Jenny, a six-year-old pit bull terrier mix in Los Angeles may have skin condition that limits her time in the sun, but that doesn’t stop her from sharing her sunny disposition with everyone she meets until she lands her forever home.
In fact, no matter what the day brings, Jenny leans towards happiness with a generous wag of her tail. Even a visit to the vet is a chance to shower people with kisses
But that wasn’t always the case. Every day, more than 9,000 dogs and cats are killed in America’s shelters simply because they don’t have safe places to call home. And Jenny could have been one of them. Especially because when she arrived at a city shelter in Los Angeles, it was clear she was going to need a lot of help just to get her healthy.
But she got to come to Best Friends, where her luck turned around. Now she’s well on her way to her next stop: a home.
Helping a dog feel comfortable in her own skin
When Jenny arrived at the Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles, the medical team got to work to determine the cause of Jenny’s blistered and scarred skin. She also had a painful ear infection that needed treatment. They’d soon discover that she had environmental and dietary allergies, and sensitivity to the sun. Today, Jenny must avoid direct sunlight as much as possible, get medicated baths, and stick to a hypoallergenic diet.
But through all that, Jenny just seemed happy to be alive and surrounded by nice people who wanted to help her. Best Friends veterinarian Dr. Andrea Winhoffer is impressed with how calm and happy Jenny is – even during painful procedures on her ear canal. “She is an extremely sweet girl despite everything she had been through,” said Winhoffer. “She loves being touched and given affection, even if it’s to take her medicine.”
Once Jenny’s immediate medical needs were under control, she moved across town to Best Friends’ NKLA Pet Adoption Center, where she’d meet another friend who has made Jenny’s comfort and happiness her mission.
Volunteer helps dog shine
When Jenny arrived at the NKLA center she immediately captured the attention – and heart – of volunteer Kate Shelley. Because Jenny wasn’t treated for her allergies before coming to Best Friends, she has some scarring – particularly on one of her hind legs – but since it doesn’t bother Jenny, it doesn’t bother Shelley, either. “We all have a few scars,” said Shelley. “It just happens that Jenny’s are visible. Her heart isn’t scarred, that’s for sure.”
Since she couldn’t adopt Jenny herself due to having a senior cat at home who prefers a house without dogs, Shelley immersed herself in learning everything she could about Jenny’s skin condition. She even took Jenny to a veterinary dermatologist to make sure that Jenny had everything she needed to live comfortably.
The dermatologist’s findings were in line with what had already been determined, and gave an additional insight to the source of her skin troubles. They found that Jenny has solar dermatitis, an actual allergy to the sun. And also, that Jenny will stop at nothing for kisses. Even medical procedures are fair game for snuggles and face licks.
To help with Jenny’s sun allergy, Shelley ordered a sun suit from a company that specializes in making clothing for dogs just like Jenny. She also signed up to give Jenny her regular baths and to walk her, either indoors or when the sun isn’t at its peak. “Jenny doesn’t live in a bubble,” explains Shelley, “In some ways, her condition is no different than that of a person with sensitive skin who needs to take extra precautions.”
Katie O’Shaughnessy, lead pet caregiver at the NKLA Pet Adoption Center says that volunteers like Shelley, who go the extra mile for pets until they get adopted, play a big role in helping pets at the center like Jenny find their forever home. “Kate is Jenny’s champion,” O’ Shaughnessy said. “We are so grateful that she has been was willing to do so much for Jenny.”
Next stop: a home
Of course, everyone’s greatest dream for Jenny is a home with someone who sees past her outside appearance and troubles, and straight to her radiant personality. With so many people on her team, her day will come. In the meantime, she’ll keep on winning over everyone she meets.
“You just can’t get depressed around Jenny,” said Shelley. “Her love of life is contagious. Nothing holds her back from being happy.”
Jenny is waiting to meet you at the NKLA Pet Adoption Center, 1845 Pontius Avenue, Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.nkla.org or call (424) 208-8840.