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Dusty's Story

Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012, at 4:16 PM

Have you ever thought about what a difference a haircut can make? I never did until I met Dusty. He came to us as a stray, and our Animal Control Officer Marlo was amazed that he had been captured at all, because she had been trying to catch him for quite some time and found him to be fast and elusive. Dusty was a little ball of long, matted fur and dirt; we weren't sure what kind of dog he might be, and we weren't even sure he had eyes, because his hair hung so far over his face that we couldn't see them. We weren't sure if he could see us, either. After arriving at the Shelter, Dusty (thus named probably because he resembled a big ole dustmop) spent all his time cowering in the corner of his kennel. Any attempts to approach him were usually met with growling. After a few days it was decided that we really HAD to do something about Dusty. We had to find out what was underneath all that hair, if nothing else. Knowing that Dusty was probably not going to cooperate, the decision was made to obtain a few happy pills from the vet and get him relaxed so that he could be taken into the vet for a haircut and to see just what was underneath all those mats of fur. We had a bad feeling that he might be a mess underneath, and besides, his behavior was not indicative of an adoptable dog. One of our Saline Animal League partners, Myra Copeland, took up the task to get the pills down him.

After one failed attempt to administer the pills in dog food, a nice juicy hot dog did the trick, and off Dusty went to the vet. A one way trip, I was afraid. I went home that day not knowing how the visit had gone, and I was anxious to hear what had happened the next day when I came to work. I learned that underneath all that mess of hair was a Shih Tzu in great health, and when Myra went to pick him up from the vet she found the office staff holding him in their arms (Shock!!). Imagine our surprise to see the gorgeous dog who returned to the Shelter (see picture above). Dusty had not only a new 'do, but he had changed his attitude, and in a big way. Although still quite shy initially, we saw an incredible transformation in the little dog over the next couple of weeks. He was changing so fast, we could hardly keep up with him. The little dog who had cowered in the corner in fear was now running, jumping and literally grinning from ear to ear, wanting to be picked up and loved by anyone who came along. And then he got so bold as to bark at visitors! Now THAT is what we expect out of our dogs!

Soon Dusty was comfortable enough to start going to Kansas City to PetSmart for possible adoption, and after a couple of weeks he found his new home. Despite all the cards being stacked against him, Dusty got a second chance. And, incredibly, all it took was a haircut.

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The Marshall Animal Shelter is located at 325 N. Grant Ave., Marshall, MO,65340. Phone number is 660-831-0420. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week, except holidays, and by chance or appointment. Adoption fees for fully vetted dogs $100 and fully vetted cats $90. View our pets at www.salineanimalleague.org.
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