year-old would be too high-energy, she told herself as she passed by Checkers’ kennel. But then something made her turn around for a second look.
Like an old soul, “he sat quietly watching me,” Kate says. They spent some time together in a visiting room where Kate confirmed that he had the demeanor of a much older dog. Checkers was calm and confident, smart with plenty of charm, knowing all he had to do to get attention was to plop his chin or paw onto her lap.
Shelter adoption counselors thought her family – including husband Kyle, two teenagers and two older dogs – was a good fit. Life in the city might mean some adjustment, but the absence of chickens was a plus! Checkers would have ample opportunity to enjoy the country life at the family’s cabin in the foothills.
Today, this former farm dog is doing just fine down in town. He knows his place among the older dogs and gives them the respect they’re due. In turn, they’ve shown him all the fun to be had in the woods behind their weekend cabin. He loved his first trail hike; the commands he’d learned on the farm made it a pleasant experience for all.
Along with a new life, Checkers was given a new name, one that seems divinely inspired. Bodi is derived from the Buddhist term, “Bodhisattva,” meaning “an enlightened being” (it’s also a Steely Dan song). Perhaps Bodi learned a few lessons on the road to now, ones that will help this “enlightened one” light up the lives of all who love him for years to come.
Find your own canine companion during Dogtober Fest at Foothills Animal Shelter through October 31, 2012! Adoption fees are reduced by 50% on all dogs over the age of 6 months (excludes Top Dogs). Click here to view dogs currently available for adoption.
All the Right Reasons: Manning & Monsieur
On a late Summer Saturday, Sheri and Jim walked into Foothills Animal Shelter for all the right reasons. After long and happy lives their beloved Maine Coon cats had passed away, so the couple had room in their home and hearts for some fortunate felines.
They came to Foothills because “we always adopt from shelters,” Sheri explains. “Those animals need us.” They were looking for adults, for a couple of reasons: older shelter pets, especially cats, are often, unfairly, passed over. From experience they knew that adults could be just as affectionate and playful as babies – plus, most of them come already trained! Lastly, Sheri and Jim wanted two cats that could keep each other company.
Three-year-old Manning, a sizeable tabby, first caught their eye. The big guy’s laid-back yet affectionate style reminded them of their Maine Coons. By contrast, eight-year-old Monsieur, a petite black-and-white longhair, won them over with his outgoing personality and super-sized charm.
While the two cats had not previously met, it seemed likely that they could happily share a home. Lover Monsieur was cat-friendly (he lived in a multiple-cat condo at the Shelter). And, as long as Manning received ample human attention, he would be content to share his space with another cat. Sheri says they’re doing just that, getting to know each other and their new guardians. Each evening they’re all piled onto the bed, although Manning and Monsieur currently occupy opposite sides. We expect they’ll warm up to each other as the nights get chillier!
There was one more reason Sheri and Jim came to Foothills Animal Shelter that day. Each year, Sheri’s office collects donations for a designated non-profit, and our Shelter was this year’s lucky recipient. Public support, through adoptions, volunteerism and financial contributions, is essential to our success. The money Sheri brought to the Shelter that day is just one more reason for us to say, thank you!
To learn more about how you can support our work to care for homeless animals, click here.
You’ve heard the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child.” At Foothills Animal Shelter, we’ve found that sometimes it takes all the people in our “village” to raise a pet.
Take the case of Gibson. This one-year-old cattle dog had encountered very few people in a life spent entirely outdoors. Timid and distrustful, he responded remarkably well to the Jefferson County Animal Control Officer who brought him to the Shelter. “He knew I was there to help him,” she says.
Several Dog Enrichment volunteers began working with Gibson at the Shelter. “At first, he wanted nothing to do with me,” says Jim, a volunteer, “so I gave him his space. Within a week, he was happy to sit beside me while I petted and talked to him.” Life was starting to look a whole lot better for Gibson.
Over the next few weeks, Gibson learned how to walk on a leash and feel safe around other dogs. Jim says, “It took about ten of us to turn that boy around” – including many FAS staff members. As part of his socialization therapy, Gibson spent several hours a day in the Shelter’s administrative offices. His comfort level with people grew as he was showered with attention … and toys! Gibson liked to stash them in his bed, which just happened to be located in the office of CEO Heather Cameron (talk about executive privileges!).
Within a month after arriving at the Shelter, Gibson – renamed Totes – was adopted by Shannon. They take three walks a day and, thanks to the training he received at Foothills Animal Shelter, he’s doing well on the leash and making friends with dogs in the neighborhood. The tips she received from Shelter staff have helped Totes feel safe when he’s home alone. She’s proud to say that every day Totes “grows closer to being the dog he wants to become.” And instead of stashing toys, he leaves them in the yard for her to pick up! He does, however, “like to hide my shoes,” she says.
Victoria, Loa & Queenie
People helping animals: that’s what Foothills Animal Shelter is all about. But sometimes we humans need help from the very creatures we work to protect. Here’s a recent story of three cats that came to each others’ rescue:
Victoria arrived at the Shelter along with her sister, Loa. Both cats were nursing moms, jointly caring for their combined litter. The lot of them were delivered into the capable hands of Christine – a veteran volunteer in the Shelter’s Foster Care Program – who specializes in caring for mother animals and their newborns.
Christine says it soon became clear that Victoria was the “major mama.” Loa pitched in to help when necessary, but Victoria never let the kittens out of her sight. Christine marveled at the cat’s ability to give the little ones individual attention, moving them off, one at a time, to a quiet corner for a wash and a snuggle. All this was even more amazing considering the fact that Victoria is a three-legged cat, missing part of her left hind leg.
Meanwhile, in another foster home, a young first-time mother cat had recently delivered four kittens. Queenie, a shy stray unsure of new situations, found motherhood overwhelming. She was unable to nurse the newborns, so our Foster Care Manager turned to Christine and Mama Victoria for help. Both “moms” gladly took the kittens in to their care.
As of this writing, Mama Victoria is happily raising Queenie’s litter (sister Loa helps, too). Queenie is coming out of her shell, making friends at the Shelter, and waiting for what all these wonderful animals deserve – a loving, forever home.
Submit your Foothills Animal Shelter Happy Tail
Did you adopt your pet from Foothills Animal Shelter?
To submit your Happy Tail, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your story is chosen, it might be featured on our website, newsletter, or Facebook page.
- Your full name and e-mail address.
- Your story – please include the month and year you brought your animal companion home, and some funny quirks about your pet’s personality.
- Up to three photos in JPG format.
- Please write “Happy Tail” in the subject line.
As an open-admissions facility, Foothills Animal Shelter sees a wide variety of animals come through its doors every year. However, we were all taken by surprise – and quite delighted – when a tiny 2-month-old piglet came into our care. Rescued while wandering along a highway median, she had a scrape on her snout, and several bumps and bruises. We guessed that she might have fallen out of a livestock transport truck, on her way to be fattened up for food.
Truffles (named after the prized mushrooms foraged by her relatives) became an instant hit among the employees, volunteers, and visitors at Foothills Animal Shelter. Soon, she became an honorary lobby ambassador, greeting customers at the front door with enthusiastic grunts, and taking afternoon naps in the arms of loving volunteers.
This was the first opportunity for many people to get to know a pig. And what a pig! She charmed canines, loyally followed her human friends, joyfully jumped around the room, and put up a fuss when she wasn’t being sufficiently spoiled.
It was not long before someone was eager to give little Truffles a new forever home. Troy Kerstetter, Foothills Animal Shelter’s Director of Operations, was contacted by Scott and Jackie B., both of whom work for the Humane Society of the United States and were interested in bringing Truffles to their small farm in Oregon. In late July, the piglet turned heads as Kerstetter walked her through the Denver International Airport Terminal in her harness and leash. The pair took flight to Portland. “She will live there for the rest of her life,” said Kerstetter, “without the fear of being turned into bacon bits.”
When Truffles landed, she was met by her new family, who fell instantly in love with her. Renamed “Pip,” this little piggy is now living the good life at their family farm. She loves taking naps in the grass and going for walks on her rhinestone-studded pink collar and leash! “All of us here at the Shelter are thrilled that she was adopted,” said Kerstetter. “She is truly in hog heaven.”
Have you heard the recent report of American Olympic runner Manteo Mitchell, who completed the last 200m of a relay heat with a broken left leg? He ran despite the pain and helped Team USA reach the finals.
This triumphant story reminded Foothills Animal Shelter staff about one of our very own champions – Topher – and his relay team.
Topher, a small Shih Tzu mix, was rescued from a roadside after being hit by a car. An animal control officer was called to help, and after Topher was assessed at a local emergency clinic, he was brought to Foothills Animal Shelter for further care. Lost, frightened and in pain, Topher had suffered injuries to his left hip and required an emergency surgery. Thankfully, one of our veterinary partners donated their resources and talent to repair his dislocated hip.
Despite all this, Topher has a sunny disposition. “He is social, outgoing and loves everyone,” says Dr. Hill, Chief Veterinarian at the Shelter. The Shelter’s Health Care Department started Topher on his path to recovery before handing the baton to our Foster Care Program, through which he was placed in a volunteer foster home. Topher’s dedicated foster family kept him comfortable and well-loved, while diligently following medical instructions for rest, then exercise to regain his strength and full range of motion.
On August 14, 2012, this orphaned pet reached his ultimate goal of finding a gold medal forever home! Topher was adopted by the Plott Family, who welcomed him across the finish line into first place. He is already enjoying the endless belly rubs and pets provided by their three kids. Thank you, Plott Family, for welcoming Topher into your hearts!
Microchip helps Sadie May return to a life of adventure!
In hopes of reuniting lost pets with their families, every pet that enters into our Shelter’s care is routinely scanned for a microchip. Luckily, for one black Labrador Retriever/Pointer mix, this permanent form of identification reconnected her with her previous “employer!”
The microchip traced her back to Conservation Canines, a nonprofit organization that uses dogs in the wild to gather valuable information about issues threatening wildlife. “Sadie May and I worked for 3 years in the field together looking for tigers and leopards in Cambodia, puma in Mexico, caribou and moose in Alberta and fisher (a member of the weasel family) in California,” said handler, Elizabeth Seely. “She is an incredible dog and means a great deal to me.”
Now in her golden years, Sadie May has been happily reunited with Elizabeth. “I am overjoyed to be able to say that she not only is back in my care, but that she is becoming more like herself every day,” Elizabeth says. “I want to say thank you to each and every one of your staff who took care of her for those few days and took the time to check for a microchip.”
Stories like this serve as a reminder of the great benefit of microchips. For Sadie May, this meant a return to her life of adventure, doing what she loves best! According to Elizabeth, “Before long she’ll be on a boat looking for whale poop from the southern resident killer whales here in Washington State.”
Rescued from a Dumpster: Boo’s Story
Here at the Shelter, it is not uncommon to come across animals that have been given a bad start at life. Never has this been truer than in the case of little Boo, a Jack Russell Terrier mix puppy that arrived at the Foothills Animal Shelter one afternoon late in May. Boo had been found by a Good Samaritan who, after hearing sounds of distress coming from outside his apartment, looked around and found the poor little pup wrapped in a trash bag at the bottom of a dumpster. He immediately picked her up and brought her straight to the Shelter, where she was taken care of and given a second chance at a good life.
The Shelter unfortunately sees animals that have been neglected and abused. Often times, their behavior can be affected. These animals can become scared and unwilling to bond with people. This was not the case with little Boo. Perhaps she was thankful for the second chance she’d been given, or maybe it was just in her nature, but the puppy behaved with such joy and an excitement for life that no one could have guessed that she had once been thrown away. Her eagerness for contact and affection, as well as her big ears and wagging tail, made her very popular among the visitors to the Shelter. Less than a week after being put up for adoption, she found her new forever home with the very same Good Samaritan who rescued her.
It’s always hard to see the neglect of an animal like Boo. These pets depend on us to give them food, shelter, and, most importantly, affection. They reward us with their loyalty, their companionship, and their love.
If you ever come across an abandoned pet like Boo, your help could mean the difference between life and death for that animal. Don’t leave them. Bring them to a shelter; give them the second chance that they deserve. They will thank you and they will love you for it. And Boo, who was rescued from a cold, filthy dumpster and given a loving home…, well, she thanks you too.
Happy New Year, Happy New Home!
In late November, a large group of kittens came to Foothills Animal Shelter because their previous owner had too many animals to care for them all. The friendly bunch went up for adoption and quickly started finding new forever homes. This was perfect timing for Zac, who was looking for a companion for his cat, Jezzie. “It was only four days until my birthday, and Jezzie seemed like she was lonely and needed a friend, so I decided to just come down to the Shelter to look for a cat”. Zac and his girlfriend spent about 15 minutes in the cat colonies and were so amazed at how friendly all the cats were that they weren’t sure how they were ever going to pick one.
When they went to look at the kittens, there was Jiggy. “As soon as we saw him, we were sold. It was love at first sight.” Jiggy clearly enjoyed the company of the other kittens he was living with, but he seemed more independent and outgoing than the others. It was a perfect fit. Jiggy went with Zac to his forever home where he enjoys his days zipping around the living room, cuddling with Jezzie and receiving unconditional love from his new family. Thanks to Foothills Animal Shelter and his adoptive family, Jiggy will get to spend the New Year in his new home, lounging on a La-Z-Boy with his sister, Jezzie.