On this day 8 years ago, I adopted a shih-tzu mix named Tsuki from a poor excuse of an animal shelter in Montana. At the time, I was 16 years old, but I wanted a lap dog that would function as a standalone bed warmer, as my room in MT was poorly insulated. When I saw Tsuki stuffed into a 5X5ft cage with five other more rambunctious dogs, it was clear he needed a better place to live. The tag described him as "Zuki, Shih-tzu cross, 7-10 years old". Once I paid his adoption fee and brought him outside, he jumped into our van. Clearly he didn't want to be brought back.
A while later we took him to the veterinarian to get him a check-up, learning at that time that the dog I'd adopted was Tsuki, not Zuki, and 15 years old, not 10 years old. He also was underweight to the point the vet had began to chew me out, not understanding the situation until I said I'd adopted him from a notable, "no-kill" shelter in our city. If Tsuki hadn't been adopted within the month, he would've died of neglect- his ears were dirty to the brink of infection, and his teeth needed cleaned, despite the fact the people at the shelter told me he had had his teeth cleaned already.
Tsuki settled quite easily into our household, despite the fact that we already had a dog (Jewels, my first baby) and a cat (Tiger, my brother's cat, who didn't quite prepare me for the wrecking ball who is George). For the first week I "owned" him, he would not let me out of his sight, and didn't bark. One day, I carelessly left a room without giving him advance notice, and from then on, he barked whenever he felt like it (which wasn't frequently), and often for no reason at all. He had some separation anxiety, which led to a great escape from our dog run- he escaped, then leapt into a neighbor's car, who promptly brought him back to a shelter (but not the same one). Tsuki spent two nights of hard time, due to said shelter being closed the next day. His release fee cost us more than his adoption fee had in the first place.
Due to my vet's office having been involved in his care beforehand, I eventually learned why Tsuki ended up in the hellish "no kill" shelter to begin with- his owner died, leaving five shih-tzus behind. A groomer at the vet's office was taking care of them and almost found them a home, but then his owner's next of kin decided it would be a good idea to take them all to this "no kill" shelter. The groomer, was forced to pay $300 for two of the shih-tzus she felt were least likely to find a home, despite the fact that the shelter hadn't done any vet work for the dogs yet and they were elderly like Tsuki. There was also an explanation for Tsuki's odd tendency to jump in anyone's car- his former owner used to take all his shih-tzus for car rides for fun.
|Tsuki and Torrie|
The purpose of Tsuki Appreciation Day is:
-To celebrate past pets in our lives.
-To celebrate elderly pets in our lives.
-To bring attention to the fact that senior dogs make great pets... and sadly, they seldom attract much attention in shelters.
-To inform the general public that even "no kill" shelters can be cruel to their animals- the only way to know shelters aren't cruel for sure is to investigate them thoroughly yourself before donating and/or adopting.