Shelter Stories: A Mr.Frisky Blog

Things May Not Go As You Planned

(but they can work out anyway)

‚ÄčThis video clip is from the very first episode of Frasier. One of my favorite series of all time, part of which has to do with it's set in my hometown. What Roz says is very true - all she wanted was to be remembered - and she definitely achieved that although not at all in the way she'd planned.

But it worked out anyway.

That can happen with rescue work too, or adopting a pet. One day I went to the shelter to bring home a 1 year old Husky. I ended up coming home with a 15 year old dog with a dental infection and a lame leg, and an 11 year old dog that had been returned 3 times and was heartworm positive. 

It worked out anyway. 

And don't worry - the Husky had been adopted that morning before I got there. Sometimes you go to adopt a pet, and they are already adopted. Take a moment and look around and spend some time with the other animals; it might work out better than your original choice. This is also true when you adopt and it doesn't seem like it's working out. Maybe the dog or cat is not behaving as you thought (sometimes you can't tell by their behavior at a shelter versus in a home), and it's just not going as planned. Instead of immediately returning (and please never abandon, the shelter will take the animal back), get some information. Talk to the Shelter; they often have resources to help. Consult a trainer, or a Veterinarian.

When I first took in Mr.Frisky, a street cat I found dragging a turkey bone he was trying to knaw on because he was so hungry, it didn't exactly go as planned. He seemed so sweet and cuddly. In the house, he initially decided to climb the screens and howl, bite the buttons off my shirt when he got overexcited, and shred the rug next to the door to the garage (that I used to head to work every day) right down to the netted backing until I came home. Back then cat trainers and behaviorists were not very plentiful. So I consulted my Veterinarian. In addition to covers on the screens, learning the signs of him getting overexcited so I could put him on the floor with a toy mouse to bite instead (which he did), and replacing the rug at the entry with tile, I added a female cat to keep him company. For two weeks he hissed at her as she followed him around, sometimes turning around to whack her with a soft paw. After a couple weeks, he was letting her eat his food and grooming her. He stopped howling, stopped wanting to climb the screens, stopped shredding things when I was at work all day. I never once considered giving him up.

It worked out anyway.

I could go on and on with many more stories of trying to merge a new rescue when there were already 7 others in the house, dogs who initially wanted to chase and corner the cats, female cats who wanted to kill each other living in the same house (much like human females), very unexpectedly and in a hurry taking in 2 semi-ferals from a lady who'd been trying to feed them because her HOA President (who was also an Attorney) threatened to kill them.

It never went the way I planned, but it worked out anyway through the help of talking to others online, shelters, veterinarians, trainers. I've become really creative at problem solving (I should really write about all those solutions!). I've figured out things that made it work that surprised even me (cause I'm not that creative frankly). But I didn't do it in a vacuum; I reached out to resources and talked to everyone I could. I might not do exactly what they said, but it gave me information which I could then use to come up with the solution.

I hope you will do the same if you decide to adopt, foster or rescue and it doesn't go as you planned. It can work out anyway.