Getting too attached to a rescue dog

This is a story about a dog named Bailey. When her owner, Sylvester, needed to be hospitalized for a month after just having landed himself housing, this dog found herself at risk of having nowhere to go. Sylvester was terrified that he would have no choice but to surrender Bailey to the animal shelter. So C3 –  an outreach team set up by Los Angeles County Health Department – reached out to me and asked DDR to help.

Without meeting Bailey, I agreed to open our kennel doors to her. I thought: How difficult could a 25-pound dog really be? Plus, she wasn’t even a year old. However, soon after being dropped off at our vet in Gardena, I got a call from them letting me know she was “spicy.” That was their exact word! Bailey arrived at our kennel shortly thereafter and I quickly knew exactly what they meant. That is to say, I saw the “spice” right away! She was barking, fearful, and disoriented, and I was immediately saddened by how much she must have been missing Sylvester. At first I kept her on leash and took my time gaining her trust, slowing approaching and allowing the bonding process to unfold. As days turned to weeks, Bailey’s stay got extended twice with us so we had more time to work together. And through consistency and patience, she began to blossom.

Before my eyes, Bailey became a dog who enjoyed running around and playing with other dogs. Although she still barked at new people, she grew more confident. Sylvester was healing nicely and when he finally told us he had been released and was ready to take Bailey back, I was happy for him. For both of them. But to be honest, I was also incredibly sad. I thought: What if she didn’t want to go back? What if she got lost on the streets of Downtown Los Angeles accidentally? And if she did, how would she survive? Wouldn’t she miss the new dogs friends she’d made here, too?

The reality is, after twenty years of caring for other people’s dogs or rescuing and rehabilitating them until they get adopted, sometimes I still get too attached to one, like I did with Bailey. Of course I said goodbye and let her go to her first home, which should be her forever home. But it hurt. It’s okay that it hurt, and it’s okay to admit that it did. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat regardless. Especially when I heard from our kennel manager who drove Bailey to Sylvester’s new apartment. She said it took Bailey a minute to recognize her dad. But then instantly and fully, she went wild with joy, tail wagging, surrendering herself to the happy, balanced puppy she had learned to become. Bailey was indeed home, and it filled me with gratitude to have been a part of her story.

The truth is I might still get too attached to dogs sometimes. Maybe I’ll never learn how to full detach. But I’ll still help them. It’s still worth it. As for Sylvester and Bailey, they’ll be part of the DDR family forever. We told him that if he […]

LORI’s CORNER: Recognizing Excellence! Congratulations!

CONGRATULATIONS OFFICER SHATANA BACON!
Lori & DDR are very happy for you!
From the City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services:


Animal Control Officer Recognized
By the Los Angeles City Association of Black Personnel



Photo attached of Shatana with Animal Care Technician Rodney Bingley who nominated her for the 2011 Trailblazers Award.

For the first time in the organization’s history, the Los Angeles City Association of Black Personnel has selected an Animal Control Officer as one of six outstanding Los Angeles City employees recently honored. Animal Control Officer Shatana Bacon joined five other City employees who received the 2011 Trailblazers Award for their contributions to the advancement of African Americans in city government.

Shatana was born in Los Angeles and graduated from Susan Miller Dorsey High School. She began her college studies at California State University, Los Angeles and then transferred to Cal Poly, Pomona, where she graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Animal Science. Shatana then earned her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Shatana has been with the department for 5 1/2 years. She is married and has a one year old son, Clay.

Shatana is a solid officer who consistently and capably completes her responsibilities each month. She is focused and observant in recognizing potential animal abuse and neglect cases. She is compassionate and caring with a history of rescuing abused animals and those living in deplorable situations. She is an excellent communicator and mediator whether she is called on to speak in barking dog meetings, or to testify as a Department representative in dangerous animal hearings.

“I am so proud that Shatana was selected by the Los Angeles City Association of Black Personnel for this honor,” said General Manager Brenda Barnette. “It was a pleasure to be there to celebrate her service. We are proud to have Shatana as an important member of our Los Angeles Animal Services family.”


LORI’s CORNER: “I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up.-MLK Jr.”

 
“I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land.” 
December 10, 1964
Oslo, Norway – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. accepting nobel peace prize

Yesterday at our Coliseum Dog Class, the crew from the Pit Boss TV show came out to film Edgar and Queeny and the class. I was amazed at the turn out, 52 dogs came out to represent Dog Man and his wonderful work and to support Edgar. I guarantee you, the class members old and some new, did not come out to “just be on TV” each and every person and their dog(S) came out to show that we support each other and we believe, the pit bull terrier is first and foremost a dog.

Shorty & Hercules
Dogman & Clancy
When Dog Man made the turn, right, down into the Sports Arena, Clancy and I knew it was time for recall work. Wow, I thought to myself, this is going to be crazy to do off leash work with 52 dogs but as always, Dog Man was in control and everything turned out great, with help from Jordan and Debbie. Even Shorty and Hercules did some off leash recall for the show. When I looked out at the amazing group of dogs, almost all pit bulls, patiently sitting or laying down, row after row, waiting for their turn I was also so happy to see the diverse group of class members, old and young, and broad range of ethnicities, Korean, Black, Guatemalan, Mexican, Chinese, White, I’m sure that I’m missing some but this is what I saw. Everyone working together, towards one common goal, socializing their dogs, protecting the image of the pit bull terrier that is a breed of dog not different species. I like this statement on the Animal Farm Foundation website and hope that you pass this along to anyone who wants to put a label on all pit bulls. Like people, each dog is […]

LORI’s CORNER/DDR PROGRAMS: CGC Test – Schedule for 1st quarter of 2011

On Sunday, we tested 25 dogs and passed 10 of which 8 were Pit bull type dogs! The Coliseum Dog Class is the only location in South Los Angeles where the community can come out once every six weeks to test for Canine Good Citizenship Certification. Mark Tipton with Angel Dogs Training evaluated each every dog for four hours! Dogs that did not pass are welcome to come back and test again. Their owners left the park with “homework” so that next time their dog will pass! CGC is one more way we are keeping more dogs in their homes and out of the Shelter System.


Come out and support our program on the following dates:


Sunday, February 20th
and
Sunday, April 3rd


We are happy to report that our rescue partner, 
JANET COOK’s DAISY 
from 
passed her CGC Test!



CONGRATULATIONS DAISY!!!!!




More photos of our class members with their CGC dogs
Congratulations to everyone!












Please RSVP to Lori@modernica.net if you want to participate in our class.

We meet every Sunday at 9:30 at the entrance to the Coliseum (park in the Hoover lot) We accept all breeds of dogs but we specialize in working […]

LORI’S CORNER: Compton Dog Owners Are Thankful For Our Free Clinic



While everyone else was getting ready for a big Thanksgiving shopping weekend, the volunteers at Downtown Dog rescue and our mobile clinic team Angel Dogs Foundation were getting ready to spay/neuter a lot of dogs at East Rancho Dominguez Park. When I scheduled the clinic date I had second thoughts, what if no one shows up because of the holiday! I was really wrong! What was I thinking? We had two back to back crazy busy days where once again, we could not service all the dog owners who wanted the free service. We also had a lot of pit bull owners that I’m happy to report, none were turned away due to lack of space or aggression, all were done! Including a couple dogs that needed to be tranquilized in their owners’ cars, what a great team of techs and a great vet! 




We spayed/neutered a total of 67 dogs in a grand total of 24 hours, two back to back 12 hour days, in the freezing cold! At the end of each day, the dog owners were so thankful for the free service, including one woman who told me that she had survived cancer, was on disability and had just moved back to Compton to live with her mom who is a senior on a fixed income. Their little terrier means so much to them, they love her but they could not afford to vaccinate or spay her. They had seen our ad in the Pennysaver and like everyone else, out of work, on General Relief, Social Security, underemployed, they appreciate the fact that we were there for their pets. 



We will be back in the park to finish up our year of monthly Compton Community Dog Clinics on December 11th, surpassing our original goal of 688 dogs! We estimate that we will perform over 700 spay/neuter surgeries for the dog owners in the Compton Community.



LORI’S CORNER: Behind every Spay/Neuter Clinic are our sponsors

Last Saturday, we had another very successful Compton Community Dog Clinic. Our day was fully booked, of course, we always have a percentage of “no-shows” so we tell people to just show up and wait. The wait list was longer than the available slots, the dogs that we were not able to accommodate will be spayed/neutered at our next double day clinics on November 27th and 28th. The clinic on the 27th is being sponsored by Beth Shaw of Yoga Fit. She generously donated to pay for one complete day of spay/neuter surgeries so that we could accommodate everyone on our list. Angel Dogs Foundation will be our clinic provider that weekend. BARK reading dogs will be coming out on the 27th and we will have lots of giveaways and prizes!
There is always at least one dog at every clinic that is the highlight of our day. On Saturday, it was “Hercules” a Boston Bull Terrier – Pit bull Terrier mix. His owner had no proof of income, spoke no English and brought her daughter with her to translate. They walked up later in the day, when we were already full for the day. Renee the vet tech saw Hercules, opened the door, spoke to the owner in Spanish, came back and said, “Dr. Mori said we can do one more dog!” A dog like Hercules would probably never be neutered if our mobile clinic was not in the park. This is what the Compton Community dog clinic is all about. We are there the second Saturday of every month at East Rancho Dominguez Park on the corner of Atlantic and Compton Blvd from 7:00 AM until 5:00 PM offering free spay/neuter surgeries to Compton dog owners. To date, we have done almost 600 surgeries and will end our year at over 700 surgeries! If you would like volunteer, donate children’s reading /picture books, have new collars, leashes, dog toys to donate, please get in touch with me. We are always in need of giveaways for our Compton Clinic.

LORI’S CORNER: READY TO WORK



On Sunday, Cynthia Bathurst from Best Friends came out to watch our Coliseum Class and what a class she watched! 36 dogs, all walking, jumping, running and working, without any fights! This is a big deal since some of the dogs in the class have leash or dog aggression issues or both. From 9:30-11:30 or longer, every Sunday, Cornelius “Dog Man” Austin, leads us on a course that runs from Figueroa and MLK blvd over to Vermont and back to the entrance of the Coliseum. We run the dogs through what we call our “urban agility course” over cement benches, walls, relay races and so much more! It’s a great work out for all the dogs and their handlers, one that Clancy looks forward to every week.




Cynthia leads the Safe + Humane Chicago program that promotes responsible dog handling by youth leaders for the community of dog owners who may not be able to afford traditional dog training classes. She is considering bringing a chapter to Los Angeles, where some of our youth handlers, Edgar and Jordan are being considered as potential leaders for their communities. Edgar discussed the challenges that he faces on a daily basis with his dog Queenie, living in Hawthorne where he is often approached by people who want to know if he is interested in fighting Queenie. Jordan lives near Crenshaw and has raised and trained his dog Pretty since she was a puppy. His goal is to become a professional dog training. A program sponsored by Best Friends in communities like South LA, Compton, Watts, Hawthorne, possibly Inglewood and Carson would do so much to prevent dog fighting, irresponsible breeding and animal cruelty! Stay tuned for more exciting information!




LORI’S CORNER: WORKING WITH PRECIOUS

Working with a dog like Precious, reminds me that every new dog needs time to adjust, get healthy and settle into our rescue before I make a judgment call about what each dog will be or not be. It’s been almost a year, coming up next month, that I rescued Precious from her chain in a back yard in South Central Los Angeles. We had received a call from her owner, asking for help getting his dog spayed. I went over to pick her up and what I found was poor Precious, with a huge pad lock chain around her neck, about 3 feet of heavy duty chain, attached to a tree trunk, no shelter, no water and apparently no food. She weighed about twenty pounds the day we walked into Dr. Shipps Animal Hospital run by the Amanda Foundation. Covered in fleas and ticks, she cowered in the corner of the vet’s office as we waited for Dr. Stein to come in and give her an exam. He was really mad, telling me that if I planned on taking the dog back he would definitely report the owner. I was supposed to take her back but of course, we did not.

Precious went to live with Dog Man for about a month. He treated all of her open sores, fed her well and won her trust until she was strong enough to come and live at our kennel. She had no connection to me or any of the dogs. Billy and I were extremely cautious about introducing her to dogs because she had a lot of scars, was missing one of her toes and had tears on her ears that sure looked like the result of a lot of fighting. We took things really slow with her and I estimated that she might be the type of dog that would do best in a home with no other dogs. She never showed any aggressions but also didn’t show any interest in playing. This went on until one day we put her in the yard with Clancy. It was love at first sight! If there ever were two dogs that loved each other in our rescue, this was the pair. Several months later, she is out with most all of our dogs every morning and every evening. There are some dogs that we do not put her out with, Freeway is the number one “bad match” but I get that. In fact, those two ladies hate each other so we just keep them separate.


Precious goes to work and home with me every day and loves to ride in the car. […]