Anyone who has been to an SPCA Shelter knows how caring, dedicated and hard-working the staff there are. They often take their work home with them. And sometimes, that work has four paws. Case in point – Jenna, the amazing Operations Manager at the SPCA Colchester Shelter who opened her heart and home to Bumbo, a tiny 10-year-old dog who needed love and a fresh start. Here’s their story.
Before being brought to the Pictou SPCA, Bumbo had two different homes. Bumbo was in rough shape when she arrived at the shelter. She had sparse/missing fur on her back and entire hind end; the fur that was left was brass-coloured from constant licking and chewing. She needed dental surgery and multiple extractions. During the veterinary exam, a corneal ulcer was found in her left eye, along with forgotten sutures from a previous surgery, causing damage and extreme discomfort. She required medicated baths for her skin and was put on eye medication three times a day for several weeks.
Providing needed medical care was just the first step in Bumbo’s recovery. Given her history, she was understandably very untrusting with people. She hated getting her eye medication and being returned to her kennel. Bumbo was eventually transferred to the Colchester shelter where there were a few more experienced dog handlers. That’s where Bumbo met Jenna and when her life changed.
Jenna related “We were fortunate to be able to keep Bumbo in the office with us instead of putting her in a kennel. That made a huge difference. It took a while, but Bumbo slowly began to trust us. Letting her adjust to us in her own time was key to helping her. She became affectionately known as ‘Bumble Bee’ at the shelter.”
After two months at the shelter, Bumbo was medically cleared and her behaviour had improved, so she was put up for adoption. Applications came flying in. She was adopted quickly, but it was less than an hour before she was returned. Jenna shared “It wasn’t anything the family did; Bumble Bee just isn’t very good with first impressions. I thought she needed someone who knows more about dog behaviour and can communicate with her a bit more effectively. I knew I was up to the challenge.”
Jenna had always had an immense love for animals. She graduated from the NS Agricultural College where she became fascinated with animal behaviour. She then enrolled in a behaviour analysis course where she learned more about training principles and practiced dog training. Two years later, she returned to school to earn her degree in Bioveterinary Science where her interest continued to grow. Jenna said “To my delight, there was a job posting for the SPCA – I’ve never looked back! I absolutely love what I do here. It’s such a different place to work – so busy, so sad sometimes, but fulfilling in SO many ways.”
Jenna was drawn to Bumble Bee from the start. “She had such a spicy attitude and when she finally let us in, the feeling was just….wonderful,” recalled Jenna. “There’s such an incredible bond that forms when an animal with behaviour issues is so untrusting and then they finally accept you. When the other family adopted her, a bit of my heart was broken seeing her go. We always want the animals adopted out to good homes quickly, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t overjoyed when I saw her coming back. I took her home to ‘foster’ her that night, but I knew we belonged together.” Jenna formally adopted Bumbo, now lovingly called ‘Bum,’ on January 2nd.
Surprisingly, Bum adjusted to her new home quickly. “She was a bit ‘iffy’ about my partner Thomas at first and ‘told him off’ a time or two,” chuckled Jenna. “But she soon saw that Thomas was kind too. We kept asking ourselves ‘How does she fit in here so well?! She never cried or fussed and was content to lie down on me or beside me.”
Bum was initially apprehensive about the couple’s other two dogs, 12-year-old Max and 10-year-old Duncan. Jenna related “They are quite a bit bigger than her and can come on a little strongly at first. Bum started trying to play with them almost immediately though, even though they didn’t seem quite as interested. She adores visiting my parents’ small dog, who is more her size and speed.”
Bum is definitely living her best life. Jenna said “She absolutely loves playing with her toys, chewing bones and car rides. Her all-time favorite pastime seems to be sticking to me like glue!” When Bum wants something, she will stand on her hind legs and move her front paws up and down repeatedly – it’s adorable. She always makes us smile and laugh.”
Bum has had a profound impact on Jenna’s life. “I feel like she was the missing piece that I didn’t even know I was missing,” shared Jenna. “She stares into my eyes and I know she is happy and is exactly where she needs to be.”
When asked about the role the SPCA played in giving Bum another chance at happiness, Jenna replied “I don’t know if she ever would have truly had another chance without the Nova Scotia SPCA. She had already been in two different homes before coming to us, and with her behaviour she really needed to find people who could understand and help her. The SPCA never gave up on her. She got the medical attention and affection she so desperately needed, and the staff listened to what she was telling them and nurtured her until she was able to start trusting people again.”
Jenna summed up how much Bum has blossomed. “When I look back at pictures of Bum at the shelter – before we were able to find a way to make things work for her – it breaks my heart. I can’t believe it is the same dog. The transformation is remarkable. She knows she is home, safe and loved. This would never have been possible without the Nova Scotia SPCA and all of the wonderful people who work and volunteer there.”
Please give other homeless animals like Bum a chance to live the life they deserve. Donate today.