Authored by: Phyllis Fornoff and Linda Elward
When choosing a shelter dog, please remember the old adage – don’t judge a book by its cover. When you walk through a shelter, you will see different dogs with many different personalities; ones that are shut down mentally, cowering in their kennel and afraid of human touch; others that are pressing their body up against the door hoping that you will stop and pet them; and others that are pacing in their kennel, jumping wildly and barking incisively. But one thing is certain about each of these different personalities – they will all show you are different personality when they are in a home environment.
Each week, we hope to bring you the stories of these dogs and what we have witnessed when they have a chance to be themselves outside the shelter environment.
Diesel is a great example of a dog that clearly does not do well in shelter life as he will pace his kennel nervously, bark wildly and jump as high as his kennel ceiling; commonly referred to as “kennel stress.” This personality is not very appealing to someone looking for a dog to bring into their home and many would quickly discount this dog and overlook him. But Diesel shows an entirely different personality while in a home. Diesel is currently TAPS’ longest resident and this Christmas will mark his three-year anniversary of living in a shelter so it’s not surprising to see that once he leaves the shelter, it is almost as if someone has flipped a switch and he instantly decompresses and sleeps; and sleeps deeply. Diesel’s nervous pacing in his kennel and jumping/barking wildly is quickly replaced with a dog who is peaceful and filled with contentment.
We have taken Diesel home with us about three our four times now and each time we witness a relaxed dog. Diesel has years of shelter life to shed and decompress; but he would certainly thrive in a quiet home – something that you would not think of when witnessing his nervous pacing in his kennel. Please remember when searching for your next dog that you cannot judge a dog by its fur! 🙂