An estimated 7.6 million family animals are surrendered every year. No matter the reason, it’s always heartbreaking. Despite the vast number of surrendered pets, sometimes shelter workers encounter a single case that hits them like a hard blow to the stomach. Tay Tay and her mother Holly were one of those cases.
Gabby Stroup, manager of Southold Animal Center in Long Island, will always remember the day Tay Tay and Holly arrived. Holding their leashes was a trio of recently homeless women, who had likely had the pair since Tay Tay was a newborn.
Both dogs were dangerously obese, causing undo strain to their joints. They were riddled by a bad skin infection, which caused them to scratch until they broke the skin, losing much of their hair. Tay Tay was wagging her tail, not yet knowing that she was being surrendered.
What made Tay Tay’s situation so devastating wasn’t only her physical health. With proper care, she could and would lose all the excess weight, and her skin would be healed through months of antibiotics. What the shelter staff could not mend was her sorrow over being left behind by the only family she ever knew.
Tay Tay lives for human contact. When she hears the footsteps of shelter staffers approaching her kennel, her squeals of joy and delight can be heard throughout the facility. “She makes these howling noises,” explains Stroup, who adds that Tay Tay’s favorite thing by far is just to lay down on the couch beside someone who shows her kindness.
Even in the stressful shelter environment, Tay Tay shows signs of unconditional trust in humankind. She wags her tail vigorously, and she presents her belly for rubs every chance she gets. She feels safest when she’s in someone’s lap, held tight.
In her seven months at the shelter, Tay Tay has not had one application. Stroup suspects the lack of interest might be due to Tay Tay’s appearance. Her body has been through a lot, and although she is now a healthy, happy dog, she will forever be marked by the neglect of her previous owners. Because of her ordeal, she often is mistaken for the mother dog rather than the baby. Tay Tay doesn’t know she looks different than most dogs, and we certainly think her battle wounds make her that much more beautiful.
Still, Tay Tay is relieved to no longer be in pain, and she remains hopeful. Every day for this dog is a chance to give kisses and have her skin, no longer itchy and bleeding, patted gently. She misses her old home, but she looks forward to one that’s permanent, to snuggling close to someone who will never let her go.
If you think you might be that person for either Tay Tay or her mom Holly (or both!), please contact the North Fork Animal Welfare League at (631) 765-1811, where they will connect you to the Southold Animal Center, or email [email protected] You can also get in touch via Tay Tay’s Facebook page.
If you know someone who might like this, please click “Share!”