To know her is to love her. Or, at least to try! Sissy came to Cape Ann Animal Aid as a pregnant mom-to-be, and stole the hearts of many at the shelter. But, she was timid, nervous, and not quick to trust. Today, we are sharing the story of her journey that started in Texas and ended in her forever home! We're so glad that stories like theirs can have a new beginning thanks to the support of the Petco Foundation. Because of their generous investment in our live saving work, we can continue to provide homes for animals like Sissy and her babies despite all that is going on in the world around us.
Sissy initially came to us from Texas, through our rescue partner Chances Dog Rescue and Relocation. Tiffany Menard, Director of Chances, shares with us the story of how she came to them:
"She came to us via the Animal Control Officer (ACO) in a rural county outside of southwest Houston. He was called to the property by the authorities (the sheriff, I believe), and he found many, many, many dogs. It was clearly a hoarding case, but there are also clear signs of neglect. None of the dogs were inside, none we altered, none were licensed, and no rabies information could be found on any of them. No food, water or outdoor shelter was available to the dogs either. In all, 16 dogs were seized from the property that day. 2 were humanely euthanized due to medical issues, and the rest were taken in by the ACO.
There were 2 adults - Sissy and Henry (the black pup who appears next to her in at least one of the pictures) and 2 litters of puppies. Henry stayed with the ACO, but a foster took in Sissy and the puppies since it was clear they needed some more TLC.
I wish Sissy's beginning was an uncommon one. It is not.
The foster has a large ranch, and she worked hard to socialize the puppies. She also spent considerable time with Sissy, who was very shy. Sissy was unsure of herself enough though to walk only in a crouch. In fact, in the beginning, she wouldn't walk at all and needed to be carried outside to relieve herself. After a few days of TLC she was willing to walk on her own, but stayed low to the ground. She had gentle eyes and craved affection though. She returned pets and quiet conversation with sweet, gentle kisses. She was content to just lay down near her foster. She was happy in the company of other dogs, but did not love the wild, roughhousing puppies. Within less than a week, it became apparent that she was likely pregnant. Thankfully, we had an upcoming transport to Cape Ann and she was able to make the trip. (Henry and the wild puppies were transported to another partner organization, so the entire crew ended up safe and up north.)
I wish Sissy's beginning was an uncommon one. It is not. While Houston itself has a massive animal control / care issue, the rural counties possibly have it even worse. Dogs are routinely not spayed / neutered or even vaccinated. Some dogs are tethered to trees or truck bumpers or porches. Most roam free. Very few live inside homes as pets. While owners are required to provide access to food, water and shelter, many do not, and there are not enough ACOs to police this (or judges to enforce it). The dangers are countless - cars, wild animals, aggressive domesticated / owned animals, evil people, gun owning dog hating property owners, etc. ACOs pick up unwanted, abused, neglected and sick animals, but have very few resources for them. The counties prefer to euthanize animals after the required 72-hour stray hold - as it is a cheaper option than sheltering them and paying for care staff. The ACO who picked up Sissy actually built a shelter on his property to house dogs while he networked them to rescues."
Sissy was transferred in to CAAA on December 17th. Just 5 days later, on December 22nd, she gave birth to her two puppies, a boy and a girl.
Sissy was sweet and calm in the shelter, but hesitant. It was clear she wasn't sure whether or not to trust anyone. Shortly after giving birth, right after the new year, Sissy and her two puppies, Buddy and Minnie, went into foster with a staff member.
It was very hard on Kevin to see how scared she was of him.
Once in foster, it became obvious to all that Sissy was going to need a special home to adopt her. She was very nervous in the home, especially around men. She would growl and bark at the man in the house, and wouldn't even walk by him. Mindy, Sissy's foster mom, wrote:
"She would stay in the foster dog room with her pups even when her pups would come out of the room she would only come out with me. It was very hard on Kevin to see how scared she was of him. But he would talk to her even when she would bark at him.. such a kind soul he is.."
Sissy and her puppy, Minnie (now Nova)
Sissy, Minnie, and Buddy all stayed with Mindy and Kevin until the puppies reached 8 weeks of age, at which point they returned to the shelter. Minnie and Buddy were subsequently adopted out to their own forever homes, while Sissy waited in the shelter for her own Spay surgery.
In the shelter, Sissy began to slowly open up, though she continued to be very wary of visitors and would hide from and bark at anyone who would walk by the office. A dog who clearly loved and cherished "her people", she bonded well with several staff members that she saw on a regular basis, though it did require patience.
Around other dogs, however, staff began to see her really shine. With puppies, she was playful and excitable. It became apparent that Sissy would thrive most in a home with a companion of her own to bring her out of her shell.
Now, it’s like a whole different Sissy With PAL showing her how to trust
UPDATE ON MINNIE (NOW NOVA)
Sissy's puppies had their own happy endings! Minnie, now Nova, found her forever home with some new friends of her own! Her adopter writes:
"We had no plans to get another dog. We already had 10 year old Kermit, the best behaved Boston Terrier around.
When I saw a picture of Nova, I thought “that’s exactly the kind of dog I would get if I was looking for one” then not another thought about it. When I heard that she was the only dog waiting for foster still in the shelter I convinced Kevin we could take her just for a week or two until she was adopted. She was so cute I knew she would be snatched up soon. Kevin was out of work due to Covid, so no excuses, he could be home with her.
So we met “Minnie”, she was a happy pup and she and Kermit got along great.
Those first few days everything she did was not only adorable but also hilarious. She is so clumsy and lovable. Her and my grandson play and snuggle a lot. We fell in love and decided to adopt.
She has brought us so much joy over the last month. She is a reason to get up and get moving, all that puppy energy needs to go somewhere. She is such a snuggler and she is a quick learner. Her and Kermit have become best friends."
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