When an animal is accepted by the Sanctuary, the commitment we make to them is for life. So after adoption, if the future brings misfortune or misadventure, a dog can return to Dogtown if he or she doesn’t work out. The reason isn’t all that important.
In 2014, Zita was one in a puppy litter that I cared for during my time as a Dogtown caregiver. Every pup in that litter was nice, but they were all little red rez pups, it was hard to tell them apart. Zita had a white triangle on the back of her neck, so she was easier to distinguish from her siblings. She was my little Zita pita.
When she was returned recently, I made it a point to stop over to see her at admissions. She was really scared. She had been in a home, and then her whole world flipped upside down. Sometimes when a puppy is returned as an adult, I don’t think they recognize me, but usually, when I slip into my sing-song-silly puppy taming voice, the tails start to wag and they loosen up. Either the voice is so silly that they know I couldn’t possibly be a threat or they actually remember me. It doesn’t matter which because the outcome is that they relax and that’s the important bit. For a moment, Zita recognized that voice and started to relax, but she caught herself and started alarm-barking at me. I left, a little sad that she was so anxious.
It took a couple of weeks for Zita to unwind, but soon the magic of Dogtown took over.
She has moved into an octagon and paired up with another alumnus from my time in puppies. Wichita was one of the nicest puppy moms ever. Though they are both adult dogs, it sure looked to me as if Wichita took Zita under her wing and helped her relax and play.