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Happy Tail: A big black dog beats the odds


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Read the story of Puma’s adoption in new mom Tessa’s own words.

We’re celebrating Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week later this month, so this story features just such a dog: one who was thought to be less adoptable because of her size and color.

Puma was on death row. She was extremely energetic and because she was a big black dog, the staff at the overcrowded shelter where the stray was being housed thought she would be overlooked, as so many big black dogs seem to be.

Fortunately, someone from City of Vancouver (BC) Animal Control Shelter & Services arrived on the scene to “spring” a few dogs. They took Puma to Vancouver and posted her on Petfinder, describing her as very high energy.

When then-19-year-old Tessa Dokken saw Puma on Petfinder, she was sure
this was the dog for her. At their first meeting, Puma picked up a tennis
ball and ran around Tessa in circles. A staff member said Puma was “too
full of beans” and doubted the pooch was a good match for Tessa,
but Tessa persisted.
“I knew she was running in circles so she
could get her energy out from being trapped in a cage for weeks and was
just stressed out — temporarily, of course,” Tessa says. “In my eyes, all
she needed was positive obedience training and a lot of patience.”

Tessa adopted Puma and took her on an hour-long walk before she even
took her home. “When she came up to my apartment and saw the toys I had
waiting for her, she settled right in as though she had lived here her
whole life,” Tessa says. “I renamed her Beans to show the shelter staff I was confident I could take care of a high-energy dog. I take her
for four walks a day and frequent swims in the ocean.”

You can’t
always judge a dog by first impressions. This “high-energy” dog loves
to sleep by the fire all day, Tessa says. She has changed Tessa’s life,
of course, as all dogs change our lives — but in this case, more than
most: She inspired Tessa to become a certified dog trainer.

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Previous Happy Tails:

A rescued Eskie dog makes a 10-year-old’s wish come true

‘Pit Bull wanted, must love cats’

Dumped by a backyard breeder, a Yorkie gets a second chance

A Labradoodle trades shelter life for spa treatments

Deaf puppy Ollie’s whole litter was adopted, but he was still waiting

After five years of waiting, Tiger Tom finds a home

Two Maine Coon cats are adopted after a 6-month search

Inmates partner with pets to give both a second chance

A Petfinder staffer can’t resist one pet’s profile

A nurturing cat helps another who needs a friend

An injured cat is adopted and becomes a celebrity

A kitten’s photo convinces a woman to adopt, not buy

A mama cat is rescued from a home with 50 animals

A rescued Pit Bull brightens the breed’s tarnished reputation

A big black dog is perfect for a boy with Down Syndrome

An adopted dog provides the perfect cure for a broken spirit

The puppy had been tightly bungee-corded to a bicycle

A cat with cerebellar hypoplasia teaches unconditional love

A dog inspires a chocolate company; plus: WIN treats from Rescue Chocolate!

Two autistic boys find guinea pigs are perfect pets

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