As an avid dog lover growing up, my family was the type to always make sure my dogs ate quality dog food, got plenty of exercise, had the best dog insurance and plenty of toys scattered around the house. You could very easily call me obsessed and I would not get offended. When the time came to move out of my parent’s house, I really missed time with my dogs. So naturally, I jumped on an opportunity to volunteer with the pups at a local shelter. While I expected to work with all different types of breeds, I never expected there to be such a wide range of personality. While many breeds will often act similar, every dog is still an individual, some quirkier than others. Here are a few of my favorites from the past several years:
Frankie is a Labrador mix that was just recently adopted from our shelter. Despite being a little over three, he had plenty of puppy left in him, constantly ready to play with plenty of energy to boot. Frankie had some unique quirks as unlike the average lab, who will always fixate on a ball, Frisbee or stick, he would constantly focus on your shoes and go crazy with excitement; lightly chewing on them, even when they were on your feet.
His intent was always harmless, but he could sit there and play with shoes for hours. We definitely warned his newly adopted family of this quirk and let them know how important it would be to keep all things footwear out of reach unless they wanted them to be constantly covered in dog slobber.
Nash is a beautiful gray and white Pit Bull who was about as handsome as they come. With a very noble disposition and appearance, one might assume he was mild-mannered with little to no quirks. And for the most part, this assumption is accurate. However, if Nash saw a car door open, it was an all-out sprint to throw his body full speed into the vehicle.
At our shelter, we have programs in place where we can take the dogs out on weekend adventures to socialize, hike and just escape the shelter walls. One weekend I took Nash hiking with me. Having not known his car obsession prior, it was quite a shock when we were walking for the car and I opened the back door. Normally dogs unfamiliar with the vehicle might take a second to recognize what is going on, but not Nash. Faster than I could say “Hop in!” Nash had bolted into the middle of the seat and looked straight forward, ready to go. Getting him out of the car is another story entirely, but let’s just say he makes you work for it.
For unknown reasons, Cora ended up becoming a long-timer at our shelter. While she was a total sweetheart, for some reason it just took a little bit longer for her to find her forever family.
One of my favorite dogs ever to come through our shelter doors, Cora was funny in that we could be out on a walk around the local parks calm as ever, but if she saw a Squirrel, the chase was on. I never felt she wanted to hurt the little creatures, I think she just had some weird obsession with them, as she would run as fast as she could towards one until it bolted up a tree where she would sit at the base and stare, tail wagging faster than ever.
There are millions of dogs waiting to be discovered in shelters throughout the world, and while not all of them are as surprising and quirky as these few, many are — and often in ways you’d never expect. If you have a home and can handle the cost to adopt the dog, pet insurance, toys, food, etc. and you’re looking for a companion, try a shelter first — you never know what kind of unpolished treasure you’ll find.
Rob Toledo is a lover of all things dog, enjoys volunteering at local animal shelter and hopes to one day have a yard big enough for at least 10 dogs of his own.