Faces of Fillmore: Scruffy
Pictured l-r is Pip, Carina Montoya and Scruffy. Photo credit Danny Haro.
Pictured l-r is Pip, Carina Montoya and Scruffy. Photo credit Danny Haro.

By Carina Montoya

Happy 2024 Fillmore! In 2022, I introduced Scruffy, my terrier-mix rescue, found abandoned, alone and wandering the streets in the San Fernando Valley at about 10 weeks old. An animal control officer found her and brought her to the shelter. She was a lucky dog, and I was fortunate to find her. She was my Christmas present in December 2017. This past Christmas 2023, I adopted another rescue who was abandoned along with eight of his siblings. The puppies were approximately nine weeks old when someone dumped them in a field in an agricultural area in Bakersfield. A farmer found the pups with no mother in sight. He called a rescue organization who came and gathered the puppies. I responded when photos of the puppies were put on social media. The rescue organization believed the dogs were Border Collie/Cattle Dog mix. I was interested in the black/white puppy with the white paintbrush tip tail because he resembled Freckles, one of the loves of my life for 14 years who was a female Border Collie. Needless to say, it was love at first sight for both of us. I named him Pip after a character in Great Expectations, one of my favorite classics by Charles Dickens. I was curious to know Pip’s breed mix, so I bought a dog DNA test kit, swabbed the inside of his cheeks and sent it off. I was surprised to learn that he has no Border Collie in his DNA. Pip is 61% German Shepherd, 31% Pit Bull, and 10% Siberian Husky. He is definitely an interesting mix, which makes him a special dog who is loved and treated as a member of the family. To Pip, he belongs to a forever pack.

Bringing a dog into your home is a responsibility. All domesticated dogs are dependent on their owner for food, shelter, safety, exercise and attention. I’m sure that all dog-lovers agree that if you don’t treat your dog as a family member, you shouldn’t have a dog. Dogs are descendants from wolves which man befriended, tamed, and cared for in exchange for them to work as guard dogs. It is said that “this reciprocal relationship remains in your dog’s genes and their loyalty is a by-product of it.”

During the COVID isolation period many shelters for the first time became virtually empty. People wanted dogs because they were isolated at home. After COVID isolation was over and people returned to work and school, many people no longer wanted their dogs. Shelters again began reaching their full capacity in unwanted dogs. Unfortunately, many dogs were also found abandoned and left to die in cages, boxes and trash cans or left to be killed by vehicles or wildlife.

There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters in the U.S. filled with unwanted animals. By rescuing a dog from a shelter, you will be doing your part in saving it from an uncertain fate. In return, the dog will be grateful for getting a second chance and you will get unconditional love, loyalty and much more. Many people looking to adopt a dog prefer a puppy, but adopting young and older dogs often has positive benefits, such as they are no longer teething; they are house trained; and they have been socialized with people and other animals. My two rescues are lucky dogs because they found a forever home. Little do they know that I am the lucky one because they are gifts that keep on giving.
Happy New Year to you and your furry pets!