Tango's Tale: Fostering Saves Lives

8:07 PM

One of the images posted on the NYC ACC for Oreo

On August 12, 2016, my day started out just like any normal day. With tired eyes, I drank my morning coffee and scrolled through Facebook. I follow many animal welfare pages and organizations that help save dogs from high-kill shelters in the Tri-State Area.

In the U.S., it is estimated that 5,500 dogs are put to sleep in shelters EVERY. DAY.

That is a HUGE number. There are many factors at work here. People do not spay and neuter their pets. Puppy mills and breeders continue to overbreed dogs (that are not well cared for and purely used for profit). People buy or adopt dogs without understanding the commitment it takes to care for a dog properly: time, money, patience, etc. Once they are over it, they bring them to shelters or in some cases where animal welfare education is not prevalent or the people are just straight up evil, they will simply leave the dog somewhere. Locked in an apartment, on the side of the highway, in the woods.

Tango playing in our backyard as a foster dog

Anyway, I'm going through my Facebook and see a page called "Must Love Dogs" has posted their daily pleas for dogs that are set to be euthanized at noon from the NYC ACC. I've seen these lists before and each time is completely heartbreaking. With no room at our house for another dog, I try to "share" as many dogs as I can in hopes someone will see it and decide to open their home as a foster or adopter.

There is no way Brian and I could add another dog into the mix, even has a foster. While he doesn't mind our two cats, Cosmo is not very dog friendly. We also both work quite far away and I travel often for work, so it just didn't make sense. We really had no extra time to give to another dog.

And then I saw him.

The actual post on Must Love Dogs that made me fall in love

The most handsome, happy little face I had ever laid eyes on. I'm not sure what made me decide to do it, but I sent a text to my husband and the conversation went a little something like this:

Alli: *Sends picture of "Oreo"*
Alli: Look at this guy. He is going to be put to sleep today :(
Alli: Look how cute he is. And he is rated Average which means he is really good!
Alli: Only 13 months old. The poor guy. All because they had a baby.
Alli: I wish we could just foster him
Brian: How
Alli: IDK if we kept him downstairs and just put Cosmo in his crate while he is out it says he is fine with cats and other dogs maybe eventually they would be friends
Alli: It says he even likes taking baths and getting his nails trimmed and he is just so cute.
Alli: I bet he would get adopted fast too because he is so young and got a great rating.
Alli: and it says he is house trained and good with kids!
Brian: Ok
(Me thinking this means "OK enough I've told you a million times we can't have any more animals I am over this conversation don't keep pushing it.")
Alli: I'm sorry I know we can't have any other animals he is just so young and it says he is really good and I just thought maybe we  could help him.
Brian: I said ok

At this point I am in pure disbelief. Ok as in..... ok I can grab him? At this point it is around 11AM and I know they start putting the animals to sleep around 12. I must move fast.

Panicked, I email the NYC ACC but I have a feeling that is not the best and quickest way to make this happen. I post on the FB thread with his picture. How do I pull a dog? Someone answers me - message the Must Love Dogs page. I do that and the nicest person helps me out. They send me a few different foster applications to be filled out as pulling through a rescue is the easiest way to get a dog out. It will cost me no money as the rescue will pay the $200 fee, and they have connections and experience talking with the NYC ACC to ensure the dog is marked as SAFE.

I fill out the apps as quickly as possible. I need references, etc., so I let a couple friends know to keep an eye on their phones if they get a call as Oreo's life is up against the clock. One rescue calls me back with bad news - they just had a foster fall through and now have to put a dog they pulled in boarding. They can't take another chance like that so they will approve me and keep me on file for the future, but can't help me pull Oreo. Then I get the call from Rebound Hounds. After a few more steps I am approved.

They pull Oreo for me. He is SAFE.  We talk about transport and I let them know I can drive to Brooklyn the next day to pick him up myself and bring him to his foster home.

And that is the story of how Tango was saved from near death.
In Brooklyn, shortly after I had just met him!

Tango's Freedom Ride from Brooklyn ACC on 8-13-16

The next day I drove out to the Brooklyn ACC to pick him up. It was a sad place. I saw some things I wish I never had to see. Once they verified who I was, I waited out back for them to bring me Oreo. I had no idea what to expect - what if he was actually a mean dog and I had to drive 2 hours back home with him in the car? I'd brought some toys with me to keep him busy... but what if he had toy aggression? I kept calm and then he walked out the side door and I fell so deeply in love with his big, happy smile. He immediately came over to greet me and say hello, like I was an old pal. He was just the happiest dog I'd ever met before. I signed some more papers and then we were on our way. He hopped in the car and gave me a big kiss. At that moment, I felt so overwhelmed.

I have just met you and I love you.

Over the next few days, Oreo had to "decompress". He spent most of his time in the crate but for a few short walks throughout the day. The literature Rebound Hounds gave us said to do this for two weeks, but that is more for dogs who were stressed out and scared from shelter life. Oreo was neither of those things. He was completely content being OUT of the crate - but he hated being in it. He cried all night long. We had to bribe him to go into the crate with slices of Kraft Cheese. I am not kidding you - for a few months we had to buy Kraft Singles and that was the only way to get him into the crate.

Tango and Brian meeting for the first time

Enjoying playing in his very own backyard! Wet from swimming in the pool & loving rolling in the grass!

Though his previous owners said they took him on 3 walks a day, I find that hard to believe. He had terrible leash manners. He also LOVED grass. He would just roll and roll and roll in it during our entire walk. He was also fascinated by birds, bees, and the many bunnies in our neighborhood. Our long walks together were so amazing because it was like he was just seeing the world for the first

Ultimately, we decided to adopt him. He was such a special boy, I felt there was no way we could let him go. And surprisingly, Brian felt the same. I could see when they would play together that they had a very special bond. So in October, he officially became part of the Sharpe Family and Brian picked his new name to signify his new, happier life: TANGO.

Tango's official adoption notice! 

I will post his full eval below if you'd like to read, but let me say this. His ex-owners gave him up because they "had a new baby" and "had no time" for him. He had been a "gift" to them when he was a puppy. When they dropped him at the high-kill Brooklyn ACC at only 13 months old, they gave him a death sentence and never looked back. Right now, he could be in a garbage bag in a landfill decomposing and they wouldn't even care. I wonder if they ever think about him and what happened to him.

But I have to thank them. Tango, in his 13 months with those people, was obviously well taken care of. He was not starved nor was he abused. He is not fearful or aggressive. He has only ever had 2 accidents in the house and they were mostly our fault, not his. This is not the case for so many animals that are abandoned. I know first hand, because I had to work on so many of Cosmo's issues all these years that I've had them. So while they left him to die with no regard, I at least appreciate that they gave him a nice enough life for the short time they had him.

 And now he gets to live the rest of his years with a family who loves him and would never abandon him <3
The feeling when you know you're safe and have a family who loves you

In fall, we learned he LOVES STICKS!

Always following his dad around the yard

Tango is so playful and loves to be outdoors and swimming!

Tango is really great at snuggles

And loves the pool!

He finally got to go on adventures

and see the great outdoors with his mom & dad


SAVED – 08/12/2016

He WAS the “baby” of the house till a “new baby” came along and then his human parents decided to cart him off to the shelter. Another case of out with the old and in with the new, despite the fact OREO got along TERRIFIC with kids of ALL ages. He was affectionate, gentle and sweet
with them! In fact, Oreo loves everyone he meets and loves to give jump up hugs and kisses. This poor little boy who is only a year old and starting out his life, who is optimistic and loving and a joy to be around, will die on Friday simply because he caught the dreaded “cold” and the ACC can’t be bothered treating him with a round of antibiotics. Doesn’t matter he is stunningly gorgeous and highly adoptable with his german shepherd lineage, and it doesn’t matter he got ALL Coveted 1’s on his SAFER and an “AVERAGE FAMILY” rating. It doesn’t matter he is the perfect family pet, who never guards his things, who ENJOYS baths and having his nails trimmed. It doesn’t matter he is housetrained, crate trained, knows commands and loves other dogs. None of this matters. He is slated to die on Friday and there will be no quarter given. This baby boy’s only hope is that someone will see him and stand up for him – will foster or adopt him and give him a committed NEW family who will ALWAYS stand by him and keep him safe. So don’t wait another minute – SAVE OREO. He will be the best decision you have made all year!

07/31/16 21:06 BASIC INFORMATION Oreo is a German shepherd mix with American Pit, he is black and brown and 1 years old. Oreo was a gift from a friend to the family. Since a puppy Oreo has been the family dog. The owner can no longer keep Oreo because there new born in the home and they don’t have time to care for Oreo. Oreo has no known illness. SOCIALIZATION Oreo has lived with children of various ages. He is playful and gently around them. He allows to be petted and watch them play. Around stranger he jumps up in excitement and greets with kisses. Oreo is relaxed around the neighborhood dogs, he sniff and becomes playful. He has never been around cats but he is not bothered by the stray cats in the neighborhood. BEHAVIOR Oreo allows all handling. He isn’t bothered when touching his food bowl while eating, removing toys or objects from his mouth; he enjoys bath time and allow his nails to be trimmed. During fireworks he is nervous. Oreo has a high activity level. He is houses trained and is walked 3 times a day. When the owners are not home he is left in a crate or free to roam the house. He has never had a bit history. FOR NEW FAMILIES TO KNOW Oreo is described as playful, affectionate and excitable. He enjoys fetch, chase and wrestling. He favorite toys are squeaky toys, chew bones and balls. He sleeps in the living room where is doggy bed is located. He knows the command sit & come. He pulls slightly on the leash. But his most favorite activity is running in the park. Oreo is feed a diet of Pedigree a mix of wet and dry. BEHAVIOR DURING INTAKE Oreo during intake was relaxed and friendly. He allowed to be collard, scanned and photographed.

Oreo previously lived with adults and children of various ages. The owner stated Oreo is playful and gently around strangers, adults and children. The owner mentioned Oreo hasn’t lived with cats but isn’t bothered by the stray cats in the neighborhood. It was reported by the owner Oreo is house trained and has a high activity level. The owner describes Oreo as playful, affectionate and excitable. At intake it was reported Oreo was relaxed and friendly, he allowed all handling. During SAFER Oreo came into the assessment room loose and wiggly, he was friendly and social towards the assessor. He allowed all handling items to be conducted without issue. Oreo joins the game and mouths the leash but in a playful manner during the tag interaction, and during the resources portion of the assessment Oreo was easy to handle when engaged with the item. Oreo appears to be sociable, and did not display any behaviors concerns, so the department feels he can be suitable for an “Average” adopter. Look: 1. Dog’s eyes are averted. His ears are back, his tail is down, and he has a relaxed body posture. Dog allows head to be held loosely in Assessor’s cupped hands. Sensitivity: 1. Dog leans into the Assessor, eyes soft, soft and loose body, open mouth. Tag: 1. Dog assumes play position and joins the game. Or dog indicates play with huffing, soft ‘popping’ of the body, etc. Dog jumps on Assessor once play ends. Squeeze 1/2: 1. Dog gently pulls back his paw. Toy 1: 1. Dog settles close, keeps a firm grip and is loose and wiggly. He does not place his body between you and the toy. Dog-dog: When off leash with dogs at the Care Center, Oreo is initially nervous as he greets the other dog. He spends most of his time exploring the pen.

@1 YR. 1 MOS., 52 LBS.

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