They’re in every shelter across the country, the big black dogs, the pitbulls, the seniors, the ‘ugly’ dogs, the ‘special needs’ dogs; the underdogs. Hundreds of thousands of them every year, killed, because no one wants them, people look past them, don’t see them.

Oh the little dogs, the ‘purse’ dogs, the puppies, the ‘designer dogs,’ usually find new homes pretty quickly and easily, not always, not every where, but they have much more of a chance.

So, whose going to love the underdogs? Whose going to rescue them from death or a sad existence of a life in a shelter, day after day, week after week, month after month? You can see the life drain from them, the hope in their once bright eyes dim as they no longer even move forward when people walk through. It’s happened so many times, they’re passed by and passed over. They lack the energy anymore to even try.

Thankfully, there are some shelters and many rescues that will go the extra mile for these underdogs. They see what so many don’t; how special and loving these dogs are and they give their time and effort to try to make life better for them.

Huntington in NY is just one of those. I’ve read about them before and it caught my attention again. They have some wonderful and well loved underdogs there;

The dogs like Angel, who bears the awful distinction of being the dog left longest at the Huntington animal shelter.

Angel, a Chihuahua, is the Big Dog in this doghouse. The bitch is so bad, she’s the only one living on the male side of the shelter, her home for almost two years.

And then there’s Wylee. He’s a pit bull – yeah, a pit bull. And he’s playful and gentle, and watches the world with eyes so soulful no one would even consider thinking about his teeth.

And Frisco, the rottweiler and dead ringer for the big, black and brown dog who inspired the “Good Dog, Carl” children’s books.

Sadly, these underdogs were all ignored when the SPCA van showed-up with their bunches of recently rescued ‘designer’ puppies and dogs. People and news crews clamored, more than 1000 calls were received about them. Those dogs will have new homes quickly. It’s a good thing.

But what about the underdogs? After everyone left, they were still waiting, lonely and ignored.

Then we have a rescue that I’m very familiar with, Saving Furry Friends in VA. I ‘met’ Caroline last year when we worked together on saving a dog. Since then we have gotten to be friends. Yes, we live across the country from one another and have never met face to face but we talk often and although she’s probably not that much different than many other rescues out there, it is one that I am intimately familiar with. SFF is a rescue dedicated to the underdog.

They routinely travel to shelters and pull dogs that are literally minutes from death. They take the injured and bring them back to health. They take the crippled and ‘special needs’ dogs and provide sanctuary for them so they can live out their lives in comfort, surrounded by love and care.

SFF is a small rescue as rescues go. Caroline tries to keep the numbers around 20-25 dogs so that she, her family and volunteers can care for them and give them attention. Most of the dogs spend much of their time in the house, lounging on furniture. They get to play and run and romp in a large yard and get wet and muddy in the creek.Chloe, abandoned and shot

Their latest additions are a momma dog with seven puppies. The momma dog, abandoned and shot last fall, now managing with only three legs, living wild and on her own, recently had a litter of puppies. She had the puppies tucked in an old outhouse to try to keep them safe from local wildlife. A concerned citizen called Caroline and told her about the sad situation. She’d been trying to feed the skittish and scared momma but was worried because there were coyotes in the area.

Chloe and puppiesAfter several days of planning and working, a lot more than I can ever begin to describe, Caroline, along with another rescuer, managed to rescue the momma and the puppies and get them some place safe. Momma dog, named Chloe, and all the pups will need vetting, spay and neuter and who knows what else.

Now small rescues like this operate solely on donations and seldom does what comes in even come close to covering what goes out but Caroline, like many others, continue despite that. Funding shortfalls are made up from their own pockets. Vet bills are paid, dog food is bought. Whatever is needed, some how is found, begged, borrowed, bartered or whatever it takes.

So when I ask, who will love the underdogs, here are just two examples but these examples are not answers. The underdogs need you! They need people to look past the designer dogs and cute dogs and tiny puppies once in a while. They need you to see what is special in them, that they still have so much life and love to give.

Shelters and rescues are just supposed to be a stop along the way to a permanent home so next time you think about an addition to the family, don’t look past the underdogs. Look at them!! Really take the time to look and see them, see all they still have to give.

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