THE ANIMAL SHELTER REPORT
By Thetis Reeves
This is Chance. He’s one happy, handsome dog. That was not the case when we took him in some weeks ago. He suffered from a bad case of mange, an infected bite puncture wound and was in fear of everyone. Like it or not, off he went for surgery to clean the wound, get antibiotics and endure a drain for twelve days. He had shots for the mange and baths to soothe his healing skin. Gradually he began to trust his caretakers. At his young age, he’d never felt so good. He went for walks with the other dogs on leashes.
Finally, no longer contagious and a bit more social, he was let out to romp in the main play yard with other dogs. This is where I caught up with him, having such a great time with a bunch of other rambunctious dogs that he had little time for this visitor with a camera. (Did he remember I took his picture when he wasn’t feeling or looking so great?) He ran over, slapped his fat puppy paws against the fence, smiled for the camera, oh, so briefly, and dashed away. But you can see, like all stars seem to know how to do, he made the most of this brief photo op, beautifully framing his fine features.
I spotted Peluda in the same crowd with Chance. Not so long ago this lovely, gentle young shepherd/collie mix was fearful of being near so many active dogs. Now here she was in the middle of the action, rolling around, sometimes at the bottom of the pile, pretend biting and getting harmlessly shoved around in return.
The volunteers all say that the Shelter’s play yards are one of the best features of our new quarters. Dogs normally are social creatures; they’re happiest with companions, but many of the down-on-their-luck dogs we take in display fear, aggression, extreme timidity or nervousness. Without the yards, the socialization process would take so much longer. With three yards, the caretakers can choose carefully how the dogs are mixed together to become friends. Chance, at first necessarily penned by himself, growled at the other dogs and was powerful enough to do harm. Within weeks, he was playful and confident with all the others; even the puppies now cuddle up to him.
Peluda, who loved people, snapped at other dogs out of fear. Gradually, she was introduced to quiet, non-threatening types in the smaller middle yard with the watchful caretakers nearby. To everyone’s amazement, she moved on to the big yard and the bigger guys and held her own with the exuberant types like Chance. Still, her favorite friends for quiet times are the little pups, Louisa and Joanna. The play grounds make all the difference in their behavior and it’s a joy to watch them and see how suitable they are for adoption into good homes.
Chance and Peluda are less than a year old and each one is intelligent, sweet and very personable.
Of course, if you’re strictly a cat person—and why is that?—you’ll be more likely to check out the antics at the Cat Center. Which is fine, for there’s always a show of funny, playful behavior there, especially from the kittens. But you’ll also see some beautiful young grown-ups, too. They’re all irresistible. Come in and see for yourself.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com