By Utah (the dog, not the state) Tappan
“Hi everyone! My name is Utah. I’m Deb’s “littlest peanut” and all around dog pal! We’re strong proponents of pet adoption from area shelters and rescues and equally strong opponents to “puppy mills” and the like. Was I adopted? You betcha! But did you know that nationally fewer than 50% of the animals in shelters find homes and that the fate of the others is, sadly, euthanasia? That’s why I’m writing this article.” – Wooof, Utah
There are many critters at shelters and rescues and they all desperately need homes! Deb and I recognize that some folks are unfamiliar with or have a misconception about shelter animals. They think that the animals at shelters and rescues are misfits. That we’re there because we’ve either been very, very bad and are unmanageable or that we’ve come from abusive homes or are “wild” strays and therefore could never become a good pet. Actually, every one of us has tremendous potential! Some of us are mixed breeds (like me), some of us are purebred. What we all have in common is that all we want to do is learn and become a part of your life.
I was about 4 1/2 months old when my original humans gave me up and left me at the county animal facility. The particular facility I was taken to was a “kill facility” so you can imagine how terrified I was. After a week or two, with my time running out, the folks at a local rescue noticed me and took me in. They gave me a warm place to stay, food, care and attention with the hopes that someone would want me. There were many of us there. Some were senior critters who remembered what it was like to have a home; others were little fur-babies left abandoned without their mommas; some were there because their humans had to relocate. We all wished for a human of our own and a forever home. All of us dreamed of sharing tenderness and love.
By the time I was 6 months old, I had been at the rescue for one month. I tried to understand every word spoken to me but I didn’t know what they meant and so I was a bit confused. But in spite of that, I had potential. Like all of us, I could learn. Like all of us, I wanted to learn! And then it happened; I was adopted. I was going to my forever home! That made me enormously happy!
I rode to my new home in a car and was so excited I wore myself out within the first five minutes and fell asleep on the way. Over the next few months I was gradually introduced to many new things. There was the house for me to explore and staircases for me to figure out. Those stairs were the ultimate mystery! Getting all four legs to cooperate was definitely a challenge and, given Deb’s exuberant laughter, funny to watch! There was a yard for me to play in filled with so many sights and scents I couldn’t believe it.
Since we dogs are social animals and truly eager to please, we’d gladly do what you want us to if we knew how. In my case, I was pretty rough around the edges; I was lacking in the social graces so to speak. Shoot, I didn’t even know my name. So from that first day home I was taught neat things including how to play nice, be patient (I’m a tad excitable), obedience commands, hide and seek, hiking and jogging, directional cues, how not to eat all the toilet paper on the roll, all kinds of nifty things. I’ve been trying to learn how to swim (Deb gets in the water to show me how it’s done; what a hoot!) and I now go into the water up to my behind. Maybe this summer I’ll take the big plunge! I love hiking and, soon, I’ll be learning how to backpack. I can’t wait!
If you were wondering, yep, I’m part German Shepherd (a working breed) and just love having something important to do. So, first thing in the morning, I sit with Deb while she has a cup of coffee on the back porch and we look out over the yard. Then I alert her to that scary snapping turtle in the creek and hunt for crickets. I’ve helped prune the shrubs and trees and last fall, I dragged my puppy pool (which Deb had filled with leaves) over to where she wanted them dumped. That kind of freaked her out. She didn’t know I had figured out how to do that. When it’s time for Deb to work, I lay near her. She thinks I’m napping but I’m always vigilant. All in all I’m a very happy dog! I have a forever home and am a perfect match to my family!
It’s now been almost a year and a half since I was adopted. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned. I guess the point to all this is that all of the critters at animal rescues and shelters are brimming with potential! Each senior, adolescent and fur-baby would love to be a part of a family. We need you to love and guide us. You know, if I hadn’t been rescued from the kill-facility, I never would have had the chance to be adopted and have such an amazing and joyful life. I was one of the lucky ones. So Deb’s and my wish is for each animal in shelters and rescues to find their forever home. Deb and I would like to ask that you please go to your animal shelter or rescue to adopt your next pet. There are so many adoptable critters in dire need of a home and every one of them is waiting just for you! They’re all wanting to be your “littlest peanut”. We sure hope you’ll help!
If you’d like to learn more about pet adoption; would like to locate a rescue/shelter near you; or conduct an online search for an adoptable pet, please visit the links we’ve listed below. Thanks oodles!!
December 1986 to April 17, 2002
(Adopted December 1987 from the HSTV)
Irie was an absolute doll and our “little sweetie” for over 14 years! She did a lot of camping and hiking and loved suntanning her belly. Here she is with her homemade pancake, though I confess, she had a preference for McDonald’s Hotcakes. Irie had been a stray rescued by the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley. – Deb
Photographs and text: Copyright 2004-2020 Deborah Siminski Tappan. All rights reserved.
We’d like to thank the Humane Society of the United States for allowing us to link to their informative articles and helpful sites. – Deb and Utah