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Special Dogs Find Special Homes

Some animals come to the Humane Rescue Alliance needing a little more help and love than others. They may have behavioral issues, such as high anxiety or high levels of fear, or they may have medical concerns that require ongoing management.

This makes those animals special adoptions, meaning potential adopters must speak with our behavior or medical team to discuss in depth what it means to take the animal into their home. While the adoption process takes longer for those animals, it does help ensure the best possible outcome. Our staff provides adopters with crucial information to make sure they are prepared to care for an animal who requires more training or medical treatment.

This year, and during the pandemic, two very special adoptions finally happened. After months of waiting, posting on social media and spreading the word about these dogs in other ways, bonded pair Jack and Snezkha and senior dog Goldie found their new homes.

In January 2018, two dogs came to Washington, DC, all the way from Moscow, Russia. Fifteen-year-old Jack and Snezkha had lived in a dog orphanage there since 2008 and were coming to the United States for a better chance of adoption. The two dogs were a bonded pair, meaning they needed to be adopted together.

They have been through a lot in their lives, having been together in a shelter environment for 10 years, and were able to comfort one another. Jack had bullet fragments in his leg from an old gunshot wound, and the two of them were terrified of everything. It had been just the two of them for so long, which made getting used to other people and places difficult. Despite that fear, they slowly began building their confidence, which continued while they were in foster care with Brant Goldwyn.

“Their story was so gripping and I felt like it would be a real privilege to take care of these special dogs and help them find a home,” said Goldwyn.

For almost a year, Goldwyn took care of the two dogs, helping work on their confidence and manners while also searching for the perfect adopter. But with all of their behavioral struggles, as well as their age and size, it was difficult to find the right place for Jack and Snezkha.

After 486 days in our care and spending nearly their entire lives in a shelter, Jack and Snezkha were finally adopted. They didn’t have to go far because their adopter was their foster parent, Goldwyn! After 11 months of having these special dogs in his home, and a potential adopter that fell through, Goldwyn realized how much he loved Jack and Snezkha and that he couldn’t let them go.

“I realized I can’t imagine not having them,” said Goldwyn. “Jack and Snezkha have done as much for me as I’ve done for them. They give me a sense of purpose, and I want to continue to give them the best life possible.”

Special adoptions don’t just mean an animal has behavioral issues. Sometimes they may have a lot of health problems that require a great deal of monitoring and resources to keep them comfortable and thriving. One such case is 10-year-old Goldie, who spent six months in HRA’s care.

She came through the shelter doors in October 2019 in rough shape. She was missing patches of fur and it looked like she had spent hours in her crate in poor conditions. One of her eyes was swollen shut and it appeared as if she had had several litters of puppies.

Goldie had a myriad of health issues, such as fused vertebrae, heartworm, facial paralysis, and multiple cancerous masses in her mammary tissue, but from her temperament you never would have guessed she was in any pain. Goldie loved to go for walks, trotting down the street and exploring the world outside of the shelter. She loved to play with plush toys and was always ready for love. It almost seemed impossible that she was so sick because she was in such good spirits.

She spent days sleeping under desks as an office foster with our staff. So many of our colleagues fell in love with her and were cheering her on. However, due to her age and extensive medical history, it was difficult to find the right home for her. She needed a quiet place where she was the only dog and where there were no small children – a place where she could get the love and care she deserved.

After months of surgeries and foster homes, in the midst of a global pandemic, Goldie found her new family in March 2020. Thomas Drescher and Becky Nolan, firsttime dog owners, fell in love with Goldie and knew she was the perfect dog for them. They kept coming back to her adoption profile, loving the photos that captured her sweet personality and the videos that showed her love for people. They weren’t deterred by her prognosis and were dedicated to providing her the lifelong care she needed. They wanted to give her the best life possible, no matter how long that life may be.

“We recognized that it was a good opportunity for us with extra time to take in a dog that otherwise might not be adopted,” Drescher told the news outlet Voice of America. “It didn’t take long for us to bring her home and fall in love with her and...when they told us that she might have a couple weeks, she might have a couple years, I hope it’s the latter because we really love having her here.”

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