Winston was in the last kennel at the shelter in the building that housed adoptable dogs. From the outside of the building, one could not view his kennel as there was a locked gate that didn’t allow access. After viewing the front kennels, help was enlisted from one of the attendants to assist in locating Winston – through a back doorway that housed just a few adoptable dogs, there sat Winston behind the plexiglass kennel door. Unlike many of the other dogs that barked from being stressed, Winston’s tail wagged while he appeared to smile as if he was happy to see someone was interested in him. He was overweight, listed as obese on the shelter notes, and 11 years old. Having to look for a Senior dog at the shelter decreases their already slim chances of being adopted.
Winston had come to the shelter as a stray several days earlier. Fortunately, he had a microchip, and the owner was easily identified. Unfortunately, when the owner was notified that Winston had been picked up as a stray and was at the shelter, the owner declined to come get him. “I don’t want him anymore. I can’t keep him in my backyard.” Really?!? How does an 11 year old obese GSP escape a yard? He certainly isn’t going over any fence but a better question might be, why does an 11 year old GSP escape?
Unable to keep him in the backyard leads us to believe Winston was a backyard dog. The shelter had noted alopecia on his intake which is often caused by flea allergies. It’s not uncommon but found more in dogs left outside. While he had obviously been fed, we suspect, due to appearance his coat and skin, it was a cheap food and, due to his weight, he was most likely free fed. Given several days of food at one time would make taking care of Winston much easier for his owner, but would also allow Winston more food than he needed or should have. Being obese makes it obvious that he wasn’t getting the attention or walks he needed. What does a bored obese GSP do in the backyard? For Winston it was eat and escape.
GSP’s are bred to be companion animals. Not backyard dogs. They enjoy human companionship and desire to be near their people. They need exercise. At a young age, GSP’s may need several hours of exercise a day but an older dogs, like Winston, a brisk 20-30 minute walk a day will suffice.
Fortunately, thanks to everyone that notified us, Winston is now safe. He left the shelter that day with the volunteer intent on finding his kennel. He’s been nothing but a love and at 90 pounds, that’s a lot of love!
Shortly we’ll have him available for adoption. His perfect home will be someone that won’t just keep in him the backyard but will can give him the exercise, attention, and love that he has lacked.
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