Christophe Valton, Donor Relations Manager
At the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), we treat our animals humanely and with dignity. We are also accountable to the community to ensure that adoptable pets are healthy and of sound behavior. This allows them to find forever homes and become beloved family members. Occasionally, however, we are confronted with the challenge of finding a suitable adopter for a specific dog, who although not dangerous, does not meet the expectations of what a pet should represent. Finding alternative, positive solutions where none seem evident requires creativity, good will, and the determination to spare no effort to save a dog’s life. Hundi exemplifies the extent to which HSSA is willing to go in order to ensure a happy ending.
This is his story.
Hundi is a purebred Rottweiler, imported by his owner from Germany as a puppy. He comes from excellent working stock and judicious selective breeding. Highly intelligent and intense, he was protective of his people and his space. While he was not dangerous, his appearance not only provoked admiration, but fear and trepidation. To add to the challenge, Hundi was trained in German. The dog did not understand English commands. Housed at HSSA in a kennel, it became quickly apparent that Hundi would not be a good match for the average dog owner looking for a pet. He rapidly bonded with the HSSA behavior team and a German-speaking volunteer. They worked with him daily to keep him engaged. In the course of forging a close relationship, they discovered that Hundi also had a soft and extremely affectionate side, a side he only allowed “his people” to see.
HSSA’s behavior lead desperately tried to find him an appropriate forever home anywhere in the country—with no success.
Little by little, Hundi deteriorated. He did not take well to life in a kennel and watching his spirit break was devastating. Finally, as the time grew close where a decision about his fate needed to be made, the HSSA behavior lead reached out to a trainer in Port Angeles, Wash. She was willing to take Hundi, provided that someone drove him from Tucson to Port Angeles, near the Canadian border. Within 48 hours, volunteers donated sufficient funds to underwrite the 3,000-mile trip, management authorized the use of a HSSA van, and Hundi, a staff member, and the German-speaking volunteer were on the road to Port Angeles. Hundi spent two nights sleeping in queen-sized beds, was refreshed by a bath in the hotel room tub, and proved to be a perfectly behaved gentleman. He was introduced to his new home, and, after a short acclimation period, Hundi is now thriving, much loved by his new owner.
Hundi’s story has a happy ending because HSSA staff recognized how special he was, did not give up on him, chose to fight for him, and spared no effort to save his life.