In the shelter, the kennel area for the adoptable dogs is a noisy and often chaotic room. Just the movement of opening the door and entering can set off a chain reaction of barks and howls… a chorus that winds and bounces in its intensity as dogs rush to the front of their pens, their reactions fueled by the opinion of the dog next door. This is the norm and staff and volunteers are accepting and used to the commotion.
Not so much new visitors, and this is the sad part. First impressions can be lasting.
But in the shelter environment it is ALL about taking that second look.
As difficult as it may be, it is so important not to judge a dog by his kennel ways, even though at times the antics can be almost intimidating. But, in 9 times out of 10, what is seen is NOT reflective of who the dog really is.
We ( the staff and volunteers ) interact with the dogs so much that we come to know the real dogs residing in the pens and it is quite disheartening to see how their kennel antics hurt their chances of getting adopted. We can’t really blame the visitors… we see what they see. It’s just that we have come to know (and care for) the real dog as well… the one they don’t see… unless they pause and take that second look.
We do our best to educate potential adopters and are more than happy to set up a meet and greet in a more private space. An outdoor enclosure is the perfect choice… a place where the dog can feel safe and can relax, away from the stress and away from the influence of 20 other barking buddies.
Once taken outside, seeing the transformation never gets old. Sometimes there may be a bit of lingering hesitancy but patience is all that is required. A little time and a few more sniffs and poof, the uncertainty dissipates, especially if a favoured toy or ball is spotted. The ears tip forward, the nose dips down. With a few body shakes, the shelter dog persona disappears and a completely different dog emerges… often a bouncy and fun loving guy looking for nothing more than for someone to toss that ball.
Here is where we are witness to the true nature of this dog, the happy goofy dog, the real dog that we so wish everyone could meet.
So please, if you are thinking of visiting the shelter in hopes of getting a dog, take the time to take that second look… you may just find yourself gazing into the eyes of your new best friend. Well worth the effort and well worth the time, wouldn’t you say.
Friends of Winnipeg Animal Services … facebook page
W.A.S. Petfinder Page
W.A.S. Adoptapet.com page