A Rose By Any Other Name

Last summer, a sweet Greyhound/Shepherd mix joined our POOCH pack. She was named Rose, which couldn’t have been more appropriate.

Roses need the right environment, some patience, and of course, a lot of care and consistency to grow, let alone thrive. Like some of the youth at Project POOCH, Rose had a hard time trusting people because of her past. Rose had lived with a family once before, but they returned her to a local rescue because she was “too much”; she jumped fences, escaped her wire crate, pulled too hard on a leash, and all-together was “too active.” The local rescue reached out to us because they thought she might be a good fit for the youth in our program. At Project POOCH, dogs like Rose are the ones we love to help the most: the ones that have something to work on, the “underdogs,” or the ones that have not been able to succeed in other environments.

Project POOCH is smaller than the typical rescue—we can take around 10 dogs in at a time. Each dog is paired with an incarcerated youth who uses positive reinforcement training (with the guidance of a professional trainer and two kennel managers) in order to rehabilitate the dog and make him or her adoptable. Due to our small size, each dog gets plenty of individualized attention, including several long walks around campus every day, trips to the agility center, playtime in the recreation yard, swimming time in the kiddie pool when the weather gets hot, and even time to relax in the meditation garden. Rose enjoyed doing all of these activities and was able to form a strong bond with some of the youth at Project POOCH; however, nearly a year had passed, and she still had not found her forever home.

Rose had a few visits from potential adopters during her time at Project POOCH, but it was hard for her to open up to them. She loved her youth handler so much that she felt like she had to protect him when a visitor came to see her. Because of her breed, activity level, and desire to explore, we wondered if Rose needed something more than POOCH could provide her with.

While the bond between the youth and dogs in our program is at the heart of all we do, in times like these we also have to think back to our mission of teaching responsibility, patience, and compassion for all life. We decided that the most responsible and compassionate thing to do for Rose would be to try to foster her outside of the kennel environment. Our founder, Joan Dalton, whom Rose already had a strong bond with, offered to care for her off-site.

When Rose left the kennel, she transformed into a new dog entirely. She had access to so much space to constantly roam around and explore and did not have to go back to a kennel run each night to sleep. We knew that she needed an active forever home that had as much desire to explore and go on adventures as she did.

A month ago, our dream for Rose came true. A young and active couple reached out wanting to meet her and take her on all their fun adventures. After a meet and greet and overnight trial, it was clear that Rose had found her people, and the rest was history.

We have been in touch with Rose’s forever parents, and they’ve given us updates on her new life. Rose’s fur-mama says, “We are very active and like to go running, hiking, and take trips to the beach, so we knew we needed a dog who could keep up! Rose was the perfect fit! We have already enjoyed taking her on runs, playing in the backyard, and spoiling her with new toys. Rose has so much love to give and is a wonderful addition to our family. We are excited about the many adventures to come!”

We are so thankful for everyone who was a part of Rose’s journey: the local rescue that reached out to us, the youth at Project POOCH for teaching her how to trust and love again, Joan for fostering her and finding her the perfect match, and her new family for being her forever-adventure buddies. Rose’s journey teaches the youth something so central to our program: the power of perseverance. Roses aren’t easy – they take time, patience, and the right environment before they can grow, but the beauty they share with the world when they’ve found that right fit is well worth the wait.

Give your gift today to help more shelter dogs like Rose and the incarcerate youth who care for them at Project POOCH find healing, love, and joy in second chances.

What to Do if You Find a Lost Dog

A few weeks ago, we got a call in the Outreach Office about a found dog, and the woman who found her didn’t know who to call. Since it was close to the office I decided to pop over to the park and help her get the dog on a leash. I ended up taking the dog to get scanned, and luckily she was chipped. Sweet Sage was reunited with her humans within the hour!
But this got me thinking – are there other people who would be similarly unsure of what to do if they found a dog without a human? I used to pick up lost dogs a lot when I lived in Salem, so I’ve learned a few tricks as well as the best practice when it comes to reunited dogs with humans, so let’s discuss!
First, check around to see if there is a human paying attention to the dog, even if it isn’t on a leash. While it’s not allowed most places, some people will take their dogs on off-leash walks and if this is the case, then there is no need to intervene.
If there doesn’t seem to be a human around that the dog belongs to, try calling it using typical pet names like Buddy, bud, sweetie, etc. Try to get photos in case you are not able to catch the dog, you can use these to post on Facebook, NextDoor, and other sites that help reunite dogs. Note your location so you can help people looking for the dog know where they were last seen.
It’s important to prioritize your safety as well as the dogs. Pay attention to the dog’s behavior and don’t create a situation where you could get bitten. This is bad for both you and the dog. This might mean leaving the dog alone or letting it run away from you. You don’t want to chase the dog as this could cause it to run into traffic or another unsafe environment.
Some tricks I’ve used is showing the dog a leash or opening my car door. Some dogs have been trained to sit when presented with a leash, or will jump in a car even if they won’t let you grab their collar. I’ve also “faked” a treat when I didn’t have one on me by grabbing a leaf off the ground and holding it in my hand like I would a treat. I also always keep a spare leash and some dog treats as well as a water bowl in my car in case I see a lost dog. This is only safe if your car is empty! Do not invite a strange dog into a car with your children or other pets as you have no way to predict their behavior.
If you aren’t able to get the dog, call your county’s animal services and share as much information as you can. They will send professionals out to look for and hopefully pick up the dog.
If you are able to get the dog, check for tags and contact info and call any numbers immediately. If there are no numbers or you can’t get a hold of anyone the next step would be to take them to a vet to scan for a microchip.
It would be best for the dog if you can hold onto it until it’s reunited with its owner, but if this is not possible check with local rescues or other animal businesses. Vets usually can’t hold onto animals for you. If you’re in the LO area you can definitely call POOCH! If it’s the weekend then a direct message on Facebook or Instagram is the best way to get a hold of someone.
Whoever ends up holding onto the dog should file a “found” dog report with the local county shelter, and create found fliers and ads to post around the area the dog was found and on websites. Good sites to post on are Lost and Found Animal pages on Facebook, PawBoost, Lost and Found Pets, the NextDoor App, and Craigslist.
If there is no luck finding an owner for the dog, they will need to go to the local county shelter. They can certainly be released to a rescue or person eventually, but they will likely need to be held for a certain period of time to allow an owner to come forward. It is not legal to keep a dog you find, you have to do your best to find the owner before you can adopt the animal, and this involves taking it to the shelter.
If an owner does come forward, be sure to verify they own the dog! Obviously, if they call you from the number on the tags or associated with their microchip they are the owner. But if they reach out based on a found poster or ad on the internet, ask them to describe the animal or provide a photo of them with the dog. There are some people who will try to claim a dog that isn’t theirs, or are looking for a dog that looks similar to the one you found, but is actually a different dog. If it is their dog you do have to give it to them. If you find yourself concerned about how they treat or care for the dog the best course of action is to call public animal services for the county and report your concern.
Comment below if you’ve reunited a dog with its owner! How did it go, what would you do differently? What worked for you?