The Red Deer and District SPCA is full to the rafters with animals who are up for adoption.
There are more than 100 cats ready for adoption at the facility as well as dozens of dogs. In some instances officials with the SPCA are even having to double up dogs in their enclosures because of lack of space.
One of the dogs that has been at the shelter for a long period of time and who SPCA officials are hoping will find his forever home soon is a two-year-old Staffordshire terrier/boxer cross named Dexter.
He has been at the SPCA for nine months. Prior to that he was at the Old McDonald Kennels for seven months.
“He came from a tough background where he was not socialized and was basically in a yard chained 24/7. He was never socialized properly. He has some reservations when it comes to meeting new people and he has more fear towards males as opposed to females,” said Amy Corpe, animal care manager with the Red Deer and District SPCA. “We have introduced him to many males and he’s been fine with them, it just takes him a little more time.
“He’s very energetic, very loyal and very affectionate and trusting once he’s comfortable with someone.”
Corpe said the ideal home for Dexter would be a home with a male and female together so he is with both genders all of the time. She added potential owners with experience with dogs would be ideal as well.
“He’s not aggressive towards children at all, but because he needs to overcome a lot of insecurities, it would be the best situation not to be around kids,” she added. “Ideally we would really like to see him in a home with another medium to large-sized dog who is very social and is good with other dogs. He does so well with other dogs and loves them. However, he is not compatible with cats.”
Dexter also knows a number of commands and has been responding well to learning.
“Hands down he is the most intelligent dog we have here,” said Corpe. “He’s very food and toy motivated and he’s very eager to please.”
In general, Corpe said the SPCA has a challenge with ‘bully breeds’ on an ongoing basis.
“The majority of the pit bulls that we have in the shelter right now are fantastic with humans but they are reactive to other animals and they really pick and choose what dog they like and they don’t do well with cats,” she said. “It’s not to say that they can’t go to a home with another dog, but they have to be compatible.”
Currently, the SPCA has seven pit bull cross breed dogs.
“They are the most predominant breed at the SPCA right now.”
Tara Hellewell, executive director of the SPCA, said because of the challenges and stigma ‘bully breeds’ have, some agencies chose to not deal with them.
“Unfortunately some will choose to euthanize. We are one of the few agencies who doesn’t euthanize for space. Other agencies have to.
“As a result we tend to reach out when we have space. Because of what we’ve chosen to be as this maximum adopt facility, it could mean some of these animals could be with us for a very long time,” she said. “But we really feel that these dogs deserve another chance because they are great animals and there is nothing wrong with them.”