By Alyssa Schor
They’ll entertain you – and each other.
Pandora and Prime will chase each other around and take turns hiding and popping out from under the bed, said Helen Bodron, the dogs’ most recent foster.
“They bring out the silly side in each other,” Helen said. “These two – they’re guaranteed to entertain you. Every day they make me laugh with their antics.”
The pair of pit bulls arrived to City Dogs Rescue from Smyth County, Va. in early January 2015, after the owners had to surrender because they could no longer afford to keep the dogs. Many wonderful people stepped up to foster this duo, including Megan Blevins in Smyth County before they came to DC. Mary Clare Gumbleton and Jaime Gracia have hosted them twice, and Julie Tankersley has also cared for them twice now while their foster families have had travel plans.
Helen, the dogs’ current “long-term foster” previously had a brother and sister dog in her home for 15 years and has been an amazing foster to these siblings.
“I’m a big fan of having two dogs that are companions for each other,” she said.
Pandora and Prime adjusted to their new environment very well and quickly, Helen said. They came from “good, loving homes”; they’re completely housebroken, well trained, obedient and adaptable to their surroundings.
“They’ve never been mistreated, and it shows in their demeanors,” Helen said. “They’re truly happy and fun-loving. They’re just brimming with personality.”
The dogs are very active. They enjoy going for long walks, running around and playing with each other in the yard.
“If you love fast walks, they’re a great personal trainer that way,” Helen said.
But for as “rambunctious” as they can be, Helen said once Pandora and Prime are told to settle down, they become very calm. They love to snuggle – sometimes when they’re sleeping, Prime will put an arm or paw around Pandora.
“They’re so loving and sweet,” Helen said.
Because they’re a bonded pair, Helen said people can be intimidated by the idea of adopting two dogs at once – but shouldn’t be. From experience, she said having two dogs that are already companions can be easier than having one dog.
“The responsibilities are the same,” Helen said. “You can easily do that with two as you can with one. Having two doesn’t take any more time out of your day.”
With Pandora and Prime, it’s also easier to keep them entertained, she said, because they spend so much time with each other – and in a way, that takes some burden off the owner.
“They can entertain each other in ways that the owner never can,” she said.
Helen said people are also hesitant to adopt pit bulls because they think the dogs will need strict discipline – but not Pandora and Prime.
“They’re not high maintenance dogs,” Helen said. “These dogs don’t need a real disciplinarian.”
The ideal owner, Helen said, would be calm when giving any discipline. The ideal owner would also be an active person with a big, fenced-in yard.
But no matter who they’re with, Pandora and Prime will display lots of fun and affection.
“They’re so deserving of a loving home because they give so much love,” Helen said. “Once they adjust, I can’t imagine any owner who wouldn’t be pleased and thrilled to have these two dogs.”
Helen said she would be happy to speak about her experiences with any potential adopter who contacts CDR. For more information on how to adopt Pandora and Prime, visit http://www.citydogsrescuedc.org/adopt.html.
By Alyssa Schor
When animal control officers found Trinity, a stray mixed-breed dog, they couldn’t believe she was still alive.
She was taken to the Smyth County Animal Hospital in Smyth County, Va., where the vet evaluated her and gave her body condition the lowest score possible. While on stray hold, Trinity received care and began gaining weight and building more strength. But when her hold time was up in March 2015, she was to return to the shelter to be euthanized.
The vet and his staff told us about how wonderful this girl was. She used every ounce of the little energy she had to wag her tail and give soft kisses when she saw her caretakers. We decided to step in and take over her care. We couldn’t stand the thought of her being put down after all the progress she had made.
“It’s a tough call to take a dog in that poor shape,” said Hilary Kline, Trinity’s foster. “I figured she must be one incredible dog.”
While still in Virginia, the vets noticed that one of Trinity’s hind legs was badly broken and needed amputated. Many of CDR’s donors stepped up to help fund her surgery, and the amputation took place in early April.
“It was a really phenomenal thing to see how many people came together to get this dog well,” Hilary said.
On Mother’s Day, Trinity arrived to CDR and moved into Hilary’s home. She already had another dog she had previously adopted from CDR.
“I was worried that no one else would,” Hilary said about why she decided to foster Trinity. “The pictures of her were just heartbreaking.”
At first, Hilary said she had to be careful about giving Trinity food and supplements, as gaining too much weight too quickly would add stress to the dog’s body. Trinity’s skin, Hilary said, “felt like porcupine quill” – it was thin and rough. A scar from the amputation had begun to heal, but she still had gaping wounds.
After about a week in the home, Hilary said she noticed Trinity beginning to deteriorate and become more lethargic – but the vets said they couldn’t find signs of any other condition.
On Memorial Day, one of the wounds – 1.5 inches deep – opened up. For almost a week, Trinity had to be sedated each day while vets cleaned out the wound, packed it with gauze, gave her strong antibiotics and later placed a suture on top.
Despite all the procedures, Trinity kept a great spirit.
“Even with all of that, she was always a great patient,” Hilary said. “She was never aggressive. I never saw her act out with everything she’s been through.”
One night in May, Laura McCutcheon’s 14-year-old daughter, Brynn, was researching adoptable dogs online. Brynn loves animals and wants to be a vet. She’d been asking the rest of the family for a while to adopt a dog or cat.
“We’re total dog people,” Laura said.
When Brynn saw a picture of Trinity, she knew that dog was the one.
“I was interested in one that might have trouble finding a home,” Brynn said.
Brynn and her dad sat down and filled out the adoption application that night.
“I was very hopeful that we would get to meet her, and we’re lucky we got to,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, but she’s so happy. It was like love at first sight.”
When the McCutcheons first met Trinity in early June, Brynn said the dog greeted them at the door with a big smile. Trinity was making significant improvements with all the care she’d been receiving. The amputation was already complete, her hair was growing again and she had gained most of her weight back.
“By the time we met her, we couldn’t believe it was the same dog,” Laura said.
The McCutcheons officially welcomed Trinity into their home on June 20, making her the 1,500th dog adopted from City Dogs Rescue.
“It really feels meant to be,” Laura said. “We didn't even know about CDR prior to finding Trinnie through an Internet search. We were amazed at the lengths this amazing organization took to help our sweet girl on her road to recovery. She has such a gentle but fighting spirit, so she deserves to be recognized as the 1,500th adoption!
Trinity joined the other family dog, Charlie, who had already been in the home almost 10 years. Brynn said the two dogs get along well.
The family is still helping Trinity build strength in her back leg. Laura said they still have to carry her up most of the staircase.
“She just has this absolute resilience,” Laura said.
But Trinity is now completely house trained, and she can chew on bones and grasp things with her paw – something Laura said she hasn’t been able to do for a long time.
“It’s incredible how much she adapted,” Laura said.
Both Laura and Brynn agree that because of everything she went through, Trinity is truly grateful to now live in a loving home.
“You can just tell she appreciates being here and having a place to sleep and food to eat,” Brynn said. “She really does appreciate everything in her life because of the experience she had.”
Trinity is great with kids and loves when people come up and talk to her during walks. She loves to lie in bed and cuddle with people.
“She’s just been such a blessing,” Brynn said. “She’s been amazing to have around. It’s been totally life-changing.”
By Alyssa Schor
Sugar has one purpose in life: “to love her human.”
“She can't fight off any burglars, or pull you from a burning house, or call for help if you fall down a well,” said Nico Pandi, who’s been fostering the Chihuahua since February, “but she will give you her full and unconditional love beyond any other dog.”
She’s happiest when sleeping on someone’s lap while a person reads a book or uses the computer. If someone goes outside, rides in a car or naps on the couch, Sugar wants to join.
“If you get up and leave the room, she will follow close behind to ensure a moment doesn't go by that she's not with you,” Nico said.
Sugar was first rescued from Smyth County, Va. in November 2014. Nico was originally supposed to foster another dog, but that dog got sick shortly before the transport. He was happy to foster Sugar instead.
Nico’s had other foster dogs. He describes his experience with Sugar as “fantastamazing.”
“There isn't a word in the English language that fully encapsulates the experience of fostering Sugar,” he said.
In December, Sugar was adopted. But it didn’t work out with the children in the family, so she was returned a couple months later.
“She doesn't like a lot of action, so hyper or overly-playful dogs or small children will disturb her,” Nico said.
Sugar enjoys peanut butter, walks, belly scratches and being cute. Nico said he likes how she stands up on her hind legs when she wants to be picked up, and how she rolls onto her back when she wants a tummy rub.
What really stands out about Sugar, Nico said, is how she sticks her “silly” tongue out the side of her mouth.
“People who meet her for the first time can't help but laugh when they see it,” Nico said. “Even though I've had her for months and see it on a daily basis, I still smile when I look at her while she is sleeping and see the tongue sticking out.”
In addition to taking Sugar to numerous CDR adoption events, Nico also tries to bring her outdoors, or to anywhere he goes that might be pet-friendly.
“I put her little pink 'adopt me' bandana on and bring a small stack of CDR business cards to hand out to people who mentioned how cute she is - and there inevitably are a bunch of those,” he said.
Nico also reaches out to his friends and colleagues, hoping he will hear of someone interested in adopting a dog.
“Even if they don't want Sugar specifically, I am happy to introduce CDR to them with the hope that another dog can be rescued,” he said.
Alexis Segal was a temporary foster for Sugar during the second week of June 2015. She said once Sugar got to know her, the dog became very relaxed and behaved well in her presence.
“She is shy at first and loves her person,” Alexis said, “but once you're it, she is the ultimate companion - and her little fun and spunky personality comes out.”
For more information on how to adopt Sugar, including how to apply for adoption, visit http://www.citydogsrescuedc.org/adopt.html.
1. Safety at home: If you take your dog to a picnic, be sure to bring him or her home before you go to the fireworks. Check gates, doors, fences and other areas that a dog could escape to make sure that everything is secure, especially if you are having company or a party. Inspect your dog’s collar, leash and harness to make sure they are fitted properly, strong and secure.
2. Safety while out: Lots of strangers are out on the Fourth of July, so be aware of your surroundings if you take your dog to a new neighborhood. Keep a tight grip on your dog’s leash! This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's so easy to slip up. A minor distraction when you are out with your dog, like a small noise or something blowing in the wind, could startle your dog and cause him or her to bolt. When walking your dog, hold the leash securely by putting your hand through the loop and wrapping some of the length around your wrist to prevent dropping it.
3. Activity helps: Get your dog plenty of exercise before a party or fireworks start. Take your dog for a long walk or romp in the dog park before your company comes over, or before your community fireworks are slated for the evening. Tire your dogs out so they will not have to go to the bathroom while you're out at the fireworks. A hike is a good option for the Fourth because the trail may be less crowded than your neighborhood. This will also make them more likely to fall asleep rather than bark through the fireworks.
4. Calm in the crate: If your dog likes his or her crate, then put it in a quiet, relaxing place. Fill it with toys and treats; soothing music could help too. If your dog does not yet use a crate, today is not the day to begin crate training!
5. Chewing as distraction: Give your dog a special toy to play with at night. If your dog doesn't like toys, consider buying a nice bone for him or her to chew on while home alone. Chewing helps naturally calm your dog's nerves.
6. Stay hydrated: Keep your dog hydrated. Dehydration during the fireworks will amplify the anxiety they are feeling.
7. Keeping calm: Close windows, doors and curtains so your dog is less distracted by passersby and fireworks. This will also muffle extra noise. Set up a comfortable spot in a quiet room or crate - if you have company coming and going your dog may easily slip out. Shut the windows, turn on the air conditioning and some background noise before leaving for fireworks. If a Thunder shirt, Rescue Remedy or other medication works during a storm, you may need to suit your pet up or medicate them prior to the rockets' red glare.
8. Keeping tabs on your dog: Dogs can easily slip out of fenced yards. Double check that your dog is wearing his or her tags and collar, and make sure the dog is microchipped and that the microchip is up to date. Your dog should have the collar on at all times, especially if you going to bring him or her along for any festivities.
9. Have a plan: If you are out and about, make sure your family has a plan for the dog if he gets nervous around loud noises. Everyone should be aware of where the dog should be and for how long. This avoids a situation where someone accidentally lets the dog out in the yard after dusk.
The best prevention is to leave your dog at home, since crowds, explosions and everything else associated with the parades and fireworks on the Fourth is often too much for dogs.
Should your dog get out, immediately contact CDR (202) 567-7364. It doesn't matter if you are fostering, you’ve recently adopted or you've had your pup a long time. If he or she gets loose, call for help immediately!
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties volunteers.