Have you ever thought about how hard it must be to work at a shelter as an animal lover?
Sure, there’s a great sense of satisfaction that comes from being able to work with and help the animals. However, I’m also sure that there is a burning desire to take all the animals home.
I’m sure most of us would feel the same way!
Today’s story is all about a two year old mixed breed dog named Jessie.
Let’s take a moment to go over how Jessie made his way from shelter to shelter and then finally found his forever home…
Lens and Leash: Who is this adoption story about (name, breed, age, gender, etc…)? When and where did you adopt them, and would you adopt from the same shelter/rescue in the future?
Clair: Jessie, Medium Mixed Breed, 2 year old, male.
Each person has their own reasons for choosing to adopt. Some do it to save lives, others do it to find a new companion, and some adopt for many other reasons.
Here’s what Clair had to say about her reason for welcoming Jessie into the family.
Lens and Leash: What made you decide to adopt?
Clair: Animal lover!
Some names fit animals well while others may not at times. In my opinion, Jessie is definitely one of those dogs that is named well. I think you’ll agree when you look at his pictures.
A lot of people rename their animals after they adopt them from a shelter. That’s not the case in Jessie’s situation.
Want to know more about his name? Here’s all the info. (You’re going to love what Clair has to say about what is on his tags!)
Lens and Leash: Does their “name” have a special meaning or story behind it?
Clair: My fiance and I weren’t sure if we would change Jessie’s name (Jessie was his shelter name), so when we got his tags, we put “I LIKE FOOD” instead of a name because we figured it would be helpful if someone found him. We ended up keeping the name and his tags still say “I LIKE FOOD”.
Animals are often adopted at many different ages. Sadly, there are many puppies and younger dogs in shelters that know little more than life inside of a cage. Lucky for Jessie, he was pulled out before he had to spend too much time in confinement.
Let’s quickly go over Jessie’s story and how he made his way into his new home.
Lens and Leash: How old were they when you adopted them, and do you know anything about their life before you adopted them?
Clair: Jessie was 1 year old when I adopted him. He was a shelter transfer to the Santa Barbara Humane Society from the Fresno Animal Compassion Team, or ACT. ACT is a nonprofit that pulls dogs from Fresno Humane Animal Services, the agency that takes lost, stray and owner-relinquished animals in Fresno. I don’t know much about his past in Fresno, but I’d guess he came into the shelter system as a 7 or 8 month old at the latest.
While some animal lovers might think it would be hard to work at a shelter since they can’t take all of the animals home, there are actually some serious benefits. Since Clair worked closely with Jessie, she was able to make a well-informed decision when it came to welcoming home the perfect furry friend.
Here’s how a sleepover turned into a forever home.
Lens and Leash: Why did you adopt them specifically and was there any hesitation in adopting them because of breed, stigma or anything else?
Clair: Because I work at Santa Barbara Humane Society, I had seen how friendly Jessie was with other dogs, which was important to us. We took him home for the weekend for a “Pawjama Party”- just to give him a break from shelter life, but only for the weekend, of course!
Monday we came and filled out the paperwork and Jessie was no longer a shelter dog!
Just about every animal I have ever met has something special about them that tends to warm my heart. Any animal lover likely has a favorite quirk or behavior that their pet does that always puts a smile on their face. Jessie is no different.
This is how he does his part to make the family happy.
Lens and Leash: What is your favorite quirk about them and what is their favorite things to do?
Clair: When he is really happy to see us, his ears crinkle back in a really cute way! He only does this after we’ve been out of the house or he hasn’t seen someone in a while.
He also tries to sit on my lap while keeping his back feet firmly on the ground. It’s very sweet.
When adopting, it’s not uncommon to have to do a little bit of training with an animal. For most, training was never a part of their life. In fact, many animals in shelters know little more than the neglect and abandonment they experienced before arriving there. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be trained. Most animals are eager to please, and with a little work and patience, that can be trained to do nearly anything.
Check out the progress that Clair has made with Jessie so far.
Lens and Leash: Did you have to do any training with them after you adopted them or have people ever been hesitant on approaching them before getting to know them?
Clair: We taught him the basics- sit, down, shake. Next on the list is heel because he does pull the leash a little. He is a very quick learner! Last summer, he helped out with Critter Camp at
Santa Barbara Humane Society on the clicker training day. The kids loved teaching him tricks and he loved getting treats!
It’s always best to get advice from people who have experienced something firsthand. This is what Clair has to offer to anyone thinking about adopting an animal from a shelter.
Lens and Leash: What tips or pieces of advice would you offer to people that are looking to adopt for the first time?
Clair: Be honest with yourself about your lifestyle. Choose a dog that will fit with what you already do 90% of the time. If you are not already hiking multiple times a week, do not adopt a super active dog because you’re thinking about hiking with them. If going out in the rain to let them sprint in a muddy field for an hour does not sound like your cup of tea, there are plenty of older or more sedentary dogs that would be better for your lifestyle.
And choose by these words: Find me a good dog and I’ll learn to love what he/she looks like.
Lens and Leash: Anything else you would like to add?
Clair: Adopting Jessie was the best thing that ever happened! Jessie also has an instagram! @jessieakababyj