In celebration of my "special" fireflies.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

2006-12-03 - XMasPics-K-n-J-0026

Kaylee & Jayne, x-mas 2006

So. When last we talked of my furkids, I told you how my husband and I came to adopt Ralphie, Peedee and O-Ren – none of whom were considered “less adoptable,” or at least not at the time of their adoption. In fact, I doubt that each dog’s respective rescue group would have had much trouble placing them, had Shane and I not come along. We both recognized this, and felt rather guilty about it. So when we decided to adopt dog number four (and possibly five!), we resolved to find a “special” dog – a senior, someone with medical or behavioral issues, maybe even a bonded pair of dogs.

Our first choice was a pair of teeny lil’ rat terrier sisters, Bella and…I forget the other dog’s name. They were older adults with behavior issues, namely, anxious temperaments and a fear of men. They also needed to be adopted together – strike three. Ultimately, the adoption didn’t pan out; we were never able to meet the girls, in fact, because their fear of men was so great that their foster mom had more or less decided to adopt them herself. When we inquired about them, they’d already spent a few years in their foster home and were still fearful in the foster dad’s presence. I can see why mom gave up any hope of rehoming them, dog bless her heart.

So we hit Petfinder again, specifically in search of a pair of dog-friends who had to be adopted together. Unfortunately, Petfinder’s search parameters don’t easily allow for such a search (or even easy browsing), so when looking for a pair, you really just have to hope that they share a single listing. (Or else be prepared to pour over every single profile!) There really weren’t many bonded pairs of dogs listed at the time; besides Bella and her sister, Kaylee and Jayne were the only smallish dog-friends up for adoption. So, three years ago this September, we went out to Lexington, MO – about an hour’s drive from where we lived – to visit them.

2006-09-01 - GracieOnPetfinder-0003

From Kaylee’s Petfinder listing

Kaylee and Jayne originally came to Friends of the Friendless with a third dog, Paige, roughly six months before we met them. The three had been abandoned in a home when the tenants moved out; the landlord found them, several weeks later, starving and in rough shape. Jayne had heartworm, while Kaylee suffered from some serious dental problems, the result of both bad genes and a lifetime’s worth of neglect.

Curiously, Jayne had already been spayed by her previous owners, while Kaylee had not. From the looks of her sagging belly and, shall we say “well used” nipples, Kaylee had obviously birthed a few litters during her eight years. Jayne, in contrast, doesn’t appear to have ever had pups – odd because Jayne is a classically handsome terrier, while Kaylee is…not. (I joke that she’s so ugly, she’s back to being cute, much like a rhinoceros or ground mole. I totally mean that in a nice way, though.)

2006-09-01 - PenelopeOnPetfinder-0001

From Jayne’s Petfinder listing

Paige had since been adopted, while Kaylee and Jayne languished in the shelter/rescue. Supposedly, an older women had committed to adopting them, but died while on a cruise she’d already booked and had to take before she could bring them home. (Shane is convinced that this is the most elaborate cop-out, ever.) So I can only imagine what their foster mom, Gina, thought when we committed to adopting them, but said we’d be unable to bring them home until after we got back from an already-scheduled trip to New York! Unlike their would-be fairy dogmother, Shane and I kept our word; we welcomed Kaylee and Jayne into our home several weeks later, on September 30, 2006.

(More below the fold…)

Be a Fairy Dog-Mother: Adopt a "less adoptable" animal companion!

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

1997-07-xx - Kelly-Shannon-Shadow - 0001

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, today is the first (?) annual Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day! Petfinder created the holiday in order to raise awareness about animals who have an extra difficult time finding their forever homes, for a whole host of reasons.

Among cats and dogs, animals who face added obstacles to being rehomed include:

– Seniors and adults;
– Animals with medical issues, including disability and disease;
– Animals with emotional or behavioral issues, such as shyness or a nervous temperament;
– Animals who must be the only nonhuman in the home;
– Bonded animals who must be adopted as a pair – or, worse still, a trio, quartet, etc.;
– Cats with feline leukemia (a transmissible disease);
– Black dogs (for additional information, please see my post at Change.org on Black Dog Syndrome); and
– Dogs who belong to a so-called “dangerous” breed (pit bulls being the “dangerous” breed de jour).

If you plan on adopting an animal companion (or have adopted in the past), congratulations! With this one simple act, you become a hero to two animals – the one you rescued from a pound, shelter, rescue group or sanctuary, and also to the animal for whom you’re freed up a space in said pound, shelter, rescue group or sanctuary. According to the HSUS, between 3 and 4 million cats and dogs are killed (note: not “euthanized”) in U.S. shelters every year. While adopting one or two or even ten animals might seem a drop in the bucket, it makes a world of difference to the animals whose lives you’ve saved by adopting instead on buying.

But, as always, there’s more you can do! In regards to animal adoption, go out of your way to choose a cat or dog who meets the above criteria. Naturally, you may not be able to deal with all of these issues; for example, if you already live with one healthy cat, a FIV+ feline is out of the question. Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, however, concentrate on how you can help animals in need. For example, adopting a black dog doesn’t take any more effort than adopting a multi-colored one.

If your home is already filled to capacity, you can urge friends and family members to adopt – and to consider adopting a “less adoptable” animal, to boot. Or make a donation to any one of the hundreds+ animal rescue organizations across the country (and the globe) – many of which specifically focus on a population of “less adoptable” animals, be they companion, farmed, or “exotic”/wild animals.

Of course, you can also help by spreading the word. Make this Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day a success by linking to Petfinder on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc., and by telling the world about your “special” kids!

Speaking of which, part two of my family’s own story is coming up next!

[Pictured above is a very young me, circa 1997 – note the leather purse, ugh! on each count – with two of my family’s own “less adoptable” girls:

Shannon the black mutt, one half of a 6-year-old pair of sisters we adopted from the local humane society (her sister, Shana, had already passed when this photo was taken); and

Shadow the pit bull mix, who had been hit by a car and had a crushed leg when we found her.

As with all our kids, they were both pure awesomeness, and I miss them more than words can say.]

(More below the fold…)

Coming Soon: Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Animal Companion Day!

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

2006-09-30 - PM-Kaylee&JayneMake5-0299

I’m usually one to roll my eyes at pseudo-holidays – National Hot Dog Day, anyone?; and, hell, even some of the “real” holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving – but I’m pleasantly surprised to see that Petfinder has designated August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day:

To help senior, special-needs and other often-overlooked pets find homes, We’ve named August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable- Pet Day. Visit our special section to:

* Get widgets to help pets find homes
* Find out which pets have it hardest
* Read touching adoption stories
* Learn why “less adoptable” pets rule!

And help us spread the word: Some pets are “less adoptable,” but they’re just as lovable!

Which animals have it hardest, you wonder?

Big black dogs. FIV+ cats. Senior pets. Special-needs pets. To help these and other often-overlooked pets find homes, Petfinder has named August 12 “Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day.”

We asked our shelter and rescue group members: Which pets are the hardest to place?

Here’s what they said:

* 30% senior/older pets
* 15% pets with medical problems
* 13% victims of breed prejudice
* 10% shy pets
* 10% those who need to be the only pet

“Pit Bulls are the No. 1 dog put down in our local shelters. There are too many of them, and there is never enough time to get them all adopted.”

“There’s also a ‘big black cat syndrome’! Hard to believe, but many people are still biased against black cats, especially if they’re big.”

“Once a dog is past 1-2 years old, people flat-out expect it to be housetrained. They consider the dog too old to be trained if they’re not housetrained by 2.”

(Links mine.)

Speciesist language aside (HIM! People expect HIM to be housetrained!), I love the idea of promoting not just adoption, but the adoption of “special needs” animals, who usually fare worse in shelters and rescues alike. (Though, happily, some rescues do specialize in hard-to-place animals, while others provide them permanent sanctuary; Old Dog Haven is a personal favorite!)

My own family is a mix of “normal” and “special needs” animals.

(More below the fold…)