Dog that lived entire life at Indiana shelter became family
TRACI L. MILLER
May. 16, 2018
ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — Six small wooden boxes sit on a bookcase inside the Madison County Humane Society . The boxes are a final resting place for dogs that were brought to the shelter, but never went home.
This week a seventh box was added to the shelves.
Nikki Sanchez, who manages the shelter, said Fargo was put to sleep after a shelter worker found him unable to stand inside his kennel a week ago.
The Chow-Labrador mix lived most of his 14 years at the Humane Society with his brother Buck after the pups were brought in with at least eight other siblings. Most of the puppies in Fargo's litter immediately found homes, while others took up to six or seven years, Sanchez said.
"They adopted all of them out except for Fargo and Buck," she said.
The beautiful black dogs were deemed unadoptable — not because they were aggressive, but because they feared strangers, Sanchez said.
She said people have questioned why the dogs were never adopted, but only those who have worked with the dogs understand how important it was for them to have the same routine. Fargo and Buck are one of the reasons the shelter works so hard to make sure others don't stay for long periods of time.
"We don't want them to end up like that," she said. "They were happy, but it would have been nice if they would not have had to be in a shelter at all."
A product of their environment, Fargo and Buck thrived in the chaos of barking dogs and the slamming of metal gates, often choosing to seek the company of animals over humans.
Sanchez said she believes the dogs might not have been socialized enough when they were young, which made it difficult for them to be rehomed.
Fargo and Buck were not the only dogs to spend their entire life at the no-kill shelter. Maggie, a Doberman mix, and Josie, a shepherd-Lab mix, were considered a bonded pair that lived at the shelter for 20 and 17 years, respectively.
Breaking down into tears, Sanchez described each dog's quirky or loving personality and their life at the shelter. She said one of the things that made Fargo so special was his enthusiasm for life.
The Chow brothers, as they were affectionately nicknamed, were at home at the shelter, Sanchez said. Each morning, the normally standoffish brothers would run out of the kennels to greet staff and seek affection.
"He and Buck were so happy," she said. "It was nice every morning seeing them run out with a big smile on their face and they would come up and let you pet them and love on them."
But the affection was only for those who had earned their trust.
"They refuse to come up to people during the day," said Cameron Moore, assistant shelter manager. "We have people on the staff who have been here for a year and they have trouble getting near them."
While some dogs come into the shelter and are adopted out the same day, that wasn't the story for Fargo.
"This was his loving, forever home," Moore said.
Fargo was taken to a local veterinarian the morning he could no longer stand up, but Sanchez said continued care would diminish Fargo's quality of life. The decision was made to stop his suffering.
Moore and others from the shelter never left his side during the process.
"It's a difficult decision to make for any animal, but with Fargo, it was like he was my own pet," Moore said.
During Fargo's last moments, Moore cradled Fargo in his arms and whispered words of comfort.
Brushing back his soft black fur, Moore told Fargo he was not alone, he promised to continue to care for his brother and he vowed there would be no more pain.
As Fargo slipped away, Moore said he told his friend to go — to run — and find his old playmates Maggie and Josie.
Sources: The Herald Bulletin, https://bit.ly/2IliV7r
Information from: The Herald Bulletin, http://www.theheraldbulletin.com