By Phil Snyder, Executive Director of Suncoast Humane Society
Published in the Englewood Sun on March 20, 2016
When you work at a humane society animal shelter long enough, you think you have a pretty good sense of how quickly certain pets will be adopted when surrendered by previous owners. Sometimes, however, we are fooled.
Trixie was a large, 82-pound, smoky gray female, that, like many dogs turned into the Suncoast Humane Society, had that pit bull-type appearance. When you look at her head from certain angles, she actually resembled a bull terrier. That is the dog General Patton owned, in case you saw the movie. She was a very attractive canine, but she was given up because the family was moving, and, for some reason, were unable to take Trixie with them.
The history on Trixie was that she was a very social animal, and loved to play, run and fetch whatever you would throw for her. She was housebroken, walked on a leash, was good with children and adjusted well when left alone for short periods of time. She was 5 years of age, not old, and certainly beyond any puppy problems that may arise. So, why wasn't she adopted quickly?
She sailed through her behavioral evaluation. She displayed no shyness or aggression against people or other animals. She had a very stable temperament. Then came the blow we had not expected. Sadly, our medical staff discovered that Trixie had a strong infestation of heartworms, a deadly disease.
It is amazing to me just how many cases of heartworm we see at Suncoast. This is Florida. Every dog should be tested and protected with monthly heartworm preventive. In my opinion, we have no months during the year that are considered safe from exposure. Mosquitoes are the host villain, and they don't always take the winter off in our state.
In many cases, treatment is possible, but can be very dangerous, even fatal for the dog. One look, however, into Trixie's eyes, and the decision was made to proceed with what was to be three months of treatment for heartworm. An appropriate foster home was not available, so keeping Trixie as comfortable and calm as possible at the society's animal care center became a priority.
With a lot of love and care, Trixie came through the treatment like a champ. Certainly now, after what she had gone through, people would be knocking down her kennel door to adopt her. Again, we were fooled, as this was not to be.
Trixie continued to wait for that special home. She became a regular at the Suncoast Humane Society's Dog About Town program. Twelve times she was a featured adoptable pet at off-site adoption events in Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte, Boca Grande and Venice. All 12 times she turned a lot of heads, but reluctantly was returned to the shelter. She created interest, but also comments about her size and type.
Trixie was at Suncoast Humane Society for 11 months before her opportunity for a permanent home appeared. Jessica, a wife and mother of three children and two dogs, came to look for a third dog to share their home. After looking at a couple of younger adoption candidates, she was told about Trixie. There was an instant connection.
Even though Trixie was 5, she was as young at heart as the rest. It took a couple of visits to introduce Trixie to Jessica's husband Steven, their children and their two dogs. One of their dogs, Diesel, also had been adopted from Suncoast Humane Society. Finally, it was a unanimous "yes" that Trixie was to be part of their family.
Trixie had found love and a family well-worth waiting for. She was, indeed, HOME AT LAST.