Now that I’ve spent a few weeks in the shelter, I thought it was time to highlight some fantastic success stories! I was lucky enough to have two friends who recently adopted some new furry friends, so I packed up my camera and spent the afternoon rubbing bellies and snapping a few shots! I started my day with Julia, the proud mamma of Buster from CASPCA, then finished with Paige and Will, the pseudo-aunt and uncle of a 5lb spitfire named Tiberius the Conquerer. Read below for some insights on their adoption stories and to see these sweet shelter dog faces!
Buster the Beagle mix, 2.5 years
As I said in an earlier post, CASPCA has one of the best adoption rates in the country, so it’s no surprise that Julia, Chelsea, and Paula found their new housemate in just a few minutes! Even after taking him home, people walking around town still recognize Buster! Buster get’s more shout-outs than they do, and usually from people they don’t even know!
Can you tell me a little about Buster’s adoption story?
Julia: We had talked about fostering a dog for a month or two, so one Saturday Chelsea and I said “Ok, let’s do it,” and we got Buster to foster. We took him and we were supposed to foster him for two weeks, but it was probably only that first weekend when we realized “Ya, we can’t give him back.”
Why were you drawn to buster?
Julia: One of our friends picked him out because of his mannerisms. He was pretty calm and seemed well behaved, and at the shelter you can look into his background and personality and just he seemed great.
Did you know Buster’s background from the shelter?
Julia: Yes, he’s had two owners before us. His first gave him back for financial reasons, and then the second owners, we aren’t really sure what happened but animal control picked him up on the street and brought him to the shelter. They tried calling the owners on file and they just never responded.
Was Buster fully trained?
Paula: He was pretty good, he knows his name, basic commands, was already housebroken. He sometimes has some issues getting into our trash but you know, he’s just like a regular dog, always hungry! We try to teach him tricks, but he’ll only do them for Julia!
Can you tell me about your experience at CASPCA?
Julia: They were really nice to us!
Chelsea: They let us have a lot of time with Buster, which was extremely helpful because we got to see how great he was.
Julia: They were really understanding of the fact that we were college students and they didn’t hold that against us. Everyone was so friendly and professional. When we went back to adopt him after fostering him I was worried that they wouldn’t let us because of our age, but they said ok and the process was very fast! It was a great experience.
How has Buster adjusted to living with 8 girls?
Julia: Well, he sleeps with Paula!
Chelsea: He adjusted so easily to living with all of us. He listens to every command and to anyone. He also just shows love to all of us. It’s so hard to reprimand him because he’s so great. He doesn’t bark unless he wants to play with another dog!
Julia: It’s great having 8 people because there’s always someone around to take care of him
What advice would you give to someone else looking to adopt?
Chelsea: Make sure you’re ready for it. Buster is always excited to see us, so if you aren’t willing to be excited to be around your dog, it’s not fair to them.
Paula: Buster brings so much joy everyday when you come home, but it’s a lot of time. You have to get up to take him out early and go for a walk.
Julia: I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in college, I love coming home to him!
Any funny quirks or stories about Buster?
Chelsea: When we were all deciding that we should adopt him, we put our hands in a sort of team break huddle, and Buster’s nose popped in right where our hands were. I think that was the cutest thing ever!
Tiberius the Conqueror Cline (Ty), 4 months
McCulloch, Paige, and Will drove hours to rescue little Tiberius from a kill-shelter. While he’s McCullough’s pup, Paige and Will act as a semi-aunt/uncle to this little guy, helping out when they can!
I know Ty has an interesting adoption story, can you tell me about it?
Paige:McCulloch had been talking about getting a dog with Will and I for months. One of my high school teachers posts on Facebook photos from the Westmoreland County Animal Shelter, and so this little dog popped up on my newsfeed and I sent him to Will and said “This dog looks like McCulloch’s soulmate!” His name was Scruffy and we decided to just do it! So we got in the car at 9 am the next morning and drove 3 hours to Westmoreland County Animal Shelter to find out that Scruffy had been taken ten minutes beforehand! But they said his brother was still there if we wanted to meet him. They brought out his brother named Ranger and he was just adorable so we took him home and renamed him Tiberius!
McCulloch: He’s been the best dog, and I’m glad that Scruffy got adopted because there’s no way he could have been better than Tiberius. I hadn’t adopted a dog before, but I always assumed I would adopt rather than buy one. Especially at places like the shelter I got Ty. They don’t have the resources to hold on to dogs very long, so they really need to people to adopt.
Can you tell me a little about the shelter?
Paige: Well, it’s a kill shelter. It’s in a really rural area and they don’t have enough people coming in to get the dogs. Once a dog comes in, they have seven days to be adopted and if there’s space in the shelter, they get to stay longer, but once they hit overflow they unfortunately have to euthanize them. They just don’t have the resources or demand to keep them.
What breed is Ty?
McCulloch: Supposedly Ty is a mix of a Pomeranian and a Schnauzer, but I don’t think he looks anything like that and the vet agrees with me, so I’m skeptical about that being his actual breed. When people ask me what kind of dog he is, I’m never sure how to answer, so I usually just tell them he’s a regular dog!
How has he adjusted?
Paige: Ty has adjusted so well. He was brought in my an elderly woman who had an accidental litter of puppies and she had found homes for all but two, Ty and his brother Scruffy, so she brought them to the shelter. So we know he hadn’t been abused. He’s been great! At first he was super shy, he came home and slept for about 15 hours but now he’s crazy and loves people. You would never know he was a shelter dog from his attitude. He’s entirely privileged and thinks the world is his stomping ground!
McCulloch: He was shy at first, but he has adjusted really well. He’s very friendly and social; he loves to be around people. College life suits him well I think. He likes that there is a nearly constant stream of people to come play with him. I live in a house with several other people, so he’s rarely alone, which suits him perfectly.
Would you adopt again?
Paige: Absolutely, I totally want my own dog at some point in time.
Will: Even though she’s allergic!
Paige: Yes even though I’m allergic! I would totally adopt again if there was one that fit into my life.
McCulloch: I have not adopted before, but I totally would again. I must admit that I lucked out getting a dog that’s the right size and that has the perfect personality for my lifestyle. I don’t know if I would get off so easy a second time, but I’d definitely want to try. Adopting dogs is awesome. You’ll feel much better about yourself. It’s easier than I thought it would be honestly. An added bonus is I think it made me regulate my schedule more. He gets me up at the same hour every day to go out, usually around 8 AM, I have to make sure I’m home at a reasonable hour to let him out before he goes to sleep. Having a dog has made me more responsible, but in a not terrible way.
Do you see a difference between shelter pups and breeder pups?
Paige: Only the cost! In terms of his personality, absolutely not. I mean, he had a previous owner that you had to learn about but from day one he was McCulloch’s dog. Ty is so young though, he’s really a baby through and through just like Hubbell, my family’s dog. The only difference is that he didn’t cost $2,000.
Will: I have a dog from a breeder at home. I don’t think there’s any difference. Maybe we lucked out and got a great shelter puppy, but he’s just as loving, just as caring.
Any advice for people looking to adopt?
Paige: Just make sure you have time for them!
McCulloch: I would advise people try and get a sense of the personality of their potential dog before they adopt it. A lot of shelter dogs are skittish around new people, which is a big problem for the hyper-social college lifestyle. I also advise that you enlist a small network of friends to help you with the dog before you take one home. You will need people to watch him occasionally when you are unable to, especially because college schedules are so erratic. It shouldn’t be too hard though, because I’ve found most people are happy to help out with a puppy. In fact, if you adopt a dog your number of friends will probably expand pretty quickly!
Will: McCulloch has really changed his schedule to be with him and to take care of him.
Paige: He’s his buddy!
Does Ty have any quirks?
Paige: He loves socks! He slept over in my lawn-room the other day and while we were up in the loft, we looked down and saw that he was gathering every stray sock he could find into one pile in the middle of the room to play with.
Will: He also loves SAE!
Paige: Yes, he loves SAE, the frat! I was playing with him and the kids I mentor through Madison House, and he slipped through his collar and bolted up to their front porch and just sat down. Then a few minutes later we were walking down the street and he slipped his collar again, took off and ran up to SAE’s back porch! So we don’t know what his deal is, but he just loves SAE.
McCulloch: Ty also loves to run around, but his only problem is that he gets distracted by his tail. It’s really funny to see him bolt off in a direction, only to stop suddenly and trip himself because he seems to be confused about what his tail is and why it’s following him.
Do you have an adoption story you’d like to share? Comment below!