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Dog Tales From Berkeley Humane From Stories Beyond the Shelter

In October, Berkeley Humane held a new fundraising event, Best In Show — Stories Beyond the Shelter. Michael Krasny of KQED Forum hosted the sold-out evening, which featured authors Julie Barton and Steven Winn whose dog-oriented books have earned high praise. Berkeley Humane simultaneously asked supporters to submit stories of how a rescued dog or cat had touched their lives. Bay Woof is sharing some of the dog stories. We plan to share cat stories in March.

—Judith M. Gallman, Editor

Loving Kendra by Jennifer Mann

Our sweet dog Max (a Berkeley Humane rescue) peacefully passed away in September 2017, and I thought I would never be able to love another dog as much as I loved him. With him gone, I decided I could spring for new carpet in my house — something impractical when Max was around.

In December 2017, and why I do not know,  I looked at the Berkeley Humane website and saw pictures of Kendra, Holly, and Kaye, three rescue dogs from Puerto Rico.  I immediately clicked on Holly’s profile as she most resembled Max and thought hmmm maybe just maybe I was ready for another dog, even though I was still thinking about getting that new carpet. I clicked on Kendra and saw her briefly before I was called away from the computer. I forgot that I left the computer on and it “went to sleep.” The next day when I went to log in, Kendra popped up on my screen exactly as I had left it the day before, posing in a bright red holiday sweater.

I stopped at the shelter just to peek at the dogs. Holly was out on a walk, and I asked to see Kendra. She was skittish outside of her cage, but I was able to approach her.  I went back again with my daughter and asked to take Kendra for a walk. Kendra was extremely nervous and anxious on the walk. Afterward, we went
into the warehouse to let her off the leash. At one point, Kendra walked right up to my daughter and let my daughter pet her. “That’s a good sign,” the staff told us. Our family met with the behaviorist and agreed to take Kendra home for a 30-day trial adoption, which led to our permanent adoption.

It has been over nine months now, and we are so grateful for this amazing animal. Kendra seems to have adjusted to living in our home, and we love having her. We have had some trials, frustrations, surprises, and accidents, but it is all worth the effort. Every day when I get home from work Kendra, meets me with a wagging tail and then is content to sit in her bed to let me pet her. And I think to myself then, “Who needs new carpet?”


How “Puppy” AKA “Bob the Dog” Impacted our Life by Joyce Prescott

(Bow) Wow! Where do we begin? We begin on an afternoon when I discovered that the Berkeley Humane Society let people walk the dogs to get to know them. I was working at Berkeley Bowl around the corner and took the opportunity to “test drive” some dogs at lunch while I looked at the Berkeley Humane Society website daily to find our dog.

Well, one picture of “Bob the Dog” did it for me. I told my husband we needed to get over to Berkeley Humane to meet him. We walked him around two blocks, were pretty much intrigued with him, but went to lunch to discuss whether we were ready to take the plunge. We got halfway through our hamburgers and agreed we needed to rescue “Bob the Dog” that day. We skipped back to the Humane Society and claimed him right away. That was four years ago.

Now that we are retired, “Puppy” (named after our first dog) is the boss of the house pretty much. He has two walks a day in Benicia where we live, and one of them usually is to the park to play ball. Someone must have taught Puppy about ball playing, as he is an expert at catching the balls in his mouth and literally would play ball all day if he could. He even sleeps with his ball. He can smell a ball anywhere, at anyone’s house, under a couch, just about anywhere. He has some type of built-in radar about scoping out and finding little orange balls no matter where they may be hiding.

Puppy loves to go places with us and especially loves the beach. He’s been to beaches in Monterey, Carmel, Half Moon Bay, and Pacific Grove. He loves to play ball at the beach and to dig. He has several dog friends in the neighborhood, mostly small girl dogs. He barks vociferously at the big dogs — he is not afraid of them, no matter how big they are. He also is an excellent watchdog.

Thank you, Berkeley Humane, for rescuing Puppy and helping Puppy find a new rescue home, our home.


Adopted by Trevor by Alice Muller

I met Trevor at a rescue organization in Antioch  called H.A.L.O. (Homeless Animals’ Lifeline Organization). This organization rescues dogs from local shelters and places them in foster homes where they are loved, fed, spayed, neutered, and vaccinated. Trevor was rescued when he was 24 hours away from being euthanized. He was a traumatized and fear aggressive with no human or canine friends. Trevor was brought to the foster home and put in a separate room from the other rescue dogs where the door to his crate was left open. He didn’t come out to meet the other dogs for over a week and even after that mostly kept to himself.

I met Trevor when I was at the foster home to look for a big dog I had seen posted on Pet Finder. While I was talking to his foster mom about the big dog, I found myself surrounded by little dogs barking and jumping at my feet. Through the chaos, little Trevor wove his way through the canine crowd, came up to me, and put both paws on my knees. I picked him up and held him at my shoulder. Trevor was content to snuggle with me, but anytime someone came near, he’d snarl at them. Two days later, after an unsuccessful attempt to convince myself I wasn’t a small dog person, I couldn’t get him out of my mind and adopted him.

That first year, in order to boost his confidence and reduce his tendency toward fear as a reaction to unfamiliar situations, Trevor and I took the Small Dogs with Big Attitudes class at Berkeley Humane where he huddled against the wall and trembled for the first four weeks, earning himself the nickname “Terrified Trevor.” In addition, we took agility training classes and spent lots of time at the dog park. Our work together has continued over the years, albeit more causally, as I continually endeavor to make him feel loved, safe, and appreciated.

Today Trevor is a well-adjusted, happy little man. From that very first meeting over 13 years ago, he has loved me unconditionally. When I’m sad, he’s my happiness; when I’m lonely, he’s my friend; when I’m adrift, he’s my shore. He’s what you wish for but more than you think is reasonable to expect from a companion of any species. He is Trevor, and I thank him every day for adopting me.


Loyal Lover of the Man, A Pomeranian Monologue As Told to Sally Holzman

The woman, mistress of the house, calls up the staircase, “come, Daisy; Daisy, come.”

“Woof.” It is the same every morning. She calls “come,” and I don’t come. I just want to stay right where I am, in bed, in the spot she has left behind huddled next to my man, his land lightly caressing my chest. He calls me his darling, his Daisy. He loves me. We are all worm and cozy. Why, oh why, must she persist?

Here she comes. I hear her steps on the stairs, coming down the hall, she is at the bedroom door, leash in hand. Like a magician, she snatches me from the bed attaches the leash, tucks my 10 pounds of blondness under her arm. And woom … we are down the stairs and out the front door.

We are going on our traditional morning walk. Oh no, she has begun chanting, “go pee-pee, go pee-pee.” So embarrassing!

Now she is tugging on the leash, heading for the ivy patch. “Don’t you remember; I don’t like to go in the ivy any more? The dog next door is using the ivy. You think I would condescend to use secondhand ivy? Try that patch of grass next to the carport. No, this won’t do either; the smells are inferior here.

Oh, look, here comes Mr. Hueit and Buddy. Don’t worry about how you look; worry about how I look with this summer haircut. Who ever heard of a Pomeranian with a crew cut?

Hi, Buddy. Oh, you have a summer cut, too. You look handsome. You think my haircut shows off my figure. You are such a flirt. Can’t stop; the woman is on the move. Bye, see you soon.

At last, headed home and breakfast. So nice to be in the kitchen. Here comes my breakfast. Not canned dog food again, I don’t care if it comes from Trader Joe’s; it’s so monotonous.

Listen, my man is awake, he is coming down the stairs; here he is in the kitchen. He is at the refrigerator. “Would I like a few bits of chicken in my plate?” He saved them from dinner last night just for me — how sweet, how gallant, how generous!

Now do you see why I love this man? I hope the woman has lots of shopping to do today. I want to be alone with him, sitting on his lap, his hand across my chest. What a lucky Pomeranian I am. I am Daisy obtained from the Berkeley Humane Society on March 3,2005, loyal lover of the man.

Sally Holzman added that Daisy loved the man for 13 years, until his death at 94. The man died at home with Daisy in bed with him, his hand on her chest.


Mad About Maurice by Kristie Iwamoto

Maurice and I met at the Berkeley Humane Society in September 2013. He was a 4-month-old chihuahua/fox terrier mix sitting in the corner of a pen, scrunching to make himself as small and invisible as possible. He and his penmates were there for the big Bark Around the Block adoption event with the Milo Foundation. Unfortunately, he was so small and quiet that one of the volunteers didn’t see him and stepped on his paw. He cried, but when she picked him up to apologize, he licked her face. I immediately thought, “A puppy that sweet and forgiving needs a home.”

I’m not sure where Maurice came from, but his foster mom told me that she had had him for about a month and that he was timid when it came to eating from a bowl. He was much more at home when she scattered the pieces of kibble across her kitchen counter, as though he was more used to picking up someone else’s leftovers.

We jumped right into puppy training. It was our fun thing to do together. Another thing I noticed about him was that he was calm and sweet around people, especially kids. I’m a teacher, and I love to volunteer my time; I wondered if we would make a good therapy team. We continued our training, and we practiced for the Canine Good Citizen exam. Maurice passed with flying colors on his first try.

Now 5 years old, my sweet little Maurice, the tiny puppy in the corner, has completed over 400 therapy dog visits in the Bay Area. He visits nursing homes, elementary schools, summer camps for kids with disabilities, Contra Costa County libraries, drug rehabilitation facilities, and welcome home parades for soldiers returning from overseas. He represents the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Tony LaRusa’a Animal Rescue Foundation, and is a reading dog for Homeless Animals Lifeline Organization. He is also a proud Dog Scout.

He is 8 pounds of heart, he is my world, and I am so proud of the happiness he brings to people in our community.


He Was Meant for Us: Our Dog Suds by Jennifer Obidah

Emike had done it! She had improved her grades to the point where I agreed that she could get a dog. Em and I both agreed that we wanted a “cute” no-shedding small dog. Libby, our resident dog expert (and proud mama of “Donner”), warned us that those types of dogs were in high demand and may not be so readily available for adoption. We were not deterred. Finding the “right” dog was Libby’s and my task that Friday, July 20, 2018.

We had a list of four animal shelters we would visit that day, but we made it to only two of them. Our second stop was the Berkeley Humane Society. I entered the building tentatively. The gravity of this family addition was starting to sink in. I went to the board and noticed that there were at least two dogs that matched our criteria. Then I read about Suds. Before I met him, I knew that Suds had been adopted and returned twice! He had a serious case of separation anxiety. At the time I met him, he was also suffering with diarrhea and a ruptured eardrum. I gulped and then asked to see Suds.

Suds came out with his tail wagging, cute as can be, and ready to go for a walk. We walked around the block. I stopped many times for Suds to introduce himself to people and other pets. I was falling in love. I reasoned that I worked from home so the separation anxiety may be manageable. I face-timed with Em who was on holiday in Barbados and introduced her to Suds. She fell in love right away.

Right before I made the final decision to adopt Suds, Libby asked me one more time, “Are you sure, Jen? He’s been brought back twice.” Suds and I had spent four hours together by that time. It was around 4 p.m. I looked at Suds sitting quietly between my feet, and I looked at Libby and I said, “Right now, I feel the way I felt when I first met Em (who’s also adopted). Maybe Suds was brought back because he was meant for me.”


Dog with Ball-Daniel Hartwig-CC1

Photo by Daniel Hartwig-Creative Commons

Main article photo by: Photo by Thanate Tan-Creative Commons