Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Aslan, the Dog With the Irrepressible Smile

It was a good day for me when sweet-natured Henry got adopted in the May of 2007. He, like so many other cats and dogs, had ended up at the shelter but his family never came for him. The staff didn’t know his former name, but thought that Henry suited this energetic and loving lab mix. A few weeks later, another family signed adoption papers agreeing to love and care for Henry. Henry had an air of positivity that emanated from his two-year-old smile that made even the cynic in me believe that it would all work out for him. I smiled as he jumped into the car and rode away to his new life with his new family. In the animal rescue business, you are so excited at each victory, but rarely have time to enjoy it, as there are more neglected or abused animals that need help.

That is why when I got the call from the shelter about a family that had moved and dropped off a dog that they adopted from us two years prior, I did not make the connection. If he were not microchipped, I wouldn’t have thought it was Henry. You see, microchips don’t lie, and that Monday was not such a good day. I remembered that day he went off smiling to his new life. Though this dog—now known as Aslan—still had the hint of a smile, he looked like he’d been through a little more than he could bear.

After I picked him up, I took Aslan to an “interview” to see if he would get along with other dogs at Camp Bow Wow, where we occasionally board some of our dogs seeking foster homes. I crossed my fingers as I watched how he reacted to the pack of dogs that rushed up to him when he entered the dog play room. This must be something that parents feel as they watch their children walk into the school yard on the first day of kindergarten.

His tail was straight up and wagging nervously as the pack checked him out. I held my breath, but soon exhaled in relief when he went down on his front paws with his bottom in the air. The simple action is known amongst dogs as a “play bow,” which is a clear and friendly invitation to play. He passed, and I saw that same smile of his that let me know that everything would work out for him. His smile is contagious and so is his bright, can-do spirit. He is still looking for that family that will keep him for the rest of his life, but he has a certainty that is infectious. I’m convinced that this happy-go-lucky fellow will find that loving family soon, and will keep that positive outlook of his until it happens!

Autumn Wagner
Adoptions Director

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lydia's Film Picks for Cat and Dog Lovers

Being the resident film geek of the office, I'm always telling my co-workers about the best flicks to watch. Because one of my favorite parts of my job is hearing all the great adoption stories from our adoption department, volunteers and supporters, I started thinking about my favorite films that feature cats and dogs. Next time you're at the video store or updating your Netflix queue consider checking out these flicks. You won't be disappointed!

Coraline (2009):
This animated film features a little girl named Coraline that discovers a hidden door to a parallel world where everyone has buttons instead of eyes. All her dreams are coming true in this world, but this world is not as happy as it may seem. There is a feral cat in this film that guides Coraline through the alternate world. He even has a tipped ear!
Rated PG.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981):
The Mad Max trilogy stars a young Mel Gibson and is a must-see for any movie geek. Mad Max 2 stands out because of Max's companion, referred to as Dog. He's a Australian Cattle Dog who is super smart and loyal--the perfect companion to help Max navigate the post-apocalyptic world in this action film.
Rated R.

Up (2009):
This has to be one of my favorite Pixar films. The film centers around an widower named Carl who flies his house to a remote and beautiful location in South America. He has an unexpected guest, Russell, who goes on a wild adventure with him. One of the best characters is Dug, a dog who wears a special collar that allows him to speak. A hilarious and thoughtful film.
Rated PG.

Wizard of Oz (1939) and Cats the Musical (1998):
I'm a sucker for musicals. I usually watch Wizard of Oz once a year. The film stars Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, who travels to the magical Land of Oz with her lovable dog Toto. Toto helps Dorothy and her friends multiple times, a loyal friend the whole way through. Cats, the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber is another must-see. If you can't see it live, you can rent the filmed musical version directed by David Mallet.
Rated G.

What's your favorite dog or cat film? Leave a comment!