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'Unadoptable's make good up north

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pictured: Izzy - formerly Sasha - is now being trained as a service dog to assist his special needs friend. This almost "unadoptable" dog from Bandera County beat the odds and found a loving family in Iowa.

In animal shelters, once a dog is deemed "unadoptable," it's often just a short trip to the Rainbow Bridge. Fortunately, just ahead of being saddled with the dreaded "unadoptable" moniker, this bevy of bowsers from the Bandera County Animal Shelter found forever homes and families that cherish them.
These success stories illustrate that behavior dogs exhibit in a confined situation are not always indicative of their true characters and personalities.
Sasha, now Izzy
Sasha, a pocket Rottie mix that was featured in the Courier, resided in the Bandera Shelter for many months. Like many canines in that situation, she didn't always play nice with other dogs and "guarded" both her food and water bowls.
As Sandra Schott, community liaison for animal control, explained, "As pretty as she was, we just could not find the right home for Sasha," which brought her dangerously close to being labeled "unadoptable."
In Sasha's case, a trip north offered this deserving dog a chance to shine. Now this very special pup is in the a place where she can give love back.
After a one-week trial to ensure she could deal with medical equipment, including a ventilator necessary for a special needs child in the home, Sasha - now Izzy - has been officially adopted. And her new family is thrilled, describing her as "perfect" for them.
Izzy loves her three new kids and has proven to be comfortable with medical equipment. In fact, she's well on her way to becoming a service dog.
An email from the rescue organization, Patriots for Pets Rescue and Shelter, Inc., said in all: "It is amazing how well Izzy does, not only with the physically-challenged child but also the other two children. And she's apparently learning sign language.
"Izzy will sit with her head in the lap of the special needs boy, who uses a wheelchair. When he points at something, she will retrieve it. He calls her using his hands and Izzy comes to him. If she gets up on his wheelchair, he'll give her a 'thumbs down' gesture and she'll get down immediately."
It can't get better than that. Have a wonderful life, Izzy, and take good care of your kids.
Now another shelter success story, at one time, Pearl also found herself on the path to the Rainbow Bridge. Not only is she a big bully breed - an American bulldog with maybe some pittie and boxer thrown in for good measure - but she was also a climber.
Because Pearl constantly attempted to fly the coop, she was housed in a quarantine kennel equipped with a top. Oh, yeah, she didn't exactly walk well on a leash, either.
The one thing Pearl did have, however, was timing. Luckily she found her forever family just the day before she was to be classified as "unadoptable." And now, Pearl's living the good life in Palacios.
During last month's adoption event, a family with three young children fell in love with Pearl on the spot. After visiting with grandparents, who live in this area, they whisked Precious Pearl back to Palacios.
In the words of her adopted mom, "Pearl is absolutely amazing!! The whole family is in love with her and she even gets along with the cat! We live two blocks from the ocean and Pearl loved the water from the first moment. Now one of our favorite things is to walk her to the beach and play with her in the water.
"Pearl's also really great at playing fetch and has learned some simple commands really quickly like 'sit,' 'down' and 'drop it.' I could go on and on about her she is so wonderful."
You are one lucky dog, Pearl.
A third "unmanageable" dog at the county shelter was Wolfi. His favorite trick was destroying his kennel and scaring inmate work crews. It didn't help that Wolfi, a shepherd-husky mix, resembled - you guessed it! - a wolf. He also never wanted to go back into his cage.
As Schott noted, "Wolfi could be intimidating because when he stood on his hind legs, he looked you in the eye. His size alone was alarming but he really scared the inmates when he resisted going back in his cage."
Schott continued, "Of course no dog likes to go into a cage but things reach a different level when a dog that closely resembles a wolf tries to stand his ground."
Nevertheless, Wolfi was selected for a transport to Iowa. As of this writing, he's safe but still looking for his forever home. He was almost adopted last weekend, but the potential adopter feared Wolfi would be too big for the couple's 2 year old. However, Wolfi and an older brother fell in love immediately.
Here's the rescue's assessment of Wolfi: "We have discovered that one of his favorite things is children. Wolfi is very gentle and loving with them and snuggles up to give plenty of love."
According to the rescue, Wolfi doesn't have an aggressive bone in this body. "It's true he doesn't get along with other animals but there are plenty of one-animal homes available that would love to have a dog this sweet in their household."
Hang in there, Wolfi. We promise it won't be long before someone spots how gorgeous you are.
Rehab = Adopt
In Schott's opinion, Iowa's Pets for Patriots does a remarkable job bringing out wonderful qualities in the dogs pulled from Bandera County. "They manage to 'rehabilitate' and adopt out our pound pups in a matter of weeks. Is it a miracle or simply offering these dogs an opportunity for a new life?" she asked.
"Maybe it's a combination of a little bit of know how, compassion and hope that brings 'the dog' back into these unadoptable animals. Either way, it works and the proof is in the images of smiling children with their new best friends."
So, it's dogs, 3; unadoptables, 0. Not bad, not bad at all. Stay tuned for more success stories from the Bandera County Animal Shelter.