COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Dogs fill area shelters and humane societies and for some of them it can be really difficult to find a forever home.
Over time, those dogs start to decline and in some cases scare people away, but first impressions aren’t everything. In fact, when it comes to dogs in a shelter, first impressions can be very misleading.
When a dog is surrendered and it spends a significant amount of time in the shelter they start to decline mentally and in some cases physically.
Jojo is a long term stay dog at the Humane Society of Delaware County. He jumps and barks in his kennel but that’s not the kind of dog he is; you just have to take the time to get to know him.
“He does act totally different outside of the shelter environment. He was perfect,” said Tiffany Teegarden.
She took Jojo home over Thanksgiving and got to know the dog behind the kennel door.
“We just cuddled and played he likes to play tug. We were pretty close to teaching him all of the rules to fetch.”
She says Jojo is loving, house broken, and doesn’t destroy anything.
“But people don’t see that when they walk by and they see him barking in his kennel.”
He remains at the Humane society of Delaware County where he has been since September of 2018.
It’s a problem nearly all area shelters have.
“They start showing behaviors that they never would have shown in a home and we get to a point where it would be dangerous for people who aren’t very experience to handle them.” said Natalie Yeager.
At this humane society, 60 days is considered long term.
“We see a nice dog initially and then overtime we start seeing that a little bit more at the cage. It growls a little more or it barks a lot. That is very off-putting if you want a really nice mild dog,” said shelter director Jana Cassidy.
It’s hardest for pit bulls. A breed some rental properties and entire communities ban.
“There are pit bulls out there that are amazing creatures, and they are awesome guys. We know just as a general rule, pit bulls do not do well in the shelter environment for long periods of time. They need a lot of exercise, they need a lot of enrichment, they need a lot of stimulation. They are very very smart dogs.”
Exercise and enrichment are main focuses for dogs like Jojo. He gets extra time out of his kennel to play or just hang out on the couch. Nothing is better than breaking dogs out of the shelter even if it is just for a weekend.
“I’ve brought 40 dogs into my home in the last two years and its just been really great to see how they blossom and how they change once you put a little time and effort into them,” said Teegarden.
Fostering is an effort that volunteers and workers in shelters everywhere hope more people will try.
“You see the turn. You see the change in that animal and how it adjusts to your household. It is very rewarding. It is a lot of work,” said Cassidy. “You just have to be willing to give them a chance. We are very happy to see them leave and we cry too. Because we’ve developed those bonds with those dogs and then we also hold our breath and hope that they aren’t going to come back.”
Here are some of the long term stay dogs in Central Ohio. If you’re interested in fostering or adopting them, contact or visit the shelter where they are staying.