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February Animal Stories

Ghost foster fails into the perfect home, a tribute to special-needs pup Marcus with Megaesophagus

Our foster families provide an invaluable gift to shelter pets who need a little extra time before being adoptable, whether it’s more training or getting through a round of medication, or just being able to relax in a quiet space. One reason I don’t foster is because I would adopt every one of them! But people like Jia-hui foster many dogs—socialization them and providing a complete profile to future adopters.

When Jia-hui took on a Haven foster dog, the connection this dog made to her and her Pit Bull mix was unbreakable. She writes,

“I have fostered several dogs before Ghost. Heis my sixth. I met Ghost when I went to Haven Humane to find my next foster dog. I firstmet a few other dogs, but none of them had the temperament I was looking for. I had just returned my last foster dog back to Haven because she was not the right fit (she keptescaping and was very high strung). I wanted to make sure my next foster, who ended up being Ghost, was going to be a dog that was not overly interested in other dogs (my pitmix is dog-selective) and was handler-focused.

It was pretty seamless getting Ghost integrated with my dog and household. I’ve formerly been a professional dog trainer, along with fostering and boarding many dogs, so I am used to a range of different dogs. However, within the first 5 or 6 days, I noticed that my own dog (the pit mix) would start rolling on his back for Ghost, and engaging in play with Ghost. Even after having interacted with/neutrally met hundreds of other dogs through my work, my own dog has never been comfortable enough with another dog to engage in play or submissive behavior. After several weeks of fostering Ghost, I decided to adopt him because my own dog had finally found a 4-legged friend that he is happy to lounge around or play with, and that also had all the traits I had been looking for in a second dog. Ghost is dog-social, respectful of dog and human boundaries, handler- focused, and loves water. We are all very happy to have Ghost join our family forever.” Jia-hui Ma

One of the things I encounter more often than you would think, are the adopters who are truly self-less when it comes to picking out a new member of the family, The family that adopted Marcus, who passed away January 28, was one of these families. “Marcus was our Haven adopted beautiful boy. He was 6.5 years old and he was a member of our family for the last 6 years of his too short life. He was a special needs pup, often overlooked pets at any shelter. He was friends with every human and every animal he met. Haven cared for him and his special medical needs until we found each other on a shelter visit 6 years ago. It's hard to think we will no longer have his loving, sweet, loyal and happy four paws bouncing around the house. The only negative I could ever say about him was he would shed a poodle size amount of hair daily, haha!

A little background about our Marcus is that he had Megaesophgus, which means his throat muscles did not work and instead of contracting to move food or water down to his stomach, anything he ate would sit in his throat unable to move down or stay down. Through trial and error we found a daily routine and care method that worked for him. Once that routine was found, it really just became a habit that made his life so much better. Gary made a special chair for him to eat upright in. He would eat and sit in it for 15 minutes after meals so that his blended food had time to move down into his stomach. He slept with a neck ring pillow to help keep him slightly upright when sleeping. He gained enough weight that even our vet said not to let him gain anymore. He was happy and ran and played with every dog he met just like any other happy pup. Just finding a rhythm and routine is all it took.

Besides writing this to sing our sweet Marcus's praises for all who weren't lucky enough to know him, we are also writing to encourage people to never overlook that special-needs or senior pet. It could be a dog or cat without sight or hearing, missing a limb, or even a condition like Marcus had. Please give them a chance to enrich your life no matter howshort their lives might be. It's worth every minute you will get with them. Sometimes the medical needs can be a challenge, but the feeling you get knowing you made their life better even a small amount is worth it and the love you get from them in return will fill your home and heart. A big thank you from my family to Haven Humane for bringing him into our lives. Please ADOPT!” - Tammy & Gary McPhetridge

Join us for the 8th Annual Doggie Dash Family Fun Walk or Run on Saturday, March 16 at Turtle Bay!

The Doggie Dash 5K/10K walk or run is dog-friendly and a great event for the entire family! Costumes encouraged, and best pup costume prizes will be awarded, too! Awards presented for fastest runners in the 5K and 10K. Each participant will receive a trail tote bag sponsored by Anderson Automotive and Thrive Automotive, and a free treat bag for each participating pup from Treats Natural Pet Marketplace!It all happens at Turtle Bay/Sacramento River Trail. Check in from 8 a.m. to 8:45; race starts at 9:00. Register at event or prior online at Entry fee for 10K (6.2 miles) ages 5 years+ is $45, 5K (3.1 miles) ages 5 years+ is $30.

We are here for the animals because of you. Thank you for your support.

Mark Storrey, CEO


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