Recovered From Gunshot Wound, ‘Biscuit’ Needs A Home

by Rich Eldred

BREWSTER – Neither a lackluster upbringing, hundreds of miles of travel or even a hail of bullets phases Biscuit.

The four-month-old jet black Lab mix from Mississippi is biding his time in Brewster — somewhat impatiently, it would seem, based on his bouncy nervous energy — hoping to be adopted from the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Biscuit is a rescue who has already survived being shot in his short life, with minimal impact other than a small scar across his forehead.

“He was grazed on the head,” explained Mike DeFina the ARL’s Communications and Media Relations Manager. “So the Animal Rescue League is partners with the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in their animal relocation program. The ASPCA takes dogs from overcrowded shelters, and other pets, primarily from southern shelters…[which] are dealing with a lot of overcrowding, so every transport dog we get is essentially saving a life.”

The shelter staff down south contacted the ARL to see if they had available space.

“There is a requirement of a state mandated quarantine that’s a rabies precaution,” DeFina said. “But given his age (of just four months) that staff didn't want to stunt his development as a puppy. The staff took it upon themselves to reach out from the source shelter in Mississippi. Apparently a neighbor was shooting at the property [Biscuit was on] and grazed the puppy. I have to say he’s lucky to be alive.”

The bullet skipped across Biscuit’s brow, leaving a part in his hair. While he was largely unharmed, the shooting may well have left emotional scars. DeFina noted Biscuit was fearful when he arrived in Brewster. But he was full of pep and not overly anxious when being photographed for this story. Like Norma Desmond, he was ready for his close up.

“He’s done well since he’s been here, the last week or two,” DeFina said. “It will take time with a new family. You got to let him be himself. But he’s very sweet, playful and friendly. He’s really handsome. He’ll be fine. He probably won’t get much bigger, probably about 40 pounds.”

His coat was shiny and gleaming. Biscuit was quite alert and enjoyed chewing on his leash. Hopefully he’ll have something better to eat when he finds a home.

He is now available for adoption. Like many of the ARL’s southern transports, he was an outdoor dog and will need socialization, training in manners, house breaking, etc.

“He’ll need all of them,” DeFina said.

In addition to transports, the ARL’s dogs are often lost or strays, sometimes surrendered by owners who can no longer care for them or are moving. When they get a batch of transports, maybe 18 to 20 at a time, they are parceled out between the ARL shelters in Brewster, Boston and Dedham. All the available dogs can be viewed in the ARL website, along with cats, rabbits, mice, gerbils, birds and more. The Brewster shelter currently has two goats staying in its barn.

“Right now we have five to seven dogs,” DeFina said. That includes Maya, a pit bull; Taco, a two-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever; and Roxy, another pit bull.

Anyone who wants to adopt Biscuit or one of the other dogs should come to the shelter to meet with them and spend a little time together.

“If you have another dog, they are required to meet. It’s primarily all conversation,” DeFina said of the vetting process. “There is no long application. I think he’ll be a great Cape Cod dog going on walks on the beach, to the dog park and bike trail if he is socialized properly. He’s going to be great. A lot of the time with transport dogs it’s helpful to have another dog to show him the ropes.”

DeFina said Biscuit would likely be happiest at an active home where he could go on long walks. Biscuit isn’t likely to be a couch potato. The ARL works to make sure people are matched with the right animal.

DeFina said the shelter gets a lot of puppies like Biscuit, and they are the first to go. Older dogs can take longer to find a home, even though they're often house trained, socialized and calmer.

The shelter in Brewster is on Route 6A near the Orleans town line. Their first shelter on Cape Cod was in Provincetown in the 1950s. The Brewster shelter opened in the 1960s.

“Since 1899 we’ve had over 2.6 million dogs adopted,” DeFina said. “We just turned 125.”

That success speaks to the agency’s methods.

“We assess them individually and behaviorally,” DeFina said. “There are a lot of misconceptions. Rescue dogs are fantastic.”