HOME AT LAST

What love has helped Ronny forget ...


UF veterinary student Hagar Hauser and her adopted dog, Ronny.

Photo courtesy of Hagar Hauser
Published: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 22, 2013 at 2:09 p.m.

When Ronny came to Alachua County Animal Services last January, his happy ending looked nowhere in sight:

Facts

“Home at Last: Tales of Rescue,” coordinated by Hilary Hynes at Alachua County Animal Services, profiles the success stories of families and their rescue pets.

His arrival was part of a cruelty confiscation. He and two other dogs had been kept on heavy chains in a yard and they were emaciated and sick.

During their few months at animal services, where they were kept as evidence in the cruelty case, they gained weight and received loving care from shelter staff.

Despite their terrible past, the dogs were friendly, affectionate and eager for human attention.

In June, they were legally released, but Ronny and another of the dogs, Izzy, had heartworm disease and could not be adopted immediately. Plenty of Pit Bulls rescue group took both dogs into their program because they had volunteer foster homes available. The dogs received treatment for heartworm, thanks to the University of Florida’s Shelter Medicine program.

Ronny’s foster mom was UF veterinary student, Hagar Hauser.

By early fall, Ronny was healthy and ready to be adopted, but Hagar wasn’t sure she could let him go. Ronny and Hauser became “foster failures” — Hauser ended up adopting Ronny herself.

“I had eight foster animals before I got Ronny. He was another dog I wanted to help save and find a loving him for,” says the vet student.

“I read his story and thought that this dog deserved a second chance ... He was found living outside without food or water and he had never known love until he got to animal services. Not until I brought him home did I realize that my house was the first one he’d ever been in. He didn’t know how to walk through the door, how to walk on tile, or what a toilet flush was.”

Hauser noticed the dog seemed afraid of everything — from the sounds of yelling to swinging doors.

That was then. This is now:

“If you met him now, you’d never know it was the same dog! He is the king of the house and isn’t scared of anything anymore,” says Hauser. “I couldn’t believe that a dog with such a horrible history could learn to truly trust people again. He is the happiest dog I have ever met and I can tell that every day he’s thankful for having a home.

“We call him “Ronster Monster” at my house because he’s a big goofball and I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t loved him at first sight.”

Izzy is still waiting for her home.

Described as a beautiful dog with a beautiful personality to match, Izzy likes cats, kids and other dogs. Like Ronny, she is gentle, outgoing — and despite a difficult start in life — trusting and affectionate.

SAVE AN ANIMAL’S LIFE

Izzy and Ronny are among the many animals that find their way into animal shelters across the country. It takes only a few minutes to visit your local animal shelter or rescue group. That visit could save a life. There are many ways to look for your new four-legged family companion. Petfinder online or Pet Harbor online are two. Alachua County Animal Services is always here to help. For more information on adoption, stop by.

— Hilary Hynes, public education program coordinator, Canine Good Citizen evaluator, Alachua County Animal Services, 3400 NE 53rd Ave., Gainesville, 264-6881, 213-1241, heh@alachuacounty.us.

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