Monday, September 5, 2011

A Shelter Dog Finds a Home

At the Mercer County Shelter in Kentucky, Ziggy was known as "Spot," a thin, 3 year old Beagle mix with asymmetrical eyes and long, soft ears, a stray who either got lost or who was dumped.  When a dog enters a shelter as a stray and isn't claimed, I figure he's been dumped.  Had he been lost, his family could have found him.

I advocate for dogs adopted through the Mercer Humane Society, having become Facebook friends with Kathy Whitelock, a woman whose tireless efforts have helped to save the Mercer shelter dogs.  I was immediately struck by the dog called "Spot" while going through Kathy's album of adoptable Mercer dogs to see who was new. 

I'd already decided to adopt another dog when I first saw him.  I was just trying to decide how to decide what dog to adopt. I'd settled on one main criterion: the dog had to be on a euth list.  And Spot, being a shelter newcomer, wasn't on that list.  But he was small, and I had also decided a smaller dog would work out best.  And he was part Beagle.  I always feel especially sympathetic toward the Beagles and Beagle mixes in shelters, and missed Bailey, my Beagle who had passed on some time ago.  And I figured that sooner or later, Spot would more than likely be on the list.

I suppose I expected Spot, who became Ziggy, to be like Bailey -- fairly quiet, though playful.  But Bailey had been between 6 and 8 years old when I adopted him from the local shelter.  The first few days, Ziggy was manic.  I wondered if he slept more than an hour a day.

He's been with me, Kita, and Perry 3 weeks now, and he has calmed down, though he's very active.  He and Kita play like crazy, and I've just begun taking him to the dog park where he gets a good work out with the other dogs.  He caught on to "sit for treats" really fast.  He's catching on to house-training.  His worst habit is to chew -- pillow cases, blankets, anything soft, shoes.  In many ways he still acts like a puppy.  I think he's the happiest dog I've ever seen.

I think Ziggy's greatest joy when freed from the shelter, like Kita's, was to simply be able to run in his new home's fenced in yard.

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