There are over 100 dogs available for adoption at Orphans of the Storm®. If you’re a dog person, it’s difficult to walk through the kennels and not think to yourself, “I want to take somebody (or multiple somebodies) home!” Orphans of the Storm® has three wings of kennels, all of which I walked through on my quest to find the long-timers.
Most kids want a puppy. A lot of adults want puppies, too. Who can blame them? Puppies are small, cute, and cuddly. I am a puppy enthusiast myself. If you haven’t watched “Too Cute! Puppies” on Animal Planet yet, be prepared to spend an hour saying, “Aww!” every few seconds.
Every dog deserves a good home, though. This includes older dogs and dogs that have spent more than their fair share of time at a shelter. Adopting an older dog is a win-win situation for everyone involved: you get a wonderful pet without the pressures of a (approximately) 15-year commitment, and the dog gets a wonderful home to enjoy his or her golden years.
Shamrock is one of Orphans of the Storm®’s long-timers. This beautiful brindle-and-white American Staffordshire Terrier has been at the shelter since 2006 – and she’s only six years old. Shamrock was one of the first dogs to greet me when I walked into her wing; most of the other dogs were preoccupied with what some of the employees were doing outside. Shamrock came up to the front of her kennel as I approached and sniffed my hand when I held it up to her. She didn’t bark to grab my attention, like some other dogs attempted to do. I said hello to the rest of the dogs in her wing and then returned to the front of her cage. She had gone outside, so I knelt down and called, “Shamrock!” so I could see her again. She trotted over to me and it was decided that I would take her to one of the fenced-in runs so we could spend some more time together.
Someone helped me get a collar and leash for her, and I was shown the proper way to enter her kennel so she couldn’t accidentally run out. She was very excited by the presence of the leash, barely taking her eyes off it, and didn’t mind at all when I had to reach over and around her head to put the collar on.
Orphans of the Storm® emphasizes that visitors should give the dogs a few minutes to calm down after they are first put on a leash and taken out. This absolutely makes sense. Wouldn’t you be excited and running every which way if you were suddenly released from a kennel? Shamrock pulled me in the direction of the runs, sniffing at tufts of grass and bushes as we went. I closed the gate behind us and followed her around the run, where the leash-pulling stopped. She was already calming down. After exploring together for a few moments, I let her off the leash so she could roam where she wanted and we could get better acquainted.
Some dogs have certain places where they do and don’t like to be pet. Shamrock doesn’t seem to have a preference, and enjoys whatever contact you have with her equally. I, on the other hand, preferred scratching the top of her head, right between her half-perked ears, because her fur is so velvety soft there.
Shamrock also has no issues initiating contact herself. While I was sitting on one of the benches, she kept going back and forth under my legs as she sniffed what was around us.
When it was time to return to her kennel, Shamrock again had no problems with me putting the collar over her head. She didn’t pull on the leash nearly as much, but walked just a little ways ahead of me. She knew where to go.
After Shamrock and I parted ways, I went to another wing of kennels to say hello to Ebbie, one of the older dogs at the shelter. It was too late in the afternoon for me to take her out to the run, but I had heard good things about her and was eager to see her.
It’s impossible to not immediately fall in love with Ebbie. It’s obvious that this ten-year-old Shepherd mix is a sweetheart. Since she’s getting up there in years and her joints are a little more sensitive than the other dogs’, she has a doggie bed in her kennel, which she was curled up on when I stopped by. We looked into each other’s big brown eyes for a few moments before she decided I was worthy enough to get up for. She sniffed my hand and then pushed her side up against the cage so I could pet her easily. Then she made a half-circle so I could pet her other side.
Some of the other dogs in her wing started barking, and I looked around to see what they were barking at. It turned out they were all looking straight at me. Note to future visitors: Say hello to all the pooches when you first come in, or they get a little jealous.