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2018-07-18 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Being with ALDO is an adventure. He’s such a unique-looking little pup that we’re going to do a DNA test to find out his breed mixture. Would you like “Guess ALDO’s Breeds” before we get the results? We’re turning the search for answers into a fun contest to see who comes closest to his scientific breed analysis. More about that later.

Say HELLO to ALDO. He resembles a mini deer or perhaps a shrunken Pharaoh Hound. His ears are as big as he is. His legs are long and thin, making him tall Chihuahua-size. His tail is long with a slight curve. He weighs less than 20 pounds. ALDO is on high alert, sensitive to noise with his radar dish ears. His petite frame looks like a sight hound.

ALDO seems to understand Spanish better than English. He is ten months to a year old, and very much the puppy. In mid-June he was taken to Babylon Town Shelter as a stray by people who said he was wandering a Copiague neighborhood for five days. As usual, we’re not sure if this really was the case, but it is possible. This experience, if true, may have traumatized him especially if he had been abandoned, and then had strange people chasing him. It would also give another reason for his high alert to any loud song or noise.


ALDO is looking for a loving home. ALDO is looking for a loving home. ALDO got his name at the shelter. When he first came into Babylon, he was terrified. It took the staff an hour to get him out of his cage while he hovered in the back. They found out he’d struggle and wiggle non-stop if you tried to put a collar around his neck. He’d put his mouth on you but he didn’t clamp down. Eventually he wound up wearing a soft, vest harness.

The lady kennel attendants spent lots of time with him, trying to get him to settle down. He was timid when he met someone new. He needed private time with each new person before he relaxed. He wasn’t interested in treats, but that may have been stress at the start of his kennel stay.


ALDO understands Spanish. ALDO understands Spanish. If you sat on the floor with ALDO for at least a half an hour and coaxed him gently (preferably in Spanish), he’d approach you. The girls also discovered if you wrapped him in a blanket, he didn’t hesitate to let you pick him up. Perhaps it became his security blanket or the blanket functioned like a thunder vest putting acupressure on his chest.

In time, he realizes you are a friend and becomes quite comfortable around you, soliciting attention, kissing your hands, staying on your lap. He seemed different from other frightened, Babylon shelter dogs because there was no Eureka moment where fear is replaced by comfort with basically everyone. In the beginning, ALDO needed individual sessions with each new person, including me.

After three weeks at Babylon, we thought it best to move him to Last Hope because he had bonded to kennel staff but wasn’t meeting enough new people to curb his fears. The noise bothered him. I drove him to Wantagh petting him while wrapped he was in a blanket. He snubbed his chicken nuggets in the car but gulped them down an hour later after being passed around to several volunteers. This was a good sign. He approaches most people now without hesitation. ALDO enjoys love fests with his new friends.

The Great Escape: ALDO’s vest was a little loose and he wasn’t wearing a collar. Babylon’s yard and walking trails are fenced. Last Hope’s trails are not. On his third evening at Last Hope, ALDO backed out of his vest during a walk when a police car startled him. He vanished into the woods along Wantagh Parkway. The dog volunteers began combing the area and poison ivy for the little guy as it was getting dark.

About a half hour later, he miraculously came back to Last Hope’s parking lot. A cat volunteer leaving orientation crouched down. He ran over while someone else grabbed a leash. We fitted him for a tighter harness but getting a martingale collar over his head was like wrestling a baby alligator. Now he wears both.

Guess ALDO’s DNA Profile: Babylon Shelter received a great gift from Wisdom Health makers of the Wisdom Health Panel Canine DNA Test. Each week the company does a “Guess the Breed” contest on social media. The winner gets to donate a DNA kit to the shelter or rescue of their choice, and someone chose Babylon Shelter. We will use this kit to test ALDO’s DNA.

How often have you wondered about the genetic make-up of your mixed breed dog? For 15 years I’ve been saying my Charlotte had an English Toy Spaniel Dad and a Yorkie Mom because these breeds lived in her hoarder house. I am sure about her sire but not the Mom. A DNA test would confirm her parentage. My friend Sue just purchased a Wisdom Health kit to test her Beverly, a tiny mix who wondered the streets of Los Angeles for years before being rescued.

DNA testing can enhance adoptability of shelter dogs. Each mixed breed dog is unique, but knowing the breed make-up would help prospective owners decide which dog is right for them, especially when looking at puppies. How big should the pup be? What breed traits fit our lifestyle? Canine DNA tests have become more accurate as more breeds have been added to the database. The Wisdom Panel ™ 40 which retails for $85 can identify 253 breeds, types and varieties; detect the probability of certain drug and exercise sensitivities and provide a trait analysis.

How to Win: To enter our “Guess ALDO’s Breeds” contest, view his photos here or online when the Beacon “Pets” link is posted on Last Hope Inc. and Babylon Animal Shelter Facebook pages. If you see the photos in print, enter your breed composite guess in an email to jvsabu@aol.com with “ALDO Contest” in the subject line. Put your guess on Facebook as a comment. Better yet, go visit ALDO at Last Hope, 3300 Beltagh Ave in Wantagh. He needs a loving home.

The Prize: The person with the closest ALDO breed composite will win a Wisdom Panel™ 40 kit to solve a mutt mixture mystery or to donate to a shelter or rescue.

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