13 May 15

ET phoned home… ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

In the late fall of 2014 I visited nearly every animal shelter on Long Island bringing pet supplies or treats for the dogs and cats there.  As an animal lover, of course there was a dog at each shelter that I liked or wanted.  I am sure many of you can relate!

Two days before Christmas I went to the Town of Islip animal shelter to bring a bunch of dog biscuits I baked for them, with the Paw it Forward cookie cutters.  It was a cold and rainy day and there, and there was really no one else looking at the dogs or visiting the shelter to adopt.  It was 2 days before Christmas after all.

As I walked down the row, a few of the dogs started barking and once they heard the crinkle of the bag, they all quieted down and many were wagging their tails, jumping up at their kennel gate, pawing at the fencing – all very much wanting attention. While it is sad, the Town of Islip shelter supervisor, staff and volunteers (Live Love Bark Rescue) do a wonderful job at the shelter, like many of our shelters here on LI – but it is still no place for a dog to live.  For me it was nice that there were not many people in the run aside from a kennel aide – so I could take my time and saying hello to each dog.

While talking to and trying to give equal attention to all the dogs there, this one dog stood out to me.  Maybe it was his goofy expression, or his one ear sticking up, or his eyes bugging out a little – but maybe it was his calm demenor but wildly wagging tail.  Or a combo of everything.  His name was ‘E.T.’ yes like the movie.  I said to him, “what’s up with you goofy?  You’re so sweet.”  Gave him a couple extra treats – told him not to tell the other dogs, and I moved on.

The Holidays came and went and in early January, I asked one of the volunteers about him, what about ET?  Is that goofy dog ET still there?  They said yes he is still there and I saw his picture on their facebook page – but didn’t know too much else.

In early February, I went to the shelter again to drop off some more supplies, and went inside to see if ET was still there, I thought he was – but wasn’t sure.  Sure enough he was in his kennel, leaning on the door, wagging his tail totally chill.   I went over was petting him and asking him what was up, ‘thump, thump, thump’ went his tail.  He was so relaxed in the shelter and didn’t seem to care about the noise, dogs barking, dogs walking by, people coming and going, etc.  I was now more curious about him.  Dogs can often be very stressed out in a shelter, nervous, scared, barking, jumping, but not ET he was super relaxed.

After returning from a business trip to Global Pet Expo in Orlando, I asked my friends that volunteer again, what is up with ET? Do you have any additional info on him? They told me, “he likes cats, has been tested with dogs and is good, but a bit of ‘Marley’ in him.”

I decided to go on St. Patrick’s day to meet him in the meet and greet room.  In the meet and greet room, ET was nuts! It was jail break crazies, hyper, knocking things over, climbing on stuff, stealing stuff of the shelves in there, and just super silly.  I was thinking, “Holy shit this dog is crazy!” But after about 5 minutes he started to calm down.  I did some basic commands, sit (which he knew), stay (which he did not know) and just overall evulating him.  Seemed like an awesome dog to train and mold, he calmed down so much he was sitting in my lap, and just a big pittie smile from ear to ear.

So with that my goal was to help get him adopted.  I posted him on my instagram account, Facebook pages and told people I knew about him.  A dog that is chill in the shelter, good with people, kids, cats, dogs – I thought he wouldn’t last there and would get snatched up soon.   People came to meet him and then didn’t adopt him.  Now sadly, this is not uncommon.  There are millions of other amazing dogs in shelters across the country that get overlooked and left behind.  Some sitting there for years and years.  But I really thought he would get adopted and soon.

Nothing.  He kept getting passed up.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought this would be the perfect dog for me, but wasn’t sure if I could adopt him.  One day in early late March, I went with the animal Shelter volunteers with them for a walk at a local park with ET and another dog.  He proudly wore his, ‘adopt me’ outfit. We told people who stopped to pet him how great he was that he was up for adoption.

I wanted to see how he was out of the shelter envirornment.  In the beginnning of the walk – he was pulling the shelter volunteer and just hyper – but he seemed to calm down and he was so awesome with everyone.  Bikes going by, people running and walking by, other dogs coming and going.  He was pretty much bomb proof.  I was impressed. He needed training and you could tell he was very moldable and looked like he would be fun to train.  And after seeing him out and about, uh oh, now I want this dog!  But again wasn’t sure. And still promoted him to get adopted.

A few weeks later, after going on a long hike with friends, I stopped at a local deli to get a sandwich and the TV was on, it is usually a news channel on – and I looked up to see what that noise was coming from the TV, and it was the movie…ET.  I kid you not.  Really?  I texted a friend who knew I wanted ET – she said, “it’s a sign Nancy” – I said, ‘yep I know it. lol’

Then as I would hear from the volunteers that someone was coming to look at ET to adopt him, I would reply ‘yay that’s great’ – and with that have an internal pang of nooooooo that dog is mine!  And every potential adopter always fell through – the people wouldn’t show or decide not to adopt him.

So that was it my mind was made up and I wanted this dog – and knowing an adoption day was coming up at the shelter and thinking someone would see how awesome he was, I went on April 25 and adopted him, so now that’s ET who is now named Cody’s official ‘Gotcha Day!’  All the signs I was getting to adopt him, you could say ET phoned home… :) .  (A little corny but that’s ok!)  If you are ever hesitant about adopting a dog from an animal shelter, you need to, well, get over it!  There are so many amazing dogs just like Cody waiting for a home.  Cody waited for almost 6 months, many dogs have been waiting for a years at local shelters.  Can you imagine your own dog for years in a shelter?

Cody’s transition, I have to say has been pretty easy – I thought it was going to be a lot more work and wasn’t sure how he would be.  He has learned so much and so amazingly fast – and has settled into my routine it’s really incredible.  Cody is about a year or so old, so still puppyish but not with the bad puppy habits.  We have already walked over 50 miles together in just 2.5 weeks – so my added benefit an exercise buddy!  If you have been thinking of a dog you met recently and are trying to figure out if you can, you can. My first week with Cody was also a busy work week for me and I had a couple events in the evening – he did just fine, and has settled into my work schedule so well.

Cody #Day1outoftheShelter (First walk together!)

Check out the video I did of him of his first week’s outings!  More #AdventureswithCody to come.  Go adopt – you will wonder what took you so long. ;)

Photo Credit: Liz Daly Town of Islip Animal Shelter

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