Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jacob plays ball!

As the pictures bear witness, red boy Jacob appears to be a ball dog!

Carol -- An appreciation of an "ordinary dog"

Volunteers have grown to adore this dear dog over her months at the shelter. She may appear to be a bit ordinary compared to the young, small, cute pooches who arrive at the shelter and then head into new homes. However, Carol truly sparkles with her wide smile and genuine appreciation for the attention given to her by volunteers.

We expect she didn't have the best of life before arriving at the shelter... Our guess is that she spent most of her life so far as a "breeder" churning out puppies for some misguided owner. Indeed, her extended nipples are hard to miss as she trots happily down the path in the park. Okay, so she's not "beautiful" in the show dog sense... but we don't care. The joy that she exhibits when volunteers spend time with her makes her one of the most beautiful dogs we've ever met. We can only hope that a good-hearted adopter comes along and decides to do a good thing, the right thing, whatever you want to call it, and gives this deserving pooch a chance at new life in a secure and loving home.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve visit from a favorite doggie

Tis the season to be merry and that we were when Shante stopped by with former bacs doggie Ollie. He was looking dashing and cheery in his holiday collar and was sooo excited to greet everyone. Shante dropped off a holiday treat for staff. Thank you to her for bring Ollie into her life and out of the shelter which was beginning to wear on him.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Inception of the Dog Run: Summer 2006

On a hot day in summer, with rakes, shovels, gloves, garbage bags and a great big pile of woodchips (and an iced cooler of cold sodas), a couple of dedicated volunteers went to work to create a dog run out of an abandoned CalTrans space underneath the University Avenue overpass. After hours of clearing away debris and replacing it with the soft woodchips, the dog run was born. Jabali brought out Cookie to initiate it, and initiate it, she did (see action photos above taken by former BACS photographer Rob). Thank you, Rachel for the idea. Thank you BACS for agreeing to it. Thank you to Amelia and my fellow volunteers for making it a reality on that hot day in 2006. It is because of all of you that the dogs now have a place to get to know one another; to rough-house and play; to run with abandon, unleashed; and to get a respite from the noisy shelter on a rainy day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Big Dog Adoptions and Favorites to Foster

I'm pleased to report that our two biggest dog residents have both found homes recently. Sarge and Ichiban have both left the building!



Also, long-term shelter dogs and volunteer favorites, Daphne & Chica (now named Angel) are happily enjoying a post-shelter life in fabulous foster homes. They were rescued by Home At Last Animal Rescue. Thanks to foster mom Lizzie who has Daphne and previously fostered several other BACS dogs including Bouncy who has since found his forever home.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Carol & Pip: Unlikely pair do well

So Gina and I met up to take some pooches out yesterday. The obvious choices were not available (Gable at the vet, Shyla just spayed) so we had to be creative. I knew Pip is a submissive nice boy but which girl dog could we use? I was keen to see how Carol would do. She'd been labeled dog reactive but I'd see her go into play mode out on walks around other dogs. I thought we might as well see how'd she do because then we'd know!

I'm pleased to report that it was quite civilized. They weren't bigtime players but they had their moments including chasing a ball together, playing tug-of-war and sitting together for treats. The only time it got a bit hectic was when Pip tried to hump Carol (very politely really). She let him know that wasn't okay and on they went. It was a pleasure to see.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gable: One Swell Pooch

Gable is simply a really nice dog. He's so loving, responsive to training (and treats) and friendly with other pooches he has met. I couldn't resist giving him some time in the office this afternoon. He was more than happy to lay on my lap and let me stroke his lean body. He basically melts in your lap. I do hope he finds a home soon where they can appreciate his many appealing qualities!

Gable and Lia: Good Walking Buddies

These two young dogs are quite a well-matched pair. They clearly enjoyed their walk together and sat companionably for treats when asked.

Pretty in Pink and Purple

In between the rain downpours, a few dogs were able to exit the shelter for a walk including these two cuties.

Could she possibly be cuter?
Lorna looking adorable in her purple raincoat.

Athena is sleek and elegant.

Sweet Shyla Steps Out!

Shyla arrived at the shelter recently and has been quite shy and scared in her kennel. She would sit in the corner and come forward to accept treats before returning to a more distant perch. Poor girl. We're happy to report that on Saturday she was coaxed out of her kennel and into the world outside. Even better, she spent some time behind the counter with staff, volunteers and pooch Onslow and was finally able to relax and play.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Look who got adopted this past week!

Three of our favorite pooches found their forever homes (paws crossed) this holiday season. Good cheer all around.

Elliott is now living with a couple who take him hiking in Tilden and say "they're lucky to have him." Elliott is such a lovable, well-mannered boy, we're not surprised.

Jelly now shares a home with two small dogs and a mom who plans to take him running with her. She looked at 9 shelters before deciding Jelly was the one for her.

We wish more pit bulls were adopted as quickly as Barry White! He was with us for only a couple of weeks. His new person plans "to take him with him everywhere." This good natured pooch will no doubt love to be along for the ride!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Santa says "Spay or Neuter Your Pet!"

That's Santa Melvin on the phone extolling the virtues of spay/neuter to a caller who was concerned about all the "marking" his un-neutered male was doing. I'm happy to report the caller was convinced and a vet appointment is in the works. Go Santa!

All the while, Shelter Elf Madu kept the lobby crowds at bay as they eagerly awaited a chance to talk with Santa too.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Report from another shelter

Entrance to the shelter in its 1950's building glory

Hills right behind the shelter

Resident chicken Larry and his new, as yet unamed girlfriend

Very sweet pooch that I walked and I hope was adopted before her time was up

Last weekend I stopped by the Fairmont Animal Shelter in Castro Valley to visit some of my friends from my dogwalking days there. I volunteered there when I was living in San Leandro prior to my move back to Berkeley. I was part of a quite small but very dedicated group of dog walkers. We showed up weekend, after weekend and even holiday mornings. It was a special pleasure to start off my Christmas day by getting several dogs out for a quick jaunt! The shelter is located in a fairly remote location above 580 near Lake Chabot. There is lots of open space and very little foot traffic (runners only really).

Re-visiting the Fairmont was a keen reminder of just how different municipal animal shelters can be. The shelter there is much smaller with only 30 kennels. The kennels fill up regularly and dogs are euthanized solely due to lack of kennel space. The day I was there five dogs had been ptd the day before. As with most shelters, pit bulls make up a large percentage of the animal intake and a large percentage of the animals that are euthanized. Sigh. Here's a quick list of some interesting differences between BACS and the Fairmont

  • Dogs are walked on slip leashes (no prongs/chokes etc). I suppose the remote location and minimal interaction with others makes this possible
  • A dog that is there for over a month is considered a "long-termer." I think 2 months was the longest I remember a dog being there before adoption/ptd.
  • Volunteers attend one orientation/tour and are then free to walk dogs. No special handling instructions is given
  • There is a volunteer office which usually has around 20 cats running around free in it (Friends of the Fairmont)
  • There are usually several chickens roaming around outside the shelter.
  • Volunteers do all the animal feeding. Friends of the Fairmont manage the feeding schedule. There are volunteers who have been a regular feeder for years!
  • For some reason they have a large number of people who do obligatory community service there each weekend. I'm sure the staff love not having to clean the kennels!

Finally, during my recent visit there was one rather unusual incident. I was sitting in the dog run and I noticed a policeman was leaving the shelter with a young female pit bull. I thought that odd, wondering why he'd have the dog. I noticed that he brought the pooch over to his squad car and opened the door. After that I stopped paying attention. Ten minutes later as I was walking back to the shelter I saw that the police car now had both doors open and the policeman was standing there with the dog looking very frustrated. I walked into the shelter to return the dog I was walking and asked the staff what the deal was with the cop. "Oh, he's just pissed off because he doesn't want to take what he called a vicious dog in his car." Apparently, the dog was from a district which the Fairmont doesn't serve. The cop was told to pick up the dog because the shelter was full and the kennel space was needed.

Curious, I walked outside and went over to the car. I asked if needed any help. He said "yes." I took the dog's leash, pet her and told her was a good dog she is. She was a young, sweet little dog who was simply nervous about jumping into the back of an unknown car. She was showing no signs of aggression. To the contrary. I reached down, picked her up and put her in the back of the car with no problem whatsoever. It initially made me quite sad to think that this young cop was *afraid* of this dog simply because of its breed. He probably would have just shoved a nippy shepherd in the back of his car without much thought. Whatever the case, he did express appreciation for my assistance (which he was no doubt too embarrassed to ask for) and I can only hope that the sweetness of this particular pittie pooch will make him re-think his assumptions.

BTW, my friends from the Fairmont started their own rescue organization "Four Paws" which specializes in small dog rescue. They have had many great successes in only two years as a group. Check out their website (which I manage ;-): Four Paws.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Frolics

Gina and I had a great time with two successful doggie pairings over at the dog run today. The pooches had a FABULOUS time... pictures below capture just a bit of the enthusiasm!

Jelly & Lorna

Daphne & Barry White