Staff and volunteers of the Elmbrook Humane Society will be blogging about what's going on at the society, as well as other observations about life in Wisconsin.
The mission of the Elmbrook Humane Society is to promote the human-animal bond through adoption and education, to provide shelter to homeless animals, and to prevent animal cruelty and neglect. EBHS services the city of Brookfield, the villages of Butler, Chenequa, Elm Grove and Nashotah, and the towns of Brookfield and Delafield. EBHS shelters unwanted pets and strays, and rescues injured domestic animals and wildlife, provides resources for individuals with companion animals and provides Humane Education to schools and civic groups.
Visit our web site at www.EBHS.org.
Puppy vs. Older Dog
If you are contemplating adoption of a rescued dog for your family, you have already taken a great first step. Now there are a number of questions remaining- what type of dog should I adopt? Male or female? What age?
Thoughts that cross my mind while walking dogs:
If it's winter- How long will it take me to get past the river and back, am I wearing enough layers, and will I slip, fall, and look ridiculous doing it.
The comment/question that most people make when they first walk into an animal shelter has to be "I don't know how you can work/volunteer here. It must be so depressing. I would want to take them all home." If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that I would be a very rich person indeed! The fun part is, I get to spend the next few minutes as we walk down the hallway towards the viewing area for the cats and dogs telling them that at Elmbrook - nothing could be further from the truth. Elmbrook Humane Society is a happy place. Sure the animal's stories might have started off a bit sad, but the happy endings more than make up for it. Everybody has a perfect fit - that's the great thing about Elmbrook. We draw a diverse group of generous, kind-hearted people ready to bring a pet into their homes. We find homes for all sorts of animals, young and old, healthy and special needs. Somebody is always somebody's special soulmate.
And as shelter workers and volunteers, we CAN'T take them all home - that's called hoarding. There is nothing better than seeing the pleasure and excitement in someone's eyes when they've found just the right fit for their lifestyle. At Elmbrook, sure, we love animals, but we especially love people because it's people that make it all happen - adopt the animals, donate the money and supplies and energize us when they send their Happy Tales for our bulletin board.
WHO NEEDS TRAINING? BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IF YOU WANT A WELL BEHAVED COMPANION, YOU JUST MIGHT!
One of the questions often asked of adopters is “Will you be taking your dog to obedience classes?” The answer often surprises me as most potential adopters answer the question with a confident "only if the dog needs it". As someone who has adopted several dogs and fostered hundreds, I can tell you that most dogs “don't need it” at all because they are VERY good at being dogs! They dig, bark, jump on people, potty in the house and do all the other “doggie" behaviors that sometimes drive us crazy and they do it all without training! However, most IGs we see in rescue are here because they outsmarted their last owner, didn't listen, jumped on people, barked, came IN the house to potty vs. freezing outside like a silly big dog, etc. In other words, they were masters at doing what they do best, being a DOG!! They need no class or training. It comes naturally! Dogs will be dogs and are quite happy doing so, however it's we humans that have a problem with some of their so “inappropriate behavior”. (Don't even get me started on poop eating, rolling in worms, humping and many other dogs behaviors we humans find intolerable)! So does your dog “NEED an obedience class?” Mostly likely if he could talk he would say "NO Way" but most humans I know do! Because it is we humans who want the dog to not only live in our world, but to behave the way WE think they should in our world, so it's up to us to train them how! We, the humans, need an obedience class to teach them these things!
They had me at "ugliest." I was compelled to watch the episode of Dogs 101 on Animal Planet in which they profiled the world's ugliest dogs. As the proud parent of a Neapolitan mastiff and English mastiff, my tastes in dog beauty definitely run to the large, wrinkly, slobbery ones! The Chinese crested and some other hairless dogs were discussed, and then they moved on to my favorite: the Neo! I heard once that the breed standard calls for the dog's appearance to create fear in the onlooker, but all it creates in me is the urge to rub behind the dog's ears and reach up under his lips to scratch his chin. The lips also make good handles for gently pulling the dog down for a kiss! When we adopted our Neo, Dozer, from Neo rescue, his foster mother told me that he gave gentle kisses, "although not everyone likes to be kissed by a Neo."
I've found that the dogs I think are the cutest at Elmbrook are ones that others may put on the ugly list. I love Staffordshire terriers and other pit bull mixes, dogs that get wrinkles on the top of their heads when they are confused or thinking hard, and dogs who need to have their water bowl rinsed out (due to slobber) rather than just refilled. Others may flock to the Labs or beagles or German shepherds, but these dogs are the ones that catch my fancy.
A few days later, when flipping through the channels, I saw there was a different show on Dogs 101. This time, they were focusing on the world's cutest dogs. I was about to change the channel when a new category of cutest dogs came up: so ugly they're cute. Now that's my kind of dog!
One of my favorite things to do is take dogs from the Elmbrook Humane Society to PetSmart in Brookfield. Adoptable dogs are at the store from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturdays (new dogs come at 1 p.m.). It's a great field trip for the dogs, who welcome the chance for a car ride, attention from lots of people, and the opportunity to meet other friendly dogs in the store. It gives them a break from the kennel at the shelter and provides lots of time to practice good dog and people social skills with a friendly volunteer. The Elmbrook station and dogs are located at the front of the store, so there's usually plenty of action with people coming in, checking out, and browsing through the merchandise that's near us. Once the dogs figure out that we're not going out the door even though it keeps opening in front of us, we're ready to say hi to anyone who comes in! Some people are dog lovers who can't have a dog for various reasons -- not home enough, not allowed by a landlord, family member's allergies -- but need to get their "dog fix." Some are people who came to do their shopping but were captivated by the dogs we brought and just had to come over and say hi. Still others are people who are actively looking for a dog to adopt. The great news for these people is that if they see a dog that they want to adopt, they can fill out the application right there at PetSmart and have it faxed over to the shelter. Because applications are evaluated in the order they are received, this saves their spot in line if other people are also applying to adopt the dog. They have an hour to either call the shelter or stop by to follow up on their application and find out what the next steps are. I love this chance to chat with fellow dog lovers about the adoptable dog and learn about the dogs in their lives. We get caught up talking about the canines who've captured our hearts -- and the dog who's available for adoption loves the chance to soak up some petting, meet some new dogs, and show off any commands he or she knows. So come see us at PetSmart! We'll be waiting for you.
It is always a happy time when a homeless pet finds their “forever home”. Sometimes, however, it seems the match was just meant to be. Such was the match I witnessed this week.