Keep­ing up with Stella

Af­ter a frisky dog over­whelms five fam­i­lies, a pet shel­ter finds her a job.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Pets - By SUSANNAH BRYAN

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

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