In the short time Susan Sayegh fostered her pit bull Sadie, she fell in love.
“She is a wonderful little girl,” she said. “I didn’t want to let her go.”
As fate had it, Sayegh didn’t have to. After Sadie had a rough time with her owner, Sayegh adopted her.
This isn’t the first time Sayegh has fallen in love and adopted a dog. She has had Lily for six years.
“These are my children,” she said. “They are better fed than I am.”
With thousands of animals in shelters across the valley, local pet owners share their successes adopting pets.
Sayegh, a Henderson resident, has volunteered with several animal groups in Las Vegas.
Her more recent involvement with the Animal Network, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless and abandoned animals, has allowed her to foster and adopt animals in need.
Since its inception in 2011, the nonprofit has assisted more than 500 animals, placing them in temporary and long-term care.
The fast and playful Sadie, standing at 45 pounds — petite for her breed — was one of the organization’s success stories.
She comes with a long, sad history.
Sayegh first met Sadie when she was a year old.
Her owner at the time had been kicked out of her apartment and needed a place to put Sadie while she got on her feet.
That’s when Sayegh met her and took her in for foster care.
A couple of months later, the owner came back to pick her up to bring Sadie to a new home.
But the owner’s new roommate was abusive.
“She was mistreating her,” Sayegh said. “She asked if I would take her back, because she wanted to get her out of that environment.”
Sayegh didn’t want a temporary fix. She wanted to adopt Sadie.
Sadie joined Lily, an 80-pound Belgian malinois who was adopted six years earlier from the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society.
“(Lily) is still the alpha,” Sayegh said. “She lets Sadie know what’s going on.”
With her history of abuse, Sadie still has moments where she will cower if touched a certain way.
But she is getting better.
Even though they have different back stories, Sayegh has noticed some things in common.
“I think all rescue dogs are more grateful,” she said. “They are just happy for what they have.”
Henderson resident Kerstin Margiotti noticed the same thing about her 1-year-old Mountain Cur mix, Connolly.
“I have a Great Dane,” she said. “She is a little spoiled.”
With her first dog, Tink, getting older, Margiotti decided to look into adopting a pet.
“It was kind of planned, kind of not planned,” she said. “We just knew if we adopted, we wanted a male. We didn’t want two females.”
She went to PetSmart and met Connolly, another Animal Network dog who was found wandering at a local high school.
“He was yappy at first,” she said. “But after a lot of butt sniffing, he got along with Lily.”
Connolly was fostered for a few weeks first, allowing Margiotti to get used to his overly excited nature.
“The first day he gave me a black eye,” she said. “He also got my boyfriend in the eye. He wasn’t aggressive, just super happy.”
After Margiotti paided the $150 fee and filled out the paperwork, Connolly officially joined the family in September.
Since then, Connolly has calmed down.
“Before, we were told he was jumping 6-foot walls,” she said. “He has only jumped our wall once, and it was because he knew we were in the front yard.”
Before when being introduced to other dogs, Connolly would bark a lot. Now, Margiotti said, he is more playful.
“He is still a bit of a hooligan,” Margiotti said jokingly.
Margiotti suggests that people take the adoption route to help dogs in shelters.
“There are so many animals in need,” she said.
Sayegh recommends that people go through an animal organization such as the Animal Network so they can test out through foster care.
“You don’t know how that dog will fit in,” she said. “It is a better way to assess.”
The city of Henderson also has an animal adoption program through its Animal Control department.
According to the department, about 100 to 200 pets are adopted out of the shelter per month. Pets range from purebred to mixed breeds.
Adoption fees are $55 for cats and ferrets and $65 for dogs.
Fees are expected to include routine vaccines, microchip ID, registration, a rabies tag or Henderson license and, if not already done, spay or neuter surgery.
The only prerequisite for adoption dogs is a yard check for a dog that, when full grown, is larger than a normal-sized Cocker spaniel or is considered a larger breed.
For Henderson residents, an Animal Control officer is expected to come to their home to confirm that there is an enclosed backyard with at least a 6-foot fence around the perimeter with a workable gate.
The Henderson Animal Care and Control Facility is at 300 E. Galleria Drive.
The shelter is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday. Adoptions close 30 minutes before the shelter closes.
For more information, visit cityofhenderson.com/animal_control or call 702-267-4970.
Whether it is through the city or another agency, Sayegh hopes people are open to the idea of adopting animals.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” she said. “Be open-minded and don’t make the decision lightly.”
For more information on the Animal Network, visit animalnetwork-lv.com.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.