Curled up under her bed, Linda was despondent at the county shelter. She didn’t turn her head when there was an occasional passerby. She didn’t come out from under her bed until she saw a volunteer visiting with a gift. In the photos, you can see Linda come out from under the bed. The last picture, taken after the volunteer put a bright red sweater on her, shows Linda sitting by the door of her kennel. Waiting for someone to see her in her pretty new sweater, with a new lease on life.
Does a sweater really make a difference? For a dog named Bobby it did. The photo of Bobby in a green sweater he’d had on since before Christmas went viral and resulted in many offers of adoption. Volunteers are hoping that sweaters of different colors can do the same for other lonely, homeless dogs in the crowded county shelter. They got together and bought hundreds of sweaters. Then they visited the shelter and put the new sweaters on the dogs.
What does a sweater do for a dog, one might ask. The sweater serves many purposes. On a basic level, the sweater offers warmth from the cold concrete and low evening temperatures. But the sweaters offer much more. There is the extra interaction that the dogs get when the volunteers put the sweaters on them and give them a few minutes of loving. The dogs in the west wing at the Miami Dade Animal Services don’t get seen by many people, and this interaction means a lot to them. The sweaters also make the dogs more visible. It’s easy for a dark brown or black dog to get lost in the shadows. But not a dog in a bright blue (or yellow) sweater.
You might call them the fashion police, but this group of volunteers prefers to call itself the MDAS Sweater Patrol. Watch the video of them putting the sweaters on the dogs. It’s long, but it’s well worth watching. The volunteers want to make sure that every dog has a sweater. New dogs arrive every day, so that’s a huge undertaking. If you want to donate to this worthy endeavor, there is a YouCaring site.
The volunteers will do the shopping, the shlepping, and the dressing. You get to see pictures of the dogs with their new duds, happily looking out the kennel doors, hoping against hope that someone special will walk by and pick them. And just maybe, that blue sweater will be the thing that catches the eye first.
Please share this idea, and maybe other shelters will begin to make hopeless, homeless dogs more adorable, adoptable, and awesome. And Linda still needs a home. She is ID#A1604023 and her Facebook thread will have more information about how to save her. She was an owner surrender and had to watch her owners drop her leash into uncaring hands as they walked away.
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