A Day in the Life of AACC

Ever wonder what goes on here all day? Well, we’re here to share some snapshots of a day at AACC with you!

The day started dark and early with a volunteer picking up a dog and driving him to his neuter surgery. Thanks to our volunteers, unaltered dogs get transported several times a week for their surgeries.

Allegra with neuter dog

Notice how perky he looks? 

The morning continues with Officer Jonsen befriending a frightened dog who was placed in our night drop kennels. The night drop kennels are a safe and warm spot for stray animals picked up by Good Samaritans to spend the night. We are so appreciative when members of the community take their own time to help these animals. You all rock!

Eric in night drops

A small bribe can go a long way with a frightened dog.

Later in the morning our Veterinary Assistant gets kittens ready to move out to the adoption floor. Just a little de-wormer and a quick vaccination and they are good to go! In her steady and quick hands, they hardly notice what’s happening.

 

We got to hang out with Riley, a staff member’s dog. Riley has a tough time when separated from his people so he comes to work when his humans will be gone for a long time. Notice his Thunder Shirt? Thunder Shirts have been known to help decrease anxiety in dogs . He looks pretty comfy (and handsome) in his.

Riley

Riley rocks his Thunder Shirt. 

And we got to celebrate adoptions. Including this one of stunning Regina after only one day on the adoption floor! We wish that could happen for all of our cats.

The kennels in clinic began filling up with adopted cats coming back for their spay/neuter surgeries. Our Veterinary Assistant and a veterinarian will spend the morning on Thursday performing the surgeries.

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And then late in the day a second volunteer brought our dog back to us after his surgery – a bit less perky than this morning. Poor baby. He’ll sleep it off and be ready for adoption when his incision has healed.

after neuter

Poor guy can’t wake up from his surgery.

Thanks for spending the day with us! See you again soon.

 

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Pay It Forward: Samantha and Bella’s Story

You know that saying “Pay it forward?” Well, we have proof that paying it forward really does make the world a better place. A little over a year ago, two bonded Chihuahuas were available for adoption together. They were spotted on our website by an elderly woman who was looking for companions. Knowing that small dogs are adopted quickly she and her daughter rushed down to meet these two. At the same time, another woman was also coming in to meet these dogs and she arrived just before the other women. But fate stepped in and these three women met at the customer service counter just as the woman was about to adopt the dogs. As they talked about the dogs, it came out that the elderly woman had rushed down to meet them and had been looking forward to their companionship. So the soon-to-be adopter asked her a few questions and then…stepped aside. She saw that this woman needed the two dogs more than she did and she graciously offered her the chance to adopt the dogs. But the elderly woman, in her rush, had forgotten her wallet so the first adopter paid the adoption fee and went home without the dogs she had hoped to adopt. And the elderly woman went home with her new friends, Samantha and Bella.

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Samantha and Bella on their ride home. September 2016

Fast forward a year….we receive a message on Facebook from the elderly woman’s daughter who tells us that her mother, due to health reasons, has to move out of her home. And she wants to know if we remember the woman who had wanted Samantha and Bella and had paid their adoption fee. If we did, could we please contact her to see if she would still like the dogs? The only reason we were able to track down this woman was because she had paid the adoption fee so we had information on file from the receipt.

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Samantha and Bella keep their first mom company.

We put the women in touch with each other and now Samantha and Bella are settling into their new home.Their new mom tells us they howl together, bark at dogs on the TV, sleep together in a puppy pile and crawl under the covers with her at night. She has told the previous family she is happy to bring Samantha and Bella over for visits so their first mom can still enjoy their companionship. Paying it forward sure did make the world a better place for everyone, including Samantha and Bella.

We don’t know about you but this story might have made us cry a little and smile a lot.

Nigel Finds Home

This post is written by an Alaskan husky named Nigel. Nigel is proud to be from Alaska. He finds the people here so self-reliant and brave. Bravery is always something Nigel has admired – after all his name means ‘champion.’ But it also means darkness.’ For much of his life, he never felt like a champion; he lived in the darkness of fear. But the night is always darkest before the dawn. This is his story.

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Nigel on the night he returned home.

“I always found a way out. Out of the room, the yard, the car, the leash. Everything terrified me. I was described as “skittish and “timid.” I did not want to be perceived like that, but confidence didn’t come naturally to me.

Finally, my human got tired of chasing me around so he brought me to the shelter. Well, I didn’t like to stay in my kennel so I would just scramble up the walls and sit on the top of my kennel until a shelter worked climbed up and got me down. If I couldn’t go out, at least I could go up. The shelter people were very kind, but I could see the concern on their faces. I heard one say softly to another “I love him dearly, but who is going to adopt this dog? How are they going to keep him safe?” Safe? Safe? I wasn’t sure I knew the meaning of that word.

But then…something incredible happened – I met some humans who were very special. They didn’t seem to be afraid of anything. Even I couldn’t scare them away! In fact, I heard them say that they loved my gentle spirit and goofy smile (well, I think it’s a very charming smile!). I thought that was very nice of them to see past my insecurity. And they brought me to their home! Imagine that!

In our family there is a little human and he’s my favorite. I seek him out because I think we need each other. He is the best person to go to the vet with, he always helps me stay calm. In return, when my little boy is sick or hurt, he just wants to lay against his “doggie-brother” and I am more than happy to oblige.

After about 2-years of happiness, I had a bad day. I was out on my 25’ line for the last time before bed and something scared me. I pulled against the line and the clip to the yard stake broke. I don’t know why but I ran away. Before I knew it, I was lost in every way imaginable.

My family was devastated and terrified that I was tangled up somewhere, due to my line, and wouldn’t be sighted. My little human would lie on my bed and say “Doggie?” over and over again. They did everything right: they searched for me, getting the word out with posters (they hired FedEx to make super professional fliers), they paid Facebook to run an ad, paid for robo-calls to reach out to hundreds of people in my area. And people searched for me, including my trainer, some people from the shelter and even people I didn’t know (I heard that one of them was a pet detective). Wow – I didn’t know I was that important!

Almost a whole week went by and they hadn’t found me. But then, my dad got a Facebook message from someone who said he saw the posters and that he had me and wanted to get me back to my family. Here’s what he told my dad: He saw me the day after I ran away and took me in. He thought to himself “Why are you so sacred? You look a little skinny too….” He thought that because I was shy and kind of skinny that I wasn’t being taken care of properly and didn’t have a wonderful family who I loved and who loved me. So he gave me a new name and kept me in his house. Once again, I was terrified; not of him, but that I would never see my family again. I needed to escape but I wasn’t sure if I could this time. I could smell home…I knew it wasn’t far away.

But after seeing the posters my humans put up he realized that I was loved and that’s when he contacted my dad. And I can’t even explain how happy I was when my dad came to get me. I think I even did a doggie happy dance!

I am home now, with my family. I’m wearing my GPS collar and my dad said he won’t use the yard stake again. Yay, they are going to keep me safe! Safe. I hope that lady at the shelter who was so worried about me knows how loved I am.”

Mark Twain once said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” I can appreciate that greatly. I know that through compassion, persistence, hope, endurance, and love that I can master fear. One day I will live up to my name and become the champion of my own darkness.

AFTER THE STORY UPDATE:

When asked why they have chosen to stick with Nigel despite his anxiety, his parents say that it’s because he is a sweet, gentle dog who so very much wants to enjoy life. Sometimes his anxiety holds him back from enjoying life, just as it holds back many humans, but they want to help him embrace life as much as possible.

Blog posts are written by AACC volunteer, Stephanie
Edited by AACC staff.

Meatball: A Short Story

A Land Flowing with Meatballs and Ice Cream

Meatball

This blog is written by Meatball. His saucy name makes him feel tough when he’s scared and hungry, so he likes it; but he has a sensitive, artsy side too.  For example, his favorite artist is Monet. His favorite Monet pieces are the Nymphéas or Water Lilly series. Meatball said, “I’ve heard some people describe others as ‘late bloomers.’ Well, if I had to describe myself in that light, I’d say I was plucked just a little too early. But thanks to the love and support of special people around me, I too was able to know love and feel safe.’ This is his story.

On the morning of June 14th, I was found in the night drop kennels at Anchorage Animal Care and Control. I was very hungry and I was letting everyone know about it! I had been brought there by a Good Samaritan who found me for sale in a Walmart parking lot.

I was being sold with my siblings, but I was far too young to be away from my mother. I was only 3-4 weeks old and weighed a mere 11 oz. I missed my mommy’s warm milk and the fuzzy comfort of my siblings.

At the shelter, this nice lady said, “He’s so cute I want to name him Ice Cream Cone.” Everyone laughed but they agreed and that became my first name. I’ve never seen an ice cream cone, but it sounded delicious!

Due to my early departure from my mother, I needed a lot of attention and care so I was placed in a foster home. It was my foster dad who changed my life and my name to Meatball. I liked it a little better and I liked him a lot!

He has the coziest chest and I just love to sleep on it. I also like to snuggle with his old dog who doesn’t seem to mind. I’m hungry all the time and I really like to let him know it. I like to talk to him while he is making dinner in the kitchen; I also like to sit on his foot. Pretty much where ever he is, is where I like to be. Sometimes I try to suck on his arm because I get confused about where my food is going to come from next.

Even though I am very weak and delicate, my dad does his best to help me stay strong and feel loved. “You must be so out-of-sorts being away from your mom, little guy,” He said to me once. He totally gets it and he made me purr for the first time. It feels so good to feel that rumble in my little body and nice to be able to show him that he makes me happy.

I am not very sure about my future. I don’t always feel the best, but I know how lucky I am. There is darkness and wrong-doing in this world, but the amount of love I have been shown in my short life has been incredible. I want the world to know that it is important to live and let live and to let things grow and thrive where they belong. Right now, where I belong is on my dad’s chest purring away and dreaming of a land full of meatballs, ice cream cones, and lilies.

AFTER THE STORY UPDATE

It breaks our hearts to say that our little guy didn’t make it. But we still wanted to tell his story and let his voice be heard for all the kittens who lose their mommas too soon and for all our foster kittens who first know love from our amazing troop of foster parents. AACC foster parents open not just homes but their hearts every time they agree to care for a kitten and for this we, and our kittens, are grateful,

In Meatball’s memory, remember to be kind and show love to those around you every moment that you can. We know Meatball would think that is just perfect.

Reflections from Meatball’s Foster Dad

Meatball 3

Meatball came to me as just a tiny squirt of a kitten. Here was a little guy who was taken from his mom way too early and no longer had any siblings to find comfort with so we became very attached very quickly, which, of course, had me thinking “should I keep this one?” on our very first night together. Despite being so tiny Meatball seemed healthy. I was sure that with a lot of love and care he’d make it and be a great companion for either myself or some other lucky person. I was already feeling proud of the chance of a great life we were giving him.

Throughout the weekend he sat on my shoulder or in my sweatshirt pocket (yes, he was that tiny) as I went about my usual routine. In the evenings he would lay on my chest while I read.  He never let me out of his sight and either chased me down or meowed until I returned. I was the most important thing in the world to Meatball and I didn’t take that sentiment or responsibility lightly.

I had a trip planned and only had him for 5 days before moving him to his second foster home.  While I was gone I thought about him often and was anxious to see him. I was out of communication and had no idea that he was not doing well so it was hard to hear when I came back that his health was failing.

In a matter of a few days Meatball’s health went south despite our best efforts…and then he was gone. The whole experience- which lasted barely more than a week- is one I think about every day. I take comfort in knowing I, and his second foster home, were able to give Meatball love, security, and companionship for at least part of his short life. I didn’t think I’d be ready to foster again for a few months because I was feeling raw about Meatball’s passing but I already found myself with three foster kittens this past week! Meatball would be proud of me.

Blog posts are authored by AACC volunteer, Stephanie.

Photos courtesy of Meatball’s foster dad.

Shae: A Story of Healing

Hi everyone, Linus here.
Did you know I have a foster sister?

And she’s a beautiful black cat just like me.
Her name is Shae and here’s her story:

Shae came to the shelter the same way I did – a lost cat in need of somewhere safe and warm. She got sick while she waited at the shelter, first for her family to hopefully find her and then for a family to hopefully adopt her. Other cats get sick with the same thing (they call it “upper respiratory infection”) but poor Shae got hit hard. So my mom, who has a really big heart, brought her home to be my foster sister and recuperate.

She needed lots of care so my mom set her up in our bathroom with a humidifier and would even give her fluids to keep her hydrated. Most importantly, she made sure that Shae just got to relax and sleep. She stayed in her own room although I got to see her through the door. At first I might have felt just a little jealous but I got over that because I could see that she really needed us.

 

It wasn’t too long before we got to see what a great cat Shae is. She started playing with toys, hanging out in a catio next to me, meeting the dogs, and snuggling, snuggling, snuggling with my mom. My mom said that Shae likes to get as close as she can and would snuggle all day if she could. She also said that Shae is so good – she never growled or hissed at me or the dogs, never complained about going in her carrier or when she had to get fluids.

It’s been a good experience having Shae with us. We worried about her at first so we are really happy to see how well she’s doing. It will be hard to give her up but soon she’ll have to go back to the shelter to find a new home. I’m hoping that by writing about her and telling you how special she is, she might find a home right away.

Abby’s Story: A Dog’s Best Friend

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This blog is written by Abby. Like many shelter dogs, only parts of her past are known.
But Abby reminds us it isn’t where you’ve been that defines you, it’s where you’re going.
This is her story.

I was terrified. I could hear voices and smell something yummy, but I was too scared to even move or leave this kennel. I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to play. I didn’t want to eat. I just wanted everyone to leave me alone so I could think and figure out what was happening.

But the voices were sweet and weren’t giving up and the treats that were offered were ones I liked, so, I thought, what was the worst that could happen?  Eventually, I decided to venture out a little. I caught a glimpse of some warm, affectionate and concerned faces. I ate some treats, walked around a little and then went back to where I felt safe – my kennel.

 

This happened every day and slowly I started looking forward to the voices and the treats. The faces looked happier these days, the concern was melting away.  I bet my face looked different too. That is the thing about dogs, we cannot help but trust and love. It’s just inside of us, always pulsing through every fiber of our beings. Even though I was confused and didn’t understand why I was here and not in my home, I still believe in the good in the humans. We call them dog’s best friends.

Then one day, after I had an especially good time out of my kennel, I was placed in a new kennel in the “adoption area” where there was a lot more activity, lots more people to play with and yes, more treats. I started meeting new people –  they are all named “Volunteer”, isn’t that funny? They told me I was up for adoption and that someone would be lucky to have me as their friend. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I know that humans believe in me and I believe in humans. So, I sat and patiently waited for the one that smells like my best friend.

It didn’t take them too long to find me; their sweet faces reminded me of those first faces I saw that coaxed me from out of my kennel. Kindness is easy to spot. So, I am adopted now (check out those smiles in my adoption photo) and I am off to a new life. I used to like to play fetch, chew on bones and snuggle. I hope my new family likes those things too, but I am sure they do.

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To a future full of smiles, hope, and love,

Abby

AFTER THE STORY UPDATE

When Abby came to the shelter on 5/28/17 she was quite fearful and she did not want to come out of her kennel. The staff at AACC worked with her every day – carefully and patiently coaxing her out of her kennel to play with her for a bit, before letting her go back in where she felt safe. Eventually, the staff gained her trust and started putting that smile back on her face. She was then moved out into the public area so the volunteers could work with her. She was adopted on 6/11/17.  Abby’s success is a perfect example of the effort AACC puts into its animals.  We want every dog, cat, and pet to have a successful re-homing and we do everything possible to try to make that happen. We want every animal’s story to be like Abby’s. 

Love’s not Time’s Fool

Love’s Not Time’s Fool

This blog is written by Kona Mae. A senior Blood Hound who was brought to AACC after her human passed away. Kona Mae’s favorite author is the great William Shakespeare; she likes to say that she and the playwright have one thing in common: that some things get better with time. This is her story.

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I know that it was just a step… well, a flight of them. I watched people scamper up and down them with ease all day. But to me, it was Everest. I had made the most out of my puppy years, but those were far behind me. The short of it was, I couldn’t climb stairs anymore. It was sad and frustrating to struggle. But what could I do? Time shows no preference; we are all her hostages.

I knew this better than many. I don’t like to talk about my past too much. It makes me sad and Blood Hounds already have a tendency to look depressed, so it’s not a good look on me. My human had recently passed away; the years we had together are buried and cherished deep inside my heart. But due to this, I found myself the occupant of a pen at the shelter with nowhere else to go.

So, I laid these old bones back down on the floor of my cage, waited and gave myself a pep-talk. I was still cute (or so I thought) had always been loyal and gave so much love. I was mellow too! Much mellower than the in-demand puppies around me and pretty thoroughly trained. Maybe I still had a chance?

Amazingly, I got adopted. A difficult hurdle to conquer for many. ESPECIALLY, us senior pups, but I was lucky. My joy, though insurmountable, was short lived. I couldn’t follow my new owners around. I couldn’t get up and down their stairs. I was returned to the shelter. It was the lowest of the lows for me. No pep-talk-tainted monolog would raise my chin of the shelter’s floor. This old dog had no more tricks up her sleeves.

I believe I have a guardian angel looking out for me (I have an idea who it is) because I did get adopted again to two saints. The first time I met them I tried to gather all the information I could quickly. I wanted to fit in perfectly this time. I rushed up to them, nose in the air and then nose to the ground. I learned a lot! They smelled, how do I explain it,.. kind. And they gave me a butt-rub! I love those. I heard the one say to the other with a smile “my heart goes out to her. What’s one more?”

When they came to pick me up, I understood what they meant for they had an English Mastiff in their back seat. She introduced herself as Miss Prue, was about my age and very welcoming. She was also wet from paw to tail, I inquired as to why and she said that she had been swimming!

Once we arrived home (don’t you just love the sound of that word?), I was let out into the backyard and met two other senior Blood Hounds, Pearl and Beaufort! It was like family immediately. Everyone allowed me to explore the yard, house, and all the rooms. The house did have stairs, but in my excitement I went right up them! If I do ever start to have trouble, my parents have a belly belt to help me out a little bit. My parents are pros at this senior pup thing!

Kona Mae_2

Kona Mae and her new pack: Miss Prue the English Mastiff and Pearl and Beaufort the Bloodhounds

I’ve heard them tell their friends, “ with older dogs you make some adjustments… but they still have so much to give back to us and are so loving. I wouldn’t change a thing or ask for anything more.” I am glad they feel that way and I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am on Glucosamine, Condroitin & fish oil to keep me as spry as possible and I also get to go swimming once a week at Alaska K9 Aquatics, to help with my arthritis. I am thriving.

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Kona Mae relaxes in her new home.

As Shakespeare said, in his lovely Sonnet 116, “Love’s not Time’s fool.” Our body’s might be slaves to time. But, love lives on; it lives on in my heart and in my everyday life. I am so, so lucky in love. Thanks to my new parents, not only did this old lady find a couple new tricks up her sleeves, she found a family too.

AFTER THE STORY UPDATE

Kona Mae’s new mom describes their journey with her as kismet and says that she is a blessing and delight. All three of the other dogs in the family have welcomed her in with open paws and the group is fondly referred to as the Geriatric Crew. The crew plays a lot in the yard but they are also self-proclaimed couch potatoes; they love to snuggle on the cushions and give kisses. Kona Mae, Miss Prue, Pearl, and Beaufort hope that their story of love, acceptance, and second chances will inspire others to adopt senior pups.


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