A seven-year-old shepherd cross with perky ears who often looks like she’s smiling, Barbie greets every person as if they are her new best friend. She crowds in for pats and soon rolls on her back, tongue lolling out to the side.
The fact that she adores people, after the life she used to live, is just one of this little dog’s amazing traits.
"She’s a sweet girl who loves belly rubs and attention. We just can’t seem to find her a home," said Jenn Taplin, Manitoba Mutts Dog Rescue’s executive director. "She’s just so nice and so gentle."
Barbie has been living with her Manitoba Mutts foster family for more than a year now, and her rescuers would love to see her find a permanent home.
She lived her first six years outside in a northern Manitoba community, a stray dog who gave birth to multiple litters of puppies and scrounged through garbage to stay alive.
Barbie’s fortunes changed when Jasmine Colucci of K9 Advocates of Manitoba paid to have Barbie spayed and put an end to the endless cycle of pregnancies she was trapped in as an outdoor dog. Colucci couldn’t find a foster home for Barbie, so Barbie had to be released.
A short time later, Taplin and Manitoba Mutts went to the community on a rescue mission. They only had foster homes pre-arranged for three dogs, so on Aug. 20, 2017, they chose Barbie, her daughter Skipper and another dog named Ken, but also brought back some puppies and cats to be taken into care. Taplin took some video in the vehicle and Barbie steals the show, giving Taplin multiple licks on her face and then settling into the comfy seat with a big sigh.
It’s like she knew she had been saved.
But Barbie still had some miles to go on her journey.
"We brought her in and at her vet appointment, they thought she was pregnant as they felt something in her belly. We knew that couldn’t be possible, so they did an X-ray," Taplin said. "What they thought might have been babies was actually stones, bone shards, sticks and garbage that she had been eating to survive. She was starving, so she was eating whatever she could find."
It was also discovered that Barbie had heartworm, tapeworm and kidney worms. She needed surgery to remove a kidney and the trash she couldn’t pass through her digestive system. Dogs get kidney worms from eating raw fish or frogs.
Barbie has recovered, she’s been featured on the Manitoba Mutts website and at adoption fairs, but there has not been even one application or inquiry about her.
"It might be because she’s an older dog because she’s not very big," said Mindy Brown, who, along with her boyfriend, Wes, are Barbie’s foster family. "She is just a really sweet, friendly dog who greets everyone she meets with enthusiasm. Even when a stranger comes by the fence, she will jump up to try to kiss them and say hello."
On a recent Saturday, Barbie was the dog of the day at a Manitoba Mutts booth at Kildonan Place Shopping Centre. She scooted over to meet everyone who stopped by, and she surprised one lady with a big slurp on the cheek as the lady bent down to pat her.
Brown said Barbie is house-trained and kennel-trained, but needs a home without cats as she will chase small animals because she hunted for food for so long.
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She adjusts best to older children since she’s still learning not to jump when she’s excited. Brown said Barbie also needs a slow introduction to any other dogs in her new home.
"We have our own dog at home, Jules, a female husky mix, and they play together, but it took some time," Brown said. "They’ll never be the dogs that cuddle each other, but they lick each other’s faces and chase each other in the yard."
Brown said Barbie knows how to sit on command and to wait on a mat to get her harness on to go for walks.
The adoption fee for Barbie is $150 and includes parvo/distemper and rabies vaccines, deworming, spay/neuter, tattoo, heartworm/Lyme disease test and a health check by a Manitoba Mutts veterinarian partner.
If you think Barbie is the girl for you and you’d like to meet her, contact email@example.com or visit manitobamutts.org or Manitoba Mutts on Facebook to see more photos of Barbie and other available dogs.
Storm is still waiting for his fur-ever home and he needs you.
Storm, a two-year-old mastiff cross, was the first dog profiled in Rescue Mission, but he’s still looking for someone to open their heart and home to him.
He’s good with other dogs of all sizes and he’s good with children of any age. Fully house-trained and kennel-trained, he loves to go for daily walks and is friendly and playful, his foster mom said.
“Other than that (playing), he’s calm and quiet. He’s only as energetic as his new family wants to be. If you’re sitting watching a movie, he’ll sit and chew a bone,” said Misty Titterton, Winnipeg Giant Breed Rescue co-director.