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2013 April 22
Devore Animal Shelter, San Bernardino County, California

UPDATE 2013 June 16 Sunday
CHAZ is with his forever family!  
See the details and photo below! 

“Chaz” was dropped off at Devore Animal Shelter in San Bernardino by his owners on March 12, 2013.  They said they wanted him killed ("put to sleep") because they had to move to a place where they couldn’t have him. Fortunately for Chaz, the shelter staff decided that wasn’t what Chaz needed or wanted, so they decided to hold him for the required five days until they could legally release him for adoption. 

The shelter called Chaz a 10-year-old neutered male red shepherd mix.  Well, they were right about the neutered male part. Now, about six weeks later, he looks years younger and much healthier than he did when we pulled him from the shelter.  We see some very fine “black-mouthed cur” with maybe bits of shepherd and chow in him.  Most of all, we see now a strong and handsome, quiet, gentlemanly dog with a huge heart, and a dog who has let go of his heavy heart and is becoming a joyful, happy, secure canine family member.  

Staff in the shelter said that Chaz had never showed any aggression toward them or other dogs and was a quiet, well-mannered dog. But each progressive day in the shelter had left him more and more visibly on edge, and he had begun showing wariness toward the male staff.  By Friday March 15, the shelter labeled him “Rescue Only - Behavior observed. Available 3/17.” This was tantamount to a death-sentence -- first because it limited his options to a small number of county-authorized registered 501(c)(3) rescue organizations, and second because he would have to be pulled by Sunday or early Monday, or he would likely be euthanized by Monday night. In just five short days since entering the shelter, Chaz’s prospects for life had gone from bright to slim indeed.

That’s when we were alerted to his situation. We are a registered 501(c)(3) and are authorized to pull from these and other shelters. But we do not maintain kennels nor a wide base of fosters. We network with trusted rescuers and fosters and and successfully place several dogs per month from high-kill shelters, and we help in the transport of many additional rescued animals. Any animals for whom we take personal responsibility for more than just a few days are usually only those whose time has run out and who are facing needless euthanasia.

Although he was not one of those easily-placed cute, small “scruffies” and “fluffies”, Chaz was a winning dog to our view -- healthy, non-aggressive, quiet, well-behaved, highly intelligent. Wariness of men is not an incurable attitude and certainly does not warrant euthanasia. Chaz just needed the right people to find him.

This was not a convenient time for us to take responsibility for another rescue dog. All of our volunteers were out of the area, most of them out of state. But one of On Wings Of Care’s directors and experienced rescuers was able to return in time to drive to Devore Monday morning and pull Chaz. This is not the first time that OWOC’s Dave Couch has been the hero to southern California rescue dogs! In fact, only a little over three months ago, Dave pulled two small terriers from Devore at the end of their very last day. One of them (“Jasmine”) we placed in a terrific forever home, and the other -- “Coco” -- found her forever home with Dave’s family, which includes two large shepherds  -- “Bali,” who came from Devore with her nine puppies last year, and “Bear” who came from an Orange County shelter a few years ago). So when Dave drove to Devore to free Chaz, he brought with him his own small canine ambassador “Coco” - who is so happy these days we doubt she had any idea that she was parked outside of the place that was literally minutes away from killing her and her puppies a few months ago.

Dave decided to bring Coco with him for several reasons. She would help calm Chaz down, and she would also tell Dave volumes about Chaz’s psyche. That would help Dave predict how Chaz would behave at Dave’s home -- where Chaz would find not only two large german shepherds, but many other free and happy rescue animals of many different species including cats, rabbits, and birds.

Arriving at Devore to meet Chaz, Dave found pretty much what had been described. The male staff tried to prod Chaz out of his kennel with a pole, and Chaz wanted no part of them. Dave stood quietly in the background, watching Chaz and his reactions. When a female staff member tried, Chaz came out willingly. As Chaz stepped out into daylight and fresh air, his eyes were big and his body tense, but he remained calm and obedient.  Dave spoke to Chaz reassuringly, and the female staff member helped coax Chaz into Dave’s car, where Coco greeted them both happily.

From here on, Chaz’s story has unfolded like a fairy tale. With every day, every new experience, every new relationship, and an amazing healing diet of fresh ground raw chicken, raw milk, and flaxseed meal-based supplements, Chaz has become an increasingly happy, trustable, relaxed member of Dave’s whole family. Sure, he could stay there forever, and he would be happy. But that’s not the rescue we intended, and not what we think is best for Dave and his family, for his schedule and other obligations can’t accommodate an additional large dog for the long-term. Besides, we’re pretty sure that there are some people out there who have the heart and the lifestyle that need and would benefit enormously from sharing with a wonderful dog like Chaz. So if you’re reading this, will you help us find the humans who match that description? Chaz will be well loved and cared for in the meantime, and we will also make sure that the transport to his new home and life is as safe and comfortable as his life is now.

If you are interested in learning more about Chaz, email us -- we’ll be happy to tell you more and send you more photos and videos. We’re sure that he’ll get along with pets in your family, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he would give chase to passing rabbits or cats who are not in his family. We suggest you do some research on black-mouthed curs, and discover a fabulous kind of dog that has managed to elude the AKC books but ranks right up there with the best. Chaz has all the heart and loyalty and intelligence of the best shepherds and chows, too. And the maturity of a true gentleman. It’s no secret -- we’re smitten with him. So forgive us if we ask a lot of questions about you if you aspire to win Chaz’s love! We want the best for both of you.

Lots more photos are provided below.  Enjoy the change in Chaz's demeanor and the joy in his life!

 

UPDATE 2013 JUNE 16 SUNDAY
Chaz has a home! And his own family!
He's in love and so are they! 

We looked long and hard for just the right family for this fantastic dog. He was growing more fantastic with every week he spent with us! We turned down five interested families, and last week we were prepared to keep him longer with us until we could find the perfect home. And along came a man who had a wonderful way with Chaz; Chaz liked him immediately. We knew this man from several years back, where he lived, what he was like. We would have okayed him to take Chaz, but he had an even better idea.  His son and daughter-in-law were ready and looking for a dog. An active young couple both with successful careers with a beautiful home in Huntington Beach, CA (large yard, near the beach, lots of room and lots of family and friends who were dog lovers, too!). He brought them up to visit us, and Chaz acted like he had known them forever. We left him with them for three days, receiving email and text message reports several times daily that warmed our hearts. We went down today to check on him and let Chaz know that we all knew where he was and wanted him to stay there -- that is, that's what we were going to let Chaz know provided we were fully satisfied with the relationship and surroundings and life that we could see he was having. Okay, we can cut to the chase now:  PERFECT home, PERFECTLY happy Chaz, just perfect in every way.  One of the best placements ever. Chaz plays fetch with tennis balls over the yard, he's perfectly behaved when they run and walk him to and on the beach or anywhere else. He was overjoyed to see me and gave me lovely slobbery warm hugs -- and then ran over to the gal to reassure her and thank her for letting me know where he was. And then it was back to the rest of the family and the yard and all the goings-on for Father's Day. He acted exactly the way we dreamed of him acting, knowing he was in his family and his home now, and happy that all of his human loved ones were with him.  

Lessons we witnessed yet again: 
1) Wait for the perfect home, and just keep letting a rescued foster dog grow more socialized, more secure, and become a better and better canine citizen.
2) Trust that a dog will understand when he is where he belongs. Read him (or her), reassure him, and then let him forge that magic human-canine relationship of love that dogs know so well how to make.