These dogs need your help

Published 8:40 pm Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September calendars have long been jam-packed with fundraisers, events and celebrations.

Stories highlighting one September event have been on the Suffolk News-Herald’s front page each Sunday for the past few weeks.

The Suffolk Humane Society’s third annual Mutt Strut, which was on Sunday, gave me the opportunity to meet some of Suffolk’s most welcoming (and dare I say charming) residents and write their stories. They were all dogs that found homes through adoption.

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Every owner I spoke with verified their animal’s behavior drastically changed after being adopted, which shows that the dogs are acutely aware of whether or not they are wanted.

One owner told me that when she and her husband went to visit the dog they wanted to adopt at the animal control shelter, they had to shove her dog back into its pen after they’d taken it outside to walk. Once inside the pen, it just lay there. After they adopted their new family member, they found out that the quiet, 3-year-old dog they thought they had adopted was really a 1-year-old puppy with the energy to prove it.

Another owner told me that when she visited her dog before adopting it, it was lethargic and disengaged. Now, it showers love on its owners and doggie sibling.

The change in behavior is not a reflection on the animal shelter, but more likely a result of the dogs knowing they’re loved once they’re at a home with a family.

There are many reasons dogs are at animal control or with a rescue group.

I couldn’t decide which was more heartbreaking: the story of one dog whose owner of 13 years had to give the dog up after undergoing extensive surgery, or the dog that showed tell-tale signs of abuse and was abandoned.

Both stories had a happy ending, but for any animal to experience the feeling of being unwanted and abandoned, I think, is worse than anything else.

The Suffolk Humane Society is working hard to help make sure that the dogs of Suffolk are matched with loving homes.

To help fund its programs and mission, the society hosts Mutt Strut to help raise money while giving people a chance to come see the animals that are up for adoption.

While the Mutt Strut has come and gone, it’s never too late to contribute to the Humane Society’s mission or view photos of adoptable animals. Visit or call 538-3030.

LEila ROche is a reporter for the Suffolk News-Herald.