Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Domino Effect

Domino is a dog. A black and white pit bull mix to be exact. I don't know anything about his days as a puppy or who his people were. I do know he has lived at the animal shelter in a small cement kennel for the last two years. Domino is a problem child. He is skinny and jumpy and outrageous. He doesn't listen and won't look at you when you speak to him. It's as if he is blowing you off deliberately.
But Domino is a very smart boy, and, despite his shenanigans, he has learned a slew of commands and can perform them on a dime. He will work for treats and does settle in to work after a while. Domino is not your friend right away. He must be won over. If you watch him, study him, let him know you are the boss and, really, that you are his trusted friend, he will look into your eyes and lean in for a good scratch.
Two years. At most any shelter, two years is unheard of. Overcrowded conditions and low pit bull adoption rates would have made Domino's chances at going home very low indeed. But he got lucky. The shelter he wound up in has a high adoption rate, a caring staff and a great volunteer program. He and all the dogs there are trained, exercised, bathed and fussed over. Gradually over time, the street-wise, 'trust no one' Domino began to relax and have some fun. He plays with toys. He chases balls. He sits for treats and closes his eyes in bliss when a friendly handler scratches behind his ears.

Domino got adopted on Saturday. A nice young man from New Jersey saw his face on Petfinders and decided to come and get him. The two of them played for a while and, after papers were signed and fee handed over ($29.50), Domino and his new friend climbed in the car and went home.

For you and me, the words 'going home' are uneventful. For Domino, they are the promise of dreams come true.

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