Animal shelters face challenges when they witness affectionate dogs being overlooked by prospective adopters based on their appearance. This could be due to their breed or color, or even a deformity they were born with. However, every time a dog is disregarded, it affects the shelter staff emotionally. This was the situation with Dutchess, a canine who arrived at Orange County Animal Services in Orlando, Florida just prior to the 2022 holiday season.
Her family had to surrender her due to a landlord concern, as stated by the shelter. Dutchess was a typical dog of the bully breed, with the exception of one prominent characteristic that seemed to be a hindrance to potential adopters. The shelter shared on Facebook, “According to her previous owner, she was born with a minor deformity just below both of her eyes. It doesn’t impact her in any way, except for one: people seem unwilling to look past it.”
“The heartrending aspect is that Dutchess genuinely loves everyone. She eagerly approaches the kennel doors each day, filled with excitement for the new day, unwaveringly optimistic,” they further explained. “For her, every day presents an opportunity to meet new people, and with that, renewed hope for finding a forever home. Dutchess is oblivious to bad days.”
They elaborated, “The difficult aspect is listening to the comments made about her: ‘She’s so unattractive.’ ‘What is that?’ ‘What’s wrong with her?’ ‘Is she blind?’ ‘How much will it cost to care for her?’ ‘She’ll never find a home.’”
And for 30 days, it seemed that Dutchess was headed down a sorrowful path. Orange County Animal Services found it challenging to hear such negative comments about “an absolutely incredible dog.”
They highlighted that Dutchess is “gentle, sweet, energetic, and exceptionally intelligent. She is one of our valuable helper dogs, known for her even temperament. Our behaviorists utilize her in playgroups to help manage other dogs, calm them down, and teach them social skills. She is well-behaved, easy to train, and gets along with every dog she encounters. We find her beautiful.”
Their social media post gained widespread attention and caught the eye of Rescue Dogs Dream Inc., who stepped in to assist. They pulled her from the shelter and placed her in a foster home. The rescue also arranged for Dutchess to see a veterinary surgeon who “determined” that the growths under her eyes were causing discomfort and needed to be removed.
Dutchess underwent her surgery, and Rescue Dogs Dream disclosed that the veterinarian determined the growths to be “dermoids,” which are a rare type of skin cyst that dogs are sometimes born with. Although not dangerous, they needed to be removed as they obstructed her vision and may have caused her discomfort, as she was resistant to having them touched.
During this time, the rescue received overwhelming support for Dutchess and received multiple adoption applications.
After Dutchess recovered from surgery, she was adopted and went to her new family, who renamed her Lena. According to her new pet parents, as told to Fox 35 Orlando, Lena “is the sweetest dog they have ever met.”
Rescue Dogs Dream stated, “She now has a new Mom and Dad to spoil her rotten (Dad works from home), and she has a new brother to play with in her privacy-fenced yard. She gets to go on hikes and adventures, and she is a cherished part of the family.”
Now a couple of months later, Rescue Dogs Dream shared that “our sweet girl found her PERFECT Happily Ever After, and she is doing wonderful!”
Her new guardians shared that Lena is doing fantastic and adores her canine sibling. “She has settled in seamlessly, and the two of them have a great relationship now! She successfully completed a level one doggie training class and is enrolled in level two, as well as a good canine citizen class.”
Lena’s adoptive family added, “She’s incredibly sweet, loves to play, and enjoys being around us all the time. She still has a habit of counter surfing and has helped herself to some butter and cheeseburgers from the grill, but we’re working on correcting that behavior. She’s a wonderful girl and we love her dearly.”
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