If you’re involved in animal rescue (and possibly even if you’re not) you’ve seen this picture:
Jeffrey and Jermaine are two eight month old pit bull siblings who were found wandering the streets of Philadelphia. Although the shelter was not named, they were taken in by “animal control” (likely ACCT in Philadelphia) and pulled by Operation Ava, a no-kill shelter in Philadelphia. Jeffrey and Jermaine have a unique story, as one of the siblings is mostly blind and the other acts as his guide dog. It’s pulled at the heartstrings of millions since the Chester County SPCA posted the picture to its public Facebook page.
Operation Ava has received thousands of applications to adopt the two and has even had to bring in more staff to handle the influx of inquiries. Meanwhile, the Chester County SPCA continues to post updates on the siblings.
But that’s not where the story ends. Because while tens of thousands of people are commenting and sharing Jeffrey and Jermaine’s photos, the photos and stories that are not getting shared are the ones of the animals that are currently awaiting forever homes at CCSPCA itself (keep in mind, these two dogs are not CCSPCA dogs, are not available through the CCSPCA and are not located there, they’re simply being shared and discussed on CCSPCA’s Facebook page).
That’s how long Lizzy’s been in the shelter. She’s the shelter’s longest resident dog. She’s one of the volunteers’ favorites. We have created half a dozen nicknames for her – Liz, Lizard, Liza-Gator, Gator, Wiggles. Lizzy is a hound mix who loves to play ball but has become increasingly anxious in the shelter. She’s losing weight despite the fact that she’s being fed three times a day. She whines nearly constantly now. But when you get her out in the field and throw her ball, she loves to race after it and then sprawl out with her back legs behind her and chew. She lets you take the ball (disgusting and sopping wet) right out of her mouth to throw it again. She’s graceful, athletic and loves every human being she comes in contact with, wiggling and slapping her tail against you so fast that you can’t even see the worn down nub that’s there from the chronic happy tail. When you scratch her sides, she leans into you and wiggles and licks and loves. She loves the park and car rides and every time a car door opens she tries to pull toward it. She’s housebroken, knows “sit”, “down”, “come”, “wave” and “paw”. She’s had lots of time to learn tricks. 126 days’ worth of time.
Making Avacado the shelter’s longest resident. The shelter staff love him, the volunteers describe him as, “Amazing” and, “The best cat.” Avacado is relaxed, gentle, cuddly and handsome. He doesn’t have a sob story, he’s just an all-around good cat. He gets along well with other cats and though he can be a bit timid at first, he gains his confidence quickly and doesn’t mind you interfering in his space, even when you’re interfering with a long lens. Avacado purrs in the volunteers’ arms and sits back when you’re playing with another cat, waiting his turn like the patient soul he is. Waiting. That’s what Avacado has been doing for 154 days. Waiting.
Although perhaps 7 or so of them were spent in a home, as Deuce was adopted and then returned, because he had too much energy. Deuce is nothing more than a puppy in a grown dog’s body. Deuce came in as a puppy and matured in our shelter without ever knowing what it was like to live in a real home. Most of his life has been spent on the streets or at the shelter. Despite all this, Deuce perseveres in the way that it sometimes seems only a pit bull knows how. With an owner who can harness his energy, he will do well. He’s food motivated and willing to please. One volunteer has taught him to hand target, heel, sit, down, roll over, come, stay, wait, and more. Watching them work is like watching a ballet. Deuce trots, with his flowing gait, his head straight up, neck arched while heeling within an inch of his handler’s side and yet, they never trip over one another. When he’s not actively training, Deuce has puppy mannerisms, he’s mouthy, he wiggles and jumps in excitement, but it’s all for fun. Deuce would make an excellent dog sport dog as he’s task oriented, athletic and strong. He’s also goofy to a fault, but Deuce knows nothing but the shelter.
Where are Deuce’s five minutes of fame? Why has he become a Forgotten Dog?
Adele has been waiting, with this expression on her face, which looks even more tragic when you see her behind a kennel door. I choose not to photograph her like this these days, and I’ve had many days to photograph her. Adele is a people dog through and through. She was likely used as a breeding dog, maybe her puppies were taken away too soon, because she doesn’t like to go too far from whoever is handling her. When you take her out of her kennel, she jumps up, not with a burst of energy, but gently. She grips your legs with her front paws and puts her head on your stomach. She wants you to hold her and comfort her. Over her many days in our shelter, Adele has learned to give hugs on cue and to sit instead if you’re not in the hugging mood. She’s gained some confidence and will stray further from us than she used to, but she’s never far away. She prefers the company of humans to dogs and is gentle with all people, no matter how small. She has a way about her, where she seems to be able to choose the person out of the crowd who needs the most affection, perhaps she sees a kindred soul and seeks it out.
Where are Adele’s 78,000 shares? Why has she become a Forgotten Dog?
Pearl has been waiting for someone to see her for the beauty that she is. She’s got a little red in her coat, which makes her different, special, unique. They’re all unique, but Pearl is stunning. She took my breath away. She’s lithe and petite, she’s inquisitive and confident. She was the first cat of the day to hop right into the basket I’d placed on the table and explore it. She was bold and brazen and that endeared me. We found her in her cat cubby, the same one she’s been occupying for 118 days, sprawled out, seemingly content. The move in environment didn’t faze her a bit, and after she’d taken a minute to examine the plexiglass and the basket, she was onto new adventures, leaping off the table, ready to explore the rest of the room. She had no problem with pressing her nose right up against my lens and running her face along it, purring while she did. Yes, she seemed to say, there’s a good scratch, what a convenient itching post you put right in my face. How can it be 118 days and no one has come for her? Why has she become a Forgotten Cat?
A long time for any animal, but especially a senior pet, but Ellie still waits, patiently. She’s had more kennels than any dog in the shelter likely, but moving her space hasn’t gotten her home. Ellie is a relaxed older dog who enjoys taking walks but is in no hurry to get anywhere. She will run if you ask, but she’d prefer to stroll. She’s compliant and sweet-natured, with lonely eyes that are starting to lose hope. At first, we thought perhaps a skin condition that caused her to lose all of the fur on her back end was what was preventing this gentle girl’s adoption, but her fur has all grown back, and still she waits. She’s a staff and volunteer favorite and has been watching the comings and goings of the shelter. She’s been used as a training dog for new volunteers, and she is just as happy for you to sit in her kennel with her as she is to go outside. She’s housebroken and always keeps her space clean, no matter how long she must wait. Waiting is the name of the game for these animals.
Where are Ellie’s 6,000 comments? Why has she become a Forgotten Dog?
Am I happy that so many people are interested in adopting Jeffrey and Jermaine? Absolutely. Am I happy that our shelter is being associated positively for once? Most certainly. But there can be only one home for Jeffrey and Jermaine and there are thousands of inquiries and applications. If even some of those thousands of people turned their eyes on some of our Forgotten Animals, we wouldn’t have enough animals to go around.
Please don’t forget our long timers. Consider adopting another animal in need, because even though they may not be famous, they’ll make you feel like you are.