Stray Hearts has made an exception to one of its policies and is allowing 8-year-old dog Zizy to stay at the shelter for the rest of her life.

After multiple attempts to adopt out the small red pitbull, it was quickly discovered that while Zizy was a favorite among humans, she did not get along well with other dogs, and eventually received a New Mexico dangerous dog license.

Because Stray Hearts is a no-kill animal shelter and only works with other no-kill and humane shelters, they have had trouble finding another place for Zizy to live. She has been at the shelter since June of 2018, when she showed up after attacking another dog in Questa.

Stray Hearts tried multiple times to find her a good home, and even attempted to house her at nearly half a dozen animal sanctuaries across the U.S., where she was not accepted. Stray Hearts Executive Director Donna Karr said that Zizy shows “unpredictable behavior toward other dogs,” and that despite numerous attempts to work on behavior, she hasn’t changed.

“We tried desensitization, but that behavior is pretty ingrained,” sair Karr, who said Zizy would be great in a single-pet home due to her affectionate and loving nature toward humans, “but because of her dangerous behavior around dogs … the extra liability of owning a dangerous dog has deterred potential adopters.”

Nonetheless, she remains a staff and volunteer favorite.

“She loves people and everyone at Stray Hearts loves her,” said Karr. So much so, they have now built her a permanent residence on the property. “We’ve decided to make an exception for Zizy,” said Karr of their decision to provide her a lifelong home. “She’s got a fan club.”

The new permanent tiny-house was provided by a generous volunteer and gives Zizy a temperature controlled environment in which she can lounge around. The house is located within a larger fenced area, where she can run around and go to the bathroom. Other Stray Hearts volunteers stepped up to paint, decorate and furnish the small house.

The house provides Zizy with “a quiet place to sleep, away from the noise and stress of other dogs. Staff and volunteers can hang out with Zizy on her own couch, turns out Zizy is a couch potato!” said Karr.

She also added that “Zizy gets regular walks and attention from volunteers and staff, and she has adapted to the shelter environment better than most dogs.” Many animals come through the doors of the shelter, but seldom stay for as long as Zizy, though the shelter has done their best to work with under-socialized dogs to help find them homes. “Our average length of stay was 260 days and now it’s around 30 days,” said Karr, who explained they have a team of volunteers who have gone through special training to work with dogs on their behavior

However, they are making an exception for Zizy. “We’re making a long-term commitment to Zizy and will continue to rely on the support of our volunteers to make Zizy’s quality of life as good as having a real home.”

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