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There are dozens of dogs available for adoption at Maricopa County Animal Care & Control’s east and west shelters. PHNX Sports has already featured several of them in Twitter videos and you can view a comprehensive list of the adoptable dogs at the shelters by following this link.
We have focused on the dogs who have been in the shelter for the longest amount of time because those dogs can show signs of mental deterioration or stress in the shelters’ loud, cramped and lonely conditions. Unlike some of the smaller shelters around the Valley, county shelters are not permitted to turn away dogs so the experience can be challenging.
The dog pictured at the top of this page is Diesel. He is a Great Dane mix who is about three years old. He has been in the west shelter since September, making him the longest-tenured dog in the facility.
“He’s young and he’s gorgeous,” MCACC’s communications officer, Hannah Carl said. “He’s completely trained. He knows all sorts of tricks. He knows sit down, shake, roll over, speak, stay and we didn’t teach him any of it. He came to us just knowing all of that.
“His previous owner did say he was also really good with cats and has always done well with babies in the past. He’s actually great on the leash so he’ll loose-leash walk just fine. You get him out to the play yard and he does the zoomies. He’s just he’s really entertaining. He’s a big puppy. If I had to use one word to describe him, it would be fun.”
Diesel is in the shelter because he has one bite on his record. He bit another dog.
“We take all bites within their context and look and see what the circumstances were, and if it’s likely to happen again,” Carl said. “We don’t think that the bite presents a danger to the public. It’s just something, unfortunately, that happened in his past and now it’s sort of preventing him from finding a home. If it weren’t for the bite on his record he would be the type of dog I think to get adopted immediately.
“He hasn’t been really reactive to other dogs in the shelter which is interesting. It makes us wonder what the circumstances were with the bite. We only know what the previous owner told us. The owner thinks that Diesel just doesn’t like German Shepherds which is kind of silly. I think he was just being protective of his owner and he got nervous around a dog.”
Diesel’s experience isn’t uncommon. Carl owns a dog with a bite in its history and so do I. Owners often worry that the bite will become a pattern but it can just be a product of unique circumstances. Carl has advice for owners who experience a bite.
“I wish more people would do research on ethical, humane types of training for these dogs because there’s a lot of misinformation out there, especially surrounding the idea of why dogs bite,” she said. “I wish that those resources were more available to dog owners who have dogs with behavioral concerns.
“We can’t endorse any, but I know that we do have some resources on our website, and we’re working on getting that more up to date and more comprehensive because it is something that so many of our adopters call about and ask about. It’s one of their biggest concerns after taking a new pet home; mostly behavior stuff.”
Amazingly, Diesel has shown no signs of mental deterioration despite his long stay at the shelter.
“I think someone who maybe made a mistake in the past would really relate to him; that mark on his record,” Carl said. “He really is an incredible dog.”
Here is a link to Diesel’s page with detailed information.
There are numerous ways in which you can help a dog at MCACC’s shelters.
Here is more information on adopting dogs.
Here is more information on fostering dogs.
Here is more information on volunteering at the shelter.
Here is more information on donating money or resources, including an Amazon wishlist of much-needed supplies.