ANOTHER VOICE: Please foster a shelter dog and teach it to trust

Hood River Adopt A Dog (HRAAD) rescued 10 dogs on Friday, March 15, from a Washington farm where they had been housed in less than desirable conditions, and is seeking help in their care.

HRAAD had been contacted by someone who knew of the dogs and coordinated the release by the owner who willingly turned the dogs over. The mostly Chihuahua mixes (originally 18 but the owner had already found homes for some) had been allowed to breed indiscriminately and were being housed outdoors on the farm.

When Shelter Coordinator Janette Skarda, adoption counselor Joe Eckert and I arrived at the property, they encountered the mob of small dogs in generally good shape. A few, however, were terrified of human contact.

While catching one of the fearful dogs, Skarda discovered the remains of days-old puppies, trampled by livestock, and the barn full of animal feces where the dogs had been living.

It saddens us that these situations exist. The woman who owned the dogs was meeting their basic needs of food and shelter, so there were technically no animal cruelty laws broken, but it really doesn’t have to be this way.

Nonprofits such as Promoting Responsible Ownership of Dogs (PROD) or Portland Animal Welfare Team exist to provide financial assistance to individuals to help for spay/neuter costs or in-clinic zeutering. Had the owner spayed/neutered/zeutered she would not have gotten to the point of having 18 dogs and the death of four newborn puppies.

Adopt A Dog’s volunteer vet, Dr. Cynthia Mills, has recently become trained in “zeutering” — nonsurgical alteration of male dogs by zinc gluconate injection. This is a very inexpensive method of altering a male dog, and does not change the look of the dog other than a little “z” tattoo on its thigh. We are hopeful that this low-cost non-invasive method of alteration will encourage additional dog owners to be responsible and stop their dogs from reproducing.

Hood River Adopt A Dog operates out of the county-owned Hukari Animal Shelter in Odell. The shelter is mainly for Hood River County strays/impounds but the county has graciously allowed the intake of the Washington dogs through Adopt A Dog.

The HRAAD volunteers are doing a fantastic job of socializing and calming the dogs; however HRAAD needs to move the dogs out of the shelter as quickly as possible to accommodate the county’s usual kennel capacity. They are looking for foster homes capable of building trust and house-training the dogs.

Hood River Adopt A Dog also needs donations to help with spay/neuter and basic vet care. If you’d like to foster, donate or adopt, or want more information on spay/neuter/zeuter please contact Hood River Adopt A Dog at adoptadog@gorge.net or 541-354-1083, or visit hoodriveradoptadog.org.

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Linda Vandenberg is executive director at Hood River Adopt A Dog.

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