I recently promised the local German Shepherd rescue that I'd survey the Stockton shelter weekly and update them, and also be on tap for home visits for potential adopters in this area. (Bad segue, you say? Stay with me....)
So today was the first visit to the Stockton/San Joaquin city/county shelter since I found Sable (not there). Now, understand that I have made a number of visits to shelters over the years (either looking for a pet for myself, or helping evaluate temperament for a friend). In consequence, I wasn't thinking I was in for much of an emotional experience. Stop by, take notes, send email when I get home, yes?
It's puppy season. There were puppies, whole litters, in nearly every one of the "puppy" runs (up front, go figure). Skinny bitches nursing babies as best they could. There is no looking away, because I have to guess if any of these guys are mostly GSD.
Into the main part of the building, which has dog runs on one side, and cat cages facing them. (Wince, wince, wince.) Tiny cat cages. In one there is a seal lynx-point and white shorthair of immense dignity, large blue eyes and larger girth. He comes right up to headbutt when I talk to him. He doesn't belong in here. Further along (checking every dog for GSD-ness, which truly I have no business doing, since I simply don't know the breed well enough -- but here I am, and there is no one more expert here to do the job instead), there is a fluffy red (you would say orange) mackerel tabby kitten, maybe 7 weeks, mrowling indignantly (in a voice that carries easily over the barking dogs) because, well, he doesn't belong here either. I have to agree with him. He's wholly adorable. He's an embodiment of the reason I started breeding Maine Coons in the first place.
I find a GSD (or cross) puppy, white, half-grown, with endearingly mismatched ears (one's standing, one's trying to decide). I find a GSD (or cross) adult female, also white, who is uninterested in approaching the front of the cage. Shy or stressed? No telling from here. Last, I find a GSD adult male, also white (good grief). He's a bold one, comes up to me when I talk to him, stands up on the cage door to look me in the eye. So I note all the pen numbers and the dogs' tag numbers and head up front to talk to the shelter workers.
By law, they have to hold strays for a specific period of time. So the pup will be available on Sunday, the female on Friday, and the male is available now. How long does the male have, I ask, intending to find out how long they hold dogs before they euthanize them. Today's his last day, is the reply. Oh. Well, if there's any interest, they can hold for another 24 hours or so. I explain that I'm doing walkthroughs for the rescue, and if they would put a hold on him I'd appreciate it, because I need to talk to the rescue contact. They do, and I do.
Here's what I find out. Brian (the current prime mover behind gsrsv.org) is in escrow on a piece of land with a kennel setup. But right now he has a neighbor with a grudge and a seat on the board of the local SPCA (oh, the irony), and he's under a deadline to foster out all the rescue dogs at his place by such and such a time. So if I want to foster the boy, GSRSV will pay for his vet bills, shots, and food. But (and that's a giant word), if he and Sable can't get along, or his temperament is such that I can't manage him, there's not a lot of safety net left. I'd have to take him back to the shelter.
I have, oh, sixteen hours or so to think on this one.