SPCA shelter. Angel was surrendered to the shelter severely underweight, missing over 60% of her fur and with skin and ear infections. The shelter was full
and because of Angel's estimated age of 8 to 10 years old and medical condition, she was at risk of being euthanized without a rescue coming in to save her. Angel's foster mom helped to completely transform her into a trusting and healthy German Shepherd. Her fur grew back, the skin infectionscleared up and by May, Angel had found her forever home.
At the same time that we met Silverado and Sierra, we received information about two senior German Shepherds that has spent the last three years of their lives outside living in a stall at a horse barn. The owner's were losing the farm and if a rescue would not take them in, they would be forced to put them to sleep. Upon meeting the two dogs named Happy and Harley, it was clear they needed some TLC. Harley, a 12 year-old white male, was the father of Happy, a 9 year-old red and tan. Both were pretty scruffy looking and needed to be seen by a vet for a checkup and to make sure their shot records were up to date. Harley was slow, having some trouble walking because of issues with his hind legs and extremely long nails.
After the two were seen by a vet (Harley was diagnosed with Lyme disease and arthritis, Happy was healthy), we arranged to pick the two up and bring them to a groomer for two very long baths and grooming session. Harley's health had deteriorated further, he was having difficulty getting up and holding his bladder. Happy was clearly nervous and doting on Harley. After the groomer, we brought them to a Tier Haus Farms and into our foster program. We knew at that point that Harley was not adoptable, and probably didn't have much longer to live. However, in his last week he would be surrounded by a family that would care for him, let him roam around the farm and try to enjoy a little bit of life.
After a few days Happy easily integrated into his new foster home, that had four other German Shepherds, a lot of cats, geese, chickens, and other farm animals. The transition helped Happy when a short time later Harley passed away. We knew that
if Happy did not find a forever home, that he could comfortably retire with his foster family. A supporter of Sedona had contacted us after recently loosing their dog named Buddy who lived to 14 and a half. They also owned a farm, and had two other German Shepherds that like their mom, were missing their Buddy. On the first meeting, it was clear that Happy was a perfect fit. Happy is now enjoying the good life he deserves.
Silverado and Sierra are brother and sister, living together since they were puppies. Their owners had them for 6 years before surrendering them to the shelter because of a divorce. Entering a shelter is always a stressful situation for any dog. Most reputable shelters will attempt to place a 'bonded' pair like Silverado and Sierra together, so as not to disrupt their lives any further.
Placing two large dogs like Silverado and Sierra together can be difficult. Usually adopters will be looking for just one dog, and many times have other animals, which means bringing in two dogs is not an option. During the summer, the shelter was getting over crowded and they were not having much luck finding a home together, so York SPCA reached out to Sedona for help.
After meeting Silverado and Sierra, it was clear how attached they were to each other. When we took Sierra for a separate walk, Silverado paced around the fenced in play area, waiting for her return. During play time, they would chase after the same toy together, never fighting over it and they would come up together waiting for a treat or more attention.
Silverado and Sierra were with Sedona for a little over 3 months, which is about the average amount of time a dog stays in our program before finding a forever home. Although initially, we had some inquiries into adopting them together, most people that contacted us were interested in one or the other but not both. In rescue, patience can be a virtue and the wait for the right home that would keep them together paid off. We received an inquiry from a family that had recently lost their 6 year old German Shepherd after a year of intensive care for many medical issues. They had a hole in their lives and Silverado and Sierra were soon to fill it.
Despite living about 6 hours away from Silverado and Sierra, their new owners were committed and willing to make the trip to give Silverado and Sierra a forever home. Their new home included another friendly dog, a fenced in yard, an active household and two loving owners.
One of the questions we often get from people interested in rescue in general is, "How do you find dogs for your program"? This is one such story with a happy ending for a boy named Bo. A goal of ours is to try and service people looking for help with rescue in the Northeast areas that do not have a lot of rescue organization options easily available to them. One such area is central and eastern Pennsylvania. We had corresponded with a rescue friend, Diane Buhl, in New Ringgold, PA on a number of occasions and were going out to visit their kennel, Charwill Kennels. Diane had received a call from an elderly couple in Pennsylvania, who were moving unexpectedly and had no luck finding a home for Bo, their 9 year old German Shepherd. When we visited, she let us know that Bo's owner had less than 10 days to find him a home.
Space was tight but we would work hard to get Bo a new home. Within a few days, one of our volunteers met Bo and immediately brought Bo home to foster. Our volunteer also had a German Shepherd at home, Sheba, who was not fond of any other dogs in the house. However, Bo was out of options, so after a few days, Sheba and Bo came to a temporary truce. It wasn't long before we found Bo a nice foster home with no other dogs. Bo's final foster home was a short foster, because they instantly fell in love with Bo and within 3 days decided to adopt Bo.
It would be nice if all our stories and adoptions worked so quickly as it did for Bo, but the 'average' time a dog stays with us is about 3 months. We were happy that all the pieces fell into place with Bo. In rescue, one never knows where the dog will come from but where they are going is to a new happy home.
A common question we receive from an owner looking to surrender their dog, or an adopter just interested in meeting one of our dogs is "How long does Sedona have a dog before he or she gets adopted?" Knowing the answer to that question is like knowing the velocity and location of an electron (if you waited long enough, we'd get the quantum physics and rescue correlation to pop up in one of our posts). We could give probabilities and estimates, but let's look at two recent success stories - Clyde and Chewbarka.
Clyde had a lot going for him when he entered our program. He is not particularly old (about 5 to 7 years old), he is a friendly with people and he tends to ignore other dogs. On the flip side, Clyde had some rough edges that needed to be addressed. Clyde liked to chew (and destroy depending on his mood) towels and sheets, he did not like car rides and was not particularly house broken. Weighing his pluses and minuses we would have expected that Clyde would find a home within 2 to 3 months. Clyde's posting on petfinder and adopt-a-pet was very popular, and of all our dogs, we consistently received the most inquiries every month from potential adopters asking about Clyde. Despite his popularity, Clyde was with our program from inception (in fact we had him for a few months prior to being an official non-profit organization). All told, it took almost 9 months to find Clyde a home, but it was worth the wait for Clyde.
Chewbarka came to us from a shelter in southern New Jersey, looking so sad and unhealthy that the shelter thought he was about 12 years old. Chewbarka cleaned up nicely, and our vet estimated his age closer to 8, but still he was up on the senior scale. He has dry-eye syndrome which requires giving him tear drops and cleaning his eyes two to three times a day. Luckily for Chewbarka he was good with other animals. However, when we first took him into our program we were mostly concerned about just getting him out of a shelter. We did not foresee him getting adopted quickly. Chewbarka never actually made it onto our website as an available dog. We had an approved family meeting one of our other available dogs, and Chewbarka was being walked at the same time the family arrived. That was truly love at first sight. We barely had Chewbarka in our program for three weeks before he was in a very active and loving home.
While the age of a dog will play a role in the length of time they may stay at a rescue like ours, we have found that unfortunately the lowest probability dogs to get adopted are those that are not good with other dogs. A dog like Avery, who has some special needs, would most likely have found a home by now if she was good with other dogs, or at least cats. This is the conundrum that all rescues face, how to find foster homes and forever homes for dogs that will be the only dog in a household. At Sedona, we are actively looking for people who want to get involved in rescue or just curious about rescue but do not currently have an animal in their home. An animal-free home can save dogs like Avery or Vicki that are at the highest risk of being euthanized at a shelter. We provide the medical care and any support needed to foster homes, especially first time foster homes. If you know someone interested in finding out more about being involved in rescue, fostering an adult or senior dog is a good transition into the world of rescue.
When we first met Gemma at Newark Shelter we were immediately drawn to her. How could we not be? Much like Sedona, Gemma was a frightened white German Shepherd and we knew from speaking with volunteers at the shelter that there was no interest in anyone adopting Gemma. She was curled up in her run and it took effort and coaxing to bring her out of her run. Once Gemma was outside, she began to cautiously check out her surroundings and warm up to people.
Gemma settled in nicely to her foster home the first evening. However, after a day, her foster mom, who is a veterinarian, realized that there was something medically wrong. Even after a number of baths, Gemma had an odd odor and she suddenly became very defensive around the other dogs in the house. Upon further investigation, it appeared that Gemma most likely had a litter a few months prior to entering our program and had a dangerous infection in her uterus.
Gemma was a trooper during her stay at American Animal Hospital for treatment and surgery. For the first week her hormones were out of whack and while she was super friendly to the staff, she did not want to be bothered with other animals. As we prepared her to return to a foster home, she began to again show a lack of interest in other dogs.
An experienced German Shepherd owner, who had a Shepherd of her own and four cats was moved Gemma's story and her pictures. When her soon to be new family first met Gemma, everyone knew right away that it would be good fit. Gemma would finally have a family that would truly care for her and a new pack of her own to make her feel safe and secure.