Her name may be Sunny with a light gold and white coat, but her prospects for adoption have not been bright. She has twice left the shelter for a new home, and then been returned.
Newtown Animal Control Board Chair Adria Henderson described the 4-year old dog as “beautiful, gentle, well mannered.” Sunny was among the first arrivals at the Brian J. Silverlieb Animal Care and Control Center when it opened two summers ago. She lives up to her name until her owners leave her home alone, said Ms Henderson. Hoping to help the “loving, gentle girl,” Ms Henderson, local animal proponents, and the animal control staff have been working to reduce Sunny’s anxiety.
In a recent written appeal, Ms Henderson stated that separation anxiety is “not an unusual outcome in a short life filled with trauma.”
Sunny was found in Newtown and brought to shelter, where staff had soon discovered that Sunny had recently given birth.
“Her puppies were never found,” Ms Henderson wrote. She wonders, “Was she neglected? Abused? We just don’t know.” Ms Henderson later explained, “We think she was abandoned and had the puppies on the street somewhere, and probably had to rummage for food and that could have been traumatic.”
An experienced dog trainer, Ms Henderson said, “Separation anxiety comes from periods of abandonment. It could be constant barking, chewing, and Sunny’s is the need to escape if alone. She needs to be with people.”
In her written appeal, Ms Henderson said, “Unfortunately, her vagabond life has taken a toll on her.”
The animal control staff and supporters have a plan “to assure Sunny that her next trip out will be with her forever home.” Thanks to funds provided through Canine Advocates of Newtown (CAN), a trainer is beginning work with Sunny, animal control staff, and prospective families for her adoption. “We don’t want another day to go by. This has to start now,” Ms Henderson said.
“The good news is that Sunny is such a great dog she now has a fan club of dedicated animal lovers ready to give her every chance to find the perfect forever home,” Ms Henderson wrote in her letter. Her initial training both at the shelter and after she’s adopted or fostered will be paid from the CAN donation. CAN members are also paying for a yearly supply of her current anti-anxiety medication. Animal Control Officer Carolee Mason agreed, and said, “Sunny is a great dog,” who is also healing after a broken paw.
Sunny loves to play with other dogs, so her ideal match is with an experienced dog owner, couple, or family with another dog. She should also be with someone who is home most of the time.
“And there is a lot more than just saying, ‘I will hang out with you,” Ms Henderson said. “Sunny needs confidence and, most of all, someone who is willing to put in the time and effort to bring Sunny to her full potential.
“Sunny has waited much too long for the right family to bring her home,” Ms Henderson stated. “Let’s make the rest of this girl’s life as sunny as her name.”
A brief conversation with Ms Henderson revealed a few more details about Sunny’s situation.
The Animal Control Board got involved “well after she started having problems. We did not realize the extent until recently.” Her board usually does not get involved “unless there is an unusual situation,” she said. Ms Mason had come to the board with concerns about the dog.
Thinking of Sunny’s two failed attempts to find the right home — anxiety prompted her to find a way out of the house so she was not alone — Ms Henderson said, “Every time she comes back to the shelter, it’s very, very sad for this poor girl, and she is a sweetheart.”
Sunny tries to escape when she is alone, Ms Henderson said. “She tries to get out. Dogs will chew through doors, etc to get out to escape the confined area they are in. She needs to learn to live in a smaller space that she likes, so she needs to build up confidence that she won’t be abandoned.”
Sunny is “truthfully the perfect pet for someone who is an experienced dog owner. When you have a gentle sweet dog, you want to do the best for her. I don’t want to see another adoption without some insight into what this girl needs.”
Meet Sunny and other pets available for adoption at the Brian J. Silverlieb Animal Care and Control Center located on Old Farm Road. The center can be reached by calling 203-426-6900. For additional information on animals available for adoption, visit CanineAdvocates.org.