She came to the U.S. for a new life — but no one wanted her.
Three years ago, the future looked bright for a border collie mix named Jessie. After spending several years struggling to survive on the streets in Thailand, rescuers from the Soi Dog Foundation scooped her up and sent her to the U.S. so she could find a forever family.
But unfortunately, Jessie still hasn’t found one. Instead, she’s been living in a small, crowded shelter in Long Beach, New York, for three long years.
Beth Zimmerman, a former volunteer at Posh Pets and Long Beach Animal Shelter, where Jessie currently lives, said she’s “heartbroken” that Jessie still hasn’t found a home.
“It’s very painful to see any animal languish in a shelter for years,” Zimmerman told The Dodo.
There are a few possibilities for why Jessie’s having trouble finding a family. For one, it takes a little time for her to warm up to people, which is probably due to her time living on the streets in Thailand.
“She is overlooked repeatedly because she is not initially a ‘warm and fuzzy’ kind of dog,” Zimmerman said. “Beneath her sassy, sometimes tough exterior is a sweet, loving dog who responds to kindness and love in sometimes surprising ways. For example, she is finally rolling over for belly rubs from shelter staff as she is learning that they mean her no harm.”
It’s possible, too, that Jessie’s overlooked for being a black dog — in general, these dogs have a harder time finding homes.
“Perhaps being an all-black dog, she suffers from not presenting as well in online photographs, where people often start the adoption search process,” Zimmerman said.
The shelter staff and volunteers have been doing everything they can to help Jessie, especially Annie Barbatsuly, who currently volunteers at the shelter as a dog walker.
“She walks her in the community with her ‘adopt me’ vest, she hands out oversized ‘business cards’ with Jessie’s information and bio link, and has gone to various neighborhoods to put them in mailboxes,” Zimmerman said. “She has created online profiles for Jessie on other rescue sites, she has posted her routinely to various Facebook groups for dog moms and border collie enthusiasts.”
But no matter what Barbatsuly or anyone else does, Jessie, who is now 9 years old, still can’t find a home. To make things worse, Jessie seems to know that no one wants her, according to Zimmerman.
“Every time she [Barbatsuly] returns Jessie to the shelter after a daily walk … Jessie drops her head and shoulders, and looks defeated,” Zimmerman said.
“She [Jessie] has seen nearly all of the dogs in the shelter come and go during her nearly three years there,” Zimmerman added. “And last year when she was briefly fostered by Annie while the shelter was under renovation, she adapted to home life as though she had never been in a shelter. She was depressed for a very long time upon her return, after the temporary foster was over.”
Despite Jessie’s difficulties, everyone is hopeful that she’ll find a home soon — and the right home.
Her favorite activities are going for long walks, chasing squeaky balls, digging in the dirt and hanging out with other dogs. Zimmerman thinks Jessie could easily be placed in a home with a resident dog, but she should only live with adults and older children.
“Because she has led such a deprived life, both in Thailand and during her prolonged homelessness in the U.S., she can be protective of the few things that belong to her,” Zimmerman said. “She would do best in a home that is somewhat dog savvy (not a first-time dog parent), where she can be given the time, love and patience to decompress from the intense stress of shelter life.”
“When shown genuine kindness, she repays it tenfold,” Zimmerman said. “In many ways, she’s like a diamond in the rough. Her initial caution can obscure her tremendous spirit and loving nature.”