Shelter Tails: Dog’s Adoption ‘A Remarkable Story’

By Mary Esparra
For the Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM – 11/05/10

WARWICK — Here is a story explaining why shelter folks do what they do.

It begins in November 2007. Honey, a Korean Jindo dog, belonged to a Warwick family who couldn’t control her.

“She used to get out the door and terrorize the neighborhood, though she was more afraid of people than they were of her,” said Warwick Valley Humane Society President Suzyn Barron. “Finally, animal control took control and brought her to the shelter, where she was finally surrendered.”

Shari Forst of Canine Case Squad dog training volunteered to help socialize and train Honey. After almost a year of working with Shari and shelter staff, Honey was finally ready for adoption.

Eva Hanks of Manhattan was ready for another dog. The 82-year-old law professor at Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University had lost her beloved Jindo dog, Tracy, a few months before.

“I’ve had dogs for 50 years, and I knew I couldn’t really be without,” she said.

Hanks Googled Jindo rescues and found Honey’s posting on Petfinder.com.

“Suzyn (Barron) wrote a cunning little sentence,” she said. “‘She gives gentle kisses in return for some kindness.'”

Honey’s bio said she needed a home without children with someone willing to learn about her breed.

“I kept looking at that for about a week and then decided to go up to Warwick to see her,” said Hanks. “They brought her out, and my heart sort of sank. She paid absolutely no attention to me. I thought, ‘My God, this dog is so damaged, she can’t relate to anybody.’

“We were sitting in this little pavilion, and Shari came up. Honey wagged her tail and went up to Shari and kissed her face. Obviously, she could connect with people.” When Hanks made another visit to the shelter, Honey “stared at me right in the face with her big brown eyes,” said Hanks.

Hanks adopted Honey Oct. 12, 2008. Honey, now renamed Katie, continued her training when Hanks hired Forst to travel to Manhattan weekly for five weeks after adopting her, helping to socialize her with other dogs, small animals and people.

“She is now absolutely perfect,” said Hanks. “She is the best-behaved dog I think I have ever had. She can now walk past squirrels, and if I tell her leave it, she leaves it. They (the trainers) told me what to do and what not to do with her.

“At first, she thought every little dog was breakfast. You should see her now; she walks past dogs and doesn’t pull at all. She’s as perfect as a dog can be.”

Katie prompts compliments from those witnessing her proper behavior, which includes sitting at busy city intersections waiting to cross.

“I think that with a lot of love, a lot of patience and a little bit of money, you can rehabilitate a dog,” said Hanks. “We couldn’t be happier together. She and I, we are our family.”

““Katie deserved a wonderful, kind, loving owner,”said Forst. “Eva deserved a sweet, loving, canine companion. It was a match made in heaven (after a little work)!” said Forst.

Hanks is grateful to Forst and the Warwick Humane Society. In addition to generous monthly donations, Barron recently received a letter “from Katie” asking to “adopt Eva (the human) all over again, because Eva has much improved since then.”

“It’s the Evas of the world that keep us doing what we do,” said Barron. “Eva and Katie have become great supporters of our Humane Society. A remarkable story of hope, perseverance, patience and love.”

link to original article: http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101105/COMM/11050312/-1/NEWS14

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