Finding a new home for Mr. Jones
by Lisa Gavon
R-C Alpine Bureau
Through the darkness, she saw a shimmering shadow darting in and out of traffic during the holiday rush hour. Cars were swerving to avoid hitting him. A black lab mix alone on the highway has little chance of surviving. It is more likely that he would cause an accident, hurting himself and others. His rescue was the first part of a miracle for Mr. Charlie Jones.
Sheila and her family had stopped, trying to avert a tragedy. When she opened her car door, Mr. Jones leapt right in. One can only imagine how terrifying it must have been for a dog like him to be lost at night with cars careening past at high speed.
When she called dispatch, she was told Alpine County has no animal control or any shelter for animals. It also does not have any agreements with neighboring counties to provide services for animals that are in need here. Many people find this hard to believe, but it is the sad truth. If you find an animal who has been hurt, lost, abused, or abandoned, the responsibility to see that the animal does not suffer further harm falls entirely on you.
Sheila called Douglas, Amador, El Dorado, and Washoe shelters to report him found and try to turn him in. No one would take him since he was found in Alpine County.
At first she called him “Buddy” but his demeanor called for a more distinctive moniker, and he is now known simply as “Mr. Jones.” He was 65 pounds when they took him to the vet in January, and he has gained weight since then. He is neutered and they had him microchipped so he would not be lost again. He just finished getting all his shots. Aside from the help of a few friends, the family has paid for his well-care, supplies (like a dog bed, collars, leashes, and toys), and all his food themselves.
Mr. Jones has that juvenile look with big paws and a couple of splashes of white fur on his chin, chest and front paws. He is between 1 and 2 years old by the look of his teeth, and has a shiny, healthy coat. He is a high energy, intent, athletic dog who loves to fetch and would love a job. He is housebroken and doesn’t bark or chew things. He knows most basic commands (when not too distracted) and can sit, lie down, stay, come, drop, and leave it. He is working on heel and watch.
He does get extremely anxious around other dogs, people going by in a car, or when going to new places. The family has already taken steps to address these issues with positive reinforcement training. He seems to like to jump and dig so having a runner system or being out with an active owner would be perfect.
Mr. Jones wants to be a real gentleman and has a true desire to be good. The hardest thing for him right now is dealing with other dogs. “Dog manners” would be the most important and essential part of his training in his new home. Sheila says that at this point she thinks it would be best to start in a home with no other animals or children until he is fully trained.
The family felt a moral call to rescue him, but are not in a position in their lives to be able to continue to care for a dog. They have put him on Craig’s List, but feeling responsible about him going to a place that would be safe, provide adequate instruction, and have the financial resources to feed and care for him, they have not yet found the ideal situation. They have posted him on lost pet sites, put ads in feed stores, public areas, all around the county, online, and contacted local rescue groups. Unfortunately, they have had many different people who said they owned the dog, but then never showed up after they were informed there was a $20 micro-chip transfer fee. They have invested an incredible amount of time into his well-being.
To seek to reduce the suffering of those who cannot speak or care for themselves is the mark of a civilized society. What has happened to abandoned, stray, and abused animals in Alpine County is horrendous. This is just the latest in a long litany of heart-breaking stories. As individuals, many of us have altered our lives and schedules, used our savings, and spent extensive hours performing the tasks normally done by animal control officers and shelters, trying to make sure these helpless creatures are treated humanely. The tales are too numerous and sorrowful to list.
The first part of the miracle was being rescued by Sheila. The second part will come when Mr. Charlie Jones finds a new, safe home where people will watch over him and love him as he truly deserves. Sheila says,“I know in the big picture we all have responsibility to help each other, whether animal or human. I will hold out for the right home for him so he never has to suffer again.” You can reach her at (209)258-8866 to be introduced to the remarkable Mr. Jones.