Successes, setbacks with Lucky 33 rehabilitation

Staff and volunteers of the Allegany County Animal Shelter rescue 33 dogs ranging from 10 days to senior age living in deplorable conditions in an abandoned home on Greene Street on June 13. The dogs were named the Lucky 33.

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Animal Shelter has had successes and setbacks with the 33 dogs that were rescued from an abandoned home on Greene Street on June 13.

Named the Lucky 33 because they had survived horrible living conditions, the group of dogs became 42 after nine puppies were born to four pregnant dogs. The puppies were fostered by staff and volunteers with two going to Last Chance Rescue and all were adopted in homes when they became old enough. A 10-day-old puppy, Ally, that was rescued from the house was also adopted.

The original 33, with the exception of Ally, had very little human contact and most still need an incredible amount of one-on-one work to become the pets they were meant to be. These dogs came to the shelter afraid of humans. They had never worn collars and had never even been outside. It has been and still is a monumental task for the shelter to socialize these dogs. One of the 33, Woody, escaped and has not been seen.

The shelter has been working with a program at the state prison in Hagerstown. Inmates are given dogs to care for and four of them, Jax, Heidi, Griffin and Ramone, have made remarkable progress. These dogs have been socialized to the point where they can be held, put on a leash and taken for a walk. Heidi, Griffin and Ramone will be ready for adoption soon. Jax was adopted by a family in Hagerstown but he slipped his collar and is running loose. Jax has been seen and his new owners are hoping to have him home soon.

Four of the 33 were adopted by families who knew it would take a lot of work but were willing to take the time and effort. Mia, Howard, Nana and Phin now have homes and are making wonderful progress, shelter officials said.

The shelter is still home to23 of the original 33. Sally is the most socialized and will be the next one to go either into the prison program or a foster home. The shelter is taking applications to foster any of the remaining 23. Someone who can devote time, patience, socialization and preferably a fenced yard would be wonderful for these dogs.

The shelter works with a number of reputable rescues both in Maryland and out-of-state to free up space in the shelter, reduce expenses for feeding and cleaning, and help move animals to geographic locations with a higher demand for pets. The rescues must operate as a nonprofit organization; assure that all animals in their care are up to date on all vaccinations; guarantee all pets are spayed/neutered before placement or adopted out on a spay/neuter contract; and have a facility that is clean and organized and the animals appear to be healthy. The rescue policy can be found at www.ashelterofhope.com.

The Allegany County Animal Shelter is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone interested in adopting or fostering may come out to the shelter at 716 Furnace St. Extended, call 301-777-5930 or go to the Petfinder link on the shelter’s website.

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