Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Former PSPCA Ambassador Finds a New Home

If you hung around our shelter last year then you might remember Midnight, a 1-year-old terrier mix that stole everyones' hearts. 

Our Humane Law Enforcement Officers found him last August cruising around Philadelphia without an owner. Midnight was in rough shape so he stayed in our rehabilitation center for a couple months to get healthy and in October he went up for adoption.

Months passed and nobody adopted Midnight, despite his handsome face and his boyish charm. Unfortunately, dogs like Midnight -- Pit Bull mixes who are unfairly characterized as nasty and aggressive -- are sometimes hard to adopt, particularly after they've been here for a while.

But instead of giving up, we gave Midnight a job: he became the "ambassador" to all the new dogs that came into our shelter.

Whenever a new dog comes in, our Director of Animal Behavior, Nicole Larocco, does a 360-degree behavior assessment to identify red flags (such as dog aggression, resource guarding, or dislike of kids). Nicole uses a "test dog" to see how the animal reacts to other animals -- but the "test dog" must be friendly, diplomatic, and stable in case the other dog reacts poorly.

Midnight was a perfect candidate for the job.

And his hard work paid off.

In January, a man came to our shelter and fell in love with Midnight! He couldn't believe that nobody had adopted him sooner and he was eager to bring him home. And Midnight was just as eager to accept the invitation!

Today I received an email from Midnight's new owner: "He is really great, and he loves the dog park. Oh, how he loves the dog park!" And it turns out that Midnight was a closet fashionista: "He has a quilted Burberry jacket that he wore during our two bouts with snow in the last month." Who knew?!?!

Although we miss seeing Midnight around the shelter, everyone is thrilled about his rags to riches story!

PS: Midnight is a contestant in the "Bounce 15 Most Lovable Shelter Pets": Vote for Midnight!!!

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