Abandoned Pups Become Therapy Pets
By Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY
Volunteers raced to the scene and found five cocker spaniel mixes, maybe 8 weeks old, whining in the bone-grinding cold. They were scooped up and placed overnight in makeshift but warm accommodations, and the next morning, because the city shelter isn't puppy-appropriate, the pet rescue contacted one 35 miles away, which agreed to take the pups. The rescue worker and her daughter loaded them up for the journey.
They stopped at the Spring Valley Retirement Community, where the daughter works, so she could tend to a quick errand. The young woman took a puppy inside to show to residents she knew to be dog lovers and soon returned to the car, where the rescue worker awaited with the other four, to take them in, too. The residents were thrilled to have pups to fuss over and had plenty to say about the heartless person who had sentenced the wee ones to death by freezing.
As word of the visitors spread, the community room filled. One woman made her way to a chair near the puppies, and "I could tell she yearned to reach for one," she says. When one was placed on her lap, "her eyes just sparkled as she cradled the puppy, who sighed contentedly and dozed." The woman whispered to the puppy and murmured to people seated nearby.
Facility administrator Janet Woodruff motioned the rescue worker aside and whispered that the woman holding the puppy was new to the facility, hadn't spoken much and had kept to herself.
Soon Woodruff was asking if the facility might be allowed to foster two puppies, and after discussing details about feeding, exercising and cleanup — with other staff members eagerly joining in — agreements were made.
The head nurse then piped up. She asked to adopt a puppy for her family. The rescue worker explained that process and agreed to drop off paperwork soon — one for an adoption, two for foster care.
Suddenly Woodruff approached again. She shook her head and told the rescue worker fostering just wasn't possible. "My heart stopped," she says. "I thought she must have decided it was too much responsibility."
"We can't foster them, but we WILL adopt them as permanent residents," Woodruff said. She had been wanting a therapy dog for the facility, and eying the residents with the pups, she'd decided to grow her own.
So only two of the ditch dogs remained homeless that day, and they were driven to the shelter. Now the other three, just weeks later, are loved and settled.Source: http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/pets/2009-09-29-pet-talk-shelters_N.htm