A fairy tale ending for a small dog named Briana was one of the high points of Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon this past weekend, June 9 and 10, at Oakland Animal Services (OAS). The 100th animal adopted out from OAS over this marathon-like event, a shih tzu named Briana was adopted Sunday by Maddie’s Fund President Rich Avanzino and his partner Martha Anthony.
The couple, who were visiting OAS on behalf of Maddie’s Fund, the animal foundation that sponsored the huge adoption event at more than 80 Bay Area locations, met Briana on Saturday, were smitten, and returned the following day to go forward with the adoption. That OAS had the opportunity to send one of its animals home to what will certainly be a wonderful home, and with Maddie’s Fund representatives, is story enough. But that’s not all there is to it.
Briana’s story goes back even beyond when she was found wandering the streets of Oakland in March of this year. Animal control officers brought her into the shelter sick, dirty, and in pain. Chicken wire, a “souvenir” from wherever she’d been held, was matted into her hair, scratching her skin and making movement almost impossible. It is thought that her previous cage so restricted her movement that it allowed her hair to become tangled in the wire itself. When the small gray, tan, and white dog arrived at the shelter, no one knew exactly what was beneath her tangled mop of fur.
What was under all that fur was Pup-Pourri’s Briana, a once-champion shih tzu. Following the trail of the dog’s microchip, Oakland Animal Services Director Megan Webb discovered that Briana was born and raised in Oklahoma, puppy to a four-time best-in-show champion. Early in her life, Briana herself traveled the country to compete in dog shows, was groomed daily, and had trophies to boot. When the original owner sold Briana and her littermates to another breeder, who in turn sold all of her animals to a woman in California, Briana, as well as some of her siblings, passed into a situation—most likely a breeding situation—that put her in the hands of people who not only neglected her but, eventually, dumped her onto the street without a backward glance. You can read about Briana in the news here.
When Briana, now a senior dog, showed up at OAS, her life took another wild turn—this time for the better. Since her arrival in March, Briana has found people—everyone from the original intake officer to the rest of the staff and volunteers to willing fosters—who care. She has fallen into hands and arms that have brought her back to health and shown her all the warmth that was certainly missing in the last few years. In return, Briana, through her affectionate attitude and spirit, has shown that champion bloodlines run more than skin deep. And it is certainly that irrepressible spirit, that joie de vivre, that caught the attention of adopters Rich Avanzino and Martha Anthony and has earned Briana one more title to add to her list: champion heart stealer.
Sometimes life does have a fairy tale ending.