It’s no secret that it can be very, very hard to get shelter dogs adopted into proper homes, especially when they’re past the “adorable little puppy” stage. It’s even trickier if the dog is a breed that’s gotten a lot of bad press. When people see an adult Mastiff or Pit Bull in a cage, many will immediately think that he or she came straight from some Michael Vick-like dogfighting operation.
Tanya, a brindle Mastiff mix, is an extreme example of a story that could be told many times over. As you can see from the video, she spent seven years — practically her entire life — in the Yonkers Animal Shelter. Her first owner dropped her off when she was just about six months old. That’s a very long time to be in a shelter, even a no-kill one.
Tanya’s cause has been taken up by Mr. Bones & Co., a nonprofit group that gives financial assistance and support to rescue organizations in the NYC area. She’s part of the group’s One Lucky Pup program, which puts effort into rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming one single dog. In this case, it’s Tanya.
I’m looking at Tanya’s story, and I’m trying to imagine being in a shelter, even a good one, for seven years. Seven years ago, we had a different president. Just over five years ago, I was still living in Brooklyn, not Berkeley, and some days that seems so remarkably distant that I can barely remember it. The brief time that Tanya had an actual family must seem even farther away, if she can remember it at all.
If she doesn’t, Mr. Bones & Co. are working hard to see that she can at least make some new memories with a new life. Already, she’s been taken in by a foster mom, and she’s been evaluated by trainers. Based on how she responds to tester dogs that have been introduced to her, Mr. Bones & Co. says that she’s probably going to be most comfortable in a home with no other dogs, or with an older male dog.
The drive to get Tanya a home isn’t urgent only for her sake; Mr. Bones & Co. announced just last night that it can’t take on any more dogs until she’s been adopted, and the Yonkers Animal Shelter just had 11 dogs come in, including nine puppies who were rescued from living outside. Once Tanya finds her home, they can start helping out with the others.
If you’re near the New York area and think Tanya could be for you, drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.