Animal shelters have a difficult time when they see loving dogs passed over by potential adopters for the way they look. It may simply be because of their breed or their color. Or sometimes it can be because of a deformity they are born with. But every time a dog is ignored, it weighs on the hearts of shelter staff. Such was the case with Dutchess, a dog who came to Orange County Animal Services in Orlando, Florida just before Christmas holidays in 2022.
Her family had to give her up due to a landlord issue, according to the shelter. Dutchess was a regular bully-type dog except for one noticeable feature and that feature was something people seemed unwilling to overlook. The shelter wrote on Facebook, “Her owner told us that she was born with a slight deformity just under both her eyes. It doesn’t affect her in any way except one: people cannot seem to get past it.”
“The heartbreaking part is that Dutchess absolutely adores everyone. She runs up to the kennel doors every day, excited for the new day, relentlessly optimistic,” they continued. “For her, each day brings new people, and with that, new hope for adoption. Dutchess doesn’t know a bad day.”
The explained, “The hard part is hearing the comments made about her: ‘She looks so ugly.’ ‘What is that?’ ‘What’s wrong with her?’ ‘Is she blind?’ ‘How much is this gonna cost me?’ ‘She’ll never get adopted.'”
And for 30 days that appeared to be the sad path Dutchess was on. Orange County Animal Services had a hard time hearing such negative things about such “an absolutely incredible dog.”
They noted Dutchess is, “gentle, sweet, energetic and extremely intelligent, Dutchess is one of our few helper dogs. She is so even keeled, our behaviorists use her in play groups to control the other dogs, to calm them, to teach them. She is well behaved, easy to train, and gets along with every dog she meets. We think she is beautiful.”
Their post went viral and came to the attention of Rescue Dogs Dream Inc., who decided they could help. They pulled her from the shelter and placed Dutchess in a foster home. The rescue also brought Dutchess to a veterinary surgeon who “determined” the growths under her eyes were “uncomfortable for her” and should be removed.
Dutchess got her surgery and Rescue Dogs Dream revealed that the vet felt the growths were “dermoids, which are a rare cyst of the skin that they are usually born with. Although not dangerous, they still needed to be removed, as they were in her sight line and they must have been a little uncomfortable for her, as she was very resistant to having them touched.”
During this time, the rescue got overwhelming support for Dutchess and received multiple adoption applications.
Soon after Dutchess’ recovered from surgery, she was adopted and went to her new family who renamed her Lena. The dog’s new pet parents told Fox 35 Orlando that she “is the sweetest dog they have ever met.”
“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,” said Rescue Dogs Dream. “She gets to go on hikes and adventures and she is a cherished part of the family.”
Now a couple of months on, Rescue Dogs Dream shared that “our sweet girl found her PERFECT Happily Ever After and she is doing wonderful!”
Her new mom and dad shared that Lena is doing great and loves her doggie sibling. “She’s settled right in and the two of them get along very well now! She graduated from a level one doggie training class and is signed up for level two and then a good canine citizen class.”
Lena’s family added, “She’s so sweet, just loves to play and be around us all the time. She’s still a counter surfer and has helped herself to some sticks of butter and cheeseburgers from the grill but we’re working on that. She is a wonderful girl and we love her so much.”
It’s so fortunate that those negative opinions of Dutchess (now Lena) from potential adopters ultimately didn’t stand in the way of her getting her happy ending. Happy Tails, Lena!
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