Keeping up with Stella
After a frisky dog overwhelms five families, a pet shelter finds her a job.
STELLA, a spirited year-old Lab mix, had so much energy that five sets of owners couldn’t keep up with her – and each sent her back to a shelter.
But while her intense drive and focus was too much for them, those very qualities make her a natural to do search and rescue.
So on a recent morning, Stella boarded a cargo plane to California, the United States, where she’ll undergo eight to 10 months of training with the National Disaster Search Foundation before beginning her new mission.
“A dog like her really needs a job,” said Jinnette Pantalone, admissions associate at the Humane Society of Broward County shelter. “She’s not a hang-out-on-the-couch kind of dog. She’s just very focused and has a lot of energy. The good news is that energy can be harnessed.”
If for any reason Stella does not complete the training programme, foundation officials will find a home for her.
According to her paperwork, Stella was adopted as a puppy from a pet shelter in Mississippi and had as many as three owners before winding up at the Dania Beach shelter in March. Stella had two more owners in the past several weeks, but wound up back at the shelter because she’s so high energy, Pantalone said.
Looking for a solution, shelter staff contacted officials with the California-based foundation to see if they’d take her on as a search-and-rescue dog.
Before being accepted into the programme, Stella had to prove she has what it takes, Pantalone said.
Local handlers who work with the foundation spent three days with Stella – one at the shelter and two at the Broward Fire Academy in Davie, Florida.
Stella passed every test, walking across a ladder without hesitation and burrowing through concrete rubble to retrieve hidden tennis balls.
She will join more than 70 canines trained by the organisation and partnered with handlers in Florida, California, New York, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
“This is the first time we’ve sent a dog at the shelter to become a search-and-rescue dog,” Pantalone said.
Shelter officials will see Stella again when they attend her graduation ceremony next year. – Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service
She’s just very focused and has a lot of energy. The good news is that energy can be harnessed.
Pantalone of the Humane Society of Broward County spends time with Stella, a spirited Lab mix who has gone through several families. — Photos TNS
Jinnette Pantalone Stella will get the chance to help save lives as a search and rescue dog.
Sleek and beautiful Izzy is up for adoption. — KOGI/ SPCA Penang