The Shelter Guardian Program: Amy and Ellie’s Story
Ellie has been in Gateway Pet Guardians care for over 550 days. While Ellie’s stay at our Emergency Shelter has been a long one, it definitely doesn’t lack for excitement, largely thanks to her amazing Shelter Guardian, Amy Appal. The Shelter Guardian program is designed to enhance the lives of animals at our shelter. Volunteers are paired with shelter dogs for socialization, training, enrichment and adoption exposure. According to Amy, it means being their friend and advocate. She explains, “it does not mean you are wholly responsible for getting them adopted but everything you do for them, ideally helps toward that result. We help with their training and socialization. The most fun part is getting to be their escape from the shelter. We have one of the best shelters around but it can still be stressful on these guys.”
Amy loves taking Ellie home for several days at a time, and loves her sweet nature. She nuzzles her head into her neck when they nap, a sight sure to melt anyone’s heart! Ellie is a professional sunbather and lives for the heat. She is also extremely smart, too smart for her own good. Amy says, “she kind of knows how to work me. For example, when she gets bored at my house, she will carry a piece of my clothing around or let out a random high pitch bark. That behavior almost always inspires me to take her for another walk (though maybe she is just telling me to put my laundry away like a proper adult). I suspect she is training me better than I’m training her!”
Together, Amy and Ellie work through several obstacles and challenges. Ellie has what we lovingly call “stranger danger.” She does not meet new people very easily, which is such a shame because she is so worth knowing and loving! It’s unfortunate because introductions to new people are difficult. But Amy is confident that her perfect family is out there. “She needs a patient adopter that is willing to meet her (muzzled) a few times so she can establish trust. She needs an adopter that understands that she will never be a party, patio or dog park dog because new people scare her too much. I’m aware that all of this is a lot to ask of someone, but I promise she’s worth it!”
It’s definitely worth it, and we know Ellie’s perfect family is out there. Thank you, Amy, for being such an important part of Ellie’s life and aiding her on her journey to find them! If you’d like to learn more about Ellie, visit www.gatewaypets.com/adopt. If you’d like to learn more about our Shelter Guardian program and be an advocate for a shelter dog like Ellie, visit www.gatewaypets.com/volunteer and become a shelter volunteer. After 20+ hours of volunteering at our shelter, you are eligible to become a Shelter Guardian and enrich the lives of some very deserving dogs!