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Banksy is Safe!

Banksy GSP Mix Safe Rescue ShelterBanksy appears to be a GSP/Lab mix that showed up at a local kill shelter as a stray. California GSP Rescue was notified about him as he was listed as a GSP Mix. It isn’t unusual for shelters to list purebred GSP’s as Mixes and when we looked at the first photos of Banksy, it was difficult to determine if he was a black and white GSP or a GSP Mix. We were sent updates and additional photos from a shelter volunteer while Banksy remained on his stray hold. Toward the end of his hold, he was listed as “rescue only” in the event his owner didn’t claim him. This was a concern as his chances of being adopted by a visitor to the shelter went from unlikely to not possible. Being only available to registered rescues with the shelter, there was a concern of why his status had been changed. Many times these are subjective calls made by animal shelter personnel.

Banksy wasn’t claimed by his owner and when he became available, we waited a few hours to see if another rescue would step forward since he was to be put to sleep that day after the shelter closed. Not knowing what to expect, a volunteer headed to the shelter to evaluate Banksy. When they arrived, they expected to meet Banksy in a socializing pen but were told that wasn’t possible because he was rescue only. The volunteer understood, but how were they to evaluate him, through the gate? Yes, through the gate of the kennel Banksy had been in the past several days. With a sigh of frustration the volunteer headed back to see Banksy knowing he would probably be suffering from kennel stress having been caged in the kennel for several days without being let out or walked. Arriving to the kennel, he was met by Banksy paws on the gate barking a deep threatening bark. This was the reason Banksy was rescue only. The volunteer stepped back and Banksy relaxed a little. When the volunteer approached the gate, Banksy jumped back up and barked. The volunteer was having second thoughts. Here was a GSP Mix that might have some behavioral issues – could the Rescue provide him with the attention he needed to get him adopted. While we are less concerned about the purebred GSP’s that have been bred to be companion animals, there is more concern over the mixes and what other traits from other breeds that might affect the disposition of the dog. While pondering what to do and how to further evaluate a dog through a gate, Banksy sat quietly. This dog sitting on the other side of the gate could be put to sleep in just a few hours just because he jumped on the gate and barked. What happened next was nothing less than magical in determining Banksy’s fate.

The volunteer pulled out a treat and offered it to Banksy, most likely breaking a shelter rule. Banksy took the treat gently from the volunteer’s hand. The volunteer stood making eye contact with Banksy. Banksy seemed to read the volunteer’s mind understanding what was at stake. The volunteer, not knowing what else to do through a gate to evaluate Banksy, gave Banksy a command. “SIT”. Banksy sat. The volunteer was impressed and knelt down on one knee. “DOWN”. As if this had been rehearsed, Banksy laid down on the floor of the kennel eyes remaining on the volunteer. A treat was handed under the gate and Banksy again gently took it. There was no way this dog was going to be put to sleep.

The volunteer headed for the front desk to let the shelter staff know that California GSP Rescue could take and place Banksy. He let them know the dog knew “sit” and “down”. The receptionist was impressed and added that Banksy didn’t act like that when he came in, it was only more recently he started behaving like he had been. No doubt from being kept in a kennel for several days trying to get the attention of anyone passing by. Unfortunately, not the attention that would help him. After the paperwork was done, the shelter required the volunteer to bring in a crate so they could load Banksy into the crate and then in the back of the volunteer’s vehicle. When the volunteer stated he didn’t think that would be necessary that he would just need some help loading Banksy into the crate into the back of the car, the receptionist replied it was policy.

Banksy was loaded into the crate and put into the back of the volunteer’s vehicle where he road for some time until arriving at their destination. The volunteer, with leash in hand, slowly opened the crate door looping his lead around Banksy neck. Banksy immediately jumped out of the crate excited to explore the surrounding area. Over an hour later from leaving the shelter, this was Banksy’s “freedom walk” and from the tail wagging, Banksy was loving it!

For anyone unaware, Banksy is also the name of a graffiti artist who uses empty public spaces to display his thought provoking works of art. The Banksy that California GSP Rescue named had a different name at the shelter that sounded similar and meant “disagreeably damp, musty, and typically cold”. Not a good name. We wanted to pick a name that sounded similar but had a better meaning. If you aren’t familiar with Banksy, either the dog or the artist, we encourage you to learn more. You are likely to be surprised.

Now, here is how you can help. Finding homes for GSP Mixes can be a challenge, however, we are sure there is someone looking for Banksy as well as the Senior GSP’s that we regularly rescue. You can help in a couple of ways. First, make a small donation to sponsor Banksy. Your donation of just $20 will help provide him bedding, food, and any medical attention he might need. Second, share this post with your friends via social media, emails, or anyway others will see Banksy. There is a great home looking to adopt Banksy, we just need help finding them.

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