The shelter is a scary place to him right now - so many barking dogs and long, echoing hallways! And while his kennel run is quiet and "safe," he's already split the tip of his tail wide open by banging it on the cinder block wall whenever he gets visitors. I guess it's extra exciting that his new friends keep coming back. This one's got some healing to do, and our job is to invent ways to help him acclimate and settle in while we wait for a home. We started by giving him a strong name - Willem - and hope to help build back some of the self esteem he lost during his misadventures.
It's the American dream to own a house, and for so many, owning a house means getting a dog. Sadly, the broken dream means untold thousands of dogs are SOL. When you're newly poor and bumped out to the curb, it's incredibly difficult to find a quick rental that will take your dog -- especially, your pit bull.
From a recent Oakland Tribune article on foreclosures: Oakland has been hit hard by the country's foreclosure crisis. In East and West Oakland, nearly 10 percent of homes have been in the process of foreclosure this past year — and the city's African-American and Latino residents have been the hardest hit. On top of single-family homes that have been foreclosed, nearly 20 percent of all properties facing foreclosures are rentals, leaving many more families scrambling.
We're pretty sure Willem was treated well at one point in his life. We can tell by the way he lights up when he sees a tennis ball and by his shy request for belly rubs. I can't help but think about the people who left him behind when they loaded up their last pile of stuff and drove away ... What's it like to leave a dog like this behind when your world is crashing in? I'm torn between wanting to scream in their faces for leaving this tender heart so alone and vulnerable, and wanting to tell them how sorry I am for all of it. In the end, it's probably best not to think too much about it at all, but just pick up the pieces by helping Willem and others like him get to a better place.
In January, US News and World Report outlined the 25 cities hardest hit by the foreclosures. You can just bet their public shelters are full of Willems. Please consider sending a box of dog treats to one or more of the shelters with a request to have them distributed to their pit bulls. While you're at it, we could use some too! Send to Ambassadog Project c/o Oakland Animal Services 1101 29th Ave. Oakland CA 94601. Thank you.