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The search for a fur-ever family after 16 months with the Calgary Humane Society

It’s a story that will likely become more common as the housing and rental crisis in Calgary persists.

On July 17, 2021, Aster—an 80-pound mixed-breed dog—was surrendered to the Calgary Humane Society (CHS).

“She came to CHS because her previous owner was unable to provide adequate housing,” says Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons, manager of community support and engagement.

“She has been with us for a total of 16 months.”

Patiently waiting

The eight-year-old pooch is now known as one of CHS’ Patient Paws.

“As the title so lovingly describes, she’s been very patient in finding her home,” Fitzsimmons says.

CHS tended to Aster’s medical needs when she was surrendered and she spent the majority of the past 16 months with a foster parent who says she is “the best dog.”

“That was really nice for her to be able to spend that time outside of the shelter while we try to search for her forever family,” Fitzsimmons says.

“Her foster parents describe her as very sweet, very chill. She does settle quite quickly in the home.”

A big cuddle bug

Fitzsimmons says Aster is a big, snuggly lap dog.

“Whether you’re reading a book or watching TV… she’s extremely affectionate, just curled right up on your lap, or lays down beside you and really just kind of plays that great role of companion animal while you’re in the home.”

Aster’s foster parent also says she is smart, food-motivated, and loves to be outside and play fetch.

Fitzsimmons says Aster is good at walking on a leash but that she has shown some reactivity toward other dogs.

“We don’t advise that she be taken to an off-leash park. But for somebody who’s just looking for a walking or jogging companion, we think she’d do quite well,” Fitzsimmons says.

“She has shown some chasing behaviour, so we don’t recommend she live with small animals. However, due to her sweet nature, we do feel that she’d be great with children.”

Benefits of being a Patient Paw

Since Aster is a CHS Patient Paw, there are several benefits for potential adopters. For example, she can be taken for a trial sleepover at no cost.

“The Patient Paws sleepover program would allow you to take Aster home for seven days, just to give her a break from the shelter and see kind of how she adapts to your home and your lifestyle,” Fitzsimmons says.

“And our team is here to support you during that week.”

Patient Paws also come with a choose-your-own adoption fee—a minimum of $125 for dogs.

Reactive Rover training

To support Aster’s new owners post-adoption, Fitzsimmons says she will be able to undergo a free eight-week dog training class called Reactive Rover.

The structured environment is tailored to dogs who react to other animals, joggers, or objects such as bikes.

Pooches in the program are taught with primarily positive reinforcement.

CHS adoptees are spayed or neutered and are given core vaccinations and identification.

Searching for Aster’s fur-ever home

Although Aster has been with CHS for some time, how long animals typically stay depends on the circumstances.

“Sometimes we have animals that come into our shelter and are adopted within 24 hours. Or in Aster’s case, we’re coming up to a year and a half,” Fitzsimmons says.

“I can say with a lot of pride that our length of stay once the animal hits the adoption floor is not very long. And that is thanks to the efforts of our team here, the support of the community, and just the amazing number of adopters who come here looking for a new forever friend.”

Anyone interested in Aster can find out more about her HERE.

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