4:50 p.m. Sunday: Just enough time to take Sparkle and Trixie, aka “The Girls,” for a walk before starting on shelter dogs marked as housebroken. But first I need to go outside and clean up the remnants of dog food that Kane had regurgitated.
Two men walking Dottie, a leggy Jack Russell Terrier mix, hover on the sidewalk. “Have you ever walked this dog?” one asks. I reply yes. “How is she with other dogs?” They have a Jack Russell Terrier, they explain. I say she looks comfortable with other dogs on the grounds but they would need to bring their dog in for staff to assess the two dogs’ compatibility.
They want me to take her back in, and oh, could they see the Chihuahua Vandenbosch next? In goes Dottie. I greet Vandenbosch, a cute long-haired blond, and bring him outside. As I am holding the leash, he lifts his leg, stops, and then lefts the other leg.
I sidestep, just in time, and pass the leash to the nearest man. No, they don’t want to walk the dog. (Harrumph. Well, at least he got outside for a bathroom break.)
A woman with a boy follows me as I slip Vandenbosch back into his kennel. “Do you like that dog?” the woman asks the boy. He favors Copper, a 6-month-old Labrador Retriever mix. “Can we walk Copper?” the mother asks.
I pass by The Girls as I hunt for Copper’s kennel. Seeing me approach, they begin prancing. “Sorry, girls,” I say, promising that I will be back for them.
Copper … I know his name came up in an email. What were his special instructions? I check his kennel paperwork, which says he was taken in by cruelty officers and surrendered by his owners. I warn the woman that he probably will need some training. No leash hangs from his kennel.
I ask them to wait while I check our dog walker logs and boards. Ahh, Copper! One of the few dogs that only staff and Head Start trainers can walk. He needs to have a metal leash, so he must have a biting the leash issue.
I return, and tell the woman I should accompany them on the walk. As I enter his kennel, he jumps around me – not unusual for a young dog. Boing boing. I hook my hand into his collar and manage to latch the leash.
Outside the kennel, the woman tells me she has changed her mind. I look at Copper, who is doing his best to stay in a sit. He looks at me, pleasepleaseplease.
“I will need to take him out,” I say. “It is not fair, once he has the leash on. He’s expecting to go for a walk.”
Out we go, both of us happy to escape the kennel. Copper makes a play for the metal leash; I strong-arm him. Actually, I find him to be pretty easy to control. Our walk is brief, with me apologizing to Copper as we head back toward the entry door.
In my periphery, I see a couple standing before a kennel, their body language saying “help.” I pause; I could ignore them but … “Can I help you?” I ask. They are interested a young Pitbull mix. I ask if they have filled out any paperwork. No, they say, so I explain the process and send them back to the lobby.
Finally, The Girls and I get out, head through a gate and go off the shelter grounds. Once back, I see the couple has the Pit in a visiting room. I stop and check on them. It is close to closing, but a staffer agrees to let them take the youngster outside for a few minutes. I encourage them to return on Monday and take a longer spell with him on the leash.
That was last Sunday, Oct. 16. There were so few adoptions that I did not take a picture of the adoption board: too bleak. This weekend was much better. Here are the results between then and Oct. 23. ©