As a volunteer at a large municipal shelter, it is my great joy in life to meet and get to know hundreds of dogs. Some I get to know better than others. And some I see and hear about from other volunteers and staff, that really need to get out of the shelter for various reasons. Some dogs have an easier time being at a shelter and becoming institutionalized essentially. But all need love and it affects them in different ways, physically, emotionally and behaviorally. The stress and loneliness can be too much for many.
Charming is one of the many dogs I have spent extra time with, often at off-site adoption events where I might spend 5+ hours with group of dogs, usually having one or two I hold on leash for hours, talk to, cuddle, introduce people to. Or sometimes I see the dog with another volunteer and I can just watch them in action.
What impressed me about Charming is that he was very relaxed around everyone he meets. Small children too. I watched him the first day I met him licking the faces of two other male dogs he just met, also up for adoption. He didn't show any possession over toys. He took treats gently. He didn't get over excited. He sometimes rolled on his back for a good belly rub and a stretch.
I also found out how he jumps in the kennel at the shelter, banging his head on the bars at the top. This boy can jump! And he was so incredibly stressed out that the only outlet for his energy was to jump and jump and jump. I saw the scabs and wounds and scars on his head, and knew this guy really needed out of the shelter. I also found out he had been in the shelter since last summer when he was found as a stray at about 10 months of age.
I had the pleasure of holding him on leash for the majority of the day at an outside event on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in front a pet store. There were 4 dogs in total outside and several cats that spent the day inside the store in cages. Charming was incredible. Sometimes events can be stressful for dogs, especially for an isolated suburban shelter dog at an event on a busy Manhattan street! Charming really loved the city. Twice I took him for walks and once another volunteer Lori and I walked him up to Central Park, on the first nice day we had after the brutal winter. The park was covered in people on blankets, people biking and running by, horses walking by! Charming loved it, was very relaxed, took it all in. On the streets he walked easily by other dogs. The only thing confusing him a lot was that the trees on the streets all had little gates around the tiny grassy areas and he didn't know where to pee. Suburban dogs rarely pee on concrete! The other thing that happened a lot that day is that I had to explain to people why Charmings head had all those scabs and wounds on it. A lot of people thought that they were cigarette burns.
I am very excited to be starting a pit bull rescue called Get A Bull with my my fellow animal rescue friend and it was on that day that I knew we had to get this guy out of the shelter. At the same time, my eldest dog Cy was sick and I knew I wanted to get a foster dog as soon as possible but I also knew that it wouldn't be fair to stress out a dying dog by bringing a foster dog into the house. Just a few weeks later Cy was gone. I grieved for a week, saw that my two girls were doing pretty good despite a couple little signs of grieving for a day or two, and 10 days later I brought Charming to the house, ten months after he first arrived at the shelter.
Charming is very much a foster dog and there is no possibility that I would be keeping him. I say this because everyone asks me that! I think he's a loving, good natured, beautiful dog that is going to make the right family very happy and he is in my home because I am trying to help him. He is doing very well after a week here, really exceeding all my expectations. The rest of my pets, especially my dog Rory, is not ready to have him integrated into the family, and she may never. Cookie I think would love to wrestle with Charming all day but we are taking things slow. Charming is way too interested in chasing cats to live in a home with cats. I have two cats. Charming has a guest room that is all his. And he spends most of his time in that room, sometimes in the crate with the door open and sometimes loose with door closed. When I take him outside quite a few times a day, I walk him through the house on leash and then he does his business and sometimes runs like crazy in the backyard. He has a beautiful run! I sit with him on the screened in porch. We take a long walk together first thing in the morning before work. He chews on a lot of stuffed kongs to keep him busy, bully sticks and nylabones. Sometimes he'll cry for a couple of minutes when I leave him but he stops very quickly. There are definitely a couple of training issues to be worked on including mouthiness which has already improved and basic obedience, but he is a pretty kickass houseguest, he has had not one accident and he sleeps quietly through the night in his crate which is the best! My heart swells with joy to know that Charming will never see the inside of an animal shelter again.
Charming is almost 2 years old and will be available for adoption soon via Get A Bull. He is a pit bull/hound mix with incredible eyes. He is located in Long Island, NY. Email getabullrescue.com for more information.