Animal Tracks Spring 2011 - Summer 2011
Below you can find additional content to accompany the articles in this issue.
Duke the Therapy Dog (pg 15)
Take a closer look at this special team.
Taking their work home (pg 21)
More stories from Animal Humane Society staff and their adopted pets
Cat Wisecup, Veterinary Technician, Golden Valley
Rusty was sick when he came into the shelter. He was so skinny and didn’t want to eat. I started hand-feeding him three times a day, but he wasn’t getting any better so I asked to bring him home as a foster dog.
During his medical exam, I noticed that he had a wound on the top of his muzzle. Then, when I looked in his mouth, I saw the other side of the hole — it went all the way through! No wonder he hadn’t been eating.
I took him home so he could gain weight for surgery. During that time he saw Veterinarian Dr. Razz, a specialty surgeon who donates her time to Animal Humane Society, to determine what was going on with his muzzle. He eventually gained weight and was brought back to the shelter to be neutered and to close the hole in his muzzle.
Today, Rusty is a happy and gentle one-year-old pup. He’s great in all kinds of situations and we’re thinking about training him to be a therapy dog.
Beth Daas, Veterinary Technician, Golden Valley
I remember meeting Tonka when he came in for his exam and behavior evaluation. He was amazing... actually, he was hard to evaluate because all he wanted to do was cuddle or roll on his back for belly rubs! I decided right then to call my husband.
We had recently lost our dog Sony to old age and felt our family was no longer complete. My husband Chris and my three-year-old son Marcus came to visit Tonka. He was great with both of them. We adopted him and he fit right into our home.
Tonka was a little rambunctious with our other pets, but he listened well when we told him to be gentle. We had some typical puppy issues — chewing, digging, etc., but were able to work through all of his behavioral trouble spots. He gave us a health scare too! Tonka tested positive for heartworm last spring, but with the help of our family veterinarian it was successfully treated. We now go to the dog park several times a week and he loves to take power naps on "his" recliner. We are just so blessed to have found such a wonderful boy with a loving and delightful personality.
Heather Kirris, Operations Supervisor, Buffalo
I first met Annabelle on my third day of working here. I have worked and volunteered at humane societies for quite some time and have never been swayed by a black lab puppy.
On day three my whole world changed. I was walking the kennels, familiarizing myself with the animals on the floor when I saw a cute puppy with an interesting looking face. I bent down for a closer look and found that she was winking at me! Looking more closely, I saw she had only one eye. I started to walk away, but then she stuck out her little paws. There was something different about this puppy, something in her hopeful little face.
I am smart enough to know that when you work at a shelter and your heart strings start to tug the best thing to do is to walk away. So I did. And then my break rolled around. No one else had visited her and I felt bad for the little one-eyed puppy, so I figured a quick cuddle wouldn’t hurt.
I brought her into a visitation room and then she did it — she crawled into my lap. She let me cradle her like a baby and she looked up into my eyes and I just knew she was special.
The next day I decided to adopt her and she has been lighting up my life ever since. She is the most charming dog I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She enchants everyone. When my little brother in Tennessee asked me for a picture, I mailed one to him. He called me up saying, in a deep southern drawl, “Heatha, she looks jus’ like she’s winkin’ at me.”
Laurie Brickley, Vice President of Marketing & Communications
I adopted my golden retriever Lucky at AHS seven years before I joined the staff. It was a snowy night in January of 2001 and my husband and I were among a handful of people looking at dogs. I saw this beautiful and sweet golden retriever. When we met in the “get acquainted” room, he put both of his front paws up on my shoulders and licked my face. That was it. We named him Lucky because he was lucky and we were even luckier.
It is very hard for me to imagine my life without this sweet, wise gentleman now with the distinguished white face. It is because of Lucky that I made a career change four years ago. After I adopted him I became aware of all the work that AHS does and I had such respect for the organization.
Lucky not only opened the door for me to do work that I love everyday for such a great cause but he also opened my heart. He is my Lucky charm.
Julie Lundberg, Boarding Associate at Animal House
In June I lost my whippet mix Jackson to cancer. Needless to say I was heartbroken and so was my other dog Jasper, who became very depressed. For his sake, I knew I needed to get another dog soon. One day a little brindle pit bull mix came in from Oklahoma and I spent time with him and just knew he was the right one. I took him home and named him Oaklee. He and Jasper hit it off and they are best friends.
He has turned out to be everything I wanted in a dog and more. When he is happy, he just doesn't wag his tail, he wags his whole body! He attends training classes at AHS and my ultimate goal is for him to become a therapy dog.
Susanne Wollman, Trainer
Rocky was brought in as a stray when he was eight weeks old. After being held for five days to allow time for his owners to find him, the training department began working with him to see if he could overcome his food aggression. Over the following weeks he also worked with adoption preparation volunteers to gain socialization skills before moving into a new home.
I have volunteered for nearly six years and this is the first dog I fell in love with. I was very impressed with Rocky and his calm behavior. I had not lived with a puppy since I was six years old, so I thought long and hard about adopting him. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. He is such a lovely boy and made me smile, helping me to overcome my grief of having to euthanize my first dog several months after adopting Rocky. He could make me smile on days when nothing else could.
Jenny Schultz, Customer Service, St. Paul
I had been an employee at the St. Paul shelter for only a few months when a group of dogs came in from a cruelty case. There was one dog in particular that stood out to me and was really special. Because he was so shy and fearful, Champ went home with one of our foster volunteers for a few months.
Champ was ten months old when he returned to the shelter. When I heard he was ready for adoption, I realized that was it — he was meant to be my dog. Although he was still extremely fearful, adopting him was the greatest decision I have ever made in my life. Champ is one of the most wonderful creatures on this Earth and I have enjoyed being able to help him through his fears and just being there when he panics so he knows everything is okay.
Champ is now three years old and a healthy 80 pounds and I love every ounce of him. He is fantastic with my family and friends and loves children. He is the king of the household and my life revolves around him.
Renee Fosler, Animal Technician, Golden Valley
I met my Jimmy kitty on my first day of work at the Coon Rapids site. He came into the shelter with an unusual friend — a pot bellied pig! Jimmy is quite unusual himself as he is an oriental shorthair cat with a very loud meow and lots to say. Despite his gregarious personality, Jimmy had to overcome many obstacles before becoming a part of my family. He was very underweight, treated for ear mites and a respiratory infection, needed to be sterilized and had to have several teeth extracted.
When Jimmy came back from his foster home I brought him home right away. He quickly found a new “pig” friend in my Jack Russell terrier, Indy. The two cuddle and play together and their antics are a constant source of entertainment. I feel so fortunate that in one day I was able to start a rewarding new career at AHS and find a new family member.
Dawn Killen-Courtney, Receptionist
In October 2007 my husband and I lost both of our dogs well before their time to different illnesses, and within a month of each other. We were so lost and devastated we didn’t know what to do, but we agreed we weren’t going to be looking for another dog — except, I was.
Every day I scanned the AHS website. One day I saw a little pit bull mix, who was then called Shari. I called my husband Richard to the computer and asked, “What do you think?” He thought we should go see her, so we did. In my memory, the dog kennel that night seemed a sea of black Lab mixes. Among them was the spice colored little dog who sat with her head hanging.
We named her Bree and she became part of our household. She busies herself looking after us two humans, thoroughly dominating a poodle twice her size, and keeping an eye on the two cats.
She had a life before us. She was found wandering the streets of Minneapolis, something that must have been very frightening for her at times. I remain ever thankful to the compassionate woman who brought her in from the cold and to AHS.
Hillary Cleveland, Customer Service Lead, Woodbury
Ben was first brought in after being found in a storage unit with another dog. Once he was adopted he was brought back to the shelter two days later because he was too timid and had problems with submissive urination. He was also limping heavily. The adopters told us that he had jumped off their couch and may have sprained his ankle.
After healing in a foster home, Ben returned to the shelter and was adopted again. He came back a short time later because his new owner was going to have surgery and didn’t have anyone to care for Ben during his recovery. This time Ben had a cast on his leg and was very scared. The adopter also noted the submissive urination problem. It was at that exact moment I knew I wanted to give Ben a stable home.
We’ve spent a lot of time helping him gain his confidence back. He was terrified of men and would urinate when they came near him. He is now housetrained and has not had any submissive accidents for a few months. All Ben needed was a stable home where his owners would work with him and give him the love he needed.