Two young dogs that were chained up for most of their lives in the yard on a rural central Alberta property will find new homes thanks to Saving Grace Animal Society.
Pitbull crosses Curly and Moe, both about a year old, were surrendered by their owner this week and taken into care with the assistance of local RCMP who alerted the Alix-based animal shelter about the dogs.
“They’re doing really well. They just need some extra calories to gain some weight and a little bit of work with their behaviour,” said Erin Deems, co-executive director of the shelter.
“Being chained dogs for so long can lead to some pent up energy and they don’t know how to express it appropriately.”
Saving Grace said dogs that have been on chains their entire lives come with trauma. Having spent their lives without the ability to exercise their flight response, they only had the ability to use their fight response.
Both Curly and Moe are still nervous and guarded, but are accepting love and willing to learn.
Originally there was no room for the two dogs at the Saving Grace which is “beyond full,” she said.
“As far as animals that need help, we’re seeing a lot more since the pandemic. I think people really rushed into pet ownership and maybe didn’t know what they were getting themselves into, and a little bit ill prepared now that we’re going into more of a normal life.”
Deems said Saving Grace sees about one or two cases a month in similar situations as Curly and Moe. Often people just need more education and support to create a healthier owner/dog relationship.
“In the owner’s mind, (chaining Curly and Moe) was probably the safest thing for them. They were not free roaming. They could not chew through their lead.”
She said people need to know how to train their dogs, and seek training assistance when necessary. Neutering and spaying dogs also helps reduce roaming.
Saving Grace currently has about 250 animals either in shelter or in foster care.
Since Curly and Moe were rescued the shelter has taken in five other dogs that were in far worse condition. Other shelters were able to help out Saving Grace with those dogs.
“Adoptions are certainly slowing down. If people would take some accountability as a pet owner first, before dumping an animal on a shelter, it would lessen our numbers, lessen our load.”