2012-12-26 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Christmas is a time to reflect and rejoice. Looking back at 2012, there were many happy events in our tiny corner of the shelter rescue universe. Here are a few of the shining stars from the last year. Since most have a dog slant to them, we might call them “serious Sirius” moments. Introduction to some of the dogs below are archived in “Pets” columns:

Tiny Timothy, a Lhasa pup at Babylon Shelter found with a leg so twisted that it needed to be amputated was adopted by his foster mom. Timothy became the “ambassadog” at Last Hope school, library and scout visits. Just recently, he graduated as a “certified” therapy dog.

Jin Jin, speaking of therapy dogs- My rescued Afghan pal from Toms River won the New Yorkie Runway Fashion Show in NYC, a benefit for Westminster Kennel Club’s therapy dog program- Angel on a Leashafter a huge online voting competition and a stop outside Good Morning America where meteorologist Sam Champion introduced her to viewers all over the US.

Boo, now “Sirius,” not named after the Dog Star but for a Harry Potter character Boo, now “Sirius,” not named after the Dog Star but for a Harry Potter character Bingo, a Saint Bernard mix, had been tied to the debris of a burned down house in West Virginia for over a year. Neighbors would feed him, thinking the owners were coming back. As the property was to be sold, Bingo was on his way to the pound where he stood no chance of being adopted. He came to Last Hope on a transport and went to a wonderful home in less than a week.

Two blonde, unrelated Cocker Spaniels entered Babylon Shelter several months apart. Both had cherry eye which is mostly a cosmetic condition. Baker was adopted by a retired chief of orthopedic surgery who insisted he pay for the eye surgery at a specialist, while Mattingly was adopted by a dear lady who loves him just the way he is.

Babylon Town Shelter renovations included air conditioning installed in the kennels with absolutely no disruption to the dogs; the yard divided into five separate play areas with a pebble base, much neater than mud puddles and the incredible “Buddy Cares” suite designed and built by Animal Control Officer Kristin. This room brings comfort and serenity to owners who stay when faced with the daunting task of putting cherished pets to sleep.

Susie is a three-legged Carolina dog from West Virginia. That might sound like a state contradiction but “Carolina dog” is a regional term that describes a generic brown dog common to the South. Susie arrived on a transport and found a fabulous home immediately. She had backup people waiting in the wings for her, and now she even has her own blog.

Maggie, a Weimaraner puppy given up to Hempstead Shelter by a soldier about to be deployed, now lives in Smithtown along with a Weim sister from Brookhaven Shelter and a Weim brother from Babylon Shelter. They spend hours everyday with their mom in Blydenburg and other LI parks, running, swimming and exploring- enjoying all the activities that sporting dogs were born to do.

Boo, now “Sirius,” not named after the Dog Star but for a Harry Potter character, was a starved Shepherd from Kentucky. He was adopted from Last Hope by a nurse and intern as their wedding gift to each other. At the command, “Avada Kedavra,” a J. K. Rowling killing curse, the precocious pup now “plays dead” on You- Tube.

The second annual Bully Breed Brigade hosted by Hempstead Shelter and Last Hope attracted shelters and rescues from LI, NYC and CT to advocate for the many misunderstood Pits languishing in our shelters. Tia Torres from Animal Planet’s “Pit Bulls & Parolees” attended again to support our united cause.

Zola actually benefited from Sandy. This Pit mix lost her home when her family went to a domestic violence shelter. She spent months at Hempstead Shelter before moving to Last Hope. A Buffalo man came down after the storm to check on his daughters in Bellmore. He met Zola who now resides on his campground paradise upstate.

Wendy, a West Virginia Aussie with a limp, was like a mail-order bride. A lovely LI family found her on Petfinder and offered to pay for her orthopedic surgery before adopting her. When the WV vets and NY vets had differing opinions on her treatment plan, Last Hope brought her to LI where an orthopedic specialist repaired her knee before she went home with the people who fell in love with her photo.

Location, location, location. Last Hope moved to the former Bideawee on Beltagh Avenue in Wantagh in June 2011. Before that we rented space at an animal hospital next to a motel and within a cul de sac frequented by drug addicts and prostitutes. In 2010, the last year before the move, we placed 88 dogs; in 2011, spending six months in each location, we re-homed 164 dogs. As 2012, our first full year in Wantagh ends, close to 300 dogs will have found loving homes, thanks to a fabulous spot and the efforts of 200 Dog Center volunteers.

On a personal note- God willing, the “Pets” column will turn 30 years old in February 2013. Dog Writers Association of America has been kind to “Pets.” In 2010, the column won the “best newspaper column” award; in 2011, the “best editorial,” and this year, “Pets” is nominated in both categories.

For Adoption: “Ace” #2-506, a handsome orange tabby at Babylon Town Shelter (631-643-9270) is fine with kids and other cats. He let a child at the shelter carry him around like a stuffed toy. “Mickey” is a Babylon Shelter alumnus, now at Last Hope (631-946-9528). Four years ago after losing an eye when hit by a car, he was adopted by an older woman. Following the storm, her family came from FL to check on her and realized that she could no longer care for herself. Mom went to FL; Mickey went to the town shelter. Mickey is a dear boy who likes kids and other dogs, and recently had 10 teeth pulled. Ouch! Merry Christ- mas!

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