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New way to adopt dogs helps Luka find a home

The SPCA's Fast Track program takes adoptable dogs out into the community.

The SPCA's Fast Track program takes adoptable dogs out into the community.

Not every great friendship begins with a great first impression.

The same can be said for our canine friends. Fortunately, the Louisiana SPCA offers a Fast Track program to help those dogs (and cats) that need a little extra help getting adopted.

“They might be too scared in a shelter kennel, or too high energy, or simply too large, too darkly colored or too old to stand out from all of the other dogs,” said Alex Chasick, communications director for the LA/SPCA.

Through Fast Track, the dogs are set up with foster parents who take the dogs out into the community to show what great dogs they can be out of the shelter setting, said Chasick.

Foster parents take the dog on walks, visits to the park, even happy hours – anything to make the dog more visible in the community and therefore more likely to be adopted. The dogs are even given orange "Adopt Me" vests to encourage inquiries.

Luka, a Doberman/Shepherd mix, had been waiting to be adopted since May. “He’d been on the adoption floor too long,” said Liza Sherman, who saw Luka on an SPCA email. “He was getting stressed, he wasn’t eating, he wasn’t meeting people well. He was totally uninterested and uncharismatic when I came in.”

Still, Sherman fostered Luka through Fast Track, and once home, he began showing his true colors.

Luka relaxing

Luka relaxing

“He’s just been amazing,” she said. “He’s the most awesome dog, just incredibly sweet. And he gets compliments EVERY time we step out of my door.”

In addition to the ‘"Adopt Me" vests, all Fast Track foster parents are given tips and advice on the best way to meet potential adopters as well as food, a crate, a collar and leash, and medical support for their dogs.

Because he’s part shepherd, Luka was fortunate to have additional advocates in his corner. To help place shepherds, the LA/SPCA sometimes enlists the help Toby Burroughs, founder of the of New Orleans German Shepherd Rescue.

Burroughs just happened to go into the SPCA the day after Sherman took Luka, and was asked to help place him “because she has such a tried and true process,” Sherman said.

That process proved to be successful once again, as this weekend Sherman dropped Luka off at his permanent home in Diamond Head, Mississippi.

Gabby and Luka

Gabby and Luka

“You could not ask for a better personality and temperament than Luka has,” said Mark Chadwick, Luka’s new owner. Luka has also taken to his new sister, another Shepherd named Gabby, and according to Chadwick, he’s been showering her with kisses.

“He has a ton of energy,” Chadwick added, but he also loves to lie on the couch with a toy, though sometimes he can be a little indecisive.  “Right now he gas pulled 8 squeaky toys out of the toy box and is playing with them on the couch.”

To learn more about the Fast Track program, contact Allie Mayer, at [email protected].

To learn more about the New Orleans German Shepherd Rescue, go to http://www.nogsr.org/.

Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.