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Road to Rescue with Leslie Smith

Seven years outdoors, one year in a shelter

Featured animal rescue organization, September 2009.

DogTime salutes California's City of Alameda Animal Shelter.

How did your organization get started?
The original City of Alameda "pound" opened in 1882.

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Lucky spent his first seven years outside

What is your mission?
The mission of the Alameda Animal Shelter is to keep Alameda a safe, clean environment for you and your pet, provide excellent care for the animals at our shelter, and re-home adoptable and domestic animals directly, or through rescue organizations.

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Lucky enough to find a forever home

How do most of your animals find their way to you?
Approximately 30% of the animals here are owner surrenders; the balance are strays.

What happens to the animals once they are in your care?
After the initial holding period, animals are evaluated and become available for adoption. It is then our crew of volunteers begin walking, grooming and generally socializing these animals.

Tell us about a particularly compelling animal or inspiring rescue.
Lucky lived the first seven years of his life as an outside dog, tied up in the yard with his Cocker Spaniel friend Ginger. Lucky and Ginger were surrendered after many barking dog complaints from neighbors. Ginger was adopted right away. Lucky's stay here would turn out to be much longer.

The staff and volunteers grew to love this big old boy with the soulful eyes and playful spirit. One day while putting Lucky through the standard sit, stay routine, he began to speak. When he spoke, no actual sound came out of his mouth, just the sound of his teeth chomping together, his inside voice. Lucky barked in the kennels loud and deep, but when he was in the office and we asked him to sit and speak, he used his inside voice.

Lucky became the staff and volunteer favorite. He would spend afternoons lazing around the shelter office, greeting all citizens who came through the doors. He became our representative dog at various events we attended around town. He became the official Earth Day dog at the City's Annual Earth Day Event.

Lucky had just passed his one-year anniversary here at the shelter.

One Wednesday a woman came in to meet our Lucky. She told us the many times she would be surfing the internet for a dog, and how Lucky's picture kept showing up on her searches. That day was the day she decided she must meet this dog. She drove from the Santa Cruz area, with a crate in the back of her car, just in case. It was love at first site, with Lucky giving his best "scratch my belly and I'll grin and slobber" act for her. A match was made and Lucky went to his forever home.

Lucky had been here at the shelter for 378 days. Lucky is not the only animal that has spent a year with us. Morgan, the cat, stayed for 426 days, before she was adopted. Spider, the fifteen-year-old Pit Bull stayed for 346 days before he went to the Senior Dog Rescue MUTTVILLE.

Our small city shelter is indeed lucky that we can keep adoptable animals here until they find their forever homes. You can see all our adoptable animals at: www.petharbor.com

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How you can help

Volunteer

Live in the San Francisco Bay Area? The Alameda Animal Shelter is always looking for volunteers. Consider lending a hand in one of the following areas:

Animal foster care

Animal grooming

Animal transport

Bird socialization

Cat socialization

Dog socialization

Kennel assistance

Office assistant

Photography

Web posting

Public outreach / events

Rabbit socialization

Small animal socialization

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