Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It Takes a Village

Rescue work is the ultimate roller coaster ride; one day you're sailing on the best high ever because a dog found a home or earned his CGC title, and the next day, a new challenge crops up to poke big fat holes in that optimistic glow.

Miss Chickie Sue, the Queen of Optimism herself, has been one of those dogs that's kept us up worrying late at night. Not for something she's done, but for the dumb luck that's so far kept her from getting a real home. She came into our program waaay back in July, and before that, lived at Oakland Animal Services. A diehard resident of Pit Bull Hall, she's endeared herself to everyone. But she's watched so many dogs come and go to new homes that we have to wonder if she thinks her life is supposed to be lived in small one hour snippets during her out time. The fact that a former home cut her ears short has hurt her. What hurts US is that, like it or not, looks DO matter to people when they shop for pets. And with so many pit bulls competing for homes, a dog like Chickie Sue - no matter how charming - is bound to wait longer.

Recently, it became clear that months in confinement were wearing thin on Chickie Sue's spirits. She's a trooper, but really, enough is enough. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, we had no where to put her. I tossed and turned and wondered: How do we possibly give this dog a quality life when no one will take her into their home? At this point, asking Chickie to live for hours on end in a crate or even a cozy kennel run is unacceptable. Since dogs live in the moment and have no concept of future adoptions, we owe them our best to make sure that their 'Now' is acceptable, and even enjoyable.

I brought the dilemma to the volunteer crew for a frank discussion about limited resources and quality of life issues. (Note According to Wikipedia, "a dilemma is a problem offering two or more solutions, neither of which is acceptable." - How true!) I wasn't looking forward to our talk, especially since zero solutions might lead to difficult and painful decisions.

What the crew came back with reflects the dedicated soul of this group: Together, they decided we would ALL give Chickie Sue a life out of the kennels by sharing the responsibilty of caring for her around with everyone until a permanent home could be found. No small feat. So, a volunteer who was short on time would house her, while others who had no room but extra time would commit to fun weekend get aways. Others raised their hands to take her on field trips, and another built a daily schedule to record her new social calendar. I have no doubt that this group is going to give Chickie Sue a very happy life while she waits for that golden application. This is a dog that THRIVES on adventure, variety and fun.

We learned a lot about each other and our collective commitment to these animals through this dog. It takes a village to help a pit bull like Chickie Sue find a home...And what a fantastic village it is.

Check back for new photos and reports on Chickie's new adventures. And of course! - if you're interested in meeting her, please contact donna@badrap.org

3 comments:

Mary Eisenhart said...

You guys rock. I worry about poor little Chickie Sue a lot, but I have a full house. Thanks so much for looking out for her.

Jenny Chun, Give Paw Dog Training said...

Chickie Sue, you are too cute. You remind me of my little girl, Lucy. She's a fellow pit bull too and was my foster before I gave her a forever home. I hope someone falls in love with you soon. Pits rule! Go out and show the world what an ambassador you are for your breed.

Anonymous said...

I love sweet pitbulls but, like so many, my housing does not permit me to have one. I have to go to the shelter to get my pitbull fix. I'm sure there are many people who would like to spend time with a pitbull and take it on outings on weekends but, cannot house one. Why not open up that possibility?