saving ace

Note: This is my 100th post since I switched my blog from LiveJournal to Blogger (and now to WordPress, into which I imported all my Blogger posts). Now, on LiveJournal, I posted 1,289 times, so the total is not a milestone. Just wanted to mention #100.

I always feared becoming one of those Humane Society volunteers that couldn’t spend a single afternoon with the dogs without becoming attached to one and wanting to take it home. But I’ve been managing to avoid it thus far because of the number of people around, the mass quantities of dogs to be walked and the hectic feeling of Saturday mornings at the HS. But today I found Ace.

Ace is a shy, sweet little boy, a pit mix. He’s black with white on his face, legs and chest. He was so scared when I leashed him this morning. When we got outside, he immediately lay down in the grass and had that frightened look in his eyes. In retrospect, I think he was scared of being around the other dogs. He’s a HS newbie and is stuck in a display kennel (glass on one side) with three other dogs. Luckily, only one of them is bigger than Ace, but that one is pretty tall, loud and intimidating.

After walking ended at 11:30, I spent about an hour with the cats. Pedro and I nuzzled each other for a while. Baby followed me around from place to place. Three cats escaped at intervals, and I scurried all over trying to grab them and herd them back into their cages. We let them run around, but 1) I was alone and not well versed in the cat handling area, 2) the cats were young and NR (Not Ready for adoption – could just be too young for spay/neuter, or could be sick, so probably shouldn’t be running around) and 3) it just makes me nervous to have them running loose and potentially wedging themselves in tight spaces where I can’t find them or extract them. But Paula, Pedro and Fern were sweet and I held them and some of the unnamed kittens for a while. And I was just shocked by Fern! She came in as a feral barn cat and was frightened and irritable when it came to people. Now she’s playing and loves petting! I have to email Laura, who’s in charge of the cat program, and give her props for the transformation – I know she’s been spending a lot of time with Fern since she came in.

After visiting the cats, I walked out and saw Ace in his kennel. He came up to the glass and put one paw up. I just couldn’t stand it. So I decided he needed a little quiet time in a visiting room with me. I went in to retrieve him, which took a lot of effort and what ended up being all luck – he just happened to be the dog that squeezed past me and escaped the kennel while I was trying to keep them in and beckon him to the door. I quickly shut the pen and wrangled Ace (didn’t take much effort) into a one-on-one room. He’s just the sweetest dog. After he warmed up to me again, he rolled onto his back so I could scratch his tummy, which is basically all we did with him outside too. Whenever I’d stop, he’d roll back over and snarf (sounded like he had some sinus build up), then start pawing at me. He still had that shy look on his face the whole time though. I spent about a half-hour with him, laying around together and rubbing his belly. Good times.

Getting him back into the kennel was even more difficult than getting him out. All the dogs were going nuts as usual, and the dogs in his pen wanted out bad. And Ace? Well, Ace had no desire to go back in there with those mad hounds. So he lay down on the floor, became that solid mass that dogs can become when they don’t want to do something, and would not budge. I pet him and coaxed him in a loving voice, but he was totally uninterested, and his heart rate revealed that the noise from the other dogs was scaring him. Finally, I had to pick him up. I’d say he’s between 50 and 60 pounds, and very solid, so it was a little tough, but not unmanageable. He didn’t even squirm or snap at me – just quietly let me hoist him into the kennel and take off the lead. Then he ran over to the window as I walked by again, pressing his nose to the glass and giving me that look, like, “What’d you do that for? I wanted to go home with you!” Oh, heartbreak, thy name is Ace…

If Ace is still around next time I go, I definitely will spend some more one-on-one time with him. Maybe take him out for an individual walk without the other dogs. The only hard part about loving on HS dogs is that there’s a good chance they’ll be gone in a week. It’s good because that means they’ve found a home and a family, but it’s bad because you get that tiny twinge of sadness that your home couldn’t have been their home. Right now, my home is not even my home – it’s my landlady’s home – so I can do nothing for Ace besides give him love and pets and belly rubs. I wish I could convince her to go see him – Ace is exactly the kind of cuddly dog she keeps saying she’d like (she just wants a young one so it doesn’t have habits ingrained already). Maybe I can make an off-hand suggestion that she go check him out tomorrow…

So, other than grocery shopping and talking to Mandy and my mom on the phone, that’s been my day to this point. Seems kind of lame considering it’s almost 4:30, but you know – that’s what Saturdays are for, right? I still have the gym, cleaning and moving the rest of my stuff on my agenda for the evening. Think I should be able to manage that, assuming I don’t fall asleep first. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

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