, a column written by volunteer Helen Hartel, a retired school principal, introduces Patch readers to rescued cats and dogs in desperate need of homes.
There have been many successful adoptions thanks to this column, according to Hartel.
Though the shelter staff never ask adopters why they come in, "there is a correlation between adoptions and Patch articles being published because of the timeliness of the adoptions. It is just too frequent to be a coincidence," said Hartel.
Consequently, Patch decided to follow up with some of our 'Pets of the Week' to find out how they’re doing.
Bob and Irene
In her column, , Hartel featured an unusual pairing of best friends: Irene, a pit bull mix, and Bob, a Chihuahua mix.
All the way up in Oregon, a rescue pit bull organization was one of the many who saw the post. At the time, there was no room for Bob and Irene at the shelter. However, they asked if any of the volunteers had room for these two dogs. Diane Moore volunteered.
“I belong to several rescue groups, and I see hundreds of photos every day,” Moore said. “But Bob and Irene were so dang cute, a little male Chihuahua and a female pit bull. When they first came up they were really sweet but they were scared so they would shake a lot.”
Moore said that Bob and Irene are two of the most lovable dogs.
“Irene loves her belly rubs. She flips over and you almost worry she’ll hurt her back she flips over so fast because she wants her belly rubbed,” Moore said. “Bob’s more low energy, he’s just a sweetheart and very relaxed.”
The dogs are still very dependent on one another.
“I have a big pasture, two acres, they can go out during the daytime and run around and play together,” Moore said. “Irene is so attached to that little guy, it’s amazing. [One time] I heard this horrible terrible howling, the most pitiful howling you ever heard, and it was Irene because Bob was gone.”
Because of personal reasons, Moore will have to have Irene and Bob stay at the pit bull rescue soon, but she has hopes they will find a wonderful home.
“If you work out of the home this is the perfect pair they keep each other entertained all day long, there’s no separation anxiety, they keep each other company and they’re very low key,” Moore said.
Annie and Jake
Terry Wells-Brown always had cats, but when her son brought a rescue pit bull into the house, the dog instantly became a member of the family. After her son moved out with the dog, Wells and her husband decided that they wanted to rescue a pit bull of their own.
“One morning I woke up and saw the picture of (formerly Sarge) curled together on one of the cots at the Agoura Shelter and that was it,” Wells said. “I literally just felt so emotionally attached at that point that I sent the picture to my husband.”
At first her husband was reluctant to adopt two dogs, but Wells worked on him all day until he told her to go ahead and call the shelter.
Over the phone, Wells learned that the two dogs were going to be adopted by two separate owners the next day, which happened to be Mother’s Day, unless they could get there first. So they made the decision to get up at 3 in the morning and make the six-and-a-half hour drive from Woodbridge to adopt the pair.
“It was one of the better experiences of my life driving down to get them,” Wells said. “I can’t even explain to you how amazing they are. They’re so sweet, they get along with people, with cats, with other dogs.”
Wells said that the two dogs have become members of the family.
“They both sleep with me and my husband. They are bed hogs. They cuddle with me and they have to be touching me when I go to sleep,” she said.
Annie and Jake also love to take rides in Wells’s truck.
“They love to go ‘Bye Bye,’” Wells laughed. “I have a truck with two back windows and one sticks their head out one window, the other out the other. They don’t care if I’m just going through a drive-through Starbucks, they just want to go for the ride.”
Wells said she is so grateful to online postings which are able to provide greater outreach for these animals in need.
“I never would have found Annie and Jake if it wasn’t for the online posting,” Wells said. “I had never heard of [Agoura Hills before]. I’ve lived in California for 30 years and I’d never heard of it, but now I’ll never forget it.”
Agoura Hills Patch editor Susan Pascal practices what she preaches. One week when she was posting the column, a particular dog, Diego, caught her eye.
“It was impulsive. I just, out of the blue, said to my kids, ‘You guys want to go check out a dog at the animal shelter?’” Pascal said. “I called my husband and said, ‘We may be coming home with a dog.’”
At the shelter Pascal said that while Diego was cute, he was not the best fit for her family. However, the shelter persisted in showing her more dogs and one caught her eye.
“I see this really sweet little Chihuahua sitting on a chair by herself in the dog run area. I kept saying, ‘What about that dog, what about that dog?’” Pascal said. “She was just very sweet and very gentle and I said this is the one. We took her home and we’ve been in love with her ever since.
“This dog just looks forever happy. She’s our goodwill ambassador. She’ll bark at you when you first walk through the door, then she’ll lick you to death. She loves people. If you’re nice to her, she’ll just sit in your lap curl up and be very content.”
Pascal said that it’s very rewarding to feature Pet of the Week because it helps get more pets adopted.
“Whether or not the dog is in the photograph works for you or your family, it still brings you into the shelter. You may take that animal, that dog or cat, or you may walk out with another animal that’s there in need and it might be your perfect pet to take home,” she said. “It’s a good feeling. I’m a huge animal lover, and I like to think we’re doing some good for the animals and for the community.”