Monday, January 23, 2012

A Bronx Tale

Hello there!

We're still walking on air around here after a week flush with good feeling! We're just stunned by how much our community cares about animals.

On Wednesday, JoAnn responded to a call about neglected chickens. Upon investigation, she found that 30 chickens, two ducks, and two rabbits had been left to their own devices with totally insufficient food and water. The woman's husband had died, and she had moved off the property and mostly given up caring for them. JoAnn was able to find immediate placement for all but eight chickens, and didn't know what she was going to do with these last birds. We discussed temporarily housing them at the shelter, but didn't want them to acclimate to indoor temps, and realized our dog yards were not predator proof.  JoAnn suggested we could maybe ask for help on Facebook? We decided to give it a shot … and the response was tremendous. The post was widely shared across Facebook by individuals and other rescue organizations, and by the end of the day we had 16 options for foster care or permanent placement. The widespread public interest inspired a brilliant thought for JoAnn: Could she develop a network of foster/permanent homes for future livestock investigation cases--a list of contacts to call in such situations? We made a second ask, and the public said yes. JoAnn now has a sizeable network of safe havens for rescued livestock. (THANK YOU, community!) Incidentally, the chickens are now happily roosting at the home of a young couple who had seen the Facebook post--with the exception of one rooster, who was relocated to the farm of one of our staff member's parents.

This rescued rooster went to Wolf Hollow Farm in New York

Secondly, we kicked off two sorely needed cat promotions on Friday.  Our adoption floor has become increasingly saturated with black cats and senior cats. In fact, half of the population was black, and half was senior (yes, there was some crossover there). We published a blog on why black cats and senior cats are least likely to get adopted, and created "Black Fridays" and "Senior Moments." Our Senior Moments promo will extend until February 4th, and offers cats aged 7+ for 50% of the usual adoption fee (just $30!). Black Fridays will continue until our black cat population has been drastically depleted. As you may have guessed, the adoption fees for black cats are reduced by 50% every Friday.

The great news here is that two senior cats (Kona, age 7, and Nala, age 7) were adopted, and five black cats were adopted (Emma, Sid, Violet, Bella, and Miss Muffet) since our promos began on Friday! We also can't forget to mention Oakie, who is neither senior nor sable, but was here for a VERY long time before finding an excited family with three happy young children on Friday.

Three kittens found new homes: sisters Bonnie & Betsey went home with the aforementioned Bella (yes, three cats adopted at once by the same family!), and the adorable buff-colored Caramel went home.

Two rabbits also found new homes this week: Quincey and Mel.


We have no new dog adoptions to report, but then again, our dog population is extremely low right now: we've only got nine dogs in house!

That said, we have a wonderful dog story to tell. Bronx's adoption happened the week previous to last, but we felt we couldn't let it slip by untold.

Bronx is a one-year-old Boster Terrier mix with the amusing self-importance and Napoleonic swagger typical of his breed. Staff quickly fell in love with his inquisitive persona, his zest for life, and the fact that he talked with his ears.


Bronx was relinquished at the end of November because his owner had to serve in the military. He came to us in good health, but with some handling sensitives (doesn't like his feet touched), nippy-ness, and reactivity to other dogs.

Bronx was unendingly cute, and we knew he'd appeal to lots of people, but his home would have to be very specific. We ruled out children under the age of 13 because of his nippy behavior, and stated that he needed a high-energy family to really thrive. Unfortunately, most of the people who spotted him on the web saw an adorable little dog and looked no further. They came to the shelter expecting a low-energy lap dog, and were rather astonished to meet instead a busy little inquisitor who thought he was thrice his size. They quickly changed their minds.

Until one day, a woman came in who thought the real Bronx might be just perfect. She and her husband had another dog named Earl--a Lab/Cattle Dog mix who was similarly high energy and looked remarkably similar to Bronx in size and coloration. That similarity--superficial as it was--struck the woman as the first sign that Bronx might be the right dog for them. She met him in our adminitrative area, and loved him immediately. Bronx ran back and forth on business, sniffing here, looking there, his ears deftly communicating each thought with delicate twitches and nuanced swivels … and the woman's heart melted. She snapped some photos of him with her phone (difficult to do with Bronx in constant motion) to share with her husband, choked up a bit about having to leave, and promised to be in touch.

She returned to fill out paperwork for Bronx on January 3rd, and returned on the 4th with her husband and Earl for a dog introduction. We always conduct dog introductions between adoptive families and the potential new adoptee, just to rule out any surprises. In Bronx's case, it was especially imperative, because he simply doesn't approve of many dogs. This couple seemed perfect--they had asked all the right questions, and had the busy lifestyle to keep Bronx exercised and entertained--but would Bronx deign to accept Earl?

The day of the introduction, Earl and his family waited in the administrative area. Bronx was formally presented, and … he caught sight of Earl and barked. Everyone held their breath … and then suddenly they were playing, chasing each around and around the room in manic glee! It was brotherly love. As we watched this amazing exception to Bronx's rule of dog reactivity, we felt this match must be fated in the stars. But the decision wasn't final yet.

The couple needed time to think. They just didn't know if they were ready to add a second hyper dog to their lives. They would be out of town for the next ten days … and there was a very good chance that Bronx might find another home before then. The woman sighed. "If it's really meant to be, it will be," she said. For the third time, they left.

We anxiously waited as the ten days dragged on and other people came in to meet Bronx. We wanted him to end his shelter stay as quickly as possible, but we were also pulling for Earl's family to adopt him. It had just seemed so … right.

Friday the 13th proved a fateful day for Bronx. The woman called and said they had decided. First thing Saturday morning, Earl and his parents returned. They took Bronx up to the play yard with Earl, and watched them race around together. The woman explained that she felt she had gotten several more signs about adopting Bronx over the week: for instance, she met a woman at a dog park who said she was going to name her new rescue dog Bronx. Mostly, however, she'd come to the conclusion that she just didn't want to leave the shelter again without him. The man swung Bronx up into his arms, and in an unusual moment, Bronx relaxed, his paws draped languidly over the man's forearms. He wasn't going anywhere, his placid ears seemed to say. Joining this family was his main point of business.

After the exit interview, Bronx donned his new harness and leash and trotted out the doors at a self-assured clip, with nary a look back. As Earl happily fell into step with him, we thanked the universe for making this union "be."

That's the good news this week. Stay warm!



1 comment:

S Gutwin said...

I do love happy endings...especially when it comes to animals.