Placing pets in good homes is not just about finding someone who will give them love and good care, it’s also about placing them in homes that are appropriate for their innate character.
This is especially true for dogs as their needs can be greatly influenced by their breed backgrounds. Dogs with working or sporting breed lineage may present challenges in the home if their need to run, work, hunt or be busy in general is not met. Labradors, Pointers, Border Collies and hounds, for example, are perfect examples of dogs that need to do more than sit by your side and be cute.
Think of the most active child you know and consider what kind of trouble he might get in if he were kept inside for long periods of time with nothing to do and no way to expend his energy; that would be the equivalent of trying to keep a working or sporting dog as an indoor couch potato. Even when their bloodlines are mixed with other breeds, that raw energy and need for stimulation may result in what we perceive as behavior problems if they don’t have outlets for their energies.
When these types of dogs come into the shelter, we try to anticipate their needs and place them with a family that is able to provide them with the appropriate lifestyle. Choosing a dog on looks or first impressions alone can lead to unhappy people and returned adoptions. We often send people home to educate themselves about breed traits before they finalize an adoption. This process helps to manage their expectations and further prepare them for their new addition.
Occasionally, we get dogs in that we know are meant to have a real job and rather that offer them up for general adoption, we call in the professionals.
Such was the case with Skye, a 2021 SJRAS alumnus. The young Bloodhound was released to the shelter at the end of 2020 when her owner’s circumstances changed, and he became unable to provide her with the daily running and tracking exercises that are essential to a dog of this breed.
Recognizing that this dog would need special placement, we contacted local trainer Joe Nick. Within a few days Skye was sent to Joe’s training center and shortly after was picked up by the Hamilton Township Police Department and sent to the academy for training as a tracking dog. By the end of March, Skye and K-9 Handler/Officer Gary Thoresen graduated and were ready to begin their working partnership.
Within two weeks of being on the force, Skye became a hero when she successfully tracked and found a missing 11-year-old child.
Skye now has the best of both worlds as she not only works with Officer Thoresen, but also gets go home with him and spend her down time as a beloved part of the family. Skye is living her best life, something we wish for ALL of the pets that we adopt out.